Sexuality** Now

Contraception: History and Method Considerations

Contraception in Ancient Times

Contraception in the United States: 1800s and Early 1900s

Contraception Outside the United States

■ HUMAN SEXUALITY IN A DIVERSE WORLD Herbal Lore and Contraception

Choosing a Method of Contraception

Barrier Methods: Condoms and Caps


■ SEX IN REAL LIFE Nonoxynol-9: Harmful or Helpful?

■ SEX IN REAL LIFE What to Use With Condoms The Diaphragm

The Contraceptive Sponge

■ PERSONAL VOICES What Do You Think About Your Method of Birth Control?

The Cervical Barriers

Hormonal Methods for Women: The Pill,

The Patch, and More

Combined-Hormone Methods

■ SEX IN REAL LIFE What to Do If You Forget

■ SEX IN REAL LIFE Drugs and Herbs That Interact With Oral Contraceptives

Progestin-Only Methods

Chemical Methods for Women: Spermicides

How They Work Effectiveness Advantages Disadvantages Cross-Cultural Use

Intrauterine Methods for Women: IUDs and IUSs

How They Work Effectiveness Advantages

Disadvantages Cross-Cultural Use

Natural Methods for Women and Men

Natural Family Planning and Fertility Awareness



Permanent (Surgical) Methods

Female Sterilization Male Sterilization

Ineffective Methods and Emergency Contraception

Unreliable Birth Control Emergency Contraception Contraception in the Future

What’s Ahead for Men What’s Ahead for Women Abortion

The Abortion Debate Historical Perspectives

■ PERSONAL VOICES An Illegal Abortion Legal Versus Illegal Abortions

Why Do Women Have Abortions?

Abortion Procedures Reactions to Abortion

■ PERSONAL VOICES Having an Abortion: Stacy’s Story

■ PERSONAL VOICES Searching for Comfort Teens and Abortion

Cross-Cultural Aspects of Abortion

Chapter Review

Chapter Resources

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Contraception and Abortion

Я я о you ever want to have a child? You may have an exact plan about

Я Ж when you’d like to experience a pregivtncy in your life. Or perhaps you

have already decided you won’t have any children. For many couples, de­ciding how to plan, and also how to avoid, pregnancies are important issues in their lives. The majority of pregnancies that occur each year in the United States are not planned (Forrest, 1994); they occur because no contraception was used (some others are due to contraceptive failure).

In deciding which contraceptive method to use, couples need to consider a variety of is­sues, including their sexual behavior, reproductive goals, and each partner’s health and safety (J. L. Schwartz & Gablenick, 2002). This is further complicated by the fact that an ideal method for one person may not be an ideal method for another; and an ideal method for one person at one time in his or her life may not be an ideal method as he or she en­ters into different life stages. For example, some women might not want to remember to take a pill every day, whereas others might not want to interrupt sex to insert a contra­ceptive device. Because some methods are more expensive than others, cost can influence which method a couple uses. Having a wide variety of choices available is important to al­low couples to choose and change methods as their contraceptive needs change.

In the early 1950s, a tremendous increase in reproductive and contraceptive re­search occurred in the United States, resulting in a new selection of modern birth con­trol methods. These choices are made even more complex by disputes about the effec­tiveness of different methods, their side effects, and the increased use of some methods, such as condoms, in the prevention of AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). These factors make knowledge about contraception even more important.

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that many college students take great risks when it comes to contraception, even though they are intelligent and know about birth control. Researchers don’t really know why this is, but many factors increase one’s motivation to use contraception, including the ability to communicate with a partner, cost of the method, effectiveness rates, the frequency of sexual intercourse, the motivation to avoid pregnancy, the contraceptive method’s side effects, and one’s openness about sexuality. In this chapter, we explore the array of contraceptive methods available today, investigate their strengths and weaknesses, and also discuss emergency contraception and abortion.