Sex & Relationships

Why is it still so hard to avoid getting pregnant?

Since I became sexually active I have tried almost everything known to woman in order to control the course of nature.
sexy couple in bed

Finding the right contraception can be a simple matter for many women, but for others it can be a nightmare.

There are more options than ever available to us with hormonal methods such as the pill, the implant, Nuvaring and Mirena to choose from.

If you are someone who is sensitive to synthetic hormones, then using these particular methods can give you side effects such as depression, mood swings, uncontrollable anger, anxiety and paranoia.

The most efficient kinds also make your libido disappear making them doubly effective.

As if that isn’t enough, the physical side effects range from weight gain, to painful breasts and periods.

Although they do the job they have promised by providing excellent birth control, the cost that it comes at is too high for some leaving them no option but to use condoms, or withdrawal method. Or sometimes a combination of both.

Now we are closer than ever before to a male pill being produced, so for the first time in history men share the responsibility.

One particular study is looking at the use of testosterone as a male contraceptive.

“At certain doses it causes infertility” says Jillian Kyzwer, a graduate student working on the project to Science Daily. “But at those doses, it doesn’t work for up to 20 per cent of men, and it can cause side effects such as weight gain, and a decrease in ‘good’ cholesterol.”

It’s only fair that there should be some side-effects after all ladies have borne the brunt for side-effects of hormonal birth controls since the 1960s, and the effects of not controlling pregnancy for eternity, however, while the female contraceptive pill is 99 per cent successful it would be a long shot yet to pin your hopes to this particular pill.

Releasing a male contraceptive pill onto the market needs to satisfy several criteria, explains Kyzer’s team leader, Gunda I. Georg, Ph.D., who is based at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy.

It must be soluble so it could be taken orally. It must start working quickly, and it mustn’t diminish libido. It would be safe even if taken for decades. And because some users would eventually want to have children, its impact on fertility would be reversible, with no lingering ill effects on sperm or embryos.

“That’s a very high bar for bringing a male contraceptive to market,” Georg points out, but really they are only the same standards that are affected for females.

Since I became sexually active I have tried almost everything known to woman in order to control the course of nature.

Many times over the years, after having mental episodes following trying a new birth control I would return to the old-faithful withdrawal method, with varied success.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand the pitfalls of this method of birth control and I’m now at a stage in my life where an accidental pregnancy would be less than ideal so I now use a copper IUD which is still fraught with side effects.

Never in my journey of anxiety, irrational bouts of tears and monthly pain was there ever the opportunity for my partner to rub my shoulders and offer to take over the responsibility of our sexual accountability.

Take comfort that it is likely there will be both hormonal and non-hormonal male birth control methods in the coming years which will improve present options, according to Dr. Nealie Barker.

“These new options will change the face of birth control as we know it and could certainly represent an effective option for committed couples who are planning a family and who want to time their pregnancies,” she says.

However, as great as they will be for preventing unwanted pregnancies they are not quite the answer to all of our prayers.

“These newly proposed contraceptive offerings will not provide a barrier from sexually transmitted infection and so in that sense, condoms will still be extremely important for anyone not in a long term monogamous relationship.”

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