Okay, what’s been up with me? Why haven’t I been posting much this past month? This post is mostly an excruciatingly detailed journal entry for me, but for those wondering, the tl;dr is that birth control pills just squandered any joy I had in sex or masturbation… or in life in general.
I took my last birth control pill three weeks ago, and good fucking riddance.
My libido and mental stability have finally returned to their pre-exogenous hormone state, after I brooded for too damn long, in hormonal disorder-induced anxiety, about whether my body would recover.
Since the pill stopped taking effect: sex is great again, I no longer have to dread sobbing my eyes out after practically every other play session, and I haven’t had any rage attacks or depressive relapses. It doesn’t sound like much of a standard, but compared to my brain and body on the pill, it’s fan-fucking-tastic.
I don’t have any ideological objection to birth control pills. I get that other women find BCPs liberating or need them for health reasons, but that’s not me. What I do detest is the effect of the pill I tried on my mental and physical health for the two months I took it.
I detest people telling me I’m a fool for trying BCPs. I detest other people questioning my decision to use condoms as as my main form of birth control, with the insistence that I carve out months of my life at a time to try out different combinations of hormones to find the right one. No, I don’t need to. I’m not going to, and I really shouldn’t have to justify that to people.
For the first two years of being sexually active, I was stubborn about not trying hormonal contraception. There was simply no need for it when I was getting laid only once a month, condoms were cheaper, and I had no long-term agreement with anyone I slept with, thus I needed STI protection anyway.
It was only until after about a year with my partner that I considered taking BCPs.
Condoms deaden sensation and, because my partner is well-endowed, it’s a nuisance finding one that will stay on and won’t pinch his dick or break. Withdrawal also sucks because it’s disruptive– every time he has to cum, I want to cum too. More importantly, relying on withdrawal wasn’t holding up in the long run. There were multiple occasions where we had to stop what we were doing because he pre-ejaculated.
There are many other contraception options, but few would fit us specifically:
- Intrusive insertables like diaphragms, cervical caps, and the inner ring of a female condom were out of the question because they would cause him pain and/or deaden cervical sensation for me
- I’m yeast-sensitive, so nonoxynol-9 spermicidal gels, foams, lube, etc. were ruled out because they disrupt the microbiome
- I can’t afford the up-front cost of an IUD, which isn’t covered by my insurance… and, honestly, with my kind of luck, I’d be too paranoid about being one of the freakish few to experience serious complications.
All in all, condoms kinda sucked, withdrawal sucked more, unplanned pregnancy would suck the most, and I had no way of knowing where BCPs would fall on the spectrum of suckage without trying it.
“Everybody’s body is different and one person’s experience with a hormone cocktail might be a Molotov compared to someone else’s cosmo. I knew this, and I also knew there was no sure-proof way to know what was going to happen, no matter how many personal experiences I read online.”
So I swallowed my pride and swallowed the pill: an ultra-low dose ethinyl estradiol / levonorgestrel. And I was hella excited at first, but the novelty of having him cum inside me wore off quickly.
Not only was I depressed and obsessively-compulsively angry, but sex didn’t feel good anymore.
There good sessions were few and far between. Sometimes I felt something but it didn’t register as pleasure. Sometimes an orgasm just wasn’t going to happen even though I recognized that I would’ve cum if I was off the pill. Sometimes I thought it might happen but gave up because it was taking so long and my mood was dead anyway. In fact, I started dreading it. I honestly felt like I had broken my body.
Masturbation wasn’t even fun anymore. More like I forced myself to cum over and over again, just to make sure I could. Trying to prove to myself that my body wasn’t broken. No matter how many orgasms I had, nothing really reassured me. Was that a good enough orgasm? Was it hard enough? Did it happen fast enough? Can I make it last longer? Let’s try another one and make it better this time. Let’s aim for one that’s as good as my orgasms used to be.
Of course, that last standard was something my body on the pill was just never going to meet. My mentality was detrimental to my sexual function, and my perceived sexual dysfunction compounded on my terrible mood. Even if my sexual problems were purely psychosomatic (which they weren’t, because there was definitely a physical component), it’s fair to say that the way I carried myself with tension and high-strung breathing didn’t exactly put me in a prime state for orgasms.
For the first time in the entirety of the time I’ve known my partner, I doubted my attraction to him and lost interest in sexual activity. Yes, the same guy who made me sploosh myself from cuddling and running his fingers down my back. The same guy I spontaneously had an orgasm over because I was stoned and had a flashback to him rubbing an ice cube on me and shoving his cold hand down my pants. The guy whose name I consider synonymous with the word “God” when screamed in all my vocal range’s glory, and the reason my neighbors hate me.
Yes, that guy. When I was on birth control, the libido-crushing got to the point where I didn’t feel any attraction towards him at all. I was thoroughly freaked out. I was grateful for how sweet he was and how well he handled the situation, but there were times I just wanted to kick him out of my room and cry to myself.
On the pill, I was crying practically every other day.
If I wasn’t crying, I was constantly in a mental tirade of, “Oh my god, humans are fucking cretins. Ignorant. Lazy. Selfish. I don’t want to be part of this species.” Everything resurrected flashbacks to previous times I was angry. The times I was treated awfully and tolerated it for too damn long because I wanted to see the best in people. The presumptuous shit people have said to me. The missed opportunities for comebacks to roast the other person. Everything spiraled into cynical analysis of the broader, inherent defects of humanity.
Lest anyone think I’m being negative for no reason, I want to be clear that the rage described is not my default mental state. Sure, by default I have occasions of disillusionment, like everyone else, but not to the extent where the obsessive-compulsive thoughts interfered with my life. On birth control, I was so angry and so anxiety-ridden over things I couldn’t control, that it was debilitating.
Recall a time you wanted nothing more than to punch someone or something. Now imagine feeling that way all the time: when you’re supposed to be getting ready for the day, and working, and doing homework, and trying to sleep. ALL. THE DAMN. TIME. Things happen. They don’t adhere to my expectations. Someone says something lacking tact. Someone bails on plans. Someone takes something personally. Someone wastes my time berating me instead of presenting a feasible solution to something.
That’s it. My time gets flushed down the toilet. I have to stop everything I’m doing and wholly dedicate my undivided attention to letting go of the spiraling angry beehive in my head, because the only thing worse than being enraged was the fear of being uncontrolled, misunderstood, and presented with gendered slurs about how “Women are so crazy!” “What a bitch!” “Are you on your period?” and then further being enraged. Because the truth is, yes, my hormones were out of whack, but that didn’t mean that what my brain was experiencing wasn’t as real as any other neuronal firing.
And I managed my anger, but it still took immense effort to do so. I cut myself off from social media, removed “friends” who didn’t mean much to me from my life, and simplified my schedule. Yes, it was great that I out of necessity prioritized what was important to me. Yes, it was great that I got a chance to see how great my partner was when seeing his dear friend upset. Yes, it made the transition back to no BCPs smoother. But it wasn’t something I otherwise would have had to do to the same extent.
My life wasn’t perfect before taking birth control. I had my reasons for taking it, and I forgot this every time I spiraled into thinking, “Gosh, things were so great before and they suck now.” But I had to decide what was best for my mental health, and continuing to take birth control wasn’t it.
Barring the emergency pill and possible future medical conditions, I don’t intend to use hormonal birth control again.
And look, I understand that some other people have a variety of reasons for taking BCPs. I understand that the same pill would have affected other people differently. And that I would’ve been affected differently by a different pill. And that, for other people, the side effects and/or the time spent finding the right pill are worth it in exchange for not needing to use another form of contraception.
And that’s cool, but that’s not me. I’m not saying other women should never take BCPs, but that I don’t NEED to take BCPs. Condoms suck, but not as badly as BCPs, and certainly not as much as pregnancy. The last thing I need is someone telling me I SHOULD want to take BCPs and that I SHOULD go significantly out of my way to enjoy something I don’t.
P.S. because I know someone is going to suggest I see a therapist for anger issues, I manage my issues well enough with what I currently do.