Originally written for The Guardian, condensed version can be seen there.
In 2008, over 5,000 UK women under the age of 20 had an abortion that was not their first. As was made clear by the alarmist headlines following the publication of those numbers, this is a big concern for the public.
A woman’s reproductive life often spans 30+ years. Around 1/2 of all pregnancies in the US and UK are unplanned. Contraception isn’t used or used properly. It fails sometimes even in perfect use. Female fertility peaks between the ages of 19 and 24: the reason we tend to see the most abortions (and pregnancies) in that group is because it is the most fertile group having the most sex. (Piccinino, LJ, Mosher, WD. Trends in contraceptive method use in the United States: 1982-1994. 1998. Family Planning Perspectives. Vol. 30(1): 4-10 & 6, Table 1) The UK teen pregnancy rate is the highest in Western Europe: six times higher than the Netherlands, nearly three times higher than France and more than twiceRead more...
I get the impression that some, if not many of of our users think that condom failure rates are the same as condom breakage/slippage rates. In other words, think that when we explain that in typical use, condoms are 85% effective, that means that 15% of condoms break.
It doesn't: that is NOT what those rates mean. I hate for anyone to be presuming it is and to panic about a potential pregnancy via condom use because of that misunderstanding.
When we say condoms are effective 98% of the time in perfect use, that means that 2% of women using condoms (or, 2 out of every 100) as a sole method perfectly -- as in, following all the directions, including proper storage of condoms -- each year become pregnant. When we say they are 85% effective in typical use -- the way most people use them, which includes storing them incorrectly, putting them on wrong or too late or not using them at all -- that means 15% of women using them that way become pregnant in one year. People often forget that tyRead more...
This, of course, is a huge oversimplification. It is possible to have lots of satisfying sex that doesn’t lead to pregnancy because a penis never goes into a vagina. It is possible to have chemical or mechanical problems of the reproductive system that make it impossible or unlikely for penis-in-vagina sex to produce pregnancy. People can also have penis-in-vagina sex while using any of a number of chemical, mechanical or physiological methods to prevent pregnancy (contraception).
But, penis-in-vagina sex has been until very recently in human history the only way to make more humans, and it is only recently that it has been as simple (and difficult) as taking a medicine to prevent pregnancy.
When pregnancy occurs as a result of sex, it may not necessarily lead to childbirth. Genetically abnormal embryos often spontaneously abort, and one pregnancy out of five will end spontaneously before halfway through the pregnancy (20 weeks). Many womenRead more...
That's the verbatim response to the question "What if I want to have sex before I get married?" in "No Second Chance," a film that is part of Sex Respect, an abstinence-only program. Sex Respect has a host of other special and oh-so-factual messages for you in their student workbook, including such sparkly gems as:
"A young man's natural desire for sex is already strong due to testosterone...females are becoming culturally conditioned to fantasize about sex as well." (p. 11) Did you know that without cultural conditioning, women don't have any desire for sex? Of course you did. Did you know that women don't have any testosterone in our bodies, too? Note: neither of these things are true. But you knew that already.
"A guy who wants to respect girls is distracted by sexy clothes and remembers her for one thing. Is it fair that guys are turned on by their senses and women by their hearts?" (p. 94) So, when it comes to sex, men don't have emotions and women don't have any of our five sensRead more...
My Fiance and I have been having sexually active for about a year now, but we don't live together so we don't get to have sex that often, usually only on weekends if we're lucky and get my house to ourselves. We don't use condoms because the latex makes me break out and I haven't started birth control yet because I wasn't sure about what to use and because since both of us are Christian, we thought that if I got on birth control we would have sex more frequently which we didn't want to do since we were trying to keep from doing it too much and thus getting pregnant. Whenever we have sex he pulls it out before he ejaculates, but I've heard that some people still can get pregnant when doing that...is this true? Also, I'm really worried about gaining a lot of weight when I start birth control, because weight is a very big issue for me...is there a birth control that I can use that is effective, but won't cause me to gain a ton of weight?
I'm 19 years old. My boyfriend and I want to have sex. He is not a virgin, but I am. The only thing that I'm scared of is getting pregnant. We will use condoms for sure and as my boyfriend has had intercourse before, I'm assuming he knows how to use them. How effective can the condom be to prevent me from getting pregnant since I will be having sex for the first time?
Another issue that is freaking me out is what if the condom tears or comes off? Can I guarantee 100% protection and rely on my boyfriend's experience with condoms? I'm worrying a little bit too much, but I really want to experience sexual intercourse with someone I really love. I would really appreciate your help and advice because I'm in need of some.