Thursday, December 2, 2010

What's love got to do with it?

"Sex is painful, but I'm fine."
"He said he'd pull out, but I guess he didn't."
"I don't think I've ever orgasmed."
"I don't really enjoy sex, but I just get through it because that's part of being a woman."
"I told him I was pretty sure I was ovulating, but he didn't listen."
"I have to put the medication IN my vagina?! Which hole is that?"
"He doesn't think it's important to use birth control."

I don't think that a lot of abortion clients are having particularly good sex. At all. I've heard all of the above statements from women I've counseled and my co-workers and I have had meetings about expanding birth control discussions to include questions about sexual side effects since so many women seen hesitant to bring those up if they even recognize them in the first place.

Our clients aren't dumb, and I'm not blaming them for the lack of sexual empowerment I've seen from working at the clinic. But they live in a society that values male sexual satisfaction to the extent that Viagra is lauded as a discovery tantamount to the Polio vaccine (vaccine/autism debate notwithstanding). They live in a society that only refers to vaginas as "down there," and limits related dialog to freshness, which brings right back to the obsession with male sexuality. We all know the axiom that if men could get pregnant, abortion would be a sacrament," and I bet you that if a man experienced pain during sex, a full-scale, multimillion dollar investigation wold be launched.

And that male-centric sexual society is the one that values the cuuuute little baybee fetus and refuses to even acknowledge the enormous amount of women's rights involved in the need for choice and the need for abortion. And sex is about communication and bonding and mutual pleasure (usually about these things. I know it's not 1956.), so if the sex complaints above are any indication, of course the couple is in no position to bring a baby into the relationship. And I'm so glad there's a choice available, but that choice sure doesn't exist in a vacuum. (No pun intended.)


  1. You have a really good point - if the sex isn't good, there are larger relationship issues that need to be addressed. Adding a baby to the mix isn't going to make the relationship any better.

  2. I think its the lousy sex-ed in schools to blame for the most part.

    The vaccine/autism link is bull. All scare tactics!

  3. So true! As an abortion counselor I am often dumbfounded at how little women know/ care about their vagina's well being. At our clinic we are also addressing the issue of sexual side effects of birth control because it is an issue that many women are concerned about but rarely voice. I wonder if many women feel expressing a desire for a healthy sex life would "diminish the severity" of the situation they find themselves in.
    I often encourage my clients to think about once this stressful circumstance is over and passed that it is only natural and right that they will desire a healthy and enjoyable sex life. And something they can do now to start building towards that is finding a form of contraception that fits their life style and does not effect their sexual appetite. Taking away the perpetual stress from fear of pregnancy is fundamental in helping our clients work with their partners towards a pleasurable positive sex life.

    Keep up the good work ladies!

  4. Great post! I agree with Steph- sex ed. has a lot to do with it.

    PS- just wanted to say that I'm a pro-choice gal in Ireland where abortion is completely illegal. I love this blog! It makes me even more determined in my, and many other people in Ireland's fight to have abortion legalised here. Keep up the good work!

  5. I'm sure that's all true for most people, but (slightly off topic as this is) some people are asexual and really just don't like sex no matter how attentive their partner is. For asexuals who have sexual relationships, it's about compromise. It's an awkward and rare situation, but it is out there and doesn't mean that anything is wrong.


This is not a debate forum -- there are hundreds of other sites for that. This is a safe space for abortion care providers and one that respects the full spectrum of reproductive choices; comments that are not in that spirit will either wind up in the spam filter or languish in the moderation queue.