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Do you know of someone who is a serial one-night-stander, where they’ve woken up and not remembered what happened? Have you, any of your friends or people you know taken Emergency Contraception (EC) once, twice or more? At some point in our life we have all done something we regret the next day. Whether it is the stumble home past midday on a Saturday…oily-haired and panda-eyed, McDonalds cheese burger in one hand and high heels looped in the other after finding your way home from the other side of town. Or maybe not to that extreme. Either way, there’s only one thing worse than the walk of shame and that’s taking a trip to the pharmacy to get the Morning After Pill. Discretely whispering to the pharmacist what you need, coughing up $50 and skulking out with your head down and tail between your legs, is not a fun experience. Not just the post experience, but the fact that either a) one didn’t wear a condom the night before (consensual or not), b) one did wear a condom but it broke or you accidently missed taking the contraceptive pill or c) one can’t remember whether or not a condom was used during intercourse the night prior.

In our take-a-pill-for-everything society we now live in, we are quick to throw any old tablet, capsule or pill down our throats without a thought in the world….as long as it will ‘fix’ whatever is wrong with us. Instead of getting to the core of the problem, whether it be depression, anxiety, bipolar, phobias or as simple as low self-esteem, doctors just prescribe a pill to make everything better and mask the pain. Even to make an unborn baby disappear! Which is where lay the problem; it just masks the pain…so whatever you are covering up with medication will be exposed one day anyway….in a darker, much uglier form as it was to begin with.

The Emergency Contraceptive is basically a high dose control pill taken best within 24 hours of sexual intercourse, or in some cases even up to 5 days later. There are a hand full of side effects from using it, such as nausea, dizziness, queasiness, lower abdominal period pain, headaches, and irregular vaginal bleeding, not to mention a bruised ego, a minor dent in the bank account and the moral dilemma cherry on top that comes with it. The Morning After Pill delays or prevents ovulation, which may disrupt your menstrual cycle sometimes causing it to come earlier or later. Yes, a small price to pay in comparison to a 9 month pregnancy with a baby fathered by, ‘Wait, was his name Chris or Steven?’  Realistically, it is essentially an abortion in a pill form, and can be seen a ‘get out of jail free card’ for some.

For a period of a few months, I had a friend who was experiencing this regularly – almost every weekend. Sorry to be Captain Obvious, but writing yourself off with alcohol and/or drugs until you are incoherent is not the best time to decide to have sex. On a night out after you’ve had too many drinks at the bar or the house party, your beer-goggles are solidly stuck on, your vision is blurred, your reflexes delayed and your common sense warped. It’s in times like this that a lot of women can fall into the wrong hands and homes, leading to rape, sexual abuse, unplanned pregnancies and essentially not being given the chance to ‘decide’ whether or not you want to have sex. Just look at the recent Jill Meagher tragedy. For those of you who don’t know – Jill was on her way home after a night out with friends when she was abducted, raped, murdered and buried in a shallow grave outside of Melbourne. A beautiful 29 year old budding journalist’s life taken in a heartbeat from a careless decision, seemingly innocent and harmless at the time.

I’m neither an advocate nor an opponent to the Morning after Pill; I think it’s a useful emergency birth control option available for the accidentals, such as a condom breaking, forgetting to take your pill or any un-consensual sex. I think it also helps to reduce the amount of teen pregnancies and abortions happening in the world. However, taking the Morning-after-Pill should not be recommended on regular basis and shouldn’t be thought of as a contraceptive by any means, only a Plan B (or C or D) or an emergency last resort. I also believe it is regularly abused by the lazy individuals who can’t be bothered to use protection and the people who choose to get wasted and engage in sexual activity with complete strangers, not knowing what they’re doing or who they’re with. A part of me also believes that everything is meant to be, and if you happened to fall pregnant with a one night stand, it’s not the foetus’ fault that it should be terminated or flushed down the loo because you made a bad decision. They say, ‘you sleep in the bed you make for yourself’, i.e. if you choose to write yourself off and sleep with what’s-his-name, then maybe you deserve the consequences.

One Australian Sex Survey in 2003 exposed that nearly 20 per cent of Australian women said they had used EC. I feel it would be a lot more than 20 per cent in 2012! Prior to being able to get EC over the counter, opponents feared the Morning After Pill would replace conventional contraception if it is too easy to get your hands on, with people becoming more careless with using protection. There are also evidence that by the time the pill is absorbed into the system, the baby’s eye colour, hair colour, and entire genetic code could already be determined. A scary thought huh?

One night stands, coupled with walks of shame and Morning After Pill escapades have the potential to seriously damage ones’ self-respect, esteem, dignity, wellbeing as well as sexual health (i.e. STIs).  The moral of my rant is essentially this: Prevention is better than cure. Obviously people need to experience things in life to learn the lesson, but when it comes to these kinds of situations, when in doubt…don’t… and try not to think with your ‘inner dick’. Follow your intuitive self and have some willpower, whether it’s not having that extra drink, going home before you make a mistake or making him wear a condom.

Always put you and your body first. Sex is meant to be a pleasurable, enjoyable consensual experience between two (or more…if that’s what you’re into) people, not something you don’t remember the next morning, regret and have to take a nasty pill to erase.

What are your thoughts on the morning-after-pill? Where do you stand? What are your experiences?

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