To Men: Rules For Your Relationship With The Pill
When my boyfriend and I decided to stop using condoms about a year ago, I was prepared for some aspects of that change. Some things came as a surprise, like realizing we needed a new system for dealing with the, eh-em, mess that happens at the end of sex. Most of the side effects and consequences were funny, and easily dealt with. But there was one thing I wasn’t prepared for: just how much my partner would have to say about the pill. The pill—for the record—is our new form of birth control. We did not resort to the rather unscientific and dangerous pull-out method. I wouldn’t leave such a major thing as pregnancy-prevention to something as unreliable as that. So, I take the pill. I’ve taken the pill before. I know what I’m doing. My boyfriend, however, has a lot of concerns, questions and—sometimes—judgments that I’d love to address. To men everywhere: here are tips for your relationship with the pill.
I’m not reckless if I forget to take it
I got really angry when my boyfriend got angry with me for forgetting to take the pill one day. It was a particularly hectic day—I believe I’d received news of my dad going to the hospital for a cardiac event—and I wasn’t quite as on it as I normally am. But, fellas, don’t treat your partner as reckless and irresponsible if she forgets the pill a couple times a year. Every woman does.
I don’t make up the logic
I also don’t appreciate my boyfriend not believing me when I teach him about the pill. When I forgot it that one day, I said, “It’s okay—I’ll just double up the next day.” He accused me of making that up, and said we shouldn’t have sex for several weeks. Why would I make that up? It’s not like I want to be pregnant either.
Taking it within a 45-minute window is great
I take my pill within a 45-minute window every day. Most women gasp when they hear that and say, “That’s incredible.” My boyfriend, however, panics, and asks why I can’t possibly take it at the exact same second every day.
Setting a daily alarm isn’t sustainable
He’s suggested that I set a daily alarm on my phone that will go off at the exact same day every day forever, reminding me to take my pill. I have tried explaining to him that I can’t really do that. What if that alarm went off when I was in the middle of a job interview? An important presentation? A public speech? I can’t guarantee I’ll be alone, doing nothing, every time that alarm goes off.
Sometimes I take it in public
I also would like some appreciation for the fact that I often have to take my pill in a very public place, like a shared Uber with strangers or at a restaurant, to stay on track. I know it would be okay if I waited another 30 minutes until I was somewhere private but I take it in a public space for my partner’s peace of mind.
Pregnancy prevention is all on me
Any time my partner judges the way I approach and take the pill, I get really aggravated because he’s forgetting one important thing: pregnancy-prevention in this relationship falls entirely on me. Rather than getting applauded and thanked for handling that, I’m criticized for only achieving 98 percent perfection rather than 100 percent.
Feel free to remind me
I’ve told my boyfriend time and time again that he is more than welcome to set an alarm on his phone and text me every day at the same time, reminding me to take my pill. But, for some reason, he says that’s ridiculous. He hasn’t been able to provide what that reason is.
There’s a pill for men
By the way, fellas, there is a birth control pill for men. But I’ve noticed that most men believe the pill is a strictly female thing and they feel uncomfortable around the idea of altering their hormonal composition. Huh. Isn’t that convenient.
I’d like to see how effective that’d be
If men were comfortable with taking the pill, can we all just admit that accidental pregnancies would skyrocket? I’d love to see men take the pill as perfectly on time as they expect women to.
Remind me to pack it when we travel
My partner should also remind me to pack the pill when we travel. We both benefit from that pill coming along on the trip. If I forget it, then we’re back to good old condoms.
Don’t get mad if I forget to pack it
If my partner doesn’t remind me to pack my pill and I forget, I don’t appreciate him getting upset with me. Again, he is welcome to remind me. And again, it doesn’t make me reckless. He forgets to pack a lot of things when he travels, too.
I alter my body so you can skip condoms
I wouldn’t mind a little more appreciation for the fact that I alter my body and put myself at risk for side effects, all so my partner gets to enjoy condom-free intercourse. Considering that, when I do say, “You know, we can always go back to condoms if you aren’t happy with the way I take the pill,” he says, “No, no, no!” I should at lease receive more praise.
I spend money on it
I also spend money on the pill. The price changes as my health insurance plans change and brands change, but I spend roughly $180 to $200 a year on the pill. Now, where is my fancy dinner in return?
It affects my periods in ways only I know
When I am on the pill, my period is much shorter. By that I mean, my days of active bleeding go down from five to only about two. It’s like clockwork, and I know when I’ll bleed and when I won’t. But, my boyfriend still refuses to have sex during the placebo week, believing I’m “lying” about not bleeding.
Give me some credit here
All in all, men should give their pill-taking partners more credit. They should thank their girlfriends and wives every time they pop that pill. They do it for the couple, after all, and totally relieve the man of pregnancy-prevention responsibility.