Friday, January 18, 2008

#161 - Recreational Sex

(As Opposed to Pro-Creational Sex)

I'm done making babies. Waaaaaayyyyy done. Factory is closed. Not gonna reopen. Ever. Again.

Not that having children isn't a wonderful, magical thing. It's a beautiful expression of the love between a man and a woman that manifests into a screamin', cryin', poopin' miracle. But enough is enough. We've got two and I'll be damned if we're gonna have another and let ourselves get outnumbered. Besides, what's the worst thing for the planet? More people on it.

So, we're against more babies (for us, that is.... you do what you want) but we're not against sex. In fact, I'd say we're very much for sex. When the kids haven't worn us down into a state of vegetative exhaustion that is. So what's a pro-sex, anti-baby couple to do? Get some birth control, that's what.

I gave hubby a year after our last kid was born to do the snip-snip thing, which he swore up and down he would. Guess when that happened? If you guessed "never", well, you're probably married too. So after a year of being on the pill, I went to my vaginologist (makes them sound much more scientific -- as well as dare-devily, don't you think?) to check out what my options were. Turns out, some new products had become available since the last time I inquired.

After going through all the pros and cons with my doc, I finally chose Mirena, an IUD that releases very low levels of progestin directly into the uterus. The IUD is good for five years of pregnancy prevention and is 100% reversible, in case I ever go insane. There is a very minimal amount of plastic waste generated through its use - just the IUD itself and the protective package it came in. But the big advantage it has over the pill and the patch is that it doesn't any contain any synthetic estrogen. Estrogen that, when excreted through urine, ends up making its way back into our streams and rivers.

As you may or may not know, numerous studies, including those conducted by the EPA and the Canadian Fresh Water Institute, have found that increased levels of synthetic estrogen in our waters is leading to the feminization of fish. And we're not talking about handsome little metro-perchuals with stylish hairdos that carry man-purses and go to off-Broadway productions of Sunset Boulevard. We're talking about male fish who have lost the ability to fertilize eggs because their man-parts are too busy making their own eggs.

This, to me, is scary shit. If it's already impacting the fish, will our own sons or grandsons be affected too? I don't have the answers, but I sure as hell don't want to contribute to the problem.

Before you start sending me moron-mail, let me say that I know I have other options available for birth control that are even more eco-friendly. Like abstinence (I'm already married with two kids and a sports fanatic husband, claiming abstinence as our birth control feels redundant) or the rhythm method (yeah, cuz as millions and millions and millions of Catholics will tell you - that's super-reliable). But this particular form of birth control - Mirena - is the one that I felt most comfortable with. It has minimal impact on the environment and minimal impact on me.

Now I know this is a hot-button issue for a lot of folks, and I'm not gonna tell you what type, if any, birth control you should use. I'm just gonna say this: take a moment to do some research of your own, talk to your doctor, and decide what alternative is right for you and your partner. You never know, there may be new options available that you are simply unaware of.

And, as always, feel free to rant and rave about my moral depravity in the comments. I like the masochistic feel of it ;-)


just ducky said...

I smugly admit that I had to have a hysterectomy last September...while some people might find this tragic, I am 34 and don't have to worry about birth control or menstruation I'm pretty darn thrilled. While surgery always has the potential for complications...I had none. I'm thrilled.

Green Bean said...

Hmmm, your husband and I have ALOT in common. My sister finally forced her husband in to the old "V" and hasn't heard the end of it. That was 2 months ago. Anyway, I looked into Mirena too. It sounds like a great option.

leslie said...

Tubal ligation is a great option.
Very interesting about the hormones in the water system. It wasn't something that was on my radar screen. Agian, the best blog on the planet. Wait. Second best blog on the planet... :)

Jennifer said...

I tried to get an IUD.. the copper T one, not the Mirena, though, since I didn't want ANY hormones in my body anymore.

Unfortunately, I, being a young woman with no pregnancies, had a uterus that was too small to safely have one. Sob. The sting of that hurt WAY more than my poor cervix (they had to do all of the invasive stuff to figure out it was too small).

As soon as my uterus stretches out with a kid, I'm popping an IUD in! (Kids planned in the somewhat distant future).

For now, I will muddle through the other non-hormone options.

Burbanmom said...

Yeah, I wanted to go with the hormone-free copper IUD too, but I have HORRIBLE metal allergies and the doc said it wasn't a good idea. Nothing like an itchy, green uterus, you know.

I'll probably go with tubal ligation when my 5 years is up. Just couldn't figure out a way to have the surgery with two little babies at home. Once they're a little older and don't need to be carried everywhere, I think I'll be able to swing it.

Wendy said...

I opted for the hormone free IUD, because hormone birth control does not nice things to my body ... well, my mind, but it's all one-in-the-same :). We talked about snip-snip for hubby, and he even had an appointment scheduled to do go it, but in the end, it was *me* that chickened out and couldn't go through with him having the surgery. I know, weird, huh? :).

MamaBird said...

Great post -- copper IUD, here, and I am such a huge fan. You know, I am completely freaked about the hormones in the Potomac and never even thought about birth control as a source -- I was thinking more about farm runoff. I am so glad that hormone-controlling birth control makes me insane...cause there is no way I would ever use it again. What do you know about water treatment to address hormones? I tried to research this awhile back and got nowhere. But a Wash Post article said that VA and MD treat their water somehow to get rid of hormones...

me said...

Hmmm- very good timing, we just had our last. I have never in my life used birth control and I'm trying to research them right now. It's nice to knot it's estrogen free. thanks for the tips! Have fun with all that.... re-non-creating!

Anonymous said...

I got an IUD (Mirena specifically) shortly after Zoie was born. I ended up having to have it removed this week. Without getting too graphic and personal the strings that hang down from it went awall and implanted itself elsewhere forcing the IUD to be constantly pulling down. This then caused excruciating pain if I was forced to bend, or twist in any manner.

Given the fact that I still want to have another child (even though I haven't conviced hubby of that yet), and the depo shot made me INSANE, the ortho evra patch is so dangerous and the IUD tried to go fishing in side my body I've been forced to go back to the old fashioned pill. BTW - in case you didn't know this they know make them chewable and mint flavored. Good enough for children - kind of scary huh?!?

Raw Food Diva said...

um yeah just found your blog...and I just wrote in mine about all the nasty hormones in our waters that you are in someone else's medicine cabinet with every drink of water.
ps like the stories of the way you grew up & thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked, shocked that you and your husband are pro-SEX!!!!


I had a hysterectomy last year, so I'm as smug as just ducky. But 5 years before that, I had a tubal ligation. Of course, we had no children to be carried or even kittens at the time, so my recovery time was mine all mine.

And speaking of husbands, what IS it with them? Their surgery is so much less invasive than ours, and yet we're the ones who end up getting cut open. Maybe if they could get pregant, they'd be more likely to go for a little snip snip? I'm just saying.

Okay, here's one back at you. Looking for a plastic-free alternative to synthetic lube. (Meaning natural lube without a plastic bottle.)

Burbanmom said...


Yeah, men are just chicken about the snip. They're such babies sometimes. (Can you tell mine doesn't read my blog?!?!)

As for lube, what about your kitchen cooking oils? I mean, other than smelling like a salad, what's the down side? I wouldn't recommend the Chinese Chili oil, though. You might end up with more than just a "gentle warming sensation"!

leslie said...

Tubal ligation can be done with a tiny little incision in the belly button. Not even a scar! Laparoscopic surgery.
I remember recovery being quite easy.

I can't pass this abour "Extra Virgin" olive oil for lube?? :)

Jennifer said...

I had the tubal as well. Figured since Hannah was a C-section I may as well have it all done at once.

Down side is WAY heavier periods...or maybe it's just that I'm synthetic hormone free. Something to think about though.

Heather said...

Dude, you are SO BUSTED! Now mom is gonna know you're having S-E-X!

Lawrence said...

As a guy, let me put a word in for vasectomies. A wonderful investment! And the simplicity of it all!

Caveman id or ego aside, guys who don't get a vasectomy are wimps. In fact, most guys should probably get a vasectomy BEFORE getting anyone pregnant! I'm proud of mine and only wish I'd gotten it sooner.

Anonymous said...

I don't know anything about Mirena, but if it's progestin only, like the mini pill or Depo Provera (both of which I've been on while breastfeeding) watch out for side effects. Namely, never wanting to have sex again. I blamed it on the above mentioned breastfeeding and having a baby, but, no. It was like 8 months of being on a bad date - as in - oh God,he's going to try to hold my hand, kill me.

Burbanmom said...


Dude, that is SO NOT GOOD! Yikes! Luckily, I'm as randy as I ever was (for whatever THAT'S worth) but every body is different. Keep on looking and talking with your OB/GYN. You'll find something that works for you without turning you into a nun! :-)

Anonymous said...

No, it's fine now, I just couldn't figure out what was wrong at the time. I'm now pregnant for the 3rd and final time and when I have my third c-section they are tying my tubes. This was just a public service announcement. The way I actually would describe all of that was exactly the same way a friend described Prozac side effects. It's not just that you don't want to, it's that you can't imagine you or anyone else ever having wanted to. I suppose Mirena has a much smaller dose.

Anonymous said...

No, it's fine now, I just couldn't figure out what was wrong at the time. I'm now pregnant for the 3rd and final time and when I have my third c-section they are tying my tubes. This was just a public service announcement. The way I actually would describe all of that was exactly the same way a friend described Prozac side effects. It's not just that you don't want to, it's that you can't imagine you or anyone else ever having wanted to. I suppose Mirena has a much smaller dose.

Jessica at Bwlchyrhyd said...

> ...the rhythm method (yeah, cuz as
> millions and millions and millions
> of Catholics will tell you - that's
> super-reliable)

Have you heard of Natural Family Planning? This is NOT the same thing as the rhythm method at all. NFP is a scientifically proven technique based on tracking your temperature and cervical fluid and has about the same effectiveness as condoms in preventing pregnancy.

I was on the pill for nearly 20 years and then decided that I didn't want to be putting all these hormones in my body any more. I tried a copper IUD but was in such constant pain that I had to have it removed. I am now learning NFP and think that this could be an ideal solution for many women in monogamous relationships.

Jennie said...

My husband and I have been using the rhythm method for the past four years with no faults. Once he had me go get a morning after pill because he was worried that he made a mistake, but that was early in the method when I think he was rather nervous about it. Although it was his idea I go off birth control. They wanted to up my dosage because I was spotting.

Anonymous said...

What the heck is wrong with using a diaphragm? I've been using one for 28 years and no errors, no muss, no fuss and best of all, no hormones involved (except my own natural ones of course).

Seriously, this is the best method ever invented and if used correctly every single time, has a zero failure rate. Ask your ob/gyn!

Julie said...

I had no idea birth control pills had this effect on fish.

I'm a college student with a live-in boyfriend and I'm on birth control, but never heard of anything remotely like this. Thanks for informing me, and thanks to the person who suggested using diaphragms. I'm going to look into it.

Anonymous said...

Wikipedia disagrees with zero failure rate for Diaphragms. It says 9-16%:

I'm not saying that's not a good choice, but don't oversell it!


Anonymous said...

Being a 32-year-old smoker, I opted for a copper IUD last year. The first few months cramps were horrible, bleeding was SO much more than I had ever anticipated --at times I considered sitting on the toilet for the entire week and lettin' it flow rather than trying to deal with it.

But now, cramping is nearly non-existent, flow is greatly reduced and my period has become predictable again. And the bonus? I don't have to mess around with birth control for 9 more years!

daharja said...

Geez - maybe its a cultural thing or something, but all this talk of cutting you open and taking drugs and chemicals into yor bodies and stuff is giving me the willies!

What's wrong with CONDOMS, people????

We've been using them for years, and they're fine.

The pill (ugh - nasty!), IUD (yawks - can't help thinking of that copper 7 gizmo that killed a whole stack of women by ripping their insides apart and infecting them), and hysterectomy (ouch!) just make me wince.

I don't know what that Mirena thing is, but sounds like women are probably being used as guinea pigs again. How long has it been around and how has it been tested for safety? By the company itself, probably. That worries me.

I'm not causing trouble here on purpose (I hope you've seen enough of my postings to know I'm not generally a trouble-maker) but this worries me. I think we, as women, need to be a lot more cautious about what we put in our bodies (including which men! *lol*) and perhaps think twice about chemicals and surgery. Then think twice again. And again after that.

So yes, we're using condoms. And have been for nearly ten years. They're not just for teenagers. Now we've probably finished having kids, he's likely to have a vasectomy in the next year or two, which is much safer and simpler than tubal ligation.

Anyway, the reason I'm posting this is I think we all need to think carefully about what we're doing to our bodies and why - especially 'down there'. It's something we don't talk about a whole lot, except with GPs, who are just ill-educated stooges for drug companies a lot of the time, anyway (unfortunately).

Thanks for the good topic of discussion though.