Danielle Bean, a wife and mother of eight, is editorial director of Faith & Family magazine and author of My Cup of Tea, Mom to Mom, Day to Day, and most recently Small Steps for Catholic Moms. Read more of her blogging at Faith & Family Live and DanielleBean.com.
Here’s an anti-birth control story in an unusual place:
So why does a self-professed feminist and thoroughly modern woman hate the pill?
Because it kills her libido:
“I hate the pill. Hormonal contraception, which covers birth control pills and nearly every other highly effective method on the market, murders my libido. I say that with as much certainty as I can, given the murky, multi-variate thing that is the human sex drive. I’ve experimented with several pills, hoping that any slight variation in hormonal ingredients would yield a contraceptive that worked without neutering me. Each doused my interest in sex as completely as the other. Although a libido-destroying pill does wonders to lower your pregnancy risk, it’s also done a number on my relationships, self-esteem and emotional well-being.
About a year into using the pill in my mid-20s, I first noticed a ratcheting down in sexual thoughts and daydreams. My interest in sex was cooling, even as I started a new, exciting relationship. I felt flat, with no detectable mid-cycle hormonal surge. Eventually, my libido dissipated so that just the thought of sex repulsed me, which left me confused, depressed and cut off from myself and my partner. Yes, there were other problems in our relationship that may have contributed, as well as stress about work and bills. So many physical, emotional and life factors can affect libido. But what I figured out was this: On the pill, I felt as turned off as a burned-out bulb, and off the pill, I did not.”
And here I thought only we crazy NFP-promoting types talked about the damaging side effects of hormonal birth control. I find it beyond ironic that the pill—the panacea that was supposed to liberate women to enjoy sex without consequences—has robbed many women of the enjoyment of any kind of sex at all.
Reading through Ms. Sealey’s personal history of experimentation with various birth control devices leaves me wondering how anyone can consider use of these humiliating and dehumanizing devices “liberating” for women at all. The pains many women go through to make themselves available to men for sex without consequences are not exactly the stuff that freedom and equality are made of.
What’s more, the use of hormonal birth control to “treat” all manner of female physical ailments is astonishing. As Simcha Fisher points out, it’s lousy medicine.
Does modern medicine care about women enough to ditch the pill—the great symbol of sexual liberation—as its favorite cure-all prescription? Perhaps it will if enough of us stand up and demand that medicine treat female bodies and fertility with dignity and respect.
UPDATE: I’m just going to go ahead and remove all comments here and close off further discussion. Sheesh, people! If you’ve got that kind of time and energy, do something constructive with it.