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Author Topic: Outercourse as birth control and other questions..
NoName
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I have posted before saying that me and my boyfriend of 7 years have only had outercourse in the past 5 years. I see plenty of people's experiences with other types of birth control but not a lot about using outercourse as birth control, especially long term. I would just like to know if any of the volunteers here have spoken to people like me who only have outercourse and have only exclusively had outercourse for a long period of time. See, I have severe anxiety issues that leak into many areas of my life, especially my sexual life. I am completely and utterly phobic about pregnancy. I have never wanted children in my entire life and never ever want them in the future. I panic all the time that I could be pregnant even though I don't even have intercourse and panic even when I have had no sexual contact what so ever. I love my boyfriend more than anything and he has been amazingly understanding and patient with me about not having intercourse. I sometimes think that he believes that one day I will be able to face my fears and go through with it again...and when I am feeling optimistic, I think that way too. But deep down, I am quite positive I will never be able to have intercourse ever again until I reach menopause. I can't trust any birth control at all. I am just completely distrustful and disturbed by that 1 percent or so failure rate. I always thought of pursuing a tubal ligation...but guess what? that fails sometimes too. I just feel like there is no hope for me and like I am trapped. Here I am, naturally wanting to be sexual and not being able to just turn it off (trust me I have tried) but I am damned if I do and damned if I don't. No matter what route I take, there is a possibility of pregnancy...and with that comes giving birth, adoption, or abortion...which I also couldn't handle. I feel like just abstaining is my only choice. For a long time, I have felt safe by just having outercourse...but for the past year or so, I have even been panicking about pregnancy from that. I feel like eventually, I will lose all my sexuality and my relationship. Who would ever want to be with me when they know I will never have sex with them? It makes me really angry at God and myself for having reproduction forced on me when I simply do not want it. I love being a woman but I wish that we didn't have the ability to procreate by default or that we have such strong sexual urges that it makes it difficult to fight against it. It just seems so cruel and unfair. I just don't know how to handle this. I am now 23 and it just gets harder and harder to manage. Sorry this is so long, I just need some advice or anything really.
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Heather
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That's absolutely one totally valid option!

I've certainly also encountered plenty of people who have only had those kinds of sex for a long time, and more than plenty if you're including people in same-sex partnerships (who certainly can have kinds of intercourse, but who often feel less like that's "the" kind of sex, because of being outside heterosexism, so will sometimes feel freer to choose to go without when that's not what they want or enjoy).

It sounds like you're experiencng some of those cultural pressures yourself, so I want to remind you that intercourse doesn't = sex. In other words, that is ONE KIND of sex. That's all, just one, and one of many, many kinds of sex. For sure, some people really want that as part of their sex lives. others don't, and some people could take it or leave it, whatever. So, if you are ever with a partner who isn't accepting of you feeling like this isn't something you will want to do for a long time, maybe not even ever, then you might want to consider seeking out partners who feel differently.

But I also hear you expressing that sticking with outercourse still has you feeling a whole lot of anxiety. So, it sounds like, as a birth control method alone, this still isn't really leaving you feeling as safe as you'd like to. It also sounds like what you might be saying is that is a kind of sex you think you'd want to explore, but your anxiety about pregnancy is the central barrier to that.

I disagree that those of us who never want to have kids are trapped in the way that you're expressing. Dual contraception actually gets people past that 1%, and some methods alone are more effective than that, too. As well, becoming pregnant never means we will have or have to have children.

That given, I'd certainly be happy to talk with you about methods working in reality. It also sounds like you might need better treatment when it comes to anxiety: are you getting any treatment right now? If so, do you feel it's been helping you?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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Thank you for replying. As for outercourse, I am not new to it. I have had it for I dunno...8 years now. I have had it tons and very regularly with my boyfriend now. I have only had intercourse a few times in my whole life and the last time being 5 or 6 years ago. I got really panicked about pregnancy and that is when I decided to only have outercourse and that is what we have stuck to for the past 5 or 6 years. I only started feeling pregnancy anxiety about this in the past year or so. My partner has been okay with it so far but the way I look at it is that he is a normal person and I am not normal at all. I completely understand him wanting intercourse. I feel like one day, even though he may not want to, he will want to break free and make himself happy with someone who will do it. Although that depresses me to no end, I don't blame him for feeling that way. I also highly doubt I will ever meet anyone else in my entire life who feels the way that I do..so I figure that I will ultimately end up being alone no matter what I do. It all feels so completely unfair and that makes me angry.
What I meant by feeling trapped is that, sexual feeling are SO natural and they are normally present throughout our whole lives. Sex isn't just something you can just do and have fun..it can lead to consequences. That feels like a trap to me. There is no birth control that is 100 percent so you always have a risk of pregnancy, even if it is a small one. If life were fair, we would have a choice. If we are positive we do not want to procreate, then we should be able to turn off these sexual feelings so that dilemmas like this didn't exist. Even though there are ways out of a pregnancy, none of them are easy at all. I could never be okay with an abortion or adoption..or raising the child myself. All three would be completely devastating.
I am one tough cookie when it comes to treatment. I have a psychology degree myself so I have been on both sides of the desk and am well versed in the language and disorders that come to play in psychology. I am, in general, a very complex person. I can't really explain what I am talking about, I guess you would just have to know me. I think on a level that most people don't. I feel things very deeply and I contemplate almost everything in life very deeply. Every therapist I have been to, I have felt that they can't "reach" my level, if you get what I am saying. It is like they can't tell me something or give me any insight that I haven't had already. I, in fact, feel like I have to dumb some things I am saying down to their level for them to understand me. With that being said, I have yet to find any sort of treatment for my anxiety other than many offers of medication, which I will not take. I really don't see any treatment in the world actually helping me to accept the fact that I could be pregnant one day and that it would be okay...there just isn't any way I could feel that way.
Please feel free to speak to me about the effectiveness of methods. I am always willing to listen and to try to help myself look at things differently, no matter how hard it is for me to do so.

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Heather
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Why is he normal and you're not normal? What makes a person normal around these things?

Are you also suggesting you are the ONLY person there is who doesn't want intercourse or isn't comfortable with it? if so, it's important you know that's wrong, not just for yourself, but in the interest of not rendering other people invisible (some of whom are right here in our community), okay?

All kinds of sex can lead to unwanted or negative consequences for everyone. Pregnancy is only one of those (though yes, not everyone can become pregnant, which is certainly biology's sexism at work). However, as you know, all kinds of sex can't lead to pregnancy, and while you don't believe that the most effective methods of contraception are, that's something else where I think it's important you acknowledge that's more your anxiety talking than reality. For instance, people who get tubals and vasectomies who make sure to abstain from intercourse until after they've been checked out to be sure they took? Pregnancy doesn't happen then.

I also want to put in a plug that the outcomes of pregnancy you're saying would be devastating are not for a whole lot of people. Plenty of us have gotten through all of them, and plenty of us have had experiences where experiencing them wasn't bad or sad or even that unpleasant. Some people experience some choices with pregnancy as nothing like that at all, but as wanted and okay and even empowering. I respect if you are feeling they would be devastating for you, but I also think it's sound for us to be cautious of what we decide about experiences we haven't had, you know?

With what you're saying about therapy, if your therapists agree that what I believe you are saying is a very high level of intellectual and emotional intelligence and perception is a barrier to treatment for you, what have they suggested?

Can I also ask why, if your anxiety is this extreme, you aren't willing to just try medication and see if that helps you? What if it did and instead of finding that out and feeling better, you wound up suffering when you didn't need to? (And perhaps it's worth asking: since you're studying psych, what would you say to a patient with that approach in your kind of spot?)

I need to jet off for the day, but I'd be happy to continue this talk with you tomorrow, including talking about contraception and its effectiveness. before I do, do you have a sense of how effectiveness is determined, what the rates mean, and what failures in perfect use of methods are often about?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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I simply feel it is normal to want intercourse and most would feel it is normal to also want children...or at least not be devastated if it happened. This is why I feel abnormal. I know that I am not the only person who doesn't want intercourse. It is really irrelevant to me if other women want it or not because I am as heterosexual as it gets. And sure, there may be some men out there who don't want it either but that would be like finding a needle in a haystack. Honestly, the odds of finding another man that would be okay with never having intercourse would be 0 to none. And if I did, who is to say I would even love them or want to be with them? I love the person I am with very much and can't see myself being with anyone else anyway. I didn't mean to be offensive by that statement, I just meant that in all reality, it would be extremely hard to find heterosexual males who didn't like intercourse. To boot, I wouldn't mind intercourse at all. I could take it or leave it for sure but I do find it somewhat appealing and I am not scared of the act itself, just the consequences.
I realize there are many people that take birth control their whole life and never get pregnant. Oh how I would give anything to be one of them. But there are no guarantees that it won't happen, and I can't handle that. Therapists haven't suggested anything really. You have to understand, I have no health insurance and I have little choice in therapists. The ones I have gone to have been good, but not good enough I suppose. I just flat out do not want to take medications. A close second to my pregnancy phobia is of things affecting my body i.e. medications. I don't take medications for anything unless I absolutely would suffer without them (like when I had my wisdom teeth cut out). I am a very very petite person and thus am greatly affected by anything I put in my body...which is why I don't like the idea of hormonal birth control or psyc meds. If a patient came to me with this problem, I would honestly give them default answers (take meds, do breathing techniques, etc.) Just for the record, I do not plan to ever be a therapist because I in general did not like it and do not think I would be very good at it.

Please talk to me about contraception and effectiveness. I think I have a good idea about all of it, but would still like to hear all about it from you because I am sure there is a lot I don't know. Thanks for everything, I really need someone to talk to.

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Heather
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I can do that in the morning.

But I also do want to add that I'm betting there are other things you don't know everything about, too. For instance, the way you're generalizing about what heterosexual men and people like and want? It's not sound or accurate.

Being heterosexual doesn't mean people want or like certain sexual activities. All it means is that people tend to feel emotional and sexual attraction to people of the same sex or gender that they are. And there ARE men who don't like intercourse or want it for their own reasons, regardless of if women they have as partners do, and also men who like it and want it, but don't care if it's off the menu if and when their partners don't want it or feel comfortable with it.

I hear you expressing that you have very high levels of intelligence. I'm going to assume that that means I can expect you to know better than to make broad generalizations, especially about things you haven't done a lot of work with or study on, deal? That's especially important, by the way, in a shared and very diverse space -- not a private one-on-one setting -- where it's important we all leave room for everyone to be as diverse as they are and feel supported in ways they might be different than others or even just different than others expect or assign.

I think you can imagine that the men you think doesn't exist, but those of us who work in sexology know does, would feel pretty crummy reading someone saying he doesn't exist or that he wasn't normal or the orientation he knows he is because he didn't like or wasn't interested in a certain kind of sex. Same goes for other heterosexual women in your position who I am sure are just as heterosexual as you are.

Cool? Hope so, since that's something we really need here for the space to be safe for everyone. I'll be back tomorrow so we can talk more. [Smile]

[ 07-12-2011, 09:39 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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I'm around now, so just give a shout whenever you want to chat. Again, before start writing, do you have a sense of how effectiveness is determined, what the rates mean, and what failures in perfect use of methods are often about?

In other words, can you clue me in a little more on what information you feel like you want/need to talk about?

Can I also ask if you feel the same way about other things you feel about contraception? For instance, how about the level of protection seatbelts give us in cars? Knowing that they aren't a 100% guarantee we won't be seriously injured or die, does that keep you from driving in cars?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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I think that I know how effectiveness is determined. I would assume that controlled and uncontrolled clinical trials are taken of a number of women that use the contraception perfectly and those who use it typically and then you get a percentage of the effectiveness. Let me know if I am wrong because I can't think of any other way they could do it. The failures in perfect use really scare me because that means that the failure rate isn't just based user failure, it is also based on the medication itself. I would like some more information about failure rates and why they fail (other than user error).

Again, I was not trying to offend anyone in any way by anything I said. I do not work in sexual health, nor am I in a big city, nor am I very old. So, you can understand why I DO NOT come across ANY men that do not want/expect intercourse in a relationship. I can't speak for everyone but that is MY experience. Sure, I have definitely come across those who don't like or want it but I have never met anyone who was forthcoming about it so in my world, I have NEVER met a man who feels that way. Those that do, that is perfectly fine and normal to feel that way. But concerning my problem, it is irrelevant to me because like I said, even if I ever met a man in my life that didn't want intercourse, it would be like winning the lottery if that man is also in my age-range, was compatible with me, physically attractive (in my opinion of course), etc. I live in a very small town in Tennessee...this isn't LA or New York where there is a lot of diversity or liberation. I was also basing my opinion on the fact that I can easily understand why women who don't care for intercourse are in greater numbers than men for the simple fact of how our bodies work. Men can obviously derive much pleasure from the act and orgasm...a lot of women can't, nor do they feel much pleasure. Those that do, that is great for them, but I personally do not like penetration of any kind sometimes and would prefer other stimulation. I am betting there are millions of other women who feel the same. The only thing about intercourse that I have ever been drawn to is the emotional aspect of it, not so much the pleasure. I wasn't making any generalizations at all, just speaking from my own experience. Forgive me if I sounded otherwise.

Well, I do somewhat feel the same way about other things as I do contraception. Here is the thing, at least for me, I have this overall anxiety disorder that is very general and encompasses all kinds of things. Then, I have specific phobias in that anxiety that cause me more distress than others. Does that make sense? Anyway, though I do get anxiety sometimes about driving a car, burning the house down, becoming ill, etc. Pregnancy is so big a phobia for me that I get extra preoccupied with it. Also, you have to ride in a car in order to live...but sex isn't something that will kill you physically if you don't have it (just mentally for me!)So, it gives me more reasons and room for hesitation to not dabble with it too much, even when I want to.

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Heather
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Well, one of the biggest things to know about effectiveness rates is that they are formulated to represent one year of use, not one time, and for groups of every 100 users.

So, for instance, when we look at perfect use effectiveness for the IUD, it is 99.9% effective.

What that means in translation is that for every 100 people using the IUD as their sole method in one year, less than one in every thousand is becoming pregnant in that year.

With a method like the IUD, when used perfectly, why does it fail? It's so very rare, but it's usually things like the IUD expelling itself (which usually doesn't go unnoticed, and can be guarded against by checking the strings), poor placement (which, when it happens, is usually caught in a follow-up exam after placement), or by some freak chance, some sperm cells still manage to get to the egg (however, pregnancy still won't usually complete when that happens, and using a condom properly will usually rule that out).

That's just one method, but you with me so far? Any questions that stem off of that?

What I won't be able to do much of is address this around your anxiety specifically, because we just can't treat anxiety and other disorders like that here, and I'm sure you can respect that limit. To really deal with...well, the anxiety part of this anxiety, you're going to need to keep working on finding sound ways of treating your anxiety and exploring those (you do know medications are given with body weight/size taken into account, yes? So your size doesn't need to mean anything is different for you?). If you just don't want to, and feel no form of treatment is something you want to consider, I respect that, but part of that choice, as I'm sure you know, also means choosing to just have things stay as they are for you in this regard.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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(Also? Not all men experience much pleasure or even any from intercourse. Some don't. I've talked to quite a few myself in my work, and they're not from any one place. Again, generalizing like this isn't sound and I also don't think it's helpful. I think it's only going to make your world feel more limited than it probably actually is, as well as, again, saying things about whole groups of people that aren't true and which make some people feel invisible, which just isn't cool in a shared space like this.)

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NoName
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Thank you again for taking so much time to reply to me. I understand what you are saying about the iud. IF I ever considered taking birth control, I would most definitely want something non-hormonal as I have been on it before as a teen and I gained a lot of weight on it and couldn't seem to take it at the same time every day anyway...plus I am very afraid of how it affects the body. Could you explain how tubal ligation and vasectomies fail? These seem like they should be the most effective birth control but yet, even they have a small failure rate...which makes me feel hopeless. Above all else, what can/should I do to make sure that outercourse can never cause a pregnancy? A few years ago I would have never given it a second thought until I started to hear that it actually could get you pregnant. I just want to make sure that I am not lying to myself and that I am ACTUALLY preventing pregnancy. All of this is just informative talk of course because at the bottom of my heart, all I can do is try to educate myself and try to help myself get over this fear. As I stand right now, I don't see myself having intercourse for a very very long time if ever. I always hold onto this small little hope that something in me will just "change" or that I will find some kind of help that will push me out of my limited way of thinking about this subject (yes, I do know it is very limited.) I guess that is what happens when anxiety takes over, you view things irrationally to the point that you can't just "turn" it off. You either have to keep fighting until you can get yourself out of it...or it just happens. I can only hope and pray that I find peace in my sexual life someday. I know that you can't "fix" my anxiety and wasn't looking for you to do that. I was just wanting to talk to someone and get it out in the open in hopes that you would better understand my problem if you knew what was underlying it.

I am starting to feel somewhat confused by what you are saying about me generalizing. That is NOT what I am trying to do. Maybe I am not wording things the right way. All I am saying is MY own experience. You may have worked with all kinds of men from places all over the world who feel that way, and that is completely 100 percent fine. I would actually love to talk to one myself, it would be quite refreshing and helpful for me...but like I said, I have never met one male in my whole life (who wasn't homosexual) who actively admitted that he didn't care for intercourse. In fact, the high school in my town has higher numbers of teen pregnancies every passing year and I only graduated 5 years ago...and I can hardly name a handful of people out of the 300 that I graduated with that do not have 2 or more kids already. So obviously, men not liking intercourse is not the norm where I am from. Sure, maybe some of them don't like it but they must be doing it anyway. I use the term men, but I am really referring to guys that are close to my age...which is what is relevant to me anyway. Regardless, I am not trying to make anyone feel "invisible." Everyone has their own personal worldview that is based on their individual experience and I was just sharing mine so in essence, there are always going to be under represented people ( for instance, until the past couple of years, I never knew any homosexual people either so they were therefore nonexistent in my world, when I did meet some, I now understand them better and consider them a part of my life experience). I am open to different kinds of people when I meet them and I don't doubt there are people out there who have all kinds of different sexual preferences but when it comes to my daily life, there are just simply some types of people that I never come across at all.

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