In college I once made a slideshow of terrifying STDs and made all 6 of my housemates sit down and watch it. This was sparked by the realization that one of my roomies, who had been on oral contraception for 4 years, had no idea that birth control pills don’t protect against STDs.

Even in a culture where we can find anything with the click of a Google search button, we often still remain wildly under-informed. And then there are the times we think we know our shit, and something comes up that rocks us sideways. This is what happened to me with the recent news that the “pull out” method is apparently only one percent less reliable than condoms. Say what?

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I recently stumbled on a great Huff Post article where three men weigh in on the question, can men be trusted with a birth control pill? As the concept of male oral contraceptives becomes more of a reality (this has been in the works for decades) and scientists continue research, people are wondering if, should a pill for dudes become available, they can be trusted with taking it regularly.*

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No, I am not talking about that fugly paisley button-up your girlfriend bought you for Christmas.

Lying to avoid condoms is as classy as smoking while 6 (okay, 3 1/2) inches deep

Sex was always a topic open to discussion in my family, and so I don’t remember one specific “sex-talk” being delivered. However, I do remember the first actual sex advice my father gave me, which was the “don’t-let-a-guy-talk-you-out-of-condoms” discussion. My father warned me that men might use the excuse “if you love me, you won’t make me wear one.”

I remember being a bit confused by this, because at the time I was with my first “real” boyfriend (I was 16) who was so nervous about contraception that we used not one, not two but THREE different methods. My ladybits were baby-batter proof. We called condoms “weapons of mass destruction.”  It was great way to talk about buying condoms in front of our friends or on the phone. “Make sure to bring over some weapons,” or “Go to the gas station and get some artillery. Also some Flipz. I’m hungry.”

I found my father’s warning to be out-dated and extraneous. In my relationship, it was more “If you love me, you will be on birth control, and let me wear a condom, and let me pull out, and also allow me to ask you if you are pregnant every time you have a headache.”  In this specific case, I had been tested, and my boyfriend was a virgin, so we weren’t worried about STDs, which are of course another reason to layer on the latex.

From my own post-highschool speculation, and information gathered from friends and random women in the gym locker room, I have come to the conclusion that men being more adverse to condoms than women is a myth.  Aside from one story a college roomie told me about a guy trying to distract her while removing the condom mid-hump, I have found men usually agree to wearing a condom, and in fact most of them insist on it. Herpes is not hot.

If a man were to say, “if you love me, you won’t make me wear one,” a good response might be “if you don’t want to spend the next 18 years paying child support, you will wear one.” Or of course, “Oh sure we can skip the condom. You love me so much, you don’t mind a little HPV, right? Chlamydia only burns once in a while…”

While I believe the idea that men will do anything to wiggle out of rubbers is a myth, I don’t think the idea that PEOPLE avoid condoms is untrue. I think BOTH sexes equally abhor condoms, even though they know they are necessary. Sort of like exercise. And dental floss.

Condoms blow, regardless of your sex. They ruin the moment, they smell like a doctor’s office, they dull sensation for men and make women feel like they’re boning the rubber-man. Squeak, squeak, squeak. Also, they’re expensive! But you know what is more expensive? Baby formula. Get over it.

Condom companies are always trying to invent ways to trick consumers into thinking condoms enhance the sexual experience. “Ribbed!” “Warming!” “Menthol!” “FOR HER.” “Will Brainwash Your Man Into Buying You Jewelry.”  Oh wait, that last one was just a headline from Cosmopolitan.  These claims are all lies, and I know just as many women as men who say they would rather do anything—ANYTHING—than wear a condom. So what are the alternatives?

Pulling out is not a particularly fool-proof or intelligent method, but neither is claiming you’re racist to get out of jury duty or chugging cranberry juice to pass a drug-test, and people still do that too.

I personally don’t do oral contraceptives because they aren’t vegan, block your absorption of b12 and pump your body full of weird hormones. I was on birth control for a decade and it actually slowed my sex drive which is sort of counterproductive. In the first few months I went off it, I felt like a 13 year old again! All I wanted to do was dry hump someone’s leg in a basement while watching Big Daddy.   

I don’t trust that weird spermicidal stuff you squirt up in you, and have zero experience with female condoms or diaphragms. Do people under the age of 50 still use diaphragms? Tell me how you feel about condoms.  Found any condoms that make sex MORE fun? A good story about the time you tried to talk your way out of condoms?

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Poppin Pills Like Mentos (photo by Ambro)

Wickity wack! My dad just emailed me telling me I should go back on birth control (gasp!) because it no longer requires a co-pay!

Way to go Health Care of America! As a preventative health care issue, birth control AND the morning after pill will be covered by insurance! All health insurance companies will be required to do this! While this new regulation won’t go into effect until January of 2013, it is still an awesome triumph for our health care system and will help prevent a ton of pregnancies for those who could otherwise not afford birth control.

Of course, there will always be haters. Some are pissed that of all medications to no longer require a co-pay, birth control is the one getting all the glory. While I do think those people should untwist their panties, I also think that now that birth control will be easier to aquire, school systems should amp up their sex ed classes. I had a room mate in COLLEGE who did not realize that birth control does not protect HIV and STDS. (I made her a seriously disgusting STD slideshow and bought her a family-sized pack of rubbers…what an oxymoron that is!)

Another peculiar thing is that my dad was the one telling me to go back on the pill. Why? Because it’s free! Which had NOTHING to do with why I went off it in the first place. Sort of like buying something you would normally not purchase just because it’s on sale. He can’t help it…he is Jewish! What! Real talk. This post should be renamed Just Like Hanukah.

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In college I lived with a bunch of girls. I mean, I went through a ton of room mates, often living with up to six other (yes six!) crazy females at a time. Once there were six of us plus another unofficial roommate who lived on our couch and kept all of her clothes shoved in one of the drawers of our entertainment unit. I was also always changing roommates, because they were always doing terrible things. One had a boyfriend who used to urinate in my belongings (IE my Nestles chocolate milk container—pre-vegan days—and my re-usable water bottles). Another used to steal all of my things (clothes, perfume, sex toys..). Another slept with a guy I’d been dating who had just recently masticated my heart into a bloody sludgy puddle that sort of resembled the nice glass of beet juice I just had with my lunch.

Anyways, throughout my college career I probably lived with about 20 different girls. And for some reason, they all used to come to me to dish up on their sex lives. ALL of them. Even then ones who didn’t much like me. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I wrote our college sex column or the Good Bush, Bad Bush T-shirt I strutted around in—pantsless of course.

To get to my point, I had this one (really really) stupid roomie who was contraceptionally challenged. I mean, girl couldn’t have safe sex to save her life. We were constantly having incredibly frustrating conversations about her stupidity. Here is an example of one of such conversations. I am going to call her Slutface Sally. (That’s mean! She was really cute. The stupid ones usually are..)

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On the pill? Check your b12 levels.

I mentioned in a previous post that I recently had a scare with a b12 deficiency. It has been over a month since I finally  have been able to track down a doctor who could give me the type of consultation I was looking for: a holistic approach that takes both a medicinal and natural stand, someone able to integrate the two types of medicine and look at my case on all levels. And boy was I surprised when I learned that yes, I probably have a b12 deficiency because I have been vegetarian and then vegan for so long without proper supplementation, however, it is also likely because I have been on birth control for nearly a decade.  What does that have to do with my b12, I asked. Well apparently birth control seriously decreases the natural levels of b12 due to the high levels of estrogen in the pills.

Foods like leafy greens, tempeh and nutritional yeast contain b12

Learning this made me extremely frustrated with the traditional system of medicine ….Of course, part of this is on my head because I should have done more research than I did about the prescriptions I am on. But additionally, my gynecologist — who prescribes my birth control — knows I follow a vegan diet,  and yet never mentioned the b12 factor to me. This is because, as a professional in a specialized field, he probably got only a few hours of general education nutrition training in med school. Perhaps our healthcare system is trying its best, but it’s becoming more and more clear that our diets affect every part of our lives — our moods, sleep patterns, stress levels, ability to fight disease and sickness, and  capacity to think clearly.

With this green revolution our country seems to be going through, and the rise in the popularity of natural medicine, I hope to see more holistic doctors popping up all over. A great friend of mine just got accepted to Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and I know she will do great things (congrats AC!). I look forward to the future of medicine when a doctor can take a look at a patient and evaluate them from an all-inclusive, holistic point of view.

So for any vegans or vegetarians out there who are on birth control, get your b12 levels tested and then get on a supplement! Don’t play around with this. Also, check out this video of an interview with Dr. Jay Gordon, who believes that diet should be the foundation of a medicinal practice.

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