Having sex without birth control and not getting pregnant means you got lucky. You may get lucky multiple times, but this does not mean you are infertile. It means you are pushing your luck: 95% of young couples who have sex once a week are pregnant within a year. Most of us have heard that ‘it only takes one time.’ While that’s true, there are a lot of factors involved, and most couples who are actively trying to get pregnant get there within 6 months.
Sex on TV: Kardashian Kontraception
If your New Year was anything like mine, your world revolved around preparing for and subsequently treating an inevitable champagne hangover, finally reading about that fiscal cliff everyone was talking about, and the announcement that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West have procreated. For those whose hangover prevented them from making it further than the fiscal cliff (and I admire your priorities), Kim and Kanye, old friends and new lovers, let the world know that they are expecting when Kanye gave a shout out to his “baby-mama” during a concert. The world freaked out via every social media outlet and Kim’s momager Kris Jenner immediately began drawing up the baby’s contract to join the family on their reality shows. Classic pregnancy-announcement story.
The Kardashians were never ones to shy from candid discussions of pregnancy or birth control. Kim admitted to Oprah that she started using birth control at age 14, and rumors circled about her stopping her birth control in August 2012—perhaps in preparation for the Kimye baby. Khloe’s fertility challenges were a big part of their reality television show as she and husband Lamar continue to struggle to start a family. Kourtney has gone on the record admitting she wasn’t great at remembering to take her pill, but had never entertained the idea that she could get pregnant. That was before she had her first child in 2009 with long-time boyfriend Scott Disick. She recently gave birth to her second with Disick and announced that she wasn’t going back on the pill because she was done with birth control. At only 33, Kourtney has quite a few child-bearing days still ahead of her, so unless she’s ready to add to her brood exponentially, perhaps she should look into choosing another type of contraception. Not great at pills? Don’t give up! Might I point you to Bedsider’s method finder, Ms. Kardashian?
The one Kardashian who probably won’t be propagating anytime soon? The girls’ brother Robert. He has announced that he’s waiting until he’s married before he has any children. I feel like this is a perfect time to pitch a very special episode of Keeping Up With The Kardashians: Kardashian Kontraception.
I feel like a lot of assumptions are made about college aged women and unintended pregnancy, like just how much we know about contraception and how well we would be able to provide for a child. So much emphasis is put on teen pregnancy but a span of 3 or 4 years does not make that much difference especially when you add student loans. Because YES an unintended pregnancy is still a big freaking deal to a women in her 20’s, and no one talks about it!
We couldn’t have said it better. Allow us to heartily recommend this HerCampus profile featuring Bedsider UMD Ambassador and college sex ed superstar Connor Davies! (We are so freakin’ lucky to have her.)
Red Alert: 5 Ways Your Dating Life May Be Driving Your Friends Crazy
Originally published on SexReally.com on June 6, 2011.
Friends are forever, but we often put more attention toward romantic relationships. Maybe you found the perfect guy—handsome, smart, funny, and everything you hoped he would be. Or, maybe you haven’t found a partner yet, but you are having a fabulous time flitting from date to date, then dishing to your gal pals about every glorious moment. Maybe you are starting to notice that your girls are acting a bit odd every time you start chatting about romance. What’s going on? Why are they tuning you out? Isn’t the point of having a group of girlfriends that they listen to every story about your dating life? You may be committing one (or more!) of the 5 rookie mistakes of the romance-friendship balance. Read on and, if you realize you’re doing any of this, get back on track before it’s too late!
1. You drop your friends.
You are in love, with a capital “L”, and want to spend every waking moment with your significant other. You are so smitten that your calendar soon fills up with movie nights, reality-TV evenings, and romantic day trips. Your friends don’t even have a chance to respond to your dating life anymore because you aren’t around to tell them about it.
If this is you: The e-card above was popular when the first Sex and the City movie came out. I got such a chuckle out of it because it exactly described what I observed happening to some of the women in my life. The ones who had completely abandoned their friends didn’t have anyone to see the movie with when their husbands/boyfriends/fiancés wouldn’t go.
It’s hard not to get sucked into the Love Bubble*, especially if you are experiencing your first taste of a real relationship. But always, always remember your roots. It’s important to keep up with the people you had in your life BPC (before Prince Charming). For one thing, if your relationship blows up, you will need those people. Otherwise you will be without your guy and without your old group of friends because they moved on when you weren’t paying attention.
Even if the relationship is The One and you will be with this person Forever and Ever, it’s still incredibly important to have a variety of people in your life. Friends enrich your life, bring you fresh perspective, and keep you true to who you are.
*Love Bubble [luhv buhb-uh l] noun, Invisible force field around two people who are in love that keeps them focused only on each other. Signs include spending countless days/nights together, googly eyes, pet nicknames, and inside jokes.
How to get things back on track: Your friends are your friends for a reason. Chances are they are wonderful, kind people who will forgive and forget, especially if you acknowledge your mistakes. Depending on how much time has been spent away, it may take some effort to rebuild bridges, but get started right away. Invite one of them out for coffee. Spend an evening just chatting. And shut up about Prince Charming—ask your friend how she is doing.
Also, in the future, make time for your friendships even if you are in the best relationship of your life. You had people you cared about before your significant other came along and a couple hours apart are not going to kill either one of you. It actually might help your relationship!
2. You are always scouting.
You are out with your wonderful gal pals having a night on the town. Or, maybe you are doing something tame, like having brunch on the weekend. No matter the location, you are always looking around for people you’re attracted to. Now, there’s nothing wrong with checking out a little eye candy. If you are out and the group goal is to meet as many attractive people as possible, that’s one thing. But using your friends as a means to continually scout potential partners is not only rude, it can be extremely frustrating to the people you are out with.
If this is you: This was the case with a friend of mine. Every time we went out together, while she pretended to listen she was actually looking around for her next boyfriend. It went a little further than that—she would pick tables, events, and places to stand and talk based on the proximity of an available man. I didn’t pick up on it at first, but it became more and more obvious based on how she was dressed. When we were out she was all dolled up. On the trip back she would put her hair in a ponytail, put on her glasses, and actually make conversation with me. It’s as if she switched on and off her persona. It’s okay if you want to get all divalicious, then relax when the night comes to a close. But if you are becoming two separate people within the course of one evening, something is wrong.
How to get things back on track: If you are going out with your friends, go out with your friends. It’s okay to run into someone new along the way or start a conversation with an attractive person, but don’t use your friends as a means to meet other people because you are insecure. Go out, have a great time, listen to your friends, and become engaged with their lives. Confidence and actually having a life will always be sexy.
3. You talk non-stop about your significant other.
Your significant other is amazing. He does 100 cute things a day, and you want to list them one by one to anyone who will listen. Here’s the big news flash: no one really cares. Okay, that sounds harsh, and it isn’t 100% true. Your friends do care about your relationships and they do want to know what’s going on in your life. But they don’t want to know Every. Single. Detail. The only person who has that minutia level of interest in your daily relationship life is you. That doesn’t mean you have to keep mum all the time. It just means keep things in check.
If this is you: If you are happy, chances are your friends are happy for you. Every now and then it’s okay to gush about the latest romantic thing your partner did, or a funny story about his work. Remember, though, that the world doesn’t revolve around your relationship. Your friends have stories they want to tell, too.
How to get things back on track: Ask your friends questions. It’s as simple as that. Every now and then the topic of conversation will be all about you, but make sure there’s a balance. It’s wonderful that you are happy! Don’t feel the need to hide that feeling, but take an active interest in other people. And don’t just wait for a pause in the conversation to make it all about you once more.
4. When you talk about your relationship, you only talk about the bad stuff.
No matter how much we love our partners, chances are one day they are going to do or say something really stupid. Or, the two of you are going to get in a fight…or fight about the same thing for the 300th time. When those things happen, you are going to want to talk about it. But if all you are doing is telling friends awful things about your significant other, guess what? They aren’t going to like him.
If this is you: Again, wanting to vent about your guy is natural and it happens to everyone. Check yourself, though. Are you only telling your girls the bad things? Your friends love you and want you to be safe and happy, so if the only thing you are telling them is that he’s the scum of the earth, they are going to believe (surprise!) he is the scum of the earth.
How to get things back on track: You have three choices. You can a) admit that even though your guy might drive you crazy sometimes, really the good things outweigh the bad. Tell your friends about the good stuff, too. Or, you can b) realize that you spend a lot of time complaining, regardless of subject, and make an effort to start watching what you say about other people in general. Or, c) if your stories are really bad, it might be because you are in a bad relationship. If so, get out. Life is too short and there are too many wonderful people out there to be miserable all the time.
5. You make stupid decisions without thinking about how they affect the people around you.
You had unprotected sex. Or are in a relationship with someone who is married. Or are dating someone who is actually dangerous. It is your life and you can make any decision you want, but remember your actions affect those around you.
If this is you: Everyone makes stupid decisions every now and then. Part of growing up is learning how to take responsibility for those actions. Your body is your body, and you really can do anything you want. But, people are invested in you and your life, so if you put yourself in a dangerous or difficult situation, it can influence their lives as well.
How to get things back on track: If you have had unprotected sex , get tested for STIs and pregnancy (and if it’s been less than 5 days, use emergency contraception). Then learn about your contraceptive options and invest in some condoms for STI prevention. If you are in a relationship with someone who is married , get out as soon as possible. If you are dating someone who is threatening you physically and/or emotionally, get help and get out. Basically, love yourself as much as your friends love you. You don’t always have to agree them, but if they are worried about you, listen to what they are saying. They may have a point.
Life is all about balance, and balancing work, love, and friendship will always be a bit tricky. But it is possible to have a solid relationship while cultivating your friendships at the same time. What are some of your strategies for balancing relationships and friendships? Have you ever had a friend do one of the above things to you? How did you deal with it?
Kaarin Moore is the owner of Closet Caucus, a fashion consulting company located in Washington, DC. Her goal is to help clients express who they are through the medium of clothing. You can reach her at www.closetcaucus.com or on twitter (@closetcaucus).
Method Monday: New Moms (Celebrity and Not) Edition
Congrats to Jessica Simpson on her pregnancy! The pregnancy wasn’t planned, but we’re happy to hear via US Weekly that Simpson is overjoyed nonetheless.
As Korin Miller rightly noted in her coverage of the news for Cosmo, this definitely isn’t the first time a celebrity—or a non-celebrity, for that matter—has unintentionally gotten pregnant again super-soon after having a baby. What we would’ve liked to see in the Cosmo article is a complete rundown of which birth control options are safe for new moms besides “perfect use” of breastfeeding and the two alternatives mentioned, the mini-pill and condoms. Breastfeeding moms can also safely use the IUD, the implant, and the shot.
Obvious challenges of simultaneously parenting a newborn and a toddler aside, having another pregnancy within 12 months of giving birth can mean health risks for mom and baby. And given the benefits of leaving a bit more time between babies (a.k.a. birth spacing), we’d say the fact that some of the most effective birth control methods are safe for new moms is seriously gossip-worthy. Help us spread the word?
If your partner is controlling your birth control, it is a sign of a larger relationship problem. All women should be able to protect their bodies from an unwanted pregnancy without threats or sabotage. You deserve to be with someone who respects you and your plans for the future—including when or whether you want to have a baby.
Unplanned pregnancy costs U.S. taxpayers $12 billion a year. A big chunk of that number comes from the cost of providing health care for low-income women during and after the birth of their child through Medicaid. Medicaid covers 41% of births in the U.S.—the average cost for one of those births as of 2008 was $12,613. On the other hand, Medicaid spent an average of $257 to cover birth control for one person that same year. That comes out to $3.74 in taxpayer savings for every dollar invested in birth control through Medicaid.
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.