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Author Topic: Hopeless and depressed: no birth control method suits me...
angie88
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Hello, I'm new to this site so sorry if I ask about something previously answered... I checked, but can't find something similar.

Okay... I'm in need of advice or help I don't really know. Here's my story: I've been on the pill since I was 16 (I'm 24 now), due to heavy painful periods, long before I had any sexual experience. A combined pill, and no problem at all.

Then, 4 years ago, I met my current boyfriend and had sex for the first time and from then, everything went bad: I started to get vaginal infections every months and vaginal spotting. I went to a gyn, got pap tested and all, and apparently the bleeding is normal - cervial ectropion they call it. We tried everything to treat the infections, every kind of treatment, my bf got tested and nothing, it kept coming back again and again...Every month I got irritations, and painful itchings at nights. The bacterias were different every time, so I couldn't follow a long treatment. The flora was normal, I tried everything, changed intimate soaps, changed pads, stopped pads and soaps altogether. I changed to other combined pills, but it didn't help, only made things worse - I remember not even wanting to have sex at all at some point because of one of them... My bf was very supportive all along, always kind and patient, always trying to help. I on the other hand got really depressed,moody, tired, started hating myself, the world and most of all my vagina. The situation lasted for more than 2 years...
The worst was putting the drugs inside my body, it was painful and in the end I started to feel sick just at the thought of my vagina...couldn't see it, or touch it... Still, I had a lot of pleasure with my bf, it felt as if his touch or sight of my body could make it beautiful and "clean" again...I know, it's weird.

Well, I finally tried a mini pill, Cerazette. No more infections, but more and more bleeding...I bled non stop, all day, every month. After 6 months and not getting better, I thought: maybe I can try a combined pill again, maybe the infections won't come back. My gyn thought the same. But no, 1 month after I had changed, the infections were back....

I discussed with my gyn about other contraceptives, but I feel helpless: the hormonal IUD will likely give the same results as the mini pill; the copper IUD is out of question, because I have endometriosis, so more pain ahead. I tried condom only for a while but I felt so anxious I couldn't enjoy sex anymore - being pregnant is really the last thing I want for now... The implant is made with the same hormone as the mini pill, so again no. All that's left is the nuvaring, but I feel completely unable to insert something into my vagina myself...It brings me to tears to say that, but I find it disgusting, because of all the past with the infections and treatments.

So here I am, back on the mini-pill. I bleed non stop, every day it's like I'm at the beginning of my periods. I have no more real periods, so I have no more pains - a good thing, but otherwise...I can't wear what I want, I can't have sex "freely" - I always need to wash before - my bf does it too, it's an advice from my gyn to avoid the infections. My bf is not put off by the bleeding, he knows it's normal and not harmful. But I can't take it anymore. I feel like I want to throw up every time I see that blood after sex or during foreplay. It's really hard for me to stay focused on my pleasure and the "moment", to stay in the mood.

I feel like I'm cursed... I know some people have far more problems and all, but it's not like I hadn't tried to bear with it, to be patient...It's been 4 years now, 4 years of pain, of tears, of self-loathing, even if I try not to. To put it simply: I never ever had "care-free" sex with my bf. There is always something in my way. It's not that I don't have pleasure, I even have orgasms regularly, but I wish it was easier...I wish I could be like the other girls of my age, it's as if I'm being robbed of my best years, the time when you're supposed to be carefree and making love with your bf when and where you want, without thinking of the kids or whatever... It seems I'll never have that. And it seems I'm alone in this case. I know I'm not, but I feel like it. I know it can sound selfish or dumb, but I think more and more about suicide. I mean, I'm supposed to be in my best years: if this is all life's got in stock for me, pain, blood and despair, why go on? It can only get worse. In fact,I think my bf is the only reason I am still here.

Sorry for the long read, but I felt like I had to explain it all...I feel so low and it seems I've exhausted all the options available in terms of contraception... What else could I do? I feel so desperate, and apart from my bf, there's no one to talk to.

I realise this is not really a question...Maybe you can give some advice on how to get through this?

Thank you so much.

Angie

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Robin Lee
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HI Angie, and welcome to Scarleteen.

It's frustrating and disheartening when we feel as if our bodies have let us down time after time. I have a few thoughts, and you can definitely feel free to set me straight if I go too far afield of what you're really saying.

Reading your post I think the two things to focus on would be helping you feel better about yourself and helping you find, if possible, birth control options that don't cause you so much trouble.

On that latter point, I'm wondering if you and your gynecologist have discussed the other options, such as the Mirena IUD and the Implant, that you fear will work the same as the mini-pill. Even though the hormone is the same, a different delivery method might have a different, and better, interaction with your body. That said, I'm not a gynecologist, and if your doctor has already dismissed those options we can talk about others, but I thought I'd ask. [Smile]

It can be really hard to accept when our bodies don't do what we want them to, or what we think they should. That said, it can also be helpful to let go of this idea of youth being filled with fun and vigour and age being the promoter of deterioration. Mental or physical illness or problems can hit anybody of any age and it doesn't mean that life, or fun, is over. Scarleteen serves a population that generally ranges in age from early teens to mid-twenties and we have a lot of users who struggle with illness of various types.

I don't say this to negate your concerns. I think they're 100% valid. Just having your body become that kind of medical enigma, as well as the physical discomfort, likely feels a little dehumanizing.

What do you think about finding a counsellor to discuss some of this with? Your relationship with your body has changed in some big ways, and it's clear that relationship isn't overly positive or helpful to you right now. Plus, when it gets to the point of something making us feel self-destructive, that's often a good time to talk to someone. Does your boyfriend or anyone else in your life know you've had thoughts of suicide?

Again, welcome to Scarleteen. I know I've only scratched the surface of what you've written, and we can discuss all of this in greater detail.

--------------------
Robin

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Hey angie: I'm off today, but will be back tomorrow, and as someone who also can't use the methods you can't -- and it's been decades of that for me -- I'd be happy to talk with you about it from a personal perspective if you'd like.

Mind, the way you're experiencing this hasn't been how I have. While it's certainly been frustrating sometimes, it has never been something that I felt the way about you do. But if you think it'd be helpful to hear from someone who had the same limitations and processed them differently, all the while enjoying an active, happy sexual life, I'd be glad to share when I'm back.

(Of course, if hearing from that perspective without the super-hard feelings you're having is the last thing you want, just let me know and I'll abstain from pitching in.)

--------------------
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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angie88
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Thanks for the answers! It feels so great to have someone to talk about this, someone who is not a physician or your boyfriend [Smile]

@Heather: it really helps to know that I'm not alone... and that you can live a happy and fun sex life, even with these problems. It gives me a little hope. I would really appreciate if you could tell me a bit of your personal story. Thank you!

@Robin: I discussed the implant and Mirena with my gyn, who told me that according to his medical experience, women who bleed with the mini pill tend to bleed with the implant and IUD too... I asked another gyn and she told me the same. But both made it clear that there is no rule and it can be completely different for every woman; they said that I could give it a try if nothing else suited me, but I must say I felt too low at the time...it's stupid but I didn't have the strenghth. I still feel like I don't, I fear to be disappointed again. I know I can never know without trying, it's so stupid of me, I know I should try but I feel like I couldn't face a new disappointment [Frown]

And the same goes for my view of what a young girl should do or be.... I completely agree with you, there is no "this is normal/this is not" and life doesn't end when you get old - when exactly do you "get old" anyway? I know all this, but somehow, I can't manage to be satisfied with it...Instead of thinking that I should be happy to have a bf who loves me and friends and family, I keep thinking: "yes but there are others who have all this without the problems you have... They live a better, more satisfying life, they can do whatever they want, they are so free. What have I done to deserve this?" I try to "block" this kind of thoughts every time they pop in my head, but the problem is that the "attacks" are everywhere: youth and sex sell and every time you turn on the TV, open the newspapers, or just go shopping, it's there, everywhere, to remind me how unfit and un-normal I am...Once I even had to go out of a lingerie shop in tears, because I realised I had no use in buying anything - due to the constant blood loss [Frown]

All these thoughts have made me hate myself, and turned to self-destructive thoughts and behaviours...It's as if I'm at war with my own body, and most of all with my vagina. Instead of being more careful to help things get better, I see it as an enemy, as if it hurts me on purpose. So I try to get even: I had stopped smoking, I am smoking again; I remember that when I had an infection, I sometimes had sex even if it was painful, just to "punish" my body...Yeah, it's that bad. I realise now that I write it.

I got a bit of counselling about this when I went to see the second gyn - she's a physician, but with knowledge in holistic medicine and therapies. She told me that I had to "rediscover" my body, to try to look at my vagina, to try to touch it. She explained how it is, what are the different parts, what they do, etc. I tried to do this at home, but I felt so helpless and dumb... I looked at it in the mirror and all I felt was nausea and disgust. It's not just my own vagina I found ugly, but the female sex in general. It's repulsive to me. I write this with knots in my stomach and my legs crossed tight. The idea alone that I could possibly have a look at it is enough.In these moments, I hate being a woman. I feel cheated by life.

I know I must work on that to feel better, I've got to. But I'm afraid...of what I could find, and of change. My sex life is entirely connected with all this, it started at the same time. I suffer, but I've learned to live with it...I feel stuck, but at the same time I don't want to move on. I'm so used to this relationship with my body, I completely forgot how it was before. There was a time when I had no fear seeing myself, exploring my body...It seems so far now. Again, I feel like I don't have the strength, that I'm not strong enough. And I hate myself for being like that.

I haven't really talked about suicide with anyone... My boyfriend knows that I'm really sad and tired of the situation, but I never directly talked about it. I don't want to worry him any more than I already have with all this "girl" stuff.

Thanks again for your answers. It's so good to be able to talk about all this, and I feel better knowing I'm not alone.

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Robin Lee
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HI Angie,

You know, with the information you've been given, it's perfectly okay to decide not to try those other birth control methods, particularly since both of them require some work in both insertion and removal. I've found that it's very easy for people who aren't going through something to say: "WEll, haven't you tried?" or "you need to try everything!" I really hope I didn't come across as doing that. I just wanted to be sure that you had all the information you needed to make an informed choice. [Smile]

Yes, change is a fearful thing, even when what one is trying to change from is unpleasant and hard to deal with.

You mentioned above that you're having a hard time focussing on pleasure when you and your boyfriend engage in sexual activity and that you feel really disgusted by seeing the blood after sex. I want to check in with you about whether you're good with having sex right now, given all these things? For example: Is it something you enjoy, giving you a sense of "normalcy" or is it something that fuels the that feeling of loathing you have for your body? (and of course it could be something totally different; just asked those specific questions to convey my meaning more clearly.)

--------------------
Robin

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angie88
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Hi Robin,

Thanks again for the reply. Don't worry, I didn't think you sounded patronizing or anything when you asked about the implant and IUD. It's important to be well informed to make your choice, and you were right to point that out [Smile]

As for sex, it's better now that the infections have stopped: no more pain, or fear of pain. The problems now are really in my head, as you guessed. I enjoy sex itself, but there's all the "before and after".
I look forward to it, but then comes the moment of foreplays, when I have to undress and all. I never know how it is down there - more or less blood, it varies from day to day- so I have to "break" the moment and go for a quick shower. I put my mind on "standby" and try to keep a positive attitude all the while, sometimes I put my clothes back on after. I find it can help to pretend nothing happened.
I enjoy foreplays, but I still feel limited: obviously I can't get oral sex, so my bf uses his fingers. There can be some blood after it too, and I try not to look. If I see it,I have to concentrate really hard to "forget" about it and keep my pleasure building up. I think: this is not dirty or painful, this is natural and you are having lots of pleasure, so don't freak out!

I usually have a lot of pleasure during the intercourse itself. As I said before, it's the only moment when I feel "normal" again and happy to be a woman, to be alive, at peace with my own body. The fact that I can see how my bf looks at me, at my body, is very helpful. When he is in front of me, I sometimes feel worried of the way I look, I mean the way my sex looks, and I ask him. He takes time to say and show me that he likes it, that he finds it beautiful, and that helps a great deal. After sex, it's like waking up from a dream: the harsh reality comes back, there's all this mess and blood, and I have to rush to the shower and then put something on...I just can't stay in bed, relax, enjoy the moment and that really kills it for me. Then, the self-loathing comes back. [Frown]

So on the whole, I enjoy having sex, I fantasize about it, but I feel like it's an endless struggle with myself to reach pleasure and actually relax. The level of effort required to achieve it depends on how I feel beforehands - tired or not, had a bad day, etc.

Long read again, sorry [Smile] But there's so many things in my head in those moments, and it can change from good and pleasure to bad and disgusted in a fingersnap...

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Angie: you got it.

So, I'm just going to riff a little here. I see you're a pretty wordy person yourself, so hopefully that'll work for you.

Some context first: I'm 42. That matters for a few reasons here, but one of the biggies is that roundabout the time I needed contraception, the available options at the time were:
the pill
condoms
withdrawal
spermicides
diaphragms and cervical caps

And that was about that. IUDs had been taken off the market, and in the mid-80's, were never given to teenagers anyway. Depo was available kind of, but wasn't really offered. The patch, the ring, the new IUDs, the implant, Plan B: none of these were around yet.

So, that means a LOT of people were having all kinds of sex without a hormonal method, and a lot of people were also using the pill when it wasn't a great fit, some when it was a terrible fit.

I got the pill because of very painful periods first, like you, painful periods I've had still most of my life. And for the first few years, a lot like you, it was okay. Until it wasn't. I didn't have issues with infections, I had extreme mood issues and horrendous migraines and a bunch of other things. So, when I was around 20, I went off of it.

As it turns out, I am tremendously sensitive to synthetic hormones. So, the bleeding you had with the mini-pill? I've had that too, when I tried it around six or seven years ago, mostly to test for my sensitivity to that hormone in the hopes I could try and get a Mirena to deal with my painful periods. No dice. Obviously, that puts all hormonals off the table for me and again, like you, my menstrual issues put the Paraguard way off the table.

I'd always used condoms with the pill already (except when I didn't). Condoms for me, were par for the course as STI -- and at that time, HIV, especially -- protection, but also as a backup for my pill, especially since already one in my late teens, I didn't use condoms and also fumbled my pill and got pregnant (and miscarried). So, those stayed, and then I got a diaphragm as a backup. It was a little bit of a pain, especially since insertion was tricky sometimes, but whatevs.

In my twenties, I tried using NFP with condoms for a while. That worked well, until it didn't, especially when I skipped the condom, messed up my charting, and got pregnant. I terminated. The world didn't end or even come close to it (this is a key point for me, I think, so, thus why I'm saying those things).

So, back to condoms and cervical barriers, when I have needed them -- I'm queer, so my sexual partners aren't always/haven't always been people with penises where I needed contraception -- and sometimes just condoms alone. After Plan B came out, I had a condom slip off once, I used that. Of course, I felt like crud using it because of the hormone, but it was temporary, and I didn't want to risk a pregnancy, so.

Then in the last couple of years, the partner I'm with now got a vasectomy, so for the last couple years, since we're exclusive, that's all we've needed.

And you know, even though for me, having very limited options didn't feel like the hardship it has for you, I did think that once that happened, not having to worry about any of this at all would be some kind of huge deal. But you know, it actually wasn't. I mean, it's nice, especially, most of all, really, since we don't have to pay for any of this anymore, but that's really about it. I think I could switch back to using condoms (and at this age, I'd feel totally fine using them by themselves -- I did plenty of times in my life already when I was way more likely to become pregnant) and it'd be just as mellow and just as not-a-big-deal.

So.

I really do think the sense -- and then later, certainly the experience -- that pregnancy does not have to be the end of the world was probably a big player here. I really, really didn't want to get pregnant, I never have (and I also get very ill when pregnant, so it's a double-whammy, as I don't want to make babies with my body, either), but I did, and the world didn't end. So, some giant fear of that didn't get in my way or make me feel afraid of sex. Too, when I didn't want to have that kind of sex at the times pregnancy felt really scary, I just didn't: I had other kinds of sex instead. Opting out of intercourse has never been something that's been a big deal for me or with anyone I was partners with or hooked up with.

Too -- and some of this is certainly informed by the work I've done in this field over the last 15 years -- I know very well that having a reliable method of contraception can be a great thing for people, but that loads of people using hormonal contraceptives are still very much not as carefree as you're thinking they are. They still don't have satisfying sex lives, or still don't feel unafraid of pregnancy. And too, I also know people get pregnant using every method, especially given how many people don't or can't use any given contraceptive properly.

Lastly, I should probably add that I acquired a physical disability when I was 7, and I had a wide array of truly horrible things happen to me later on in my pre-teens and teens. I don't know what the whole of your life has been like, but I guess that for me, if I was going to go to the "why me?" place with something, not being able to use the pill, etc. has just never made the list at all with everything else competing with it, if you know what I mean. Comparatively -- and again, this is in the context of my unique life -- it's seemed very minor to me.

I think, too, for me, I was pretty determined through a lot of my life that with everything that wasn't good, that wasn't enjoyable, my sex life was going to be, dammit, if you catch my drift. In other words, this thing that's free, for all intents and purposes, that's just about enjoying our bodies and those of others as they are, that's about having fun and connecting -- I have always been pretty dedicated to keeping things out of the way of that, because it's been a part of my life that has been relatively wonderful and awesome, unlike some other parts.

There's probably a lot more we can talk about if you want, but since my little summary there was already pretty giant, I'll shut up for now and give you a turn. [Smile]

--------------------
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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angie88
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Hi Heather, thank you soooo much for your reply. Thanks for sharing your experience like that. Your story is so inspiring for me. It's as if I was facing a huge wall, and you come to show me that there's a great open landscape, if only I would turn my head to the right [Smile]

You pointed two important things: fear of pregnancy and the importance of not letting anything get in the way of your sexual pleasure.

I understand now that I feel helpless and "trapped" regarding contraception because of that fear being so strong. To use your words, being pregnant would mean the end of the world to me. I'm still pretty afraid at the idea of unexpected pregnancy, but reading your story and seeing how positive you are about sexuality after what you went through is really helpful. It's like nothing can take that away from you...or so it seems when I read you. Am I right?

I agree with you about being determined not to let anything ruin or compromise my sex life. I have spent the last years struggling to keep a healthy sexuality. Even if I didn't succeed in keeping a good self image, I think I've managed to keep satisfying sexual relations with my boyfriend. Even when I got infections every month and feared the pain, I still wanted sex and was determined to enjoy it.

My main problem is the damages done by the infections and everything that came along; I didn't expect to get pain in that part of my body when I begun my sex life. I wasn't prepared to put all these drugs inside my body, because I still didn't fully know it. I think there must be a kind of connection in my brain between the two events, beginning of sex life and feeling pain (vagina = dirty, penetration = pain, etc). I realise I need to overcome this first, because even if I found the right contraception tomorrow, the damages on my self-image would still be there, unfortunately. I try not to let the "parasitic" thoughts ruin everything, but it's hard.

I guess this is where our stories are the most different. But you had your share of pain and suffering, and you seem to have stayed positive after all...This is a great example for me [Smile]

Have you ever felt "betrayed" by your body in any way I described? Like your body was a stranger to you, an opponent? Or felt specifically that you hated being a woman because of all that? Sorry if I'm too intrusive [Smile]

Again...a long post, sorry!

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Heather
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I am so glad some of that was helpful and comforting for you. [Smile]

Just FYI, I'm totally comfortable setting boundaries about personal things as and when I need to, so it's okay to ask questions, especially when I offered personal things. When I don't want to answer something, I can just let you know. [Smile]

I think it might be helpful to try and figure out why an unwanted pregnancy is something that seems like it would be the end of the world to you: do you have any sense of that? (Too, you do know non-hormonal methods can be nearly as effective as hormonal ones, right? If not, we could talk about that, too.)

I'd agree that starting a sexual life with pain is absolutely something that can have an emotional impact, something our bodies remember, and something that can be hard to change and let go of. Those of us who are sexual abuse or assault survivors have often grappled with that, too. By no means should anyone expect NOT to have an emotional issue when there's been pain or trauma.

It also sounds like your association of your vagina as dirty because of bacterial or flora imbalances is a biggie, and that's something we might be able to help you unpack a lot of even just with some education. For instance, those imbalances have nothing to do with your body being dirty, just with your body being human, and the healthy bacterial balances of bodies sometimes being a tricky thing.

I wouldn't say I've felt betrayed by my body, no, but I think that having a disability is probably part of why that's not been a place I've gone. I also grew up in and around hospitals, so my perspective on bodies and illness and wellness is perhaps a bit different than folks without those experiences.

For sure, though, I have had my moments of "Curse you, damndable uterus!" [Smile] To me, being a woman -- being any gender -- isn't really about body parts, so it's not been a gender issue for me, exactly, so not really that stuff. But believe me, more than once when I've had sexual partnerships where I have been the person with the uterus and the other person has been one without one, I have said now and then, "Next time, you're taking a turn with the uterus."

But I think my overall feeling with all of that is that our bodies do a LOT for us. I mean, they're how we live our lives, and we couldn't without them. It sucks when they give us pain or won't do things we want to (and my disability meant losing the ability to do a couple things as well as I could have, so I totally understand feeling loss around stuff that's hard or we can't do easily or at all). But to me, that's not about betrayal, it's about the limitations of bodies: bodies have limits, they're imperfect, they're not machines. They're organic and they break or don't work like machines do. Do you know what I mean by that?

--------------------
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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angie88
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Yes, I completely see what you mean - bodies not being machine. But just like I know being young doesn't mean having fun, sex and being free all time.. and yet, can't give up the "fantasy", keep comparing my life to the supposed life of other girls of my age [Roll Eyes]

I should start considering my body as a partner, a partner who suffers now and needs help. Not as a machine. But unlike you, I grew up without any physical problem in particular, so I guess I have to learn now what you knew from an early age. Maybe it's better now than never? [Smile]

I knew for the non-hormonal methods effectiveness, but it seems to me that hormones are still more "safest". Why? Because they don't rely on me. It's easier. You don't need to touch any thing inside of you. Of course, this is all wrong! But I suspect myself not wanting to have anything to do with my body anymore...Like trying to keep it as far as possible, i.e. controlling it through remote drugs. I'm just throwing this out there like that, but it seems likely...Now that I have written to you and Robin and told my story, I feel able to see through my own motivations and ideas more clearly. So thanks for that too!

As for the fear of being pregnant, it's hard to explain. I just know that I don't want children. I feel like I never will, but every time I'm asked and answer frankly people say" you will change your mind". Maybe, I'm still very young after all, but I don't think so. I can't say that my own parents were /are bad, but my mother was emotionally abusive. She would lose her temper for nothing, and when I was a teen, every time we disagreed she would say things like "no one loves me in this house, I swear I'll leave you all and kill myself". Maybe there's a link, maybe I'm afraid to behave likewise with my child, I don't know.

I guess I also fear the pain of giving birth...I know it is designed to let a baby pass - potentially, not only for that! - but because of all the past, I tend to see my vagina as not normal. I noticed it when the gyn explained how it is to me. She told me to draw an inside view, and I realised I know how it is but doesn't see it like that. I have a distorted view of my body. When my boyfriend touches or sees it, no problem, it's a beautiful part of me. But when I'm in charge, alone, it's just a ugly, dirty hole, full of bacterias and I don't want to know what else. So I guess, certainly not the place to conceive and make a child grow.

I'd be interested to know more about how it is supposed to be inside - the flora, the organs. I should do the same with the outside, but it's still hard. I tried to look at your page with the vagina drawings, but I felt physically sick after a short time... how dumb of me [Mad]

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Heather
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You know, as we go through life, everyone is going to learn eventually how diverse our bodies are and what they won't do. [Smile] When people learn it, like anything else, is going to vary. But I think an awful lot of able-bodied people don't learn it until later in life, so it's not like there are wrong times to find out. Our personal experiences and exposures just are what they are. [Smile]

I'd agree with the logic you're questioning about the idea hormonal methods don't rely on you, because, of course, they do. If you mean they have less room for user error, then some certainly do, others -- the pill is a biggie, for instance -- have a LOT of room for user error.

I wonder, actually, hearing you talk a bit about your feelings with this, if some of your rough feelings about not being able to use those methods have -- you think -- anything to do with other methods meaning you have to be more in touch with your own body, when that's something that you have found very emotionally uncomfortable for a while?

You are never, ever going to hear me tell someone younger who says they don't want kids say they will change their mind (or about most things young people think for that matter: being young and not having lived more life doesn't mean you can't know your own mind). I'm sorry you have heard that, and that was ignorance or projection informing folks that said that to you. All kinds of people of all kinds of ages do and don't want to parent or make kids or both, and some know that early in life and stick with it, some change their minds later, some want those things earlier but later change their minds and don't want that.

But however you feel now and do or don't stay feeling about it later -- and no matter why you have the wants you do -- you don't have to have or make any kinds you don't want to, especially if you live in a country where you have the right to reproductive choice.

But I can certainly understand some of the reasons this is very scary for you.

You know, maybe we can talk a little about why you can feel your genitals are awesome and lovely when your boyfriend is involved, but somehow they magically transform into something awful when he isn't? That is obviously some pretty huge stuff there, and obviously a lot of how you're feeling hinges on those feelings, probably -- I suspect -- far more than not being able to use given methods of birth control.

If you think it'd help to talk more about that anatomy but right now images are triggering for you, I'd be happy to answer questions for you here without images. I think the easiest place to start when we're talking about bacteria is to maybe think about our mouths and throats, since in some ways, they're very similar to how it works with vaginas.

[ 07-12-2012, 06:21 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather
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(Also, and maybe this is an avenue you don't want to take, or one you don't think would be helpful, but to me, bodies and their parts are pretty neutral, and "dirty" or "ugly" are also things and qualities -- about anything -- we don't have to actually make negative, but can find power in. So, that's certainly a bit less orthodox then talking about how your vag or anyone else's isn't those things, but if that's a road that feels right to you, I'd be happy to explore it.)

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angie88
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Mouth and throat?! I would never have thought about this image. But yeah it makes vagina seem like a more "normal" part of the body [Big Grin]

From what I understood, the bacterias that can trigger infections are also inside healthy vaginas. How come they never harm the partner, but can overgrow and make things painful for us? My gyn told me that what I had werent' STIs, but that it could go on my partner and then back to me, without him feeling anything...Yes, I remember thinking why do I have a vagina on this one [Smile]

I know it's weird that I view my body positively only when I have sex with my boyfriend. I tried to figure it out and all I can say is that I feel safe when I'm with him. I know he loves me and I see it in his looks and behaviour. I feel protected somehow, stronger. When I'm alone, it's as if I'm afraid, weak and, well, alone in front of my fears. I have no one to turn to, no one to reassure me. Usually, after a time of hesitation, I realise that once again, I won't be able to do it, the nausea is too strong, I start to cry and the more I do, the more I feel dumb, because I think: this is your body, dammit, you're so stupid! And then again: everybody can do it, every girl can do it (again, the everybody but you fantasy!), so stop! This makes me cry even more, and hate myself and that body that is so disgusting. Normally, it all ends with: why can't I have a penis?! It would be way easier that way...no need to go look inside all these folds that just hang there, this ugly hole and everything...This is what I feel.

PS: I know having a penis is no way easier. But I wanted to give you my thoughts as they are in those moments. It's pretty irrational, and goes worse and worse every second

PS PS: maybe exploring how dirty or ugly can be empowering in a certain way is the right path for me. I dont know, I feel like I'm unable to find my vagina beautiful myself, so maybe the answer lies in making "ugly" a good thing [Smile]

[ 07-12-2012, 07:02 PM: Message edited by: angie88 ]

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Heather
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Yep, mouth and throat. And know how even if you brush and floss like you're supposed to, you can STILL get cavities or gum disease? Same deal here.

So, yeah, the "good" and "bad" bacteria in the vagina are both always there, and neither is really good or bad, it's just that they exist in a pretty delicate balance, and sometimes that balance can wind up out of whack. And usually, this isn't about hygeine, and sometimes it's not even about your vagina per where it starts: yeast infections, for instance, usually start in the digestion system, and only get to the vagina 9when they do).

So, sometimes, when we get those infections/imbalances, it can incline a partner's body to do same. The easy way of explaining that is that we can introduce them to a lack of balance, then their body can get imbalanced, too, if that makes sense.

I actually, for the record, don't think you only being okay with your genitals with your boyfriend is weird. Unfortunate? Yep. Should you work to change that? I think so. But I'd actually say that is VERY common, especially for women. Hey, we have a whole lot of the world that sends and has long sent overt and covert messages about how our bodies are really FOR someone else, be that sexual partners or babies (or, especially if you're of some races or social classes, bosses). Not internalizing any of that is pretty much impossible.

But maybe it'd help to know that you don't need anyone to keep you safe from your own body, and your boyfriend can't actually do that anyway.

Should we maybe talk about folds and caverns? I'll warn you, I'm an artistic person, so I can get esoteric and cheeseball with this stuff, but I know that when I look at a canyon or a cavern it's not somehow more yucky than a plain or a mountain. Just different. But maybe you don't feel that way. At the same time, I do doubt this is aesthetic: it's pretty clear your body negativity -- especially if you don't have feeling of earnestly wanting to be or feeling like someone of another gender, in which case there are certainly other things to talk about here we haven't -- is what's driving this car, rather than how your body looks. After all, testes have folds and floppy bits, too, and penises -- especially when they haven't been circumcised, and are as they are -- have folds. But I think that feeling like it'd be so different to you isn't really about it looking that different to you, but about those body parts not being the ones you -- you who have been feeling so bad about being in your body -- have. Know what I mean?

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angie88
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Dont worry about being esoteric with me, that's okay, I'm the cerebral type - no, REALLY?! lol- and I think images can be very helpful, especially with this kind of subject [Smile]

I think I see what you mean here. That as women, we are "programed" to see our bodies as some tool or values for others, and not for ourselves. And it's true that society - well western society at least- values strong and proud towers or mountains more than mysterious caverns. Do you mean that I somehow desire to "look" like this and not like I really am because culture gives more value to penis images than to "vaginesque" things?

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Heather
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No.

I mean that you internalizing that stuff and finding that you can find a way to have some peace with your body when a lover validates it, but not alone, isn't a shocker. Loads of folks -- especially women and even more especially young women -- have struggled with that or do struggle with that.

But in terms of, in your tough moments, feeling like a penis would magically fix things, I just think it really probably isn't about how it looks at all. Especially since, I gotta tell you, as someone who has seen a lot of penises and a lot of vulvas, they actually look more similar than different to me (and you know they start out exactly the same in the womb, right? It's really cool, actually). I suspect that seeming SO different is only because it's not what you have -- and that if it was, you might feel similar to how you do now, after all, people with penises get body dysphoria, too -- and because of a lot of the messaging that says somehow penises are simpler or less fold-y or less ugly, etc.

I don't know if it'll help, but personally, I think parts of our bodies that are openings to our insides are tremendously cool: mouths, ears, noses, vaginas, anuses, urethras. I mean, how cool is it -- if you can step out of some of the feelings you've had just an eensy bit -- that there are places where there really are no inside of our body, or no outside, but this cool sort of limbo that's also both? Or heck, that we even have access to our insides in some ways?

I have another thought: do you think you might be able to find a bridge between how you feel about your genitals when your boyfriend is loving on them and when you're alone if he maybe shared with you what HE enjoys about them and thinks is so cool? I mean, obviously, that's not the end-point, since someone else digging you isn't you digging you. But maybe finding out what someone else thinks is so awesome might give you some inroads for yourself?

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Heather
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Also, on the ugly or dirty can be powerful thing, I did a piece on attitudes about suppressing menstruation here a while back and I wonder if it might not be helpful. Again, it's about menstruation, not so much vaginas, but I basically take the dirty-attitudes and run with it rather than going on a "hey, it's not dirty, it's fluffy and beautiful!" thing.

In case it does help or you're curious, it's here: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/body/i_being_born_woman_and_suppressed

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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angie88
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It's funny because I remember how excited I was before - in my early teens- to explore my body, and not only my vagina. I thought it was cool to see what was inside, to be able to feel how it was etc. Just the way you describe it.

I think it could be a good idea to try asking my boyfriend about that. He has already told me that he finds it beautiful many times, but I have trouble believing it - not that he's sincere, but I'm like: how can he find THAT beautiful?!

So asking him to tell me more in detail could be a good place to start as you said. I will try that and give you feedback. [Smile]

PS: thanks for the link. I think it can definitely help me...I remember asking my gyn if it was safe having sex with all that blood from the mini-pill and he told me: "But there are plenty of women who have sex during their periods! It's not harmful, and it has been done for centuries. " [Smile]

[ 07-12-2012, 07:47 PM: Message edited by: angie88 ]

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Heather
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Cool beans!

(Also, what about looking at art about and around vulvas and vaginas? Just another way to get a real sense of what other people are seeing and finding beautiful, powerful, compelling.)

I'm heading off for the day, but I'll be back tomorrow, and I'm happy to keep talking this through with you if you'd like.

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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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angie88
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Thanks for your advices! I feel a lot better, really.

I will try to "digest" all this for a few days and try to experiment with my bf [Smile]

I would be happy to talk with you again next week. I have homework to do for the weekend [Big Grin]

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Heather
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You got it! You know where to find us. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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angie88
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Hi Heather,

I know I said I'd be back next week, but I HAD to give you a little update:

After years of self-loathing and not daring to "go down there", I've been able to use a tampon today. Yep. It may sound silly, but to me it's a big step ahead. I had tried again and again the past few months, but never could,I was tensed, it felt painful, so always tears and breakdown...
But today, I did it!! [Smile]

I even managed to take a mirror and look at my vagina at the same time. Not for a long time, but still, I did it. I tried the method doctors use with phobics: I visualized the situation ahead, and analyzed how I felt, why I got scared, where exactly my body tensed, etc. Then, when I really did it, I tried to look as much as I could, to work my breathing, to relax... I looked until I felt too uncomfortable, but I think the nausea came later than usual. I am so happy, and proud of myself. It may be an easy thing for other girls, but to me it's a big victory!!

I think you undid a lot of things and bad thoughts that were stuck in my head when we talked yesterday. The article you pointed out was very helpful, but most of all, it brought me to your article about the corona, and all this mythology around hymen. I didn't know hymen was a legend. I thought it was scientifically real! This made me realize one thing: I view my body as a damaged good. I think I fear my vagina because I have been told that it's complete at first and then gets "broken". I guess I saw it as a sort of wreckage,a wound left open, imperfect --> ugly and unnatural. I feel like a big wall fell down in my head...I still have negative feelings but I'm starting to discover their foundations are well, shaky to say the least!

I still have a long way to go, but I feel like I've made a really big step today!!

Thanks so much to you and Robin. I'm crying out of joy, really [Smile]

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Heather
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It doesn't sound silly at all, it sounds like this was a really big deal for you, and something you feel really positive about. HOORAY!

This all sounds like really amazing stuff and some awfully fast progress. For sure, it's initial steps, but you know that being able to take those is the way to get to the other stuff, and as first steps go, these sound truly giant. [Smile]

I am so, so delighted to hear how you're feeling today. Cheers for sharing, and I'm glad you're doing so well and wanted to share.

And yep, sex, childbirth, etc: these things don't "ruin" or break our vaginas, just like say, eating dinner doesn't do that to our mouths, or using our hands to write doesn't ruin them. Our bodies and their parts are things we use, ways we experience a range of things in life. Living in them doesn't ruin them or "break" them symbolically (nor actually, unless we earnestly do break things, like breaking a leg). It's what they are FOR. [Smile]

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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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angie88
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Completely agree. It's a shame I was told by so many people including healthcare professionnals that hymen was that sort of closed membrane obstruing the vaginal opening, with just a little space for periods to pass [Confused]

If you check the "hymen" article on wikipedia, it seems they're not the least aware of the fact that most girls dont' bleed or suffer the first time they have sex. And this is where people go to look for informations. Scary.

I really have to thank you for these steps I made today...I think I had the will, but felt so helpless and powerless, like not strong enough. Reading your personal story helped a great deal. Girls of my age need more women like you! [Smile]

See you next week with more good news maybe.

Angie

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Heather
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It truly is a pity -- and that's the nicest word I have for it -- how very many healthcare professionals are behind in their continuing education, whether it's about sex or anything else.

I'd also say it's a pity if, in fact, most people are looking to very general sources for anatomy and sexuality information. Especially when some of us work so hard to do that work specifically!

Alas, both of these things happen, and when we're very scared to ask or talk about something or feel a lot of shame, misinformation can spread faster than sound information, and we can take in inaccurate or negative stuff more easily. Having our fears confirmed and getting on board with them too easily seems to be an unfortunately human thing to do. [Frown]

I hope that you can take the feelings you're having now and have a wonderful weekend feeling them. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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angie88
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Hi Heather,

Thanks again for the advices last week [Smile] It really helped. Using a tampon - which means having to touch my vagina - is becoming easier and easier. It's still a bit hard for me to look. But I feel that I've come from "ugly" to "not pretty, but tolerable"; I can touch without getting nauseous, and that's improvement!

Also, feeling how it is inside helps making it a real and normal part of my body. It's less and less scary and begins to be routine.

I think it would help me if I knew more things about how it is inside - easier for me than the outside, at least for now.
I was surprised at how short a non aroused vagina is...During sex, in certain positions, I fear that my partner could "hit" my cervix. I know it shouldn't happen if I'm well aroused, but still, another idea stuck in my head [Roll Eyes]
I'm just starting to consider using a "mechanical" contraception maybe one day (nuvaring or cervical caps), and getting rid of this kind of ideas could really help me. So I'm asking you: can it happen? and did you or your partner ever felt the cervical cap during sex? most of all, was it painful?

Last but not least: is it possible for a woman to feel her cervix with a finger? Since some fertility awareness methods use cervical mucus, I think it's possible, but thought I just might as well ask. Maybe experimenting with that too could help reduce my fears of being "hurt".

Thank you so much!

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Heather
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Happy to keep helping, and so glad to hear about this progess! It makes my whole week. [Smile]

In terms of my personal experiences with cervical barriers, I preferred the diaphragm to the cervical cap, just because I found the latter way easier to insert and know I had in right. Also, neither are that easy to get off/out sometimes, but I, myself, did better with the diaphragm. Could myself or any partners ever feel them? Not really. And if and when a cervix is low during sex with entry, we or our partners are going to feel that, period, and I feel pretty certain that for a partner, feeling the difference between the cervix itself and the cap isn't likely.

Could a partner "hit" the cervix during sex with entry? Yep. But a) that's really not a big deal, and b) if and when we're only having that kind of sex when we're very aroused -- which is only when it's likely to feel super-awesome anyway -- it's not going to happen that often.

Can we feel our cervixes with our fingers? Absolutely! Like you said, when not aroused, and also during some times of each fertility cycle, the end of the vagina -- the cervix, for all intents and purposes -- is awfully close to the vaginal opening, usually just a couple to a few inches, sometimes even less.

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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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angie88
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I must say that when we engage in that kind of "deep" sex, I don't think about this at all [Smile] It just feels good and natural...but I know that with something already inside, I might have this kind of fear and get tense. So thanks for sharing your experience [Wink]

I also had time to do my "homeworks": I asked my boyfriend what he liked in my vulva/vagina. It was hard for him to tell specifically, but I understood that he likes all the folds and how they hide the entry. He says it's mysterious and actually thinks it's prettier than his penis! It's funny because that's just what I dislike, the folds and all. But as you said, penis have folds too, so I don't know why and can't find a way to overcome this. Maybe I must try to win over the inside of my body first and the outside will follow?

Also, I found that using a tampon 2-3 hours before sex can be useful to reduce the mess and blood during and after intercourse. Since I have spotting instead of periods with the minipill, it can be more or less heavy. Maybe the tampon absorbs most of the bleeding ? I don't really know how it works, but it felt good to have sex with no blood or fear of infection for once! [Smile]

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Heather
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Do you have a reproductive/sexual healthcare provider? One reason I ask is that if you haven't seen those methods with your own two eyes, it might be helpful for you to do that so you can better conceptualize them. [Smile]

Yay for your boyfriend for being willing to try and put this into words for you!

You know, I always find it interesting how one person's concept of their body can be so radically different from someone else's perception. There's no right or wrong here -- it's not like one person is right and the other isn't -- but truly, how things are IS how we see and feel them, and when it comes to this stuff, it's deeply arbitrary.

Just FYI, with blood during intercourse from periods, one thing a diaphragm can be used for is as a menstrual cup! So, unlike menstrual cups proper, or cervical barriers, they can be used during periods with sex, or other bleeding, and it'll stay inside the diaphragm.

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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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angie88
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I go to my gyn regulary - with all the infections in the past, I had to - and I feel I would be comfortable asking him to show me what it's like. I looked for pictures on the internet, and it's way less scary than what I had in mind! And I didn't know that it could be used as a moon cup during sex, but it seems logical now that I think of it [Smile]

My main fear in stopping pill is the painful periods coming back...I might have to go abroad for a few months soon for my work, and well, even if there's the spotting and all, I don't think it's really the right time to mess with the hormones...Too, I remember how painful my periods were, to the point that I had to miss school or work days sometimes, even with painkillers. I mean, I think it's a good opportunity to stop contraception altogether since I will be far from my boyfriend, to let my body readjust. But I fear the "side-effects" of periods. So maybe I should just keep on with the minipill and discuss all this with my gyn when I come back.

I'm heading off for the day, but I will be back later in the week. Thanks thanks thanks for all the help! [Smile]

See you soon,

Angie

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angie88
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Hello again,

I've decided to stop taking the minipill, because it obviously doesn't suit me...I realise I don't have to continue and suffer in silence just because it's like that, period. I asked my gyn about diaphragms, and while he's very open to the idea - sadly, those methods are somewhat scorned upon by many physicians in my country - he has warned me that spermicide use could bring back vaginal or urinary infections. Unfortunately, I was prone to them before taking any contraceptives - had one or two every year even as a young teen. I really don't want to get trapped into the "one infection per month" cycle I had with the combined pill again, so I think I won't use cervical barriers, at least not right away. I want to let my body "breathe" for a while, if you know what I mean [Smile]

I will finish my pack of pills on Sunday, and thought why not take the opportunity to stop it at that moment and see how it goes. I'm just worried about one thing. My boyfriend and I have stopped using condoms for some times now, after being both tested for STDs. This means that when we had sex this last Monday, it was "unprotected". Is there any possibility that I get pregnant if I take my last pill on Sunday? Of course, we will use a condom or abstain from penetrative sex from now on.

Since I will be far from him in a few weeks, it would be an ideal situation to just let my body be. I've thought about painful periods, and well, it's not my fault after all so if I'm sick, then I'll be sick. But I want to stop before going, so that my body can readjust a bit beforehands - I don't want to add stress to an already stressful event, if you see what I mean.

I told my boyfriend about this, and explained to him that if we were to have sexual intercourse from now, he would have to put the condom back on, at least for the short period before my leaving. I carried the "burden" of contraception alone quite enough, and with all the complications it has brought me this past 4 years, I think my body and I deserve a break. That doesn't mean that I won't give diaphragms or even nuvaring a try when I come back. But I want to be hormone-free and infections-free for a while.

Mind you, he isn't very pleased with the idea. He says he isn't comfortable with using them - he never was I must say. I told him I am willing to help him, that we can do it without pressure. I also told him that with me being away, it's a good opportunity for him to try without stress, to experiment and see which brand or quality is the best for him. I think he understands my POV and motivations, but is so afraid of messing up or not being able to stay hard or whatever that every time I bring the subject he says "maybe, if that's what YOU want" or worse, stays mute. I really don't know what to do, we always had great communication about sexual and contraception matters. He's always shown a lot of concern about it, but now that it's up to him entirely, there's nobody left. I feel cheated in some way. What can I do?

Sorry for the long post, and if there's an angry tone to it I'm sorry [Frown]

To sum it up:

Can I get pregnant if I had sex on Monday and stop my minipill the next Monday?

How come my boyfriend reacts like that? What do you think? What should I say to make him understand?

Thank you

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angie88
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Just to add a few things: it's not like I've been telling him "honey I stop the pill next week so deal with it" in fact I've been trying to get him back on condoms for some time, because after all these months of bleeding and side-effects, I knew I would stop the minipill one day or another. I know it has to be a shared decision, especially since we are together for quite a time now... And he seemed open to the idea, until now! Maybe because it's getting "real and now" and not just some distant plan for the future... [Frown]
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Heather
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I think if there's resentment in your post, it's understandable. Carrying the whole burden -- financial and physical -- for contraception in a partnership isn't a minor thing to carry, period, and has obviously been a pretty big one for you, specifically.

I actually == obviously, foolishly -- assumed you already were using condoms, just to help keep infections at bay as much as you could, since that will usually help with that, even with things like BV, and less so, but still potentially some, yeast.

I certainly don't think it's asking some huge favor of a partner to ask them to share that burden. In my book, honestly, it's kind of ground zero. So, him finally taking a turn now by using a method that requires both of you should, I think, be something he's willing to do, even if it involves a learning curve. Think of how many times a method has asked the same of you!

So, do you think that if you made clear this simply is how it's going to be and what will be needed -- and he certainly has the option, as everyone does, always, of not engaging in sex if this doesn't work for him -- and you're fine with there being a learning curve, he'd react differently? How about if you also agreed to get a few different styles -- maybe the female condom, too -- and just experiment, understanding this IS a learning process, and that he might need time and practice to get comfortable with use?

Per the timing with intercourse and your minipill, I think you should be fine.

Btw, with your menstrual pain, do you want at any point to talk about alternative management/treatment options besides hormonal BC? If so, happy to do that.

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angie88
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The thing is, we were using condoms along with the combined pill at first, and then I started getting all the infections. I must also say that often, the "infections" had all the clinical signs of BV, but the tests showed nothing specific - I had bacterias, but like any other "normal" woman, so it shouldn't have caused that. But you enter a cycle: you get BV and then another one, and then your body is so irritated by the drugs and everything that you start "catching" everything, and then you have symptoms even when there's nothing at all.I tried all kind of creams to "repair" the skin down there and avoid irritations/infections, but to no avail.My gyn and I tried to rule out every possible cause of irritations: underwears, soaps, washing powders, etc. Since I had tolerated my pill well for years before, and all had started with me having sex, he advised that we change to latex-free condoms. My boyfriend and I had got tested in the process, so my gyn advised to go without condom and see if it changed anything, but it didn't. Then, I finally stopped the pill and tried the minipill and the infections disappeared. At the time, we were both used to go "condom free" - funny how it's easier that way than the other, lol- and so we never put them back. In my opinion, it was all because of the pill. For some reason, it was perfect when I wasn't sexually active, but from then, it just didn't suit my body anymore.

As for putting back condoms, I tried to present things the way you do. I made it clear that it wasn't a problem for me if he needed time, that I was there to help him doing it, and that I was willing to engage in other kinds of sex until he felt comfortable. But I don't really know if he gets it. It's as if he doesn't listen. Like he's so taken aback by the idea of me stopping the pill that he can't hear the rest. Like me, he doesn't want to have children, so maybe there's fear too. I will try talking about this with him again, and dig in that direction. Maybe I should also make clear that I wouldn't mind using a female condom, and that I find the idea of trying different male condoms very sexy, even if it's just to practice and not to have intercourse!

With all the understanding and concern he's shown these past years, it's hard to believe he doesn't care or is selfish. If he was, he would have left me and my "girls' problems" a long time ago...But maybe I don't know him that well, who knows?

And yes, I would like to know more about other options for menstrual pains. Apart from BC or painkillers, I don't know much about it [Razz]

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Heather
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Yep, that endless cycle of reactivity to infection, then medication, then infection, etc. can be a serious doozy. [Frown]

And well, let's say maybe he doesn't get it. Whether he does or he doesn't, that doesn't really change the situation that for right now, if you two want to have the kinds of sex where pregnancy can happen, condoms are the lone option in preventing a pregnancy.

So, he can get it or not get it, but it is what it is. And again, he totally gets to choose to opt out of sex if he doesn't want to do it that way: no one is harmed by not engaging in sex or certain kinds of sex, you know?

If he's had a pattern of being seriously awesome in general, maybe there's something underneath this? For instance, you mentioned he voiced worries about sexual performance with condoms: how scary is that to him? Can you talk more about this? In other words, if you can get at what's really going on here -- since just putting a thin piece of safe material on his penis likely isn't a big issue all by itself -- maybe you can make some headway.

In terms of the menstrual pain alternatives, can you give me a little snapshot of what kind of overall healthcare you have access to? Like, are you covered under an insurance plan, and if so, how extensive is it? Income-wise, what's your story, so we can think about what other things might be doable for you? Access-wise with location, are you urban, rural, suburban?

--------------------
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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