You’re Never Too Old for “The Sex Talk”
Parents should be having “the sex talk” with their twenty-somethings: Agree or disagree? Nothing sounds more terrifying than sitting down and discussing the best water-sex positions with your middle-aged parents. On the other hand, there is something to be said for having open conversations about sex and its consequences, not just when you’re a brace-faced teenager who can barely differentiate between the genitals of a hamster and those of a human, but also when you’re in your twenties and more likely to actually be having sex.
Why is this so important? Because the notion that it’s just crazy, wild teenage dropouts who get pregnant unintentionally is false. Actually, more than half of all unplanned pregnancies among unmarried women are to women in their twenties—women of all races and all income and education levels.
I’ve only recently started following the life of HelloGiggles author Kaitlyn Perry. Kaitlyn is a recent college graduate who blogged her way through her period of unemployment. She is now happily employed at the publishing company of her dreams. Currently she is on maternity leave because she is 7 months pregnant. As of now Kaitlyn’s story looks like it could have a fairytale ending, but her journey there wasn’t all flowers and sunshine. And for many women who unexpectedly get pregnant, the path forward isn’t easy.
Kaitlyn found out she was pregnant from a phone call from her doctor. Fortunately, that call was interrupted by a call from the publishing company where she now works, offering her a full-time job. After telling her boyfriend (now fiancé) and parents about her pregnancy, she had to figure out when to break the news to her boss at her new job and contemplate the possibility that she could be terminated. As Kaitlyn points out, even though it is illegal, some companies will still fire a woman if they reveal they are pregnant soon after their start date.
For every three women in their twenties who have an unplanned pregnancy, one of them is below the federal poverty line. Kaitlyn was lucky to have gotten a job when she needed it the most. She was lucky to have the support of her parents and her boyfriend. She was also lucky her company was so understanding. But there is no reason to leave your life to luck when you can take control of it.
If you’re going through tricky economic times, that’s even more reason to make sure your birth control is covered. Being in a monogamous relationship is not an excuse to become lax about using protection. Kaitlyn is proof that unplanned pregnancies don’t just happen to the stars of Teen Mom. They don’t just happen to girls who are “sleeping around,” as every episode of Maury had previously led me to believe. If you’re not using birth control—every single time you have sex—they can happen whether or not you have a steady job and whether or not you have the support of your partner or your family.
There are lots of birth control methods to choose from and they may be more affordable than you think, so if you’re not using birth control or not happy with your method, it might be time to try something new.
Bird and bee image borrowed from this great post on TheycallmeJane’s Blog.
Bisi Orisamolu is an intern for the entertainment media department of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. She’s a Georgetown University undergrad and a social justice advocate who is passionate about a million things. She loves chocolate covered pretzels, discovering good books, and aimless wandering. Stay tuned for the resurrection of her personal tumblr boris321.tumblr.com. In the meantime you can find her on twitter @Bisi_O.
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