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Yes, that’s right, Lizzie Crocker writes on Women in the World. “Your low-hormone pill could leave you screaming during sex for all the wrong reasons.”
The study, gleaned from an online survey involving 1,000 women between the ages of 19-39, found that women on lower-dose oral contraceptives (less than 20 micrograms of synthetic estrogen) were twice as likely to report pelvic pain during or after orgasm than those on contraceptives with higher estrogen levels, or those who weren’t on the pill at all.
These symptoms can be quite burdensome and painful depending on their severity and the way they affect quality of life,” lead researcher Dr. Nirit Rosenblum told The Daily Beast. “Young women in particular need to be aware of these adverse side effects because they are generally being prescribed the low-dose pills.
Rosenblum, who specializes in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said she and her partners first noticed the link between low-dose pills and pain amongst their patients.
I’ve been taking this type of pill without any such issues since I was a teenager, before I even knew what pre-ejaculate was, let alone exactly how the pill prevented baby-making. All I knew was that the low-dose option was believed to be a better bet for women like me who have a history of breast cancer in their family.
But the latest study has me weighing whether to toss my trusty plastic pack of oral contraceptives altogether and use a diaphragm like they did in the old days. Sure, inserting a silicone cup into one’s vagina every time there’s a window of opportunity for sex is a bit of a hassle and, well, not exactly sexy. But when the other option might be never enjoying sex again, reaching for the dome-shaped device seems like a no-brainer. Or, if I don’t want revert back to the birth control of choice for my mother’s generation, I might sign up for IUD implantation, the Ortho Evra patch, or the progestogen-only Depo-Provera shot.
What is going on with the contraceptive debate in the GOP!?
Until quite recently, conservatives knew better than to take on reproductive rights so directly. During Bill Clinton’s presidency, remember, the right focused its attack on so-called partial-birth abortion, a late-term procedure that even many pro-choice advocates find disturbing, if sometimes tragically necessary. The strategy then was to erode abortion rights around the edges, without alarming women in the center. Now several Republican presidential candidates proclaim a desire to ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest, and we’re having a nationwide argument about whether women deserve contraceptive coverage in their insurance plans.
This argument shows no signs of abating. At a hearing on Thursday, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) assembled an all-male panel to discuss the birth-control mandate, leaving many women apoplectic. (Then he sent a tweet comparing his witnesses to Martin Luther King Jr., apparently unaware that the civil-rights hero was once a member of a Planned Parenthood committee, or that he described a “striking kinship between our movement and Margaret Sanger’s early efforts.”)
The same day, in a now-infamous MSNBC appearance, Foster Friess, the wealthy patron of the pro-Rick Santorum super PAC, dismissed the idea that birth-control coverage matters. “On this contraceptive thing, my gosh it’s such [sic] inexpensive,” he said. “You know, back in my days, they used Bayer aspirin for contraception. The gals put it between their knees, and it wasn’t that costly.” His message was clear: ladies, keep your legs closed!
[Photo: Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images]
This week’s cover story examines the return of the culture wars and how Obama set a contraception trap for the right.
Here’s a preview:
The more Machiavellian observer might even suspect this is actually an improved bait and switch by Obama to more firmly identify the religious right with opposition to contraception, its weakest issue by far, and to shore up support among independent women and his more liberal base. I’ve found by observing this president closely for years that what often seem like short-term tactical blunders turn out in the long run to be strategically shrewd. And if this was a trap, the religious right walked right into it.
Take a look at the polling. Ask Americans if they believe that contraception should be included for free in all health-care plans and you get a 55 percent majority in favor, with 40 percent against. Ask American Catholics, and that majority actually rises above the national average, to 58 percent. A 49 percent plurality of all Americans supported the original Obama rule forcing Catholic institutions to provide contraception coverage. And once again, American Catholics actually support that more controversial position by a slightly higher margin than all Americans, with 52 percent backing it. So on religious-freedom grounds, the country is narrowly divided, but with a small majority on Obama’s side.
And on the issue of contraception itself, studies have shown that a staggering 98 percent of Catholic women not only believe in birth control but have used it. How is it possible to describe this issue as a violation of individual conscience, when no one is forced to use contraception against their will, and most Catholics have already consulted their conscience, are fine with the pill, and want it covered? This is not like abortion, a far, far graver issue. Even the church hierarchy—in a famous commission set up by Pope John XXIII to study birth control—voted to allow oral contraception under some circumstances, only to be controversially vetoed by Pope Paul VI in 1968. And the truth is, there is no real debate among most actual living, breathing American Catholics on the issue, who tend to be more liberal than most Americans. They long ago dismissed the Vatican’s position on this. And after the sex-abuse scandal, they are even less likely to take the bishops’ moral authority on sexual matters seriously.
Read the whole thing by picking up a copy on newsstands tomorrow, on iPad today—or just read it on the Beast right this minute.
Susan Wood, executive director of the Jacobs Center for Women’s Health at George Washington University, who in 2005 resigned her job as the top women’s-health official at the FDA, accusing the agency of refusing to allow emergency contraception because of political pressure by the Bush administration on the way out.
Nicole Smith, lead researcher on an Indiana University study that examines the sexual side effects of all hormonal forms of birth control.