Young Women are Relying Too Much on Pull-Out Method
A study to be published in the September issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology reports that an alarming 31% of women between the ages of 15 and 24 have relied at least once on the pull-out method, according to U.S. News and World Report.
I use the word “alarming” — and not “surprising” — for a reason. This statistic brings attention to a slew of women’s health issues and cultural issues with sex education, and as a young woman with friends who are also young women, I find it very easy to believe.
Now WHY is this troubling statistic so very believable? What are the social constructs that cause young women and young men to trust in this highly unreliable attempt at curtailing pregnancy?
First of all, the age bracket suggests that this practice is most common in young women. Many of these women are just starting to have sex, or have only been sexually active for a few years. Sadly, with the plague of abstinence-only education that has swept the nation, many of these women do not know they have options, or have even been misinformed about the effectiveness of those options.
Next, birth control relies heavily on action by the woman. She is expected to have condoms or be on the pill. Both of these methods require a lot of work and consistency by the ladies. One of the study experts, Dr. Kari Braaten, says it very well:
“Using a condom, having a condom, going to the store or pharmacy to get one. Refilling the pill, taking it every day, getting a prescription refilled….So many issues make these contraceptive methods difficult to use or to be consistent about.” (U.S. News and World Report)
This can be particularly difficult if you live in rural areas where you do not necessarily want to go buy condoms or fill a prescription for pills at the sole pharmacy in town run by your neighbor.
Furthermore, for a young girl just coming into her sexuality, convincing her partner to wear a condom can be daunting, especially if he has less sexual education that she has.
And then there is the stigma that young women face when it comes to birth control. On the pill? Carrying condoms around in your purse? I will not even mention the names that can fly if these little facts are discovered in high school, and even beyond.
So what is the fate of this near-third of women who have trusted their partner at least once to find the strength in the moment to pull-out? About 21% of them get pregnant unintentionally, as compared to 13% of women using other types of contraception. They were also 7.5% more likely to use emergency contraception.
The pull-out method is highly ineffective. That is no secret.
What is the Answer?
Sadly there is no simple answer. There are, however, a few things that we know help women make better choices.
1. Education! That is what our site is all about. Real information. The more women know about their bodies and about their options, the better they can help protect themselves from STDs and unwanted pregnancy. But it’s not just women who need to know. It takes two to tango. Men need to be equally informed so that they can participate in promoting sexual health.
2. Access & Affordability. Fortunately, this is getting better. With the Obamacare birth control mandate, all women should have access to free birth control soon. But many of the most reliable and most discreet forms of birth controls — I’m talking IUDs — are still cost-prohibitive for many women.
3. Privacy. In an ideal world, every young woman would be able to talk to her parents about her sexual choices. In reality, embarrassment is an issue for many. The threat of physical and emotional retaliation for even mentioning it is not uncommon.
Hopefully, as more information is readily available, young women and young men will find it easier to make smart choices. Are there other reasons you think are contributing to the use of the pull-out method? What changes could we make to help sexually active young adults make better choices?
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For sexually active women, he effectiveness of birth control depends on how perfectly they use it. For this reason, there are two kinds of effectiveness rates. One measurement is for perfect use, as the method is tested in the lab or used in real life with no mistakes.
The other is typical use, the average including people who don’t always use the method correctly or every time sexual intercourse takes place.Get Answer »