Media articles on contraception surveys and how silly teh wimminz are pretty much always bother me. For a whole variety of reasons.
Here’s one of them. There is so much elided, left out, glossed over, ignored, probably not even known by the author. So many opportunities lost to examine the actual issues. So many assumptions made.
Some women fear asking their doctor about contraception as much as a visit to the dentist, a new report has suggested.
A tenth of women admit they find it equally nerve-racking, in the poll conducted by Bayer Healthcare.
Sure. And why is that? Could it be their previous experiences with doctors, slut-shaming, fat-shaming, dismissing, assaulting them? Could it be that having coerced pelvic exams and Pap smears (with scripts withheld till they comply) flashes them back to their rape(s)? That some doctors bring their own religious crap to the consultations instead of being professional? A zillion other reasons?
The report shows almost a quarter of sexually active women have not spoken to their GPs about contraception at all.
And? Maybe some or all of the above. Maybe they’re trying to get pregnant. Maybe they’re only sexually active with women. Maybe they’re partnered with a man who’s had a vasectomy. Maybe they’re using condoms or a cervical cap. Maybe they’re not having PIV sex.
Women spend less than 10 minutes a year talking to their doctor about contraception, the poll also revealed.
And this is my biggest “So?” There is no way in hell I’ve spent an average of ten minutes – one full consultation – every single year of my sexually active life talking with a doctor about contraception. And I’ve been around the contraceptive block- I’ve been on a good half dozen or so kinds of pill, an IUD, used FAM, three different types of barriers, used the lactational amenorrhea method, taken EC once, and had a sterilisation. Not in that order.
Barring complicated medical issues, there really isn’t a huge amount to talk about year-in, year-out. Women often have a fair idea what sort(s) of contraception they’d like; it doesn’t take long to point out salient information, point out where to access more salient information, offer options, and do the relevant checks.
Dr Tina Peers, Consultant in Contraception and Sexual Health, said: “There is more choice than ever for women of all ages – there are actually 15 methods of contraception and as an example, there are over 20 different types of oral contraceptives available, but women in their 20s and 30s seem to be denying themselves the chance to make an informed choice. “
Newsflash: doctors aren’t the only source of information on contraception.
This whole article seems to be assuming that Dr J. Random GP is competent and up-to-date in their contraceptive knowledge in the first place, which is by no means a foregone conclusion. Often, you can access higher quality advice elsewhere.
And if the doctor-patient consultation length is not enough for the woman to make an informed choice, that doesn’t mean she is “denying herself” that chance. It takes two to tango. Are women always in control of medical consultations?
The reticence to speak about contraception with the doctor extends to women talking about it with people a little closer to home.
The research shows more than half of women (56%) say the person they’re sleeping with is not the person they’re most comfortable with discussing contraception.
And? I’d imagine many women are very, very comfortable indeed discussing contraception with their female friends. Or perhaps some are most comfortable discussing the details with their nurse, midwife, or even doctor. Does the sexual partner have to be the person a woman is most comfortable discussing contraception with? So long as it gets discussed in a functional way at some stage, what’s the problem?
There is a huge role for better contraceptive education for all genders, for more sex education for all genders (which is far, far bigger than instructing women about contraception), for discussing ways to achieve these things.
This article? Sneering at women? Making a baseline assumption that longer GP-woman chats are the optimal way to achieve contraceptive ed? No.
But while British women are not comfortable talking about contraception, they appear relaxed enough to go home with a partner relatively early in their relationship. A total of 39% of sexually active women say they went to bed with their most recent partner by the third date.
Now with a bonus slut-shaming sting in the tail! That sort of attitude couldn’t possibly have anything to do with women not sitting down for loooong fireside chats about their bodies and life plans and sex lives with health professionals, could it?
Well, could it?
Note: The Bayer pharmaceutical company is a major producer of contraceptive pills and intrauterine devices, contraceptive methods which require regular medical consultations and prescriptions. This is not noted in the article. “Nursing in Practice” magazine, additionally, appears to offer substantial advertising from pharmaceutical, medical device, and weight loss companies.