Recent posts

Assessing Facts About Abortion And Contraception

A new report from the Guttmacher Institute demonstrates that the national abortion rate has dropped recently. Moreover, this drop is not correlated with a decrease in the number of accessible providers. What does this all mean? Will Saletan at Slate discusses the causes and consequences of this phenomenon, arguing that it proves that pro-lifers have it wrong: limiting access to abortion does not actually cause the number of abortions to go down. This is for a couple of reasons: first, overall birth rates are down nationwide (a 9% decrease by some counts), and second, the decline in abortions occurred nationwide, not just in states with overly restrictive laws. Continue Reading →

What Would You Choose: Making Rent or Having Sex?

I’ve been noticing a nasty strain of classism going around when it comes to discussions of sex, contraception, and reproduction. It goes something like this: if you can’t afford contraception, you shouldn’t be having sex, because you’d be an unfit parent due to your lack of money. Statements like this ignore the fact that money is not the only factor that determines whether you are a good parent (and in fact, there’s not really a good way to chart a correlation; rich people can be bad parents, poor people can be good parents, and vice versa and everything in between). Statements like this totally miss the fact – demonstrated by scientific research – that when given access to free birth control, impoverished women take advantage of it, and drastically reduce their number of unplanned pregnancies. Statements like this also miss the fact that having to pay for birth control can make a significant dent in your budget, especially if you are already working with a low income or you must shop around for a birth control option that works for you. Continue Reading →

Why Telling Women To “Just Close Your Legs” Isn’t Good

Every so often, I run across arguments about women in poverty or other difficult situations who should just, like, stop having babies already. The message “just keep your legs closed” is a prevalent one… but I don’t think it works, or that it’s remotely a good idea. First, until we get closer to universally accessible (meaning affordable) contraception, it makes no sense to berate women for their choices. Any “choice” made within an oppressive environment is not really a choice at all, or at least, not a freely-made choice. Continue Reading →

The Pill Vs. The Pullout

Hormonal birth control is something that works for some women, and not for others, which is okay. Yet as Jill discusses in this Feministe article, the author of a new book called Sweetening the Pill takes her own awful experience on the pill as evidence “that the Pill is terrible for all women.” Generalizing from one person’s experience to everyone’s is, of course, a bad idea. As Jill writes: “And most of my friends who are on the Pill don’t have the same side effects that I had, and are perfectly happy relying on it as their primary means of contraception. Also, one friend feels like she gets in her best shape by running, another by doing Barre classes and Pilates, whereas I prefer yoga. Continue Reading →

Why Women’s Sexual Health In The News Is Good… And Bad

There is a ton of news coverage of laws pertaining to women’s sexual health right now, and it’s not looking too good for women who want not only access to contraception and basic health rights, but also to accurate information about their bodies. Feministe gives a good run-down of the various states that have passed, or are trying to pass, laws that would make it illegal for women to get abortions after 20 weeks (even if the fetus is dead), or that would list all doctors in the state who perform abortions (despite the fact that such doctors are often targeted by violent protesters and sometimes killed), and so on. Women are compared to livestock that sometimes have to carry non-viable fetuses to term, or they are called sluts for wanting access to birth control. Politicians in Kansas and Arizona are trying to pass bills that would allow doctors to withhold medical information from pregnant women that might affect their decisions on whether to bring a fetus to term. How a doctor might reconcile this with the Hippocratic Oath boggles my mind, as it certainly harms pregnant women to not know the full extent of what is happening with their bodies. Continue Reading →

Religious Women Use Birth Control Too

A recent study finds that contraceptive use is normal among religious women in the U.S., even Catholics. The statistics show that most women in the contemporary U.S., regardless of religion, make use of some form of birth control at some point in their lives. It’s worth considering this information when assessing issues such as federally-funded access to birth control, as well as stereotypes about religious folks as homogeneously anti-choice. Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

Emergency Contraception… Anywhere!

This peer-reviewed website offers information about where one can obtain emergency contraception anywhere in the U.S., and even around the world. In addition to containing really thorough information about the various kinds of emergency contraception available, the website displays some personal stories from women who speak about their experiences with emergency contraception. This looks like a great resource, so pass along the link! Follow us on Twitter @mysexprofessor. Follow Jeana, the author of this post, @foxyfolklorist. Continue Reading →

In Testing: New Birth Control Method For Men

Many men are disappointed with their lack of contraception options: between the barrier method and vasectomy lie few other choices. A new method (RISUG) is being tested, which entail a one-time reversible injection that prevents sperm from penetrating the egg. The procedure would take five minutes and be effective for at least ten years. Check out the petition at to keep up with developments or get involved. Continue Reading →

Birth Control Gel

Hormonal birth control comes in many forms: pills, rings, patches, and shots. And now scientists are researching a possible gel containing hormones that would be absorbed when a woman rubbed it on her skin. So far, the sample size has been small with just 18 women, but the results have been good. However, I’m already feeling a bit skeptical as all the articles I’ve read have pretty much touted this form of birth control to be a wonder drug. There have been no allergic reactions to the gel, none of the women in the study have become pregnant, and there seem to be none of the common side effects associated with other hormonal birth control methods such as weight gain, lower sex drive, and acne. Continue Reading →

Breastfeeding as Birth Control

While this may be common knowledge among those who have beautiful milk-filled breasts, I was surprised recently when breastfeeding was mentioned in one of my workshops as a method of birth control.  After going to the trusty internet, I was amazed at what I found – for 6 months after birth, breastfeeding will be almost as effective as the pill at preventing pregnancy. has the whole story, but here are the basics: Continue Reading →