It’s believed that over three million women in the UK alone take a contraceptive pill, just one form of contraception on offer to sexually active women in the UK. That figure doesn’t include the females with the implant, those with a coil or those who have the contraceptive injection, so when you take all of that into consideration, there’s a huge amount of females in the UK taking responsibility for the contraception in their sexual relationships.
At 19, I have spent years trying different contraceptive pills. I have gone on one and then come off just to try another, on and off for the best part of 3 years and honestly, they just don’t agree with me.
I have never been a fan of taking the contraceptive pill. Not only am I more than aware that none of them are 100% reliable and that they do nothing to protect against STIs and STDs but they come with a whole host of physical and mental side effects, and I just don’t feel at my best when on the pill.
When I was in a long term relationship, I dabbled with the pill but quickly decided I pretty much hated it and made a decision with my partner at the time to use condoms as our primary form of contraception. This was a decision we were both happy with but once we had split, I found myself faced with a decision.
I felt I HAD to go back on a form of contraception as a now single and sexually active female. I felt an almighty pressure to be the one in all my sexual encounters that had taken responsibility for the contraception.
Before going to my GP and asking to go back on the pill, I spoke with other female friends in similar situations and asked what they did about contraception and near enough all of them said they took the pill and if they didn’t take the pill, they were on a different form of contraception. Every single one of my single female friends was taking contraception into their own hands, the majority of them purely for contraception during sex and none of the other reasons the pill is sometimes prescribed.
After discussing whether any of us would feel comfortable bringing up condoms before a one night stand or with a new sexual partner, we all mutually agreed we’d feel too awkward and that taking the pill or organising another form of contraception ourselves was the easier option.
I made the decision to go back on the pill and have been on it now for the 6 months I have been single. I’ve been on two different pills and I’m still not convinced I have found one that agrees with me. I hate taking a contraceptive pill but as a sexually active, single female, I feel I have no choice.
I feel the responsibility for contraception in any kind of sexual relationship has become overly one-sided, usually falling on the female but I don’t think as women we speak out enough about how taking contraceptives really makes us feel.
Some women get on fine with their chosen form of contraception and have no issue taking charge of that element of a sexual partnership but for so many of us, taking the pill in particular is not a pleasant experience.
There may be hundreds of different contraceptive pills to choose from and in theory, there must be one that suits every woman but are we really expected to mess with the hormones in our body continuously until we find one we agree with?
Maybe it is a pressure we have put on ourselves, maybe men are more than happy to use condoms and be equally responsible for contraception during sex but I know that for myself and I’m sure many other females too, I just feel too embarrassed to broach the subject and that dealing with it myself is the easier option.
As so many of us take the pill now or have some form of contraception in place before we even reach the bedroom, I do feel it has become almost expected. In my experience, we have reached a point where contraception isn’t even discussed before intercourse takes place, it’s just assumed that as a female, I will already have taken measures to ensure I won’t get pregnant.
Not only does it baffle me that I have been in situations where someone has had sex with me, not actually knowing if I am on a form of contraception or not until afterwards but that we’re not taking STIs into consideration when thinking about the forms of contraception we use.
Condoms are the only way to protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections and diseases, yet none of us in the younger generation seem to want to use them. We’ve become programmed to think that a woman will take some form of contraception to protect against pregnancy and that STIs? Well we can just worry about that later.
As a single, sexually active female who hates taking the pill, who feels it makes her fat, messes with her mood and emotions, messes with her skin, I feel trapped.
I feel cornered into having to take the pill because I can’t face the awkwardness of having to bring up the topic of condoms. Am I alone in feeling not being on a form of contraception makes me less sexually appealing to men? Will males have less of a desire to be sexually active with me if they know they’ll have to use a condom?
I am in no way suggesting this is how men think or feel about the topic and am genuinely intrigued to hear a male perspective on it but I know as a young, single and sexually active female, for fear of being undesirable as a sexual partner, I feel I have to continue taking the pill, despite hating it.
Are you a woman who feels the same way as me? Are you a female who turned her back on contraception and put the responsibility back on the man? Are you a male who wants to put the record straight on what men really think about women taking charge of the contraception? I’d love to get a conversation started on this in an attempt to promote healthier and happier sexual relationships for all, where we’re all protected during sex and content with the contraception we’re using.