I Refuse To Go On Birth Control Until I’m Sure A Relationship Will Last

Birth control is a commitment that risks a number of side effects that can fall anywhere on the spectrum from mild to day-ruining extreme. Then there’s the cost, the calls to health insurance companies, the social stigma—and what is it all for? Frankly, I’m not willing to put myself through the hassle unless it’s for someone special.

  1. There’s really no point. I’m not a wildly sexual human. Sex is fun, meeting people is great, dating is an adventure, but you know what else is great? Being single and binge-watching Bob’s Burgers with my dog. My one-night stands aren’t nearly frequent enough to warrant a constant barrage of chemicals to prevent any slip-ups. Until I’m in a committed relationship, condoms are really the most practical option for me.
  2. I’m the only one feeling the side effects. Sure, the guy I’m with would have to deal with me struggling with mood swings, weight gain, or nausea, but I’d be the one really suffering. I’d be the one trying to drag myself out of an emotional funk to get through my day. I’ve heard guys sing the praises of birth control for making their girlfriends’ boobs bigger, but they wouldn’t be the ones spending upwards of $50 on a new bra. I’d be the one visiting my doctor to get a prescription for a new birth control method if the other one doesn’t work out. Guys bitch about how condoms are a hassle and they make sex feel less good, but I find it hard to feel much sympathy considering what women go through.
  3. I don’t want to pay for it alone. I don’t want kids yet and I don’t know that I ever will. Condoms work just fine on that front and they’re cheap, so I don’t mind buying them. A 36-pack of Trojan condoms can cost roughly $26 and knowing my sex life, they’ll probably last me a good long while, especially if I’m not the sole provider. You can also get them for free by the bag full at most health clinics, so really there’s no excuse to not have them (looking at you, guys who conveniently forgot to buy condoms). Meanwhile, birth control pills can cost $50 or more every month and I’ll need to keep up on those payments in order for the pill to be effective. I think it’s fair to ask a guy to help with that, seeing as he’ll also be benefiting from it. In my mind, a guy worth risking all the potential side effects and insurance company calls is also the kind of guy who will willingly contribute financially to our sex life.
  4. Ultimately it’s my problem to deal with alone. Who’s remembering to take the pill every day? Who has to remember to take out the ring ever two weeks? Who has to go get the implant removed or the IUD put in? Who has to go through health insurance to see what will be paid for? Yep, me. If a guy isn’t going to commit to me, I’m not going to commit to going through all the hassle of finding the best birth control method.
  5. I’m not picky about which form of BC I go on. I’m willing to try any form of birth control, but it’s also worth considering the relationship before deciding on which method to go for. If we decide to travel a lot, maybe I’ll do the IUD instead of the pill. If we’re going to be long-distance for a while, maybe I’ll try something shorter term like the ring or the patch when we’re together. It’s my body, so obviously I get the final say, but I want to make the most informed decision on which birth control method would be best for me, and for us.
  6. My body has a routine that I don’t want to break. I’m not a very impulsive person; I like being able to plan ahead, especially when it comes to my body. I have an exercise routine that works for me. I have a fragile sleep schedule that keeps me going. I’ve been recording my period consistently for six years; I can predict when my period will come within a day, how long it will last, and when to prepare for spotting. I like my body functioning as-is, and birth control could spoil all of that.
  7. It’s a moral issue. Every article that comes out online about male birth control bemoans the negative side effects that it puts men through—side effects that women have been expected to suffer with for decades. Women have a certain expectation to suffer for the sake of others’ comfort and I’m over it. The emotional labor women are expected to carry out for free in their relationships is enough to make me want to hang up the towel and move to the mountains to live out my days as a hermit. I put up with enough as a woman in society, so I’m not taking on any more one-sided burdens unless it’s for someone willing to help me shoulder that responsibility. Ultimately, my decision to wait to go on birth control is a great litmus test for the guys I date. If a guy complains about having to use condoms, pesters me to go on birth control, or thinks my decision is silly, I know that he’s not the one I’ll be going on birth control for.
  8. I still support women on BC. Listen, if you want to be on birth control 100% of the time and someone (besides your trusted doctor) is telling you that you can’t, you shouldn’t, or that they know better, I’ve got your back. It’s your body and I’ll always fight to make sure you’re the one in control.
Johanna is a proud longtime resident of the Finger Lakes in Western New York and a gaudy jewelry enthusiast. This ambitious early-thirty-something can often be found declining event invites on Facebook and looking at pictures of her niece while she drinks wine on her couch, accompanied by her beloved dog, Dorothy Barker.