Men: Let’s Talk About Your Birth Control

You know it’s not just slutty liberal college women who are having sex.

Non-slutty women in monogamous relationships have sex too.

In fact, I have it on good authority that there are plenty of perfectly respectable, married, conservative, Christian women out there engaging in the act, many of them with their own husbands. And though I’m sure that most of them don’t enjoy it, some of them actually might. But that’s beside the point.

What’s not beside the point is that when the GOP tries to take away, limit, or restrict access to contraception, it impacts men every bit as much as it impacts women. Because most of those women who are having sex are having it with men.

It’s not a moral issue. The fact is, people have sex all the time in perfectly biblically-acceptable, non-promiscuous circumstances, for perfectly virtuous, healthy reasons. And I doubt that those perfectly married, church-going husbands want their wives popping out babies every year. Because babies are great, but they’re expensive and messy and demanding and loud. And at some point they become teenagers. A couple of babies are fine, but I wouldn’t want to have 10 or 15 of them, and I don’t believe that most people in modern America would either.

Husbands, boyfriends, and even the merely-hopeful have an interest in maintaining reasonable access to contraceptives. Unless, that is, men would like to start using condoms again. And I can count on the fingers of zero hands the number of men I’ve ever encountered who think that condoms are a great idea.

Men are the beneficiaries of birth control every bit as much as women are. So why are we still talking about it like it’s a “woman’s thing”? And why are men continually and predictably so silent on the issue? Why don’t men care when our government makes it more difficult and expensive to get the very simple, very effective method of preventing their wives, girlfriends, and mistresses from getting pregnant? And why don’t husbands care more if a larger portion of their own household income must go towards the not-insignificant cost of contraception?

Why are women the only ones speaking up about the latest of the many attempts to limit ACA coverage for contraceptives?

It’s women who are marching, protesting, voting, testifying, and opining about the importance of contraceptives. Ironically, one of the go-to arguments in support of access to contraceptives is its many medical uses other than contraception, as though a cure for endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome, or PMS is somehow easier for men to comprehend than where babies come from.

But apparently babies — birthing them and preventing them — is still the mysterious and exclusive domain of women. Our culture constantly reinforces the idea that reproduction and fertility is the woman’s responsibility. How many movies and TV shows have you seen where a woman confirms that she’s pregnant and then worries about telling her partner? How will he react? Will he be mad? Will he blame her? That’s ludicrous. When a woman turns up pregnant, how is it her fault? As grandma used to say, it takes two to tango.

Woman Holding sign "Don't take away my birth control."
Birth control shouldn’t be a pink issue

Even the New York Times revealed its bias in an article this week when they wrote that a federal judge “temporarily block[ed] the Trump administration from putting into effect new rules that would make it easier for employers to deny women health insurance coverage for contraceptives.” [Emphasis mine.] But take out the word “women” and the sentence would have still been completely accurate.

But for some reason, we refuse to admit that the GOP’s backwards policies impact men. And men continue to ignore the issue and behave as though they are not at all involved. Well it’s high time for them to get involved.

Still, the question remains: Why are conservatives always trying to make it so hard to prevent pregnancy, even within the biblically-sanctioned, straight-laced confines of marital sex? As unpleasant as it might be to contemplate, surely even Republican lawmakers occasionally have sex with their wives. We know for sure that a lot of them have mistresses. Yet they have been fighting the idea of birth control for years. To justify their attempt to let companies deny their female employees access to contraception, they conflate contraception and abortion. But contraception is not abortion. Contraception, by definition, prevents pregnancy. There never is and never will be a fetus involved. And while this most recent attempt to allow companies to deny coverage for contraceptives has stalled, there is no chance that they won’t try again.

The one and only reason to deny women access to contraceptives is this: a belief that a woman is nothing more than a baby-making machine. Over and above any other function or aspiration, regardless of how selfless or charitable, she must produce children. Not unlike the unfortunate wives of Henry VIII, a woman’s sole function is to produce offspring. It’s sexism plain and simple. But in 2019 are there really still people who believe that women should be kept barefoot and pregnant? These old men want to deny women birth control because the ability to plan for children puts women on a more equal footing with men by allowing them to concentrate on careers and other aspects of their lives without being faced with an unexpected child to carry, bear, and raise.

Portrait of King Henry VIII
Henry VIII: “Off with her head!”

It’s time to come out of the dark ages. If we’re to live in a more enlightened world, couples must have access to some way to prevent pregnancy. Allowing them to make their own family planning choices is in the best interest of a modern society. And men have to know that without access to contraceptives, every married woman, once she’s popped out her 2.5 children, must stop having sex. Every girlfriend, mistress, and even the slutty college coeds, must say no.

We’ve got two choices: contraceptives or abstinence. There’s simply no other alternative. Which one do men want? The fact is, men have a dog in this fight. And they can’t remain silent when a bunch of old men try to impose their sexist outdated views on our society. So if men don’t want all women to abstain, they better start speaking up.

6 Comments

    1. I don’t know that I would lay the entire blame of the sexual revolution at the feet of Hugh Hefner and Larry Flint. I think that the growing realization that women are human beings as much as men, and thus have needs and appetites just the same as men also had something to do with it. But, like you, I don’t believe that free-wheeling sex without consequences is a good thing. And I’m very sorry for the pain that you’ve experienced in your life.
      But my post specifically talks about sex within marriage, and I hope that you would agree that that is a healthy and biblically-sanctioned thing. Now, I’m no expert on the bible, but I’m pretty sure that it says that married sex is for more than just procreation; it’s to bring a couple physically closer. And unless you want to raise 17 children like my great-grandmother did, I would think that you would agree that birth control is a necessary and good thing, even –.perhaps especially — within marriage. That being the case, men have an interest in ensuring that it’s available, just like women do.
      Thank you so much for your comment.

      Like

  1. Thank you for your kind comment. I think it might be interesting for you to read some of the testimonies of people who are using natural birth control that is charting a woman’s fertile cycles. It places in equal responsibility upon the man it take sex more out of the realm of a game, I guess we could call it, and makes it the type of unitive experience of love that it should be. The overwhelming testimonies of people who have used natural birth control is it that grew more intimate and closer together. I don’t want to divorce sex from an expression of unitive love and caring but at the same time I want to say that the primary objective of the sexual act is pregnancy. What we have lost, and especially men because of the Playboy philosophy, is the sense of responsibility and love that goes with us. I am sure there are many women out there you have an uncomfortable feeling that they are loved more for their bodies and for the pleasure their bodies give then for who they are, and sex being expression of love for them as they are. I hope that makes sense. By the way I love the name of your site.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just so you know, I’m not a youngster. I’ve been married a long long time, and so I know a thing or two about this topic. The last thing I would ever do is risk my future (financial, professional, or otherwise) or that of my husband on the Rhythm Method. Thousands of years of human history has shown it to be only moderately effective, and a quick google search pins that number down to 76 – 88%. My husband and I gave a lot of thought to how many children we wanted to have, and when we wanted to have them. And when we didn’t want to have children, we needed to be more than three-quarters sure that one wasn’t going to come along. Children are an enormous pleasure, but they are also an enormous responsibility, being as they are actual human beings. Forever. That’s not something that responsible people take lightly.
      Furthermore, I fail to see why Natural Birth Control brings couples together any more than any other type of birth control. Loving relationships are loving relationships, regardless of what type of contraceptives one is using.
      Yes, women are used for sex all the time. It is very unfortunate. And it is a problem that needs to be addressed in our culture. Men have to take a lot of responsibility for that, but women do too. But that is separate from a discussion about whether married men should be willing to speak up about the availability of contraceptives in this country.
      And finally, I completely disagree with you that the primary objective of the sexual act is pregnancy. If that were true, couples would have no sex before they were ready to start their families, and none at all after their 2 or 3 children were born. Yes, biologically it is the primary outcome, but human beings are more than just biological beings; they are complex psychological beings as well. And sex is a healthy and important part of a loving monogamous relationship. Ask anyone who has been married for a long time and they will tell you that they continued to love their spouse long long after their last child was born. And that is as it should be. I hope that some day you find that kind of love. You will understand what I mean.
      Thank you for you kind comment about the name of my site, and thank you for taking the time to comment on this important topic.

      Like

  2. For some reason, the reply I gave to you came up as “anonymous,” probably because I was posting from my Android phone.

    The “Rhythm Method” was not as good as the new methods of natural birth control which involve charting the fertile times for a woman based on science, not guessing. Again, I really would suggest you Google up some of the sites that promote this new way of carefully charting a woman’s cycle.

    As for the intimacy, I can easily see this. It makes men and women TALK and discuss their lives with each other, especially that most intimate part of it. How unlike me, when I was young and a total boor when it came to sexuality with my wife. I wanted what I wanted, when I wanted it, and as a result, she became pregnant. The last pregnancy was even when she was using a diaphragm, which failed spectacularly (twins). The heart of intimacy is talking, and the heart of love is respecting your partner. So when a woman says “Not the right time and I really don’t want children right now.” and the man says “Okay” and controls his passion, I can see how a woman would feel cherished by such actions rather than just being an object for her husband’s enjoyment.

    Yes, your Blob name is friendly and inviting. I hope you get many good discussions “over coffee.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I didn’t realize that the anonymous comment was from you…it didn’t even sound like you. And I will look more into methods of natural birth control, but I doubt I’d be convinced enough to recommend it to someone.

      To your point, I must say that from the boorish person you describe, who wanted what he wanted when he wanted it, I find it rather hard to believe that if your wife had said “Not tonight dear” that you would have been dissuaded by a little thing like “I really don’t want children right now.” Should you have been? Absolutely. But is that reality? If you could have talked about it and listened to her feelings back then, you probably would have, regardless of whether she was using a diaphragm, natural birth control, or any other method. At any rate, as they say, when we know better, we do better. We all should aim for that.

      I look forward to chatting with you again some time.

      Like

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