Why Women Shouldn't Have to Justify Their Choice of Birth Control

Dating is not easy. It wasn't easy when I was 22 and it certainly isn't any easier now that I am 29 and separated. The only good part about being separated and having to go on dates again is that I get to regale you, gentle readers, with the magnificently awkward dates I will undoubtedly be going on.

It just so happens I have a gem for you right now.

I liked to believe that being older and dating men who are a little older would help weed out a lot of the bad behaviors that I found in so many guys in their early twenties. For the record, not all guys have terrible behaviors. My best friend Jon, for example, is awesome *waves*. I have also, in the past, been on dates with guys who were perfectly nice, but just weren't right for me at the time.

So I went on a date the other night. It was the fifth date I went out on with this guy that I had been seeing. Nothing serious; we went out once, and he seemed nice and had his crap together so we went out a few more times after that. On the fourth date, he had asked me a question. It seemed innocent enough at the time, so I answered him honestly. He asked me if I was on the birth control pill, and I told him that I wasn't.*

When my date asked me why I don't take the pill anymore, I felt a little annoyed that I had to justify my choice to him. But I told myself he was just being curious. I told him how I kept getting sick when I was on it, and now I don't anymore. I also told him that I didn't think I would ever go back on the pill because my health is more important to me than being on the pill. Also, condoms are just as effective as preventing pregnancy, if not more (not to mention the pill does nothing for STD's, as you all know). He nodded and dropped the subject. We spent the rest of the evening talking about travel, what types of food we liked and other easy going topics.

The next (and last) time we hung out, we got to talking about us and he told me he had an important concern that would affect us dating in the long-term.

So, what was this concern, you ask? Was it that I was separated and he didn't want to be a part of all of that drama? Was it that I didn't know how to cook and could probably never prepare his favorite dish for him? Or was it perhaps the fact that we had different political views? No, it was none of these things. It was the revelation that I wasn't on the birth control pill, and that bothered him because sex with a condom "just doesn't feel as good."

The conversation went a little south from there.

So long story short, I told him that was a very selfish way of thinking and I walked out of the coffee shop.

When did it become OK to say something like this to women? Men have to start understanding the types of pressure we feel when it comes to birth control and our bodies. It's our bodies that are going to carry the baby, so a little sensitivity here, please! Whether we can't take the pill, or we chose not to, it is simply that. It is our choice. And it not fair to try and strong arm someone into changing how they protect their body against unwanted pregnancy and STD's. Or to try and make them feel guilty about not pleasing you, and making sex all about the male's experience.

Obviously I am not a man, so I don't know what it feels like to make love with a condom on from a male perspective. But I can say this: If I cared about someone (and didn't want them to feel like they were bad in bed) I would never say something like that to them. I would respect their choice.

*Side note about me and why I'm not on the pill (although part of my point in this article is that you shouldn't have to explain this choice to anyone, I am just playing devil's advocate here). I was on the pill for about 10 years. I don't know why, but for the last four years I was taking it, I was getting sick very often. The illnesses always coincided with a certain time of the month. I had tests done to rule out a lot of possible things that could have been wrong with me, including MRI's and CT scans. After talking to my General Practitioner, my ENT and my Gynecologist about this bizarre phenomenon, they all suggested I stop taking the pill to see if it had anything to do with me constantly getting sick. At this point, I was ready to try anything, so I took their advice and stopped taking the pill. That was two years ago, and if I am being completely honest, the amount of times I get sick per year has been cut down to about a fourth of the amount of times I was sick when I was on the birth control pill. I am not saying taking the pill is making people sick, I am merely giving you one person's experience and explaining why I chose to stop taking it. I don't want anyone to read this article and think I am saying the pill is bad and you shouldn't take it.