There’s been a bit of blog talk these past few days about a new “bead system” for tracking your fertility that’s been developed by Victoria Jennings, a professor at the Catholic Georgetown University Medical Center Institute for Reproductive Health. Conveniently enough, that same professor also performed a study showing that this method is 95% effective, “higher than a diaphragm or condoms.”
This study is somewhat misleading, though, because the people using fertility awareness methods are having sex fewer days of the month than the people using condoms. Also, it ignores previously published studies that take into account “typical use,” i.e. the fact that people are not going to use their birth control one hundred percent correctly, one hundred percent of the time. According to Planned Parenthood, the typical use failure rate for the rhythm method is about 25%, while perfect use’s is about 5%. Meanwhile, the typical use failure rate for condoms is about 18%, and perfect use’s is about 2%. In order to have the rhythm method be more effective than condoms, she’d have to be comparing the rhythm method’s perfect use rate with condoms’ typical use rate, and that would be horrifically bad science.
Personally, I like being on the pill because I don’t want anything to get in the way of sex. I don’t want to have to check the calendar first, especially considering my partner and I are both really busy and don’t get to hang out as much as we’d like to. I don’t want him to have to worry about getting his sperm inside me. And I don’t want to worry about getting pregnant, having an abortion, and potentially feeling sad about said abortion when I’m trying to get my fuck on. That’s, like, the least sexy thing I can think of.
On the other hand, I have a friend who uses it and hasn’t had any problems yet. I think she must have a freakishly regular cycle. And unlike me, she is not terrified at the prospect of having to get an abortion. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
Has the rhythm method worked for you? Are you all about it? Let me know your thoughts.
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