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Women are pawns in the contraception war Is the pill too political to talk about truthfully?

"Girls, it was understood, were so wildly and indiscriminately fertile that just looking at an erect penis from across the room might result in pregnancy." Credit: Roberta Bayley/Redferns

"Girls, it was understood, were so wildly and indiscriminately fertile that just looking at an erect penis from across the room might result in pregnancy." Credit: Roberta Bayley/Redferns


June 12, 2023   7 mins

Davina McCall’s new special, Pill Revolution, starts with an eye-catching visual: McCall, wearing a red dress and a megawatt gameshow host’s grin, spins a giant roulette wheel labelled with all the potential side effects of hormonal birth control. A dizzying array of horrors flies across the screen — HAIR LOSS! BLEEDING! WEIGHT GAIN! BLOOD CLOT! — before the camera pans to the “contestants”, a trio of stuffed animals sitting above nametags that read: GUINEA PIG.

It’s not exactly subtle. And it’s not exactly misguided, either: in the Fifties, when Dr Gregory Pincus began testing an early prototype for the pill, his test cases were incarcerated, institutionalised, and impoverished women. In other words, women whose incapacitation and economic despair made them easy to take advantage of. It was a deplorable measure, in a desperate time: funding for birth-control research was banned by the US government until 1959, so Pincus’s work was supported by private donors, whose advocacy was directly downstream from an unsavoury enthusiasm for eugenics. For those funding the research, the pill represented a way to keep the wrong people from procreating. For the doctors who created it, the pill was an exciting scientific challenge.

That it would eventually emerge as a vehicle of female sexual liberation, one of the most socially important breakthroughs in medical history, was something neither party anticipated. While women’s bodies and biology were central to the science of the birth control pill, women themselves — not only the ones who served as guinea pigs, but also the ones who would eventually choose to take the pill — were treated as something of an afterthought. Pincus rather infamously wrote off his patients’ self-reported side effects — that same litany of problems featured on McCall’s wild spinning wheel — as the “psychogenic” products of an overactive imagination.

In short, McCall is right to suggest that the ubiquity of the birth control pill has come at the expense of women’s ability to express their concerns about it. And with Pill Revolution, she seems poised to usher in a new age of pill-related controversy: one centred on health concerns.

In this, she is unlike early critics of the pill, who were, of course, far more concerned with sexual morality than women’s wellbeing. Hormonal contraception has long been a source of consternation amongst conservatives, particularly the religious variety, who see it as a facilitator of consequence-free sexual intercourse. That loathing has little to do with the pill specifically — and more to do with a categorically antagonistic relationship toward non-procreative sex of all kinds — but it proved markedly influential in the public conversation about birth control.

For me, that influence was most clearly visible in the form of abstinence-focused sex education programmes, which were ubiquitous in American public schools in the Nineties — including the one I attended. Among other things, these classes were an exercise in institutionalised slut-shaming. Often, a piece of lint-covered Scotch tape would be brought out as a visual representation of how premarital sex ruined a woman’s ability to bond with her eventual husband. And with the primary goal of discouraging teens from doing it, the instruction we received in reproductive science verged on intentional disinformation. Girls, it was understood, were so wildly and indiscriminately fertile that just looking at an erect penis from across the room might result in pregnancy.

Birth control, meanwhile, was described as unreliable at best. Often, these programmes would tout inflated failure rates for various contraceptive methods — without ever mentioning that these numbers included pregnancies which resulted when a couple had birth control available but hadn’t actually bothered to use it. The pill, we were warned, was less than 90% effective — and that was assuming you could get past the stigma of being the kind of trollop who needed to take it in the first place.

The point, of course, was not education, but intimidation: to scare you away from sex until you were married and ready to procreate, at which point you would not be bothering with birth control. The conservative hostility to the pill rumbled along in the form of abstinence programmes and purity culture for years before reaching its contemporary apotheosis in 2012. After the US government moved to provide birth control to all women free of charge, Rush Limbaugh infamously suggested that women who supported this measure were akin to prostitutes demanding other people’s money so they could have sex.

But Limbaugh’s outburst was a swansong for the Right-wing war on contraception. And the new backlash against the pill, as embodied by programmes such as McCall’s, is fuelled less by conservative pearl-clutching about hook-up culture, and more by renewed concerns over its side effects — a full-circle return to the issues that plagued the pill in its infancy.

Among women who believe that the birth control pill has had a deleterious effect on their physical or mental health, there’s a palpable sense that the medical establishment has behaved irresponsibly, foisting powerful pharmaceuticals on them while dismissing their doubts as nonsense. “As young women, we’re just chucked on the pill and expected to get on with it — but when we go back with concerns, you don’t feel like you’re being heard,” McCall says, echoing a sentiment that comes up repeatedly throughout Pill Revolution. A few years ago, Sarah E. Hill’s book about How the Pill Changes Everything made a splash with similar points.

Whether you agree with their broader points or not, the women making this case are responding to decades of gaslighting by the medical establishment. McCall explains during her program that the weeklong break many women have from their birth control cycle each month is not medically necessary, but rather a product of the Fifties-era desire of scientists to create a contraceptive product that would not raise the hackles of the Catholic church. What she doesn’t mention is that it was also meant to quell the doubts of women themselves: when Pincus realised that the progesterone in his prototype pill would cause the complete cessation of the body’s normal menstrual cycle, he suspected women would find this alarming. His prescribed regimen — three weeks of hormonal contraceptives followed by one week’s worth of placebos — was designed to cause a monthly drop in hormone levels, resulting in the shedding of the uterine lining. It’s not a real period, but it looks and feels like one, creating the illusion that the body’s natural processes remain unaltered. If this mollified the Catholic church, it also sold women a bill of goods about the true impact of the pill on their bodies.

Two things are true. First: hormonal contraception has been unequivocally a tool of female empowerment. It gives women an unprecedented and invaluable level of control over their fertility, and, by extension, their lives. Second: the utility of the pill for women in general does not mean that it is right for every woman individually. And in the mad rush to celebrate hormonal contraception for the world-changing invention it is, some women have been silenced, and side-lined.

If the pill has been absurdly demonised by its detractors as the purview of “sluts” and “prostitutes”, its most avid proponents seem to view it with a reverence bordering on the deific. Pill Revolution began to raise alarms within the medical community well in advance of its airing. In the Daily Mail last week, Dr Philippa Kaye wrote that while “I welcome any initiative to promote or improve women’s wellbeing”, she “was left with concerns that women may be alarmed” by the suggestion that the pill might have mood-related side effects. Where the trad movement sees the popularity of the pill as a symbol of society in decline, the progressives among us warn that its disuse would be nothing less than catastrophic.

In an interesting example of the phenomenon the French describe as “les extrĂȘmes se touchent“, people on both sides of this issue seem to take a rather dim view of women themselves — of our ability to manage our lives, our bodies, our reproductive health. The anti-pill contingent, represented by old-school conservatives and tradfluencers alike, suggest that women are so seduced by the illusory freedom of artificially-induced infertility that they become like hedonistic children, squandering their fertile years on meaningless hook-ups and breakneck career advancement at the expense of society at large. Even more progressive sceptics — including the growing TikTok movement of self-described hormone coaches who advocate for #naturalbirthcontrol — seem to believe that women are so hopelessly manipulated by Big Pharma, and addled by contraceptive hormones, that they’ve lost all connection with their bodies.

And yet, the pro-pill side isn’t much better when it wrings its hands over the notion that women might choose not to take the pill and, hence, get pregnant. As if pregnancy is something that happens to women out of nowhere, without their knowledge or consent. As if they couldn’t possibly be trusted to weigh the costs and benefits of hormonal birth control and decide accordingly if they wish to use it.

Much is made in these conversations of the fact that so many pregnancies are unplanned — 45% in America, up to 30% in the UK — in a way that reminds me, oddly, of the way my high school sex ed programme used statistics to persuade us that birth control was futile and untrustworthy. These numbers raise the terrifying spectre of a world in which millions of women are giving birth to children against their will, eliding the fact that unplanned and unwanted are not necessarily the same thing. It’s hard not to notice that the tone of these debates — especially when they dovetail with the bigger, hairier question of women’s reproductive rights in general — has a way of crossing the line between staunchly feminist and outright anti-natalist.

As a woman still of an age to be at least ostensibly concerned about birth control, I personally still find the anti-pill folks more off-putting, whether they’re purity-obsessed religious scolds who want to scare and shame women away from having non-procreative sex, or the contemporary “RETVRN TO TRADITION” ones with a fetishistic fixation on women’s fertility.

And yet, I’m not convinced that certain pro-pill types — the ones whose vision of liberated womanhood seems to begin and end with free birth control and company-subsidised egg freezing, the better to avoid the pesky workplace interruption of a ticking biological clock — are the heroes we need, either. The loudest voices in this conversation leave little room for a middle way, one that empowers women to avoid pregnancy if they want to, but also supports them if they wish to become mothers.

No doubt the people who want to keep women puttering away in cubicles during their peak childbearing years believe that they’re offering a better, more feminist vision than the ones who want to keep them barefoot and pregnant. But both groups are ultimately seeking the same end: to exert control over women’s fertility, and by extension, over their destinies. On this front, at least, Davina McCall’s Pill Revolution is a welcome entry into the debate: a call for more research, more education, and better options for women than the one-size-fits-all contraceptive regimen favoured by medicine and society alike.

The topic of birth control has never not been fraught, but it has also long been dominated by men, whether they’re scoffing at women who complain of side effects or screaming at them for being sluts. Perhaps this new controversy — one that originates with women themselves and prioritises their concerns — represents something more than another skirmish in the contraceptive wars; perhaps it’s a way forward.


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

katrosenfield

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polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago

“The topic of birth control has never not been fraught, but it has also long been dominated by men,”
Well, as a man I am fully aware that whilst women may be empowered by the pill, men benefit at least as much. Whatever tthe word empowered is supposed to mean of course – As far as I can see it means little more than pretending that no distinction can be made between men and women. From a man’s point of view, women are much easier to lay if there is the promise of an easy way to avoid pregnancy. For whilst pregnancy is a life-changing, as well as a life-creating event for a women, it can easily prove little more than an inconvenience for a man. (Men who come here and deny that elementary biological and psychological fact are not telling the truth) Of course, prior to the pill, we found many creative ways to have fun. Perhaps Americans were too prim to indulge in such things and preferred bible-bashing – Each to his own.
We mustn’t forget that the risk of pregnancy provided young women with a very effective means of denying s e x to suitors who they didn’t fancy. Useful, as women are clearly a lot fussier than men (this is not a compelling argument for not being on the pill, but let’s not dismiss it entirely), I remember when my then girlfriend and I went to a family planning clinic to get a prescription. It seemed to me that the main concern of the polite but formidible ladies at the clinic was to ensure that I was in a serious relationship with my girlfriend. Rather quaint by modern standards perhaps, but I didn’t object, as I knew that their concern was genuine: Older women defending younger women – Lament the demise of the chaperone!

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

At age 62, through two marriages and raising an adult daughter, I have NEVER seen the topic of birth control dominated by men. Mothers routinely put their daughters on birth control with no involvement of the fathers. Now, young women are expected to have casual sex along the only viable path to a long-term relationship. I fail to see how any of this serves women’s interests rather than men’s. If fathers were consulted they would have explained this to their wives and daughters.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

Well said! You have a lucky daughter!

MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
11 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

Because they obviously have no brains and need it explained to them, right? You may find it incredible, but women *do* have an interest in sex and benefit as much as men from getting however much of it they want. That some men believe that there’s nothing in sex for women is their problem, not women’s.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

I wonder what the evidence is that women (or men) “benefit from getting as much sex as they want.”
I assume the evidence is the same as the evidence of the benefit my children claim from getting as much ice cream as they want. “It tastes good!” What more does one need know?
Well, dear children, there’s obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, sugar lows, etc. Some even say that eating sugar all the time dulls the brain’s receptors, so that sugar is less pleasurable when over-consumed. Perhaps many of the body’s appetites work in similar fashion.

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

I think that you may be overlooking something: The potential cost bears more heavily on women than on men. As I have said before, the idea of “free” love was the greatest con trick that men ever played on women. It was a great benefit for me. For you, not so much.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

I wonder what the evidence is that women (or men) “benefit from getting as much sex as they want.”
I assume the evidence is the same as the evidence of the benefit my children claim from getting as much ice cream as they want. “It tastes good!” What more does one need know?
Well, dear children, there’s obesity, diabetes, tooth decay, sugar lows, etc. Some even say that eating sugar all the time dulls the brain’s receptors, so that sugar is less pleasurable when over-consumed. Perhaps many of the body’s appetites work in similar fashion.

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago
Reply to  MĂŽnica

I think that you may be overlooking something: The potential cost bears more heavily on women than on men. As I have said before, the idea of “free” love was the greatest con trick that men ever played on women. It was a great benefit for me. For you, not so much.

Gill Holway
Gill Holway
11 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

It may seem to some men that all their birthdays have come at once with so many young women on the pill as I was. Whatever is expected of young women on the pill, a sexual relationship is still the matter of choice it always was. its not the closed subject it once was either. My granddaughter, who lives with her boyfriend did not do so without discussing the pros and cons with her mother, myself and friends first. In the family we respected her views on the matter and she ours.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

Well said! You have a lucky daughter!

MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
11 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

Because they obviously have no brains and need it explained to them, right? You may find it incredible, but women *do* have an interest in sex and benefit as much as men from getting however much of it they want. That some men believe that there’s nothing in sex for women is their problem, not women’s.

Gill Holway
Gill Holway
11 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

It may seem to some men that all their birthdays have come at once with so many young women on the pill as I was. Whatever is expected of young women on the pill, a sexual relationship is still the matter of choice it always was. its not the closed subject it once was either. My granddaughter, who lives with her boyfriend did not do so without discussing the pros and cons with her mother, myself and friends first. In the family we respected her views on the matter and she ours.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Absolutely spot on. The pill, like abortion, is a tool for the exploitation of women, not their liberation

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago

By all means argue with Annemarie, but do not downvote her.
The truth is more complex than some people think. I know women who have had abortions, and after a few drinks they will tell you the truth: Abortion is psychologically traumatic. And that trauma is biologically driven – not airey fairy nonsense that you can dismiss.

Tom More
Tom More
10 months ago

Its fascinating to see the perverse view that disabling and profoundly altering a woman’s natural healthy self is “empowering” as he Marxist feminists perversely hold. And then killing her child as part of what’s it called… “reproductive health”.
So much stranger than fiction this newspeak.

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago

By all means argue with Annemarie, but do not downvote her.
The truth is more complex than some people think. I know women who have had abortions, and after a few drinks they will tell you the truth: Abortion is psychologically traumatic. And that trauma is biologically driven – not airey fairy nonsense that you can dismiss.

Tom More
Tom More
10 months ago

Its fascinating to see the perverse view that disabling and profoundly altering a woman’s natural healthy self is “empowering” as he Marxist feminists perversely hold. And then killing her child as part of what’s it called… “reproductive health”.
So much stranger than fiction this newspeak.

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

At age 62, through two marriages and raising an adult daughter, I have NEVER seen the topic of birth control dominated by men. Mothers routinely put their daughters on birth control with no involvement of the fathers. Now, young women are expected to have casual sex along the only viable path to a long-term relationship. I fail to see how any of this serves women’s interests rather than men’s. If fathers were consulted they would have explained this to their wives and daughters.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
11 months ago
Reply to  polidori redux

Absolutely spot on. The pill, like abortion, is a tool for the exploitation of women, not their liberation

polidori redux
polidori redux
11 months ago

“The topic of birth control has never not been fraught, but it has also long been dominated by men,”
Well, as a man I am fully aware that whilst women may be empowered by the pill, men benefit at least as much. Whatever tthe word empowered is supposed to mean of course – As far as I can see it means little more than pretending that no distinction can be made between men and women. From a man’s point of view, women are much easier to lay if there is the promise of an easy way to avoid pregnancy. For whilst pregnancy is a life-changing, as well as a life-creating event for a women, it can easily prove little more than an inconvenience for a man. (Men who come here and deny that elementary biological and psychological fact are not telling the truth) Of course, prior to the pill, we found many creative ways to have fun. Perhaps Americans were too prim to indulge in such things and preferred bible-bashing – Each to his own.
We mustn’t forget that the risk of pregnancy provided young women with a very effective means of denying s e x to suitors who they didn’t fancy. Useful, as women are clearly a lot fussier than men (this is not a compelling argument for not being on the pill, but let’s not dismiss it entirely), I remember when my then girlfriend and I went to a family planning clinic to get a prescription. It seemed to me that the main concern of the polite but formidible ladies at the clinic was to ensure that I was in a serious relationship with my girlfriend. Rather quaint by modern standards perhaps, but I didn’t object, as I knew that their concern was genuine: Older women defending younger women – Lament the demise of the chaperone!

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

The pill did not liberate women, sexually, it liberated men… from the responsibility of parenthood, and spawned a legacy of single mothers. Sex outside of a loving, committed relationship is all upside for men and all downside for women. Hope this trend discontinues soon as we desperately need to get our birth rates up!

Also…

“For those funding the research, the pill represented a way to keep the wrong people from procreating.”

Indeed. Those people were eugenicists… same sorts of people who engineered the death camps. Evil, God-loathing types.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I’m a little unconvinced. I would say to a young man having casual sex, wear a condon and, ahem, don’t finish inside.

Nothing’s foolproof and the women will need to protect herself but with a belt and braces approach an unwanted pregnancy is unlikely.

So of course this doesn’t account for drunken sex but that’s a hell of a risk anyway.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

I would say to anyone considering casual sex… don’t do it, it’s never worth it. Focus on building a loving and trusting relationship with someone before engaging in sex.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Luckily for men very few young women will heed this advice.
Feminism and the pill have been wonderful for men.
Let’s not spoil the fun.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I’ve been faithfully and happily married for 34 years. I think, however, it may be beneficial to coping with a long term relationship to take responsibility in a short term one. After all, we don’t know how long it will last.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I would say to anyone considering casual sex
.fill your boots. It’s certainly much more fun than going home alone at the end of the night

Laney R Sexton
Laney R Sexton
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It doesn’t matter what the subject of the article is, you always chime in to say the same thing. We get it, you have sex.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Laney R Sexton

It’s more a reaction to all the holier than thou puritans who look down on those who don’t follow their pious lifestyle.
And as for the sex, I don’t have it half as much anymore. I’m too lazy, I prefer to have a cup of tea

Tom More
Tom More
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Nothing “holier than thou” about not chemically altering the girl you say you care for , or telling her the dismembered body removed from her womb wasn’t really a little girl or boy.
Or the death of the west demographers point to in 2150. You’re really not on any moral high ground.

Tom More
Tom More
10 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Nothing “holier than thou” about not chemically altering the girl you say you care for , or telling her the dismembered body removed from her womb wasn’t really a little girl or boy.
Or the death of the west demographers point to in 2150. You’re really not on any moral high ground.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Laney R Sexton

It’s more a reaction to all the holier than thou puritans who look down on those who don’t follow their pious lifestyle.
And as for the sex, I don’t have it half as much anymore. I’m too lazy, I prefer to have a cup of tea

Laney R Sexton
Laney R Sexton
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

It doesn’t matter what the subject of the article is, you always chime in to say the same thing. We get it, you have sex.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Luckily for men very few young women will heed this advice.
Feminism and the pill have been wonderful for men.
Let’s not spoil the fun.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I’ve been faithfully and happily married for 34 years. I think, however, it may be beneficial to coping with a long term relationship to take responsibility in a short term one. After all, we don’t know how long it will last.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I would say to anyone considering casual sex
.fill your boots. It’s certainly much more fun than going home alone at the end of the night

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago

Spoken like a sexually liberated man. Casual sex is fine, just wear a condom and “don’t finish inside”.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

Get a vasectomy, just don’t advertise the fact.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Wish I’d thought of that years ago, would have saved me a fortune!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Wish I’d thought of that years ago, would have saved me a fortune!

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  John Croteau

Get a vasectomy, just don’t advertise the fact.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

I would say to anyone considering casual sex… don’t do it, it’s never worth it. Focus on building a loving and trusting relationship with someone before engaging in sex.

John Croteau
John Croteau
11 months ago

Spoken like a sexually liberated man. Casual sex is fine, just wear a condom and “don’t finish inside”.

Filipa Antonia Barata de Araujo
Filipa Antonia Barata de Araujo
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Yes, because controlling whe you get pregnant is awful or something.

B Davis
B Davis
11 months ago

Actually no one can control when they get pregnant. Absolutely no one. If they could, there wouldn’t be millions of infertile couples out there trying desperately to do exactly that.
The most you can do is try to control the risk of pregnancy…and that risk, using BC pills, on average stands at about 9%, assuming normal error-prone human behavior.
But no one is saying that trying to control that risk is “awful”. What is being said is that the illusion that the risk has been eliminated (via BC pills) has been a significant part of a massive cultural problem which has pushed out-of-wedlock births from about 5% in 1965 to about 40% today. This is significant, of course, because there is a very strong correlation between single-parent homes and crime, drug abuse, poverty, etc.
Those are the ‘awful’ things…and they are made much more likely if people are seduced by the extraordinarily dangerous notion that BC pills make sex risk-free.

B Davis
B Davis
11 months ago

Actually no one can control when they get pregnant. Absolutely no one. If they could, there wouldn’t be millions of infertile couples out there trying desperately to do exactly that.
The most you can do is try to control the risk of pregnancy…and that risk, using BC pills, on average stands at about 9%, assuming normal error-prone human behavior.
But no one is saying that trying to control that risk is “awful”. What is being said is that the illusion that the risk has been eliminated (via BC pills) has been a significant part of a massive cultural problem which has pushed out-of-wedlock births from about 5% in 1965 to about 40% today. This is significant, of course, because there is a very strong correlation between single-parent homes and crime, drug abuse, poverty, etc.
Those are the ‘awful’ things…and they are made much more likely if people are seduced by the extraordinarily dangerous notion that BC pills make sex risk-free.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Surely not being on the pill would lead to more single mothers, as many more sexual encounters would run the risk of an unwanted pregnancy?

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Exactly!! I’m amazed that unherd published this piece
It’s like something a teenager would write.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago

She wrote an essay based on Davina McCall’s new special, Pill Revolution…what’s wrong with that? You’re too harsh. It’s important to lay out the arguments pro and con.

Last edited 11 months ago by Cathy Carron
Tom More
Tom More
10 months ago

It really is. Includes all the Marxist “empowerment” trash as well. Lost in the maze.

Cathy Carron
Cathy Carron
11 months ago

She wrote an essay based on Davina McCall’s new special, Pill Revolution…what’s wrong with that? You’re too harsh. It’s important to lay out the arguments pro and con.

Last edited 11 months ago by Cathy Carron
Tom More
Tom More
10 months ago

It really is. Includes all the Marxist “empowerment” trash as well. Lost in the maze.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

I’m a little unconvinced. I would say to a young man having casual sex, wear a condon and, ahem, don’t finish inside.

Nothing’s foolproof and the women will need to protect herself but with a belt and braces approach an unwanted pregnancy is unlikely.

So of course this doesn’t account for drunken sex but that’s a hell of a risk anyway.

Filipa Antonia Barata de Araujo
Filipa Antonia Barata de Araujo
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Yes, because controlling whe you get pregnant is awful or something.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Surely not being on the pill would lead to more single mothers, as many more sexual encounters would run the risk of an unwanted pregnancy?

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
11 months ago
Reply to  Amy Horseman

Exactly!! I’m amazed that unherd published this piece
It’s like something a teenager would write.

Amy Horseman
Amy Horseman
11 months ago

The pill did not liberate women, sexually, it liberated men… from the responsibility of parenthood, and spawned a legacy of single mothers. Sex outside of a loving, committed relationship is all upside for men and all downside for women. Hope this trend discontinues soon as we desperately need to get our birth rates up!

Also…

“For those funding the research, the pill represented a way to keep the wrong people from procreating.”

Indeed. Those people were eugenicists… same sorts of people who engineered the death camps. Evil, God-loathing types.

Ali W
Ali W
11 months ago

I had been on hormonal birth control since I was about 16 and only recently came off of it a few years ago at 33 (mainly due to a complete loss of trust for pharmaceuticals after the mRNA vaccine push).
I’ve suffered anxiety and depression my whole life, but within about 6 months of coming off the pill my symptoms subsided significantly. It’s definitely something that exists even though I’m no longer interfering with my hormones, but to a much smaller degree.
I had no expectations when ceasing use that anything would change, I had just become uncomfortable with long-term treatments that weren’t medically necessary.

e b
e b
11 months ago
Reply to  Ali W

Yes. I also went on it at 16, my mother said it would control my bad moods that she didn’t like! Well,I felt quite bovine, like a passive cow, on it. But was so young and unaware that meds had side effects. In early 30s I came off it. Just intuition that it wasn’t good for me. So many variables it’s hard to say definitively, but I never once considered going back on it, as I felt much more alive,sparky, and more myself once I came off it. It became my personal conspiracy theory that the pill was convenient to authorities as it kept us docile, perhaps due to a feeling as if we’re pregnant all the time.

Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
11 months ago
Reply to  e b

There are plenty of alternatives available for women who dislike the pill – barrier methods that can be very reliable if used properly. The main point of the pill is its convenience. I took it with me to Africa because it was the best option under the circumstances but when I retuned to the UK I successfully used a barrier method.

Mara
Mara
11 months ago
Reply to  e b

There are so many differences between birth control brands. Hormone makeups and side effects can vary greatly between them. I think the biggest issue is the lack of transparency for patients about the different kinds and the side effects. I, like you, started birth control as a teen and have been fortunate not to have any negative side effects whatsoever. It makes my skin radiant and helps reduce the occurence of painful ovarian cysts. My temperament has never changed. I’ve always been quite fiery and energetic. I’m certain that my family would never put my name in the same sentence as the words “passive,” “sluggish,” or “depressive.” It wasn’t until more recently that I conducted my own in-depth research on birth control and discovered how widely different the effects can be depending on your own body and the type of contraception you’re using. Doctors too often put girls on high-dose pills, which isn’t necessary unless being used to treat an illness such as PCOS. In recent years, the arm implants and hormonal IUD have become quite popular, and those have even higher levels of hormones than pill forms. In my experience, doctors just throw an Rx for bc at you without giving you any info on your options or asking what you’re concerns are. You have to completely be your own advocate. And this is also true when it comes to preparing to deliver a child.
After doing my research, I asked to be given the lowest-dose combination pill available so that I could still prevent cysts without subjecting myself to unnecessary levels of estrogen. It was sad to me how hard it felt I had to press the medical staff not to overmedicate me.

Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
11 months ago
Reply to  e b

There are plenty of alternatives available for women who dislike the pill – barrier methods that can be very reliable if used properly. The main point of the pill is its convenience. I took it with me to Africa because it was the best option under the circumstances but when I retuned to the UK I successfully used a barrier method.

Mara
Mara
11 months ago
Reply to  e b

There are so many differences between birth control brands. Hormone makeups and side effects can vary greatly between them. I think the biggest issue is the lack of transparency for patients about the different kinds and the side effects. I, like you, started birth control as a teen and have been fortunate not to have any negative side effects whatsoever. It makes my skin radiant and helps reduce the occurence of painful ovarian cysts. My temperament has never changed. I’ve always been quite fiery and energetic. I’m certain that my family would never put my name in the same sentence as the words “passive,” “sluggish,” or “depressive.” It wasn’t until more recently that I conducted my own in-depth research on birth control and discovered how widely different the effects can be depending on your own body and the type of contraception you’re using. Doctors too often put girls on high-dose pills, which isn’t necessary unless being used to treat an illness such as PCOS. In recent years, the arm implants and hormonal IUD have become quite popular, and those have even higher levels of hormones than pill forms. In my experience, doctors just throw an Rx for bc at you without giving you any info on your options or asking what you’re concerns are. You have to completely be your own advocate. And this is also true when it comes to preparing to deliver a child.
After doing my research, I asked to be given the lowest-dose combination pill available so that I could still prevent cysts without subjecting myself to unnecessary levels of estrogen. It was sad to me how hard it felt I had to press the medical staff not to overmedicate me.

e b
e b
11 months ago
Reply to  Ali W

Yes. I also went on it at 16, my mother said it would control my bad moods that she didn’t like! Well,I felt quite bovine, like a passive cow, on it. But was so young and unaware that meds had side effects. In early 30s I came off it. Just intuition that it wasn’t good for me. So many variables it’s hard to say definitively, but I never once considered going back on it, as I felt much more alive,sparky, and more myself once I came off it. It became my personal conspiracy theory that the pill was convenient to authorities as it kept us docile, perhaps due to a feeling as if we’re pregnant all the time.

Ali W
Ali W
11 months ago

I had been on hormonal birth control since I was about 16 and only recently came off of it a few years ago at 33 (mainly due to a complete loss of trust for pharmaceuticals after the mRNA vaccine push).
I’ve suffered anxiety and depression my whole life, but within about 6 months of coming off the pill my symptoms subsided significantly. It’s definitely something that exists even though I’m no longer interfering with my hormones, but to a much smaller degree.
I had no expectations when ceasing use that anything would change, I had just become uncomfortable with long-term treatments that weren’t medically necessary.

Susanne Schwameis
Susanne Schwameis
11 months ago

Agree with a lot that has been said below already.
What baffles me as a women is how the medical Establishment ans big pharma suggest that a woman can become pregnant at any time… but the reality is that its only a few days a month which women if they follow their cycle and know their bodies can very well circumvent naturally without having to Pop hormone pills with all their potential side effects. That would be true empowerment.

As someone who has been put on the pill when I was 16 by my doctor for convenience sake of dealing with my teenage acne im horrified today of how “well meaning doctors” are treating their patients. There is in 99% of the cases NO I formed consent or true education.

Alison Wren
Alison Wren
11 months ago

In my long career teaching biology I always spent as much time as possible explaining women’s menstrual cycle. In fact, used properly, natural family planning is more reliable than any other method. The abstinence (or use of barrier methods) in the pre-ovulatory phase certainly makes the partners more appreciative of the post-ovulatory freedoms! Not very suitable for many women especially the young, but huge rewards for those who persevere with the added bonus of knowing exactly when she is fertile for when pregnancy is desired.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
11 months ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

Interestingly, women that I have “known” in that sense didn’t favor the pill. This was long ago and I’ll be the first to say that it’s a very insignificant sample but I got the sense that the same was true for most of their friends. Comical tales of diaphram mishaps were a common trope of the time.
So, yes. The rhythm method was in use, if only as a back-up, and I suppose has been all along.
Of course, this “hybrid” method was not one hundred percent effective.
Plus ca change!

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
11 months ago
Reply to  Alison Wren

Interestingly, women that I have “known” in that sense didn’t favor the pill. This was long ago and I’ll be the first to say that it’s a very insignificant sample but I got the sense that the same was true for most of their friends. Comical tales of diaphram mishaps were a common trope of the time.
So, yes. The rhythm method was in use, if only as a back-up, and I suppose has been all along.
Of course, this “hybrid” method was not one hundred percent effective.
Plus ca change!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

But nature has made it that women feel more horny when they are ovulating.

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Alison Wren
Alison Wren
11 months ago

In my long career teaching biology I always spent as much time as possible explaining women’s menstrual cycle. In fact, used properly, natural family planning is more reliable than any other method. The abstinence (or use of barrier methods) in the pre-ovulatory phase certainly makes the partners more appreciative of the post-ovulatory freedoms! Not very suitable for many women especially the young, but huge rewards for those who persevere with the added bonus of knowing exactly when she is fertile for when pregnancy is desired.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago

But nature has made it that women feel more horny when they are ovulating.

Last edited 11 months ago by Clare Knight
Susanne Schwameis
Susanne Schwameis
11 months ago

Agree with a lot that has been said below already.
What baffles me as a women is how the medical Establishment ans big pharma suggest that a woman can become pregnant at any time… but the reality is that its only a few days a month which women if they follow their cycle and know their bodies can very well circumvent naturally without having to Pop hormone pills with all their potential side effects. That would be true empowerment.

As someone who has been put on the pill when I was 16 by my doctor for convenience sake of dealing with my teenage acne im horrified today of how “well meaning doctors” are treating their patients. There is in 99% of the cases NO I formed consent or true education.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
11 months ago

What this article ignores is that not all women take the pill for pregnancy avoiding reasons. Some women suffer terribly every month with heavy, painful bleeding and wild hormonal mood swings and the pill can help relieve this, in the same way that some women benefit more from HRT than others.
I’d also add that hook up culture concerns should be more about the spreading of STIs than unwanted babies and condoms are the most effective for protecting against both.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Very well said, Lindsay, both things are so true.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Lindsay S

Very well said, Lindsay, both things are so true.

Lindsay S
Lindsay S
11 months ago

What this article ignores is that not all women take the pill for pregnancy avoiding reasons. Some women suffer terribly every month with heavy, painful bleeding and wild hormonal mood swings and the pill can help relieve this, in the same way that some women benefit more from HRT than others.
I’d also add that hook up culture concerns should be more about the spreading of STIs than unwanted babies and condoms are the most effective for protecting against both.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago

The pill exists
 take it if you want to, don’t take it if you don’t.
Are you adults with agency or mindless pawns unable to control your own life?
The author of this piece seems more than a little ambivalent about the entire subject, sitting on the fence throughout. Her only one concrete remark is that men are responsible for all the problems.
In terms of pros and cons surely one of our greatest concerns should be the female hormones excreted in urine that pollute our rivers and drinking water: adversely affecting the reproduction of amphibians, fish, and to and unknown extent, even humans.

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw
J Dunne
J Dunne
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

That was the main point I got from it too.

Despite the fact it was 60s feminists who championed the pill and saw it as a tool in the emancipation of women from the slavery of motherhood… the whole thing was apparently forced on them by men. To a feminist everything has to be the fault of men.

Alan B
Alan B
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

The problem with this perspective (“take it if you want to”) is that the pill manifestly alters one’s feelings and desires. After having learned a bit about this phenomenon, my wife and I were astonished to realize that we knew at least three women who initiated a divorce within months of ceasing hormonal birth control. Something inexplicable had changed (for the worse of course) regarding these women’s physical comportment with their partners: He no longer “smelled right,” for example.

Last edited 11 months ago by Alan B
Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan B

Never had any effect on my desires and feelings, myself and my late husband had an active sex life right up until a few months before he died – when he was too ill. Do not put your anecdotal experiences onto all women, or all couples.

Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
11 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Yes I know loads of women who took the pill and remained happily married – if it was really as bad as Alan B suggests there would have been a huge outcry. It works fine for most women. There are alternatives for those that don’t like it.

Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
11 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Yes I know loads of women who took the pill and remained happily married – if it was really as bad as Alan B suggests there would have been a huge outcry. It works fine for most women. There are alternatives for those that don’t like it.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan B

If what you state is accurate and commonplace then the majority of adult females are not in their right minds and are being randomly manipulated by chemicals.
Oh, wait a minute


Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan B

Never had any effect on my desires and feelings, myself and my late husband had an active sex life right up until a few months before he died – when he was too ill. Do not put your anecdotal experiences onto all women, or all couples.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan B

If what you state is accurate and commonplace then the majority of adult females are not in their right minds and are being randomly manipulated by chemicals.
Oh, wait a minute


Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Interesting point.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

“surely one of our greatest concerns should be the female hormones excreted in urine that pollute our rivers and drinking water: adversely affecting the reproduction of amphibians, fish and even humans”
The idea that we just don’t know how the pill might be affecting human reproduction… and think of the toads! Civilization is collapsing around us, but think of the poor toads!
No disrespect intended, but I found this to be hilarious.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Fair enough. In the context of global problems it’s a relatively minor problem but in the context of birth control pills (which is the subject matter at hand) then the pollution of rivers, lakes and our drinking water with female hormones is a serious issue.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

Fair enough. In the context of global problems it’s a relatively minor problem but in the context of birth control pills (which is the subject matter at hand) then the pollution of rivers, lakes and our drinking water with female hormones is a serious issue.

J Dunne
J Dunne
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

That was the main point I got from it too.

Despite the fact it was 60s feminists who championed the pill and saw it as a tool in the emancipation of women from the slavery of motherhood… the whole thing was apparently forced on them by men. To a feminist everything has to be the fault of men.

Alan B
Alan B
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

The problem with this perspective (“take it if you want to”) is that the pill manifestly alters one’s feelings and desires. After having learned a bit about this phenomenon, my wife and I were astonished to realize that we knew at least three women who initiated a divorce within months of ceasing hormonal birth control. Something inexplicable had changed (for the worse of course) regarding these women’s physical comportment with their partners: He no longer “smelled right,” for example.

Last edited 11 months ago by Alan B
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

Interesting point.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  William Shaw

“surely one of our greatest concerns should be the female hormones excreted in urine that pollute our rivers and drinking water: adversely affecting the reproduction of amphibians, fish and even humans”
The idea that we just don’t know how the pill might be affecting human reproduction… and think of the toads! Civilization is collapsing around us, but think of the poor toads!
No disrespect intended, but I found this to be hilarious.

William Shaw
William Shaw
11 months ago

The pill exists
 take it if you want to, don’t take it if you don’t.
Are you adults with agency or mindless pawns unable to control your own life?
The author of this piece seems more than a little ambivalent about the entire subject, sitting on the fence throughout. Her only one concrete remark is that men are responsible for all the problems.
In terms of pros and cons surely one of our greatest concerns should be the female hormones excreted in urine that pollute our rivers and drinking water: adversely affecting the reproduction of amphibians, fish, and to and unknown extent, even humans.

Last edited 11 months ago by William Shaw
Linda M Brown
Linda M Brown
11 months ago

In a way the pill took away a woman’s right to say “no”. Before the introduction of the pill, if a woman said “yes”, she’s a s/*t ( /=l, *=u, the algorithm doesn’t like the actual word); after the introduction, if she said “no” she is frigid. Either way, she was demonized. No such demonizing occurs for men.

I remember in the 80’s an advert came out saying to the effect that you are sleeping with every person that your partner has ever slept with-I think it was primarily aimed at gay/bi men to encourage condom use during the AIDS panic, but is no less applicable to heterosexuals today. The Pill has never been the panacea for sexual freedom/sexual liberation that its’ advocates have pushed. The one thing that the pill has never protected against, or prevented is venereal diseases (initially renamed sexually transmitted diseases, STDs, and now renamed the much less scary term, sexually transmitted infections, STIs) which are-once again-on the rise. The scary part is that some strains are resistant to any treatment that we currently have. Perhaps this is something that should be stressed in sex ed courses. Best to take no chances, use the pill for pregnancy and insist your partner wear a condom for both your safety.

Last edited 11 months ago by Linda M Brown
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Linda M Brown

Exactly. So important.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Linda M Brown

“Either way, she was demonized. No such demonizing occurs for men.”
This is not true. Because men and women are different, they face different cultural expectations, medical risks, attitudes towards life, etc.
But just as cultural expectations for women’s sexuality have always responded to their unique biological and psychological conditions, so too have cultural expectations for men’s sexuality always been responsive to men’s unique biological and psychological conditions.
As a result, in the post-pill era, while women have to deal with the tension between a loose woman and being a frigid one, men have to deal with the tension between being a hedonist or a closeted homosexual. Since the advent of the pill and the loosening of women’s sexual availability, men are now expected not just to pursue women, but to pursue random, short-term relationships wherever available – in a word, they’re expected to want to screw anything that moves.
If you have compunctions about that, culture assumes you want to screw anything that moves, but of the opposite sex, and you’re so burdened by shame about your closeted sexuality, that you just can’t acknowledge that to anyone.
Each sex has its benefits and burdens, and its own cultural norms that it is in constant interplay with.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kirk Susong
Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Linda M Brown

Exactly. So important.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Linda M Brown

“Either way, she was demonized. No such demonizing occurs for men.”
This is not true. Because men and women are different, they face different cultural expectations, medical risks, attitudes towards life, etc.
But just as cultural expectations for women’s sexuality have always responded to their unique biological and psychological conditions, so too have cultural expectations for men’s sexuality always been responsive to men’s unique biological and psychological conditions.
As a result, in the post-pill era, while women have to deal with the tension between a loose woman and being a frigid one, men have to deal with the tension between being a hedonist or a closeted homosexual. Since the advent of the pill and the loosening of women’s sexual availability, men are now expected not just to pursue women, but to pursue random, short-term relationships wherever available – in a word, they’re expected to want to screw anything that moves.
If you have compunctions about that, culture assumes you want to screw anything that moves, but of the opposite sex, and you’re so burdened by shame about your closeted sexuality, that you just can’t acknowledge that to anyone.
Each sex has its benefits and burdens, and its own cultural norms that it is in constant interplay with.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kirk Susong
Linda M Brown
Linda M Brown
11 months ago

In a way the pill took away a woman’s right to say “no”. Before the introduction of the pill, if a woman said “yes”, she’s a s/*t ( /=l, *=u, the algorithm doesn’t like the actual word); after the introduction, if she said “no” she is frigid. Either way, she was demonized. No such demonizing occurs for men.

I remember in the 80’s an advert came out saying to the effect that you are sleeping with every person that your partner has ever slept with-I think it was primarily aimed at gay/bi men to encourage condom use during the AIDS panic, but is no less applicable to heterosexuals today. The Pill has never been the panacea for sexual freedom/sexual liberation that its’ advocates have pushed. The one thing that the pill has never protected against, or prevented is venereal diseases (initially renamed sexually transmitted diseases, STDs, and now renamed the much less scary term, sexually transmitted infections, STIs) which are-once again-on the rise. The scary part is that some strains are resistant to any treatment that we currently have. Perhaps this is something that should be stressed in sex ed courses. Best to take no chances, use the pill for pregnancy and insist your partner wear a condom for both your safety.

Last edited 11 months ago by Linda M Brown
JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
11 months ago

As an old man I don’t have a player in this debate any more.
But I remember talking to three young Mormon women about the “Silver Ring” movement while hiking in Utah. I asked one what the pregnancy rate of young women who wore one was compared to the wider population. She looked me in the eye and said “about the same”.

JOHN KANEFSKY
JOHN KANEFSKY
11 months ago

As an old man I don’t have a player in this debate any more.
But I remember talking to three young Mormon women about the “Silver Ring” movement while hiking in Utah. I asked one what the pregnancy rate of young women who wore one was compared to the wider population. She looked me in the eye and said “about the same”.

Jill Mans
Jill Mans
11 months ago

Well it didn’t stop unwanted pregnancies, did it?

Tom More
Tom More
11 months ago
Reply to  Jill Mans

It created the mass killings of children by abortion. Narcissistic hedonism.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Tom More

You do realise the pill is different to abortion don’t you? In fact by stopping people becoming pregnant in the first place it has probably caused the abortion numbers to be much lower than they otherwise would be

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

We could test your theory by comparing the number of abortions before the introduction of the pill to the number of abortions after the pill.
Which would show that the pill – and the sexual liberation is enabled – caused a massive increase in abortions.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

You mean comparing abortion rates when they were illegal and often dangerous, compared to today when they’re safe freely available? You’re comparing apples to oranges my friend

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Hmm… are you willing to admit that in the era of the Pill, people have sex with people they’re not ready to have a kid with, much more frequently than they used to?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

What’s wrong with doing that?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

What’s wrong with doing that?

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Hmm… are you willing to admit that in the era of the Pill, people have sex with people they’re not ready to have a kid with, much more frequently than they used to?

Linda M Brown
Linda M Brown
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

In the early 1960’s Enoch Powell announced that married women who wished to use oral contraceptives would be able access it through the NHS. Single women weren’t supposed to have sex. Abortions, but only under certain circumstances, became legal in 1968. As prior to this it was illegal to obtain an abortion under any circumstance, it might be hard to data.
As an aside, Pre Pill introduction, my Mum (born 1929) knew 3 women who became pregnant out of wedlock in the late 40’s/50’s prior to the pill. One man’ did a runner (got her drunk and compliant) and she and her (war) widowed mother moved away when the baby was born. Two married the women; one was date rape & after marriage he beat her on a regular basis until abandoning her and their son to poverty(her parents disowned her), the other couple married and lived a long and happy live together going on to have more children (her parents promised to support her regardless-they offered to bring the child up as their own). </span>
As a teenager, Post Pill introduction, in the 70’s I knew of 2 unplanned pregnancies and one planned by the girl. Of the two unplanned, one was a couple who were dating during high school, they married and gave up the prospect of university. The other was
date’ rape; she was raped by her boyfriend who then denied the child was his; she underwent an abortion. Between the trauma of the rape then the trauma of the abortion she was depressed and fragile for years. The planned pregnancy was planned by the girlfriend (Hi there Wendy), she was a few year older (turning 19) than the boyfriend and wanted to be married before she was 20 (like her cousins). She told him she was on the pill (she wasn’t) and what horny teenage boy is going to ask twice or think to use a condom. His parents had to give permission for their marriage. He quit school after finishing Grade11. She had a daughter, I think she left him and the child as I only ever saw him with the child.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

You mean comparing abortion rates when they were illegal and often dangerous, compared to today when they’re safe freely available? You’re comparing apples to oranges my friend

Linda M Brown
Linda M Brown
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

In the early 1960’s Enoch Powell announced that married women who wished to use oral contraceptives would be able access it through the NHS. Single women weren’t supposed to have sex. Abortions, but only under certain circumstances, became legal in 1968. As prior to this it was illegal to obtain an abortion under any circumstance, it might be hard to data.
As an aside, Pre Pill introduction, my Mum (born 1929) knew 3 women who became pregnant out of wedlock in the late 40’s/50’s prior to the pill. One man’ did a runner (got her drunk and compliant) and she and her (war) widowed mother moved away when the baby was born. Two married the women; one was date rape & after marriage he beat her on a regular basis until abandoning her and their son to poverty(her parents disowned her), the other couple married and lived a long and happy live together going on to have more children (her parents promised to support her regardless-they offered to bring the child up as their own). </span>
As a teenager, Post Pill introduction, in the 70’s I knew of 2 unplanned pregnancies and one planned by the girl. Of the two unplanned, one was a couple who were dating during high school, they married and gave up the prospect of university. The other was
date’ rape; she was raped by her boyfriend who then denied the child was his; she underwent an abortion. Between the trauma of the rape then the trauma of the abortion she was depressed and fragile for years. The planned pregnancy was planned by the girlfriend (Hi there Wendy), she was a few year older (turning 19) than the boyfriend and wanted to be married before she was 20 (like her cousins). She told him she was on the pill (she wasn’t) and what horny teenage boy is going to ask twice or think to use a condom. His parents had to give permission for their marriage. He quit school after finishing Grade11. She had a daughter, I think she left him and the child as I only ever saw him with the child.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

We could test your theory by comparing the number of abortions before the introduction of the pill to the number of abortions after the pill.
Which would show that the pill – and the sexual liberation is enabled – caused a massive increase in abortions.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Tom More

You do realise the pill is different to abortion don’t you? In fact by stopping people becoming pregnant in the first place it has probably caused the abortion numbers to be much lower than they otherwise would be

MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
11 months ago
Reply to  Jill Mans

Considering the ever falling birth rates, it obviously did.

Tom More
Tom More
11 months ago
Reply to  Jill Mans

It created the mass killings of children by abortion. Narcissistic hedonism.

MĂŽnica
MĂŽnica
11 months ago
Reply to  Jill Mans

Considering the ever falling birth rates, it obviously did.

Jill Mans
Jill Mans
11 months ago

Well it didn’t stop unwanted pregnancies, did it?

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
11 months ago

“The anti-pill contingent, represented by old-school conservatives and tradfluencers alike, suggest that women are so seduced by the illusory freedom of artificially-induced infertility that they become like hedonistic children, squandering their fertile years on meaningless hook-ups and breakneck career advancement at the expense of society at large.”

I’m sorry to say that this critique rings true to me and that it applies to both women and men. Demographic decline is like a tailspin, once you’re in it, it’s extremely difficult to recover and yet every incentive in modern society is oriented towards maximising economic growth to pay for the entitlements of the generation who put us in this tailspin in the first place by following this path.

Once their demographic has shrunk to the extent that it can no longer swing elections, these entitlements will be removed as unaffordable and stuffy old school conservatives will be left to clear up the generational damage done to societies by putting the desires of the individual, and the market that feeds them, above society as a whole.

Last edited 11 months ago by Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
11 months ago

“The anti-pill contingent, represented by old-school conservatives and tradfluencers alike, suggest that women are so seduced by the illusory freedom of artificially-induced infertility that they become like hedonistic children, squandering their fertile years on meaningless hook-ups and breakneck career advancement at the expense of society at large.”

I’m sorry to say that this critique rings true to me and that it applies to both women and men. Demographic decline is like a tailspin, once you’re in it, it’s extremely difficult to recover and yet every incentive in modern society is oriented towards maximising economic growth to pay for the entitlements of the generation who put us in this tailspin in the first place by following this path.

Once their demographic has shrunk to the extent that it can no longer swing elections, these entitlements will be removed as unaffordable and stuffy old school conservatives will be left to clear up the generational damage done to societies by putting the desires of the individual, and the market that feeds them, above society as a whole.

Last edited 11 months ago by Matthew Powell
Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
11 months ago

What this article fails to consider is the importance of family life. Before reliable birth control women held the power in relationships because they had to select a reliable male partner who could support her and the family. Birth control has resulted in meaningless sexual relationship with family life and stable marriages being the victims.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

“Women held the power in relationships”. I think not.

Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

My mother had no power at all in her marriage and neither did her mother. My grandfather was a tyrant but luckily away at sea most of the time.

Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

My mother had no power at all in her marriage and neither did her mother. My grandfather was a tyrant but luckily away at sea most of the time.

Jenny Caneen
Jenny Caneen
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Women had the power to say yes or no ( unless they were already pregnant) to a man’s marriage proposal. That was pretty much the extent of their power.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

“Women held the power in relationships”. I think not.

Jenny Caneen
Jenny Caneen
11 months ago
Reply to  Alan Thorpe

Women had the power to say yes or no ( unless they were already pregnant) to a man’s marriage proposal. That was pretty much the extent of their power.

Alan Thorpe
Alan Thorpe
11 months ago

What this article fails to consider is the importance of family life. Before reliable birth control women held the power in relationships because they had to select a reliable male partner who could support her and the family. Birth control has resulted in meaningless sexual relationship with family life and stable marriages being the victims.

B Davis
B Davis
11 months ago

Women are “pawns in the contraception war”?
Only if they wish to be pawns….only if they see themselves as pawns…only if they sit there, dumbly, simply waiting to be moved by The Expert Hand (preferably one which appears regularly on podcasts & talk shows spouting expertise). Otherwise they’re as free to ignore or not ignore the little sign on the pill bottle which says, “Eat Me!” as they ever were. As free, in fact, as the Man who drives past a new car lot whose sign says, “Buy Me!” ….or anyone who steps into a bar and finds the Bud Light banner which says “Drink Me!”.
The fact that — as with most things — there are groups who push one way and groups that push another is completely irrelevant. We all are free to listen or not listen: to jump down the rabbit hole, or not. Nothing really has changed.
But this fundamental freedom of choice is here obscured by a confusing litany of exaggerations and quibbles.
No…there is no ‘right wing war on contraception’….and no, Conservatives have not been experiencing ‘consternation’ at the development of hormonal contraception because they’re “categorically antagonistic … toward non-procreative sex.” Rather there is and has been a significant Conservative concern about non-marital sex and the accompanying increase in out-of-wedlock birthrates (families without fathers) and the accompanying increase in community poverty & crime all of which tend to be exacerbated when people believe in the myth of ‘sex without consequence’.
These concerns, as it happens, have been justified time and again over the last 60+ years.
The author scoffs at what she describes as “The anti-pill contingent, represented by old-school conservatives and tradfluencers alike, suggest that women are so seduced by the illusory freedom of artificially-induced infertility that they become like hedonistic children, squandering their fertile years on meaningless hook-ups and breakneck career advancement at the expense of society at large.” But surely we recognize that the Pill does seduce with the ‘promise’ of an artificially-induced infertility…as much as the “you can have it all” dogma produced by the Advertising Agency and Gender Studies (strange bedfellows!) seduces. The truth is the sexual freedom sold with those same little pill strips is illusory. There is no such thing as ‘sexual freedom’ … not really. Freedom, as they say, is just another word for nothing left to lose.
Equally illusory the belief that you can successfully and consistently make career (and ‘girls just wanna have fun’) the number one life priority until you’re 40…and then find a lifetime mate…and then get pregnant on command…and then raise multiple children in a blissfully happy family.
So yes, we do squander. We’ve always squandered; men and women alike. “The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.” This is not new; this is not ‘old-school conservatives’ nor ‘tradfluencers’ — rather this is life. And the way forward has nothing to do with “the topic of birth control being long dominated by men” and everything to do with people making clear-headed decisions based upon solid life priorities and values. Zipless f**** is neither.

Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
11 months ago
Reply to  B Davis

There is a possible solution – it would be very radical but guarantee almost no out-of-wedlock births.
All men who wish to father children are invited to have several deposits of their sperm frozen and then have a vasectomy. Their sperm is easily identifiable using DNA.
As an incentive the government then invests a specific sum of money on their behalf to be withdrawn on their wedding day and used as a deposit on a house. When they are ready to become a father – only within wedlock – they can withdraw some of their sperm and impregnate their wife. This procedure can be repeated for as many times as they wish and can afford to have children. The younger the sperm generally the healthier and the greater guarantee of healthy offspring usually.
This removes the onus for contraception from women. It could be voluntary with the incentive of a deposit on a house later on plus no danger of fathering unwanted children. I think it might prove quite popular. I know a few men paying child support for children they fathered unknowingly with women they barely knew. This would put a stop to that.
Women would be able to go online and check which men had had the snip before going to bed with them.

Last edited 11 months ago by Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
11 months ago
Reply to  B Davis

There is a possible solution – it would be very radical but guarantee almost no out-of-wedlock births.
All men who wish to father children are invited to have several deposits of their sperm frozen and then have a vasectomy. Their sperm is easily identifiable using DNA.
As an incentive the government then invests a specific sum of money on their behalf to be withdrawn on their wedding day and used as a deposit on a house. When they are ready to become a father – only within wedlock – they can withdraw some of their sperm and impregnate their wife. This procedure can be repeated for as many times as they wish and can afford to have children. The younger the sperm generally the healthier and the greater guarantee of healthy offspring usually.
This removes the onus for contraception from women. It could be voluntary with the incentive of a deposit on a house later on plus no danger of fathering unwanted children. I think it might prove quite popular. I know a few men paying child support for children they fathered unknowingly with women they barely knew. This would put a stop to that.
Women would be able to go online and check which men had had the snip before going to bed with them.

Last edited 11 months ago by Alice Rowlands
B Davis
B Davis
11 months ago

Women are “pawns in the contraception war”?
Only if they wish to be pawns….only if they see themselves as pawns…only if they sit there, dumbly, simply waiting to be moved by The Expert Hand (preferably one which appears regularly on podcasts & talk shows spouting expertise). Otherwise they’re as free to ignore or not ignore the little sign on the pill bottle which says, “Eat Me!” as they ever were. As free, in fact, as the Man who drives past a new car lot whose sign says, “Buy Me!” ….or anyone who steps into a bar and finds the Bud Light banner which says “Drink Me!”.
The fact that — as with most things — there are groups who push one way and groups that push another is completely irrelevant. We all are free to listen or not listen: to jump down the rabbit hole, or not. Nothing really has changed.
But this fundamental freedom of choice is here obscured by a confusing litany of exaggerations and quibbles.
No…there is no ‘right wing war on contraception’….and no, Conservatives have not been experiencing ‘consternation’ at the development of hormonal contraception because they’re “categorically antagonistic … toward non-procreative sex.” Rather there is and has been a significant Conservative concern about non-marital sex and the accompanying increase in out-of-wedlock birthrates (families without fathers) and the accompanying increase in community poverty & crime all of which tend to be exacerbated when people believe in the myth of ‘sex without consequence’.
These concerns, as it happens, have been justified time and again over the last 60+ years.
The author scoffs at what she describes as “The anti-pill contingent, represented by old-school conservatives and tradfluencers alike, suggest that women are so seduced by the illusory freedom of artificially-induced infertility that they become like hedonistic children, squandering their fertile years on meaningless hook-ups and breakneck career advancement at the expense of society at large.” But surely we recognize that the Pill does seduce with the ‘promise’ of an artificially-induced infertility…as much as the “you can have it all” dogma produced by the Advertising Agency and Gender Studies (strange bedfellows!) seduces. The truth is the sexual freedom sold with those same little pill strips is illusory. There is no such thing as ‘sexual freedom’ … not really. Freedom, as they say, is just another word for nothing left to lose.
Equally illusory the belief that you can successfully and consistently make career (and ‘girls just wanna have fun’) the number one life priority until you’re 40…and then find a lifetime mate…and then get pregnant on command…and then raise multiple children in a blissfully happy family.
So yes, we do squander. We’ve always squandered; men and women alike. “The world is too much with us; late and soon, Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers.” This is not new; this is not ‘old-school conservatives’ nor ‘tradfluencers’ — rather this is life. And the way forward has nothing to do with “the topic of birth control being long dominated by men” and everything to do with people making clear-headed decisions based upon solid life priorities and values. Zipless f**** is neither.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
11 months ago

Oh please – I went on the combined pill at 18, as I never wanted children, and had zero side effects. In my 30s I switched to the mini pill, this was recommended given I was, and still am, a smoker – again zero side effects. The mini pill was so much better – no one week break, taken all month and zero bleeding. As the article states, the one week break was never necessary – and plenty of women carried on taking their pills if, for example, they were going on holiday. I can take the mini pill for one more year until I hit 55, and my doctor and I both hope that any irregular menopausal bleeding that might happen if I was not on the pill, will have stopped by then. The pill was a complete revolution for womens control over when or if to get pregnant, yes there are issues for some women – but I still consider it one of the most important innovations of the 20th century.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Exactly, and it probably helped you go through menopause without horrendous symptoms.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

This is how most arguments about human sexuality are debated these days. “Here’s something that is having a profound negative impact on society.” “Yes, but it worked for me.”
Did you know that 80-90% of smokers never develop lung cancer? Why the campaign to stamp it out?

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

I have been smoking for 35 years with zero ill effects, barring coughing very occasionally. My last chest x-ray was completely clear. I firmly believe that genetics play a major part in our personal health – this is the future, tailored health treatment according to our own genetic makeup. I drink way too much but had a fibro scan on my liver last week and it is apparently in excellent shape. However, I do have high blood pressure due to family history – we all have it, albeit controlled with medication – genetics yet again.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Yes, genetics surely plays a big role in things, as does family upbringing, social circumstances, whether you born into a country at war or at peace, etc.
Should public policy be set by the exceptional cases? People with no health effects from smoking are the exception, not the rule. As a result, government discourages smoking. The question is how far we are going to take that line of thinking.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kirk Susong
Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

We need to all be treated as individuals – not as an amorphous blob of people who have certain health issues, or who indulge in certain purportedly unhealthy lifestyle choices. We have way too much nanny state as it is.

Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
11 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

You are right about DNA and family health history – far more important than people realise – my father was a heavy smoker and drinker who died at 67 from lung cancer – my aunt was an equally heavy smoker who lived into her 80s. They were not blood relations.
A lot of research is now being done into a much more bespoke approach to medical care which is fascinating and hopefully will bring many positive innovations in future.

Alice Rowlands
Alice Rowlands
11 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

You are right about DNA and family health history – far more important than people realise – my father was a heavy smoker and drinker who died at 67 from lung cancer – my aunt was an equally heavy smoker who lived into her 80s. They were not blood relations.
A lot of research is now being done into a much more bespoke approach to medical care which is fascinating and hopefully will bring many positive innovations in future.

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

We need to all be treated as individuals – not as an amorphous blob of people who have certain health issues, or who indulge in certain purportedly unhealthy lifestyle choices. We have way too much nanny state as it is.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Yes, genetics surely plays a big role in things, as does family upbringing, social circumstances, whether you born into a country at war or at peace, etc.
Should public policy be set by the exceptional cases? People with no health effects from smoking are the exception, not the rule. As a result, government discourages smoking. The question is how far we are going to take that line of thinking.

Last edited 11 months ago by Kirk Susong
Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
11 months ago
Reply to  Kirk Susong

I have been smoking for 35 years with zero ill effects, barring coughing very occasionally. My last chest x-ray was completely clear. I firmly believe that genetics play a major part in our personal health – this is the future, tailored health treatment according to our own genetic makeup. I drink way too much but had a fibro scan on my liver last week and it is apparently in excellent shape. However, I do have high blood pressure due to family history – we all have it, albeit controlled with medication – genetics yet again.

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

Exactly, and it probably helped you go through menopause without horrendous symptoms.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Nikki Hayes

This is how most arguments about human sexuality are debated these days. “Here’s something that is having a profound negative impact on society.” “Yes, but it worked for me.”
Did you know that 80-90% of smokers never develop lung cancer? Why the campaign to stamp it out?

Nikki Hayes
Nikki Hayes
11 months ago

Oh please – I went on the combined pill at 18, as I never wanted children, and had zero side effects. In my 30s I switched to the mini pill, this was recommended given I was, and still am, a smoker – again zero side effects. The mini pill was so much better – no one week break, taken all month and zero bleeding. As the article states, the one week break was never necessary – and plenty of women carried on taking their pills if, for example, they were going on holiday. I can take the mini pill for one more year until I hit 55, and my doctor and I both hope that any irregular menopausal bleeding that might happen if I was not on the pill, will have stopped by then. The pill was a complete revolution for womens control over when or if to get pregnant, yes there are issues for some women – but I still consider it one of the most important innovations of the 20th century.

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
11 months ago

Sex is fun and it doesn’t cost anything. There is nothing wrong with casual sex and many things right with it from time to time. Like drugs & Rock & roll, there is a price to pay: pregnancies and STDs and the pill doesn’t protect one from the latter. Anyone who is ’empowered’ should be able to choose whatever sexual avenue works for them without feeling like a s**t or walking into anything that is inconvenient or life-altering and we have the wherewith-all to achieve that. Hooray!

Tom More
Tom More
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Stonor

And just never mind that pile of tiny dismembered corpses. Narcissistic hedonism has lots of spokespersons.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Tom More

That’s abortion, a completely different argument

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Tom More

Oh shut up, Tom. If youre against abortion don’t have one.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Tom More

That’s abortion, a completely different argument

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Tom More

Oh shut up, Tom. If youre against abortion don’t have one.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Stonor

I don’t know, it’s cost me a ton of money buying drinks for girls over the years during numerous failed attempts to get in their knickers

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

We need more than a drink.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

So I came to realise, it was always more than one!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Clare Knight

So I came to realise, it was always more than one!

Clare Knight
Clare Knight
11 months ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

We need more than a drink.

B Davis
B Davis
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Stonor

Sex is fun and doesn’t cost anything???
No, my friend, blowing soap bubbles is fun and doesn’t cost anything (well, beyond the price of the soap and the bubble wand). Sex…as in sex & love…is everything.
Casual sex is nothing more or less than a slightly extended masturbatory experience. As compelling as getting coffee from some Barista (though perhaps not as intimate as the quick smile we share when she hands me my cup), it requires the same degree of interpersonal engagement and ritual connection. We quickly learn that it’s not polite to treat the Other as little more than my Right Hand…though it’s rude, here, to leave a tip.
For the adolescent, Casual Sex provides the illusion that he or she has arrived. They can then say loudly though metaphorically to their Elders, “See! I am old enough to objectify myself and my desires; I take pride in my ability to ‘hook-up’, as though the literal, physical connection between the twined genitals requires maturity, wisdom, and cool.
It is an empty experience, of course, bereft of the immensity of meaning which should accompany the most intimate of human acts…but like many empty experiences, it does carry some marginal entertainment value, like chewing gum or fidget spinners (and yes, indeed, both are ‘fun’).
But why would anyone want this? Why would we seek to reduce ourselves to an Itch and an Other to a Scratch? Why would we serially and seriously pursue the destruction of human potential, be it our own or our partners? Sadly, tragically, the more we indulge these appetites for the trivially superficial, the empty and meaningless gesture of pretended intimacy, the more and more difficult it becomes to open ourselves to what is and should be both real and transcendent. We owe ourselves (and each other) more than a simple slap and tickle

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Stonor

“it doesn’t cost anything” then “there is a price to pay”
Hmm…
Of course you should feel like a s**t if you’re a s**t. And you should feel like a prude if you’re a prude. And if I’m a self-righteous Unherd commenter I should feel like a self-righteous Unherd commenter.
If something is bad and you are that thing, you should feel bad. That’s how feelings are supposed to work.

Tom More
Tom More
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Stonor

And just never mind that pile of tiny dismembered corpses. Narcissistic hedonism has lots of spokespersons.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Stonor

I don’t know, it’s cost me a ton of money buying drinks for girls over the years during numerous failed attempts to get in their knickers

B Davis
B Davis
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Stonor

Sex is fun and doesn’t cost anything???
No, my friend, blowing soap bubbles is fun and doesn’t cost anything (well, beyond the price of the soap and the bubble wand). Sex…as in sex & love…is everything.
Casual sex is nothing more or less than a slightly extended masturbatory experience. As compelling as getting coffee from some Barista (though perhaps not as intimate as the quick smile we share when she hands me my cup), it requires the same degree of interpersonal engagement and ritual connection. We quickly learn that it’s not polite to treat the Other as little more than my Right Hand…though it’s rude, here, to leave a tip.
For the adolescent, Casual Sex provides the illusion that he or she has arrived. They can then say loudly though metaphorically to their Elders, “See! I am old enough to objectify myself and my desires; I take pride in my ability to ‘hook-up’, as though the literal, physical connection between the twined genitals requires maturity, wisdom, and cool.
It is an empty experience, of course, bereft of the immensity of meaning which should accompany the most intimate of human acts…but like many empty experiences, it does carry some marginal entertainment value, like chewing gum or fidget spinners (and yes, indeed, both are ‘fun’).
But why would anyone want this? Why would we seek to reduce ourselves to an Itch and an Other to a Scratch? Why would we serially and seriously pursue the destruction of human potential, be it our own or our partners? Sadly, tragically, the more we indulge these appetites for the trivially superficial, the empty and meaningless gesture of pretended intimacy, the more and more difficult it becomes to open ourselves to what is and should be both real and transcendent. We owe ourselves (and each other) more than a simple slap and tickle

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago
Reply to  Alex Stonor

“it doesn’t cost anything” then “there is a price to pay”
Hmm…
Of course you should feel like a s**t if you’re a s**t. And you should feel like a prude if you’re a prude. And if I’m a self-righteous Unherd commenter I should feel like a self-righteous Unherd commenter.
If something is bad and you are that thing, you should feel bad. That’s how feelings are supposed to work.

Alex Stonor
Alex Stonor
11 months ago

Sex is fun and it doesn’t cost anything. There is nothing wrong with casual sex and many things right with it from time to time. Like drugs & Rock & roll, there is a price to pay: pregnancies and STDs and the pill doesn’t protect one from the latter. Anyone who is ’empowered’ should be able to choose whatever sexual avenue works for them without feeling like a s**t or walking into anything that is inconvenient or life-altering and we have the wherewith-all to achieve that. Hooray!

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago

“The loudest voices in this conversation leave little room for a middle way, one that empowers women to avoid pregnancy if they want to, but also supports them if they wish to become mothers.”
The author embraces the lie that “choice” is what’s really important in human sexuality – while complaining that the choices often seem unsatisfactory. She complains about religious-minded arguments for abstinence – while acknowledging that the consequences of sexuality and reproduction go deeper than “just the facts, ma’am.” (That depth is precisely religion’s concern, ma’am.)
I am not Catholic and have no objection to birth control. But it has insidiously fostered the notion that science has mastered reproduction, that gestation is a happenstance of women’s lives, that children are burdens, etc. We can even draw a line from the pill to men crushing women in women’s sports… if you can choose when to have children, you are in a sense choosing when to be a woman, and if you can choose when to be a woman you can choose to be a woman.
The pill is obviously not going anywhere. But what has to change is our attitude towards it. It’s “liberating” the same way that a narcotic is liberating. In very specific situations, it’s a life saver. But you can get addicted, and miss out on the best things life has to offer.
In short, a typical essay from Unherd’s stable of feminists, in which the author uses hyperbole to complain about hyperbole, and complains about contemporary conditions unaware that her perspective causes contemporary conditions.

Kirk Susong
Kirk Susong
11 months ago

“The loudest voices in this conversation leave little room for a middle way, one that empowers women to avoid pregnancy if they want to, but also supports them if they wish to become mothers.”
The author embraces the lie that “choice” is what’s really important in human sexuality – while complaining that the choices often seem unsatisfactory. She complains about religious-minded arguments for abstinence – while acknowledging that the consequences of sexuality and reproduction go deeper than “just the facts, ma’am.” (That depth is precisely religion’s concern, ma’am.)
I am not Catholic and have no objection to birth control. But it has insidiously fostered the notion that science has mastered reproduction, that gestation is a happenstance of women’s lives, that children are burdens, etc. We can even draw a line from the pill to men crushing women in women’s sports… if you can choose when to have children, you are in a sense choosing when to be a woman, and if you can choose when to be a woman you can choose to be a woman.
The pill is obviously not going anywhere. But what has to change is our attitude towards it. It’s “liberating” the same way that a narcotic is liberating. In very specific situations, it’s a life saver. But you can get addicted, and miss out on the best things life has to offer.
In short, a typical essay from Unherd’s stable of feminists, in which the author uses hyperbole to complain about hyperbole, and complains about contemporary conditions unaware that her perspective causes contemporary conditions.

Terry Raby
Terry Raby
11 months ago

Interesting until the last paragraph – it seems de rigeur to always blame a male collective. There is also a biological error – s**t shaming is by womwn against other women – to reduce the biological attractiveness of one’s rivals.

Terry Raby
Terry Raby
11 months ago

Interesting until the last paragraph – it seems de rigeur to always blame a male collective. There is also a biological error – s**t shaming is by womwn against other women – to reduce the biological attractiveness of one’s rivals.

Tom More
Tom More
11 months ago

More to say later when I have more time, but I will initially point out that the only institution with a sane and compassionate view on the Pill… (Jordan Peterson’s “hydrogen bomb”) , is the Catholic church. The world’s only true liberalism.
Not an accident that it was racist eugenicists like Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger… uber “feminist” who led the “Birth Control” movement.
And women were not “liberated” by the Pill. The exact opposite occurred. They were instrumentalized.
Lancet showed that NFP.. Natural Family Planning is MORE effective than the pill, is taught in third world settings effectively , and doesn’t change the the entire psychological nature of those who employ it.
As a Catholic, a true liberal, I get awfully tired of boring ideological simpletons presenting sane people as “right wing” and conservative.
It is no accident that American eugenicists and racists like Sanger and the Birth Control movement were the progenitors to this killing and antihuman instrument of death and enslavement and the breakdown of natural human life and relationships. The enslavement of women to the corporate whim.
Fakes. Frauds.

Tom More
Tom More
11 months ago

More to say later when I have more time, but I will initially point out that the only institution with a sane and compassionate view on the Pill… (Jordan Peterson’s “hydrogen bomb”) , is the Catholic church. The world’s only true liberalism.
Not an accident that it was racist eugenicists like Planned Parenthood’s Margaret Sanger… uber “feminist” who led the “Birth Control” movement.
And women were not “liberated” by the Pill. The exact opposite occurred. They were instrumentalized.
Lancet showed that NFP.. Natural Family Planning is MORE effective than the pill, is taught in third world settings effectively , and doesn’t change the the entire psychological nature of those who employ it.
As a Catholic, a true liberal, I get awfully tired of boring ideological simpletons presenting sane people as “right wing” and conservative.
It is no accident that American eugenicists and racists like Sanger and the Birth Control movement were the progenitors to this killing and antihuman instrument of death and enslavement and the breakdown of natural human life and relationships. The enslavement of women to the corporate whim.
Fakes. Frauds.

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
11 months ago

There is nothing remotely liberating nor empowering about casual sex or the fertility crisis. When are feminists going to grow up?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago

Are you just upset you didn’t get any when you were younger?

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
11 months ago

Are you just upset you didn’t get any when you were younger?

Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
Annemarie Ni Dhalaigh
11 months ago

There is nothing remotely liberating nor empowering about casual sex or the fertility crisis. When are feminists going to grow up?

Tom More
Tom More
10 months ago

As a Catholic its rather fascinating to see the portrayal we get in the press. Demographers point to the demise of the west; our heritage by 2150; one lifetime and a half roughly.
And the church teaches that interfering with natural healthy human functioning is a profound evil; a perversion in the true sense of the word. Inducing vomiting after eating comes to mind. Or is breaking a limb clear enough?
And NFP as Lancet reported is actually more effective than the PILL and without the horrible side effects that can include total personality disordering including no longer being sexually attracted to one’s significant other. Aww…no big deal.
And that fine Marxist ideological term… “empowering women”. Right. Look at all those empowered young women having their babies cut out of them.
And the abortions that follow irresponsible sex. But what could be wrong with killing children.
How about societal suicide and disappearance from life itself. No big deal right? After all.. its only the west.
Catholic teaching, which is based upon simple natural law; simple facts about us all, is simply sanity. Truth. About us all. It is fully defensible from reason alone.

Tom More
Tom More
10 months ago

As a Catholic its rather fascinating to see the portrayal we get in the press. Demographers point to the demise of the west; our heritage by 2150; one lifetime and a half roughly.
And the church teaches that interfering with natural healthy human functioning is a profound evil; a perversion in the true sense of the word. Inducing vomiting after eating comes to mind. Or is breaking a limb clear enough?
And NFP as Lancet reported is actually more effective than the PILL and without the horrible side effects that can include total personality disordering including no longer being sexually attracted to one’s significant other. Aww…no big deal.
And that fine Marxist ideological term… “empowering women”. Right. Look at all those empowered young women having their babies cut out of them.
And the abortions that follow irresponsible sex. But what could be wrong with killing children.
How about societal suicide and disappearance from life itself. No big deal right? After all.. its only the west.
Catholic teaching, which is based upon simple natural law; simple facts about us all, is simply sanity. Truth. About us all. It is fully defensible from reason alone.

Tom More
Tom More
11 months ago

The Pill is the pathway, the road too traveled that leads to the question du jour. What is a woman?

Tom More
Tom More
11 months ago

The Pill is the pathway, the road too traveled that leads to the question du jour. What is a woman?

Kate Madrid
Kate Madrid
11 months ago

when Dr Gregory Pincus began testing an early prototype for the pill, his test cases were incarcerated, institutionalised, and impoverished women. In other words, women whose incapacitation and economic despair made them easy to take advantage of. It was a deplorable measure, in a desperate time: funding for birth-control research was banned by the US government until 1959, so Pincus’s work was supported by private donors, whose advocacy was directly downstream from an unsavoury enthusiasm for eugenics.

Oh, so not “eugenicists?” Like maybe people experiencing eugenics like beliefs?

Times are ALWAYS desperate. My vote for the next Guinea pigs is people who white wash using people as Guinea pigs. And I do mean white.

Dark Horse
Dark Horse
11 months ago

A