real life

Two in five women just don't bother... do you?

Does anyone use contraception anymore?






Just off the top of my head, I can name at least three acquaintances that have admitted to just not bothering with contraception. No pill, no condoms, no IUD, no injection, no implant.

If anything, they’ll use the pull-out method, but even that doesn’t always happen – and when it does happen, it’s still a form of unprotected sex.

And the other day, the top of contraception came up in the Mamamia office – and we worked out that every single one of us knows at least a couple of people who admit to just never really using any kind of contraception.

Which, to me, is just baffling.

I mean – not baffling if you would like to be impregnated. But if that’s not what you’re after, why wouldn’t you use contraception? In Australia, it’s very accessible, not particularly expensive and there is a lot of information out there about relevant effectiveness and suitability. I could probably still recite sections of the sex ed textbook we had to read every year in high school.

And even moving away from pregnancy, there’s still the issue of STIs – even the pull-out method won’t protect you from those.

So why this lack of contraception use? Is it just plain carelessness? That idea of putting something in the too-hard basket because you can’t comprehend that something bad or inconvenient will ever happen to you? The same notion that comes with people continuing to sunbake or smoke cigarettes even though we’re entirely aware of the risks?


Could it be related to a fear of contraception? There are plenty of stories floating around about the risks associated with the pill – true or not, the rumours are still there. I’ve had plenty of girlfriends tell me about the mental health issues they’ve experienced as a side-effect of the pill. I can imagine how someone who’d had a bad reaction to a particular type of contraception would be hesitant to use it again.

Or is our sex education in Australia somehow lacking? Maybe we need a revamp? Something to emphasise that the PULL-OUT METHOD IS NOT ENOUGH?

If anything, this worrying trend is even more common in the United States. Acccording to a new study, two out of five women in the US don’t use contraception, even though they are not currently planning a family.

Would you leave pregnancy to chance?

The survey was conducted by Contraception in America and found that many women “underestimate their risk for pregnancy” – Science Daily suggested that “women may not fully understand their options or how certain contraception methods work”.

It’s easy to see how this might happen in the US. After all, the abstinence-only message is still commonly taught throughout their schools. Additionally, the US health care system means that women might have difficulty accessing healthcare providers and understanding how fertile they actually are.

One article about contraception in particular has been getting a lot of attention. It’s written by a woman named Lisa Marie Basile for US website Blisstree, and entitled: “I Never, Ever, Ever Use Birth Control—Like, Ever. Am I Totally Crazy?”

Short answer? Lisa, if you are having sex and you do not want babies, then I would hazard a guess that not using birth control is probably a poor choice.


But before we draw wild conclusions, let’s look at why exactly Lisa doesn’t use contraception:

I can trace the root of my birth control rejection to one emotion: fear.

Essentially: when Lisa was 14, she took a whole lot of cough and cold pills to “get high” with her school friends. She says that her act of rebellion was a “call for attention” from her mother, who abused drugs. After taking the pills, Lisa passed out in class and was taken to hospital in an ambulance:

They said I had the equivalent of a cocaine overdose. It was horrendous, but I admitted my folly and moved on, and ever since, I’ve never done a drug or taken medicine in any form unless absolutely necessary.

Now, Lisa is in a committed relationship and her and her boyfriend have sex “during fertile times or not”, using the pull-out method (which Lisa has seemingly discounted as a form of birth control). They’re both free of STDs, so don’t bother with condoms, with Lisa saying that she is going with her instincts in trusting her boyfriend not to cum too early.

Comments on that article range from the eloquent “what a dumbass” to the more gentle – “I do think you might be a LITTLE crazy for not wanting a child and still having unprotected sex”. Others have commented praising the effectiveness of the pull-out method when used correctly.

But this isn’t a post about the effectiveness of different types of contraception. It’s a post about what seems to be an increasingly blase attitude about contraception. And it needs to stop.

Because – regardless of the reason – fear, or lack of money, or lack of access – there is always a form of contraception that will get around that problem. It’s just a matter of bothering to access it.

Do you know someone who just doesn’t use contraception? Why?