I went on birth control before I had my first kiss.
I did not have to sneak around to Planned Parenthood or make a secret call to my doctor’s office without my parents knowing. My mom just posed the idea to my doctor during one of my annual check-ups. While my doctor and my mother were deep in conversation about the “new” types of birth control, I continually glanced at my phone praying that my childhood doctor wasn’t picturing me as an uncontrollable sex whore. But “hearing my options,” felt a lot less like an adventurous treat and more like choosing which type of allergy medication I’d prefer. Very medical.
My mom’s not a regular mom. She’s a cool mom.
Like I said, I went on birth control because my mom wanted me to. For a self-proclaimed feminist and declared feminist, gender and sexuality studies major, the process felt a lot less badass than the girls who go on birth control to take control of their sexuality in college. What’s rebellious about going on birth control when your mother wants you to?
“Well everyone’s doing it. I had sex in college so I won’t assume that you won’t. And I’d rather not be a grandmother at 53.”
Heeding my mother’s advice and wanting to feel like an adult before I stepped on Cornell’s campus this fall, I felt like I became the first person to go on birth control before their first kiss. There is no way to confirm this is true, but I am 300 percent sure that I am right. And no, I am not counting the girls who went on the pill in middle school to control their acne. I still don’t think that counts.
The irony of the situation is that I am on birth control and don’t want to have sex, at least not yet. I completely blame this on religious brainwashing from countless years in Christian school.
“Your body is a temple.”
“Save yourself for your husband.”
“Sex before marriage is a sin.”
“Sex is more intimate with a husband who loves you.”
“Don’t have sex, because you will get pregnant and die!” Okay — that one’s a Mean Girls quote, but you get the point. As much as my liberal upbringing fought against religious slut shaming, I have an internalized guilt complex associated with sex that I am still trying to shake. Cross my fingers that I will shake it sooner rather than later.
Considering that my religious upbringing has scared me into associating pre-marital sex with the fiery pits of Hell, being on birth control seems like a bit of a waste of money and time for me. But there have been some benefits to my first few months on the shot. First off, I am on one of the “cool” types of birth control. I steer away from science classes and am definitely not pre-med, so I won’t pretend to know the ins-and-outs of its effects on my body. But for some reason, there is a common conception that the Depo-Provera shot and IUDs are cooler than the pill. So I am very conscious to mention to my friends that I have an appointment to get my shot, rubbing it in the faces of my non-virgin friends who had to pretend to their parents that the pill was essential for their hormonal control. My birth control is effortless. I get to book my appointments and don’t have to set 30 timers on my phone to remember to take my pill.
Secondly, my guy friends think that it’s a major turn on that I’m on birth control. I know I said that I wasn’t rushing out to have sex, but I still love being sexually desired and any notch on the hot list helps. I don’t know how it slipped out to them that I’m on birth control, but a decent amount of them now know. Guys don’t miss any opportunity to let us girls know how hot it is to be on birth control. Apparently the birth control girls harness a level of spontaneity that women not on birth control do not have. It seems that men think any minute now the girls on birth control will drop their pants and ask for a foursome.
I can promise you that a foursome is not anywhere on the horizon for me. But the last and best benefit about my newfound condition on birth control is the potential for spontaneity. Sometimes I wish I was that spontaneous sex-all-the-time-and-everywhere-girl. And being on birth control means that if one day I have the sudden urge, I can be without the fear of rapid onset pregnancy.
So as the first woman I know to get on birth control before her first kiss, I will confirm that birth control lives up to the hype. I didn’t gain all the weight that my doctor warned me about and the process got me some attention with the guys in my life. However, I will warn the “never-had-their-first-kiss-girls-whose-mothers-encouraged-them-on-birth-control” that your mother admitting to having sex in college creates an undesired competition between yourself and your 18 old mother. My mom was having sex with random guys at my age and I’m busy stuffing my face at Temple of Zeus. Like I said, unnecessary competition.
Fornicating Feminist is a student at Cornell University. Her column, Tameless Shrew, appears periodically this semester.