People have been biting my very ankles trying to get me to post about birth control since I started this den of sin I call a blog. Specifically, I’ve been asked for advice on the subject of whether or not to go on the pill, and what kind to go on if and when the matter is decided. I’ve been taking various incarnations of the pill since I was in the tenth grade, so I know a thing or two about the subject.
I have never taken any type of birth control other than the pill, but there is quite a variety of pills out there. I, like many young, impressionable women, started out taking Yasmin. I eventually switched over to a generic brand called Ocella, but it has basically the exact same ingredients as Yasmin. And let me tell you something: all those commercials you’ve seen featuring very concerned male (of course) lawyers standing in front of their bookshelves and telling you how many fatal blood clots Yasmin will give you are full of shit. My gyno actually told me this straight to my face: the number of people who suffer blot clots as a result of birth control pills is insignificant. If you want to go on the pill, do not let this irrational fear stop you. The pill is quite convenient. It is the tiniest thing ever, so ever veteran pill-vomiters can choke it down. And it works like a charm, with a 99.99% success rate at shooing away unwanted fetuses.
The first and hopefully most obvious reason for going on the pill is the desire not to become pregnant, but there are many other reasons why the idea might sound appealing to you. I originally went on it not because my sixteen-year-old self was having far too much sex (my DIY haircut and oversized dollar store T-shirts back then were contraception enough), but because it regulates an absurd menstrual cycle. Mine was a complete circus. I could have my period for twelve days in a row. Twelve hellish, blood-soaked, tantrum-filled days. Some people’s are even longer. And it would come when I least expected it. I never took an instructed swim class throughout the entirety of the 8th grade because of it. (OK, so this wasn’t exactly a drawback.) Every time I brought in the same doctor’s note (“Sarah is excused from swim today on account of the horrendous tidal wave of gore spewing from her lady parts”) my intructor would give me a glare of deepest mistrust, but short of actually asking to see my used feminine products, didn’t have shit to say about it.
Another reason many of my friends have turned to the pill is that it generally smooths out your hormones. One sweet side effect of this is that some women feel relief from their terrible cramps. You know, the kind that feel as though Vin Diesel is fucking you in the abdomen with a giant knife. (Or something.) Other great perks include a distinct improvement in skin quality and decreased bloating. Yay!
Of course, there are drawbacks to the pill. To me, these were minor inconveniences, but to some people they are deal-breakers, and I understand that. The elephant in the womb (see what I did there?) is the weight gain. It will probably happen. Most people gain at least five pounds on the pill, sometimes as much as twenty, though I think an extreme reaction like that is pretty rare. I woke up one morning and ten pounds of blubber was sitting complacently on my thighs like an overfed pet koala, staring at me and silently demanding breakfast. I wasn’t over the moon about it, but at the same time I was so weepingly joyful that I wasn’t going through an entire box of tampons on my heavy day that it honestly was the last thing on my mind. I finally felt like a normal person, just a slightly heavier normal person. However, I know several people who chose to go off the pill because the weight gain really bothered them. One of my friends said that being helplessly weighed down made her feel like she wasn’t herself any more, and because of the homicidal glint in her eye when she said it, I encouraged her vehemently to go off the medication. (The mood swings can be another drawback.) Some people just ain’t down widdit.
At any rate, I highly recommend the pill if having your period makes you want to punt a baby bunny every month. But I am not, much to your obvious shock, a doctor. Please consult one about the issue and make an informed decision.
Finally, there is the question of whether or not whomever you’re boning should share the financial responsibility of making sure you don’t bring spawn into this godforsaken world. Contraception can be very expensive, especially if you don’t have health insurance or it’s not covered. Without my insurance, one packet of my pills costs approximately the same as a high-end craigslist hooker. So it’s not unreasonable to question whether or not this entire burden should fall on the woman’s shoulders.
Here is my humble opinion: If the woman in the relationship went on the pill specifically for the purpose of boning the male in the relationship, and were his erect penis not in the picture she would be free of this monthly bill, then he has a very clear obligation to help pay. Ladies, do not be afraid to ask your man for this contribution. If he balks, he is a nogoodnik. You are shelling out your hard-earned money so that he can bust nuts inside you on a regular basis. He should be willing to fork his half over.
However, if the woman was already taking birth control for any of the aforementioned reasons (cramps, bloating, typhoon-level gushing) and she then happens to enter into a relationship where the male is interested in busting nuts inside her, then he should not be monetarily penalized. That would be like wanting to buy an expensive dress that you absolutely love, then making him pay for half of it because he liked how you looked in it. It’s your business. He is just enjoying the perks.
So there you have it: more about birth control than you ever wanted to know. Feel free to share in gory detail what kind you take, if you take it, and how you’re feeling about it.