CONTRACEPTIVES – USING NOTHING

One gulf between perceptions is well illustrated by contrasting the attitudes of doctors and patients towards the simplest of all methods of birth control – nothing. Unfortunately, the consequences of this method frequently require some medical interference at a later date, postcoital contraception or termination, for example. Doctors tend to see patients who use nothing as being ignorant, feckless or even stupid, and are tempted to treat a subsequent request for help in this light. Many patients will agree, in the cold light of the next day or a missed period, hence the amazing number of reported burst sheaths, but, if the real reasons for using no protection at all are not explored, the situation can easily occur again.

Many users of the ‘nothing method’ are under 16 years of age. Social concern with the rising tide of teenage pregnancies may be on the increase, but for the young themselves, newspaper headlines blazon adult priorities and moralities. Should parents be told of medical consultations concerning the under-16s, whatever the wishes of the young individual concerned?

The message is clear, sex is private – unless you use birth control.

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