HomeReviewsInterviewsStoreABlogsOn Writing

Something has been nagging me for a while–and reading this article: Single, pregnant and panickedWhy so many smart women botch their birth control clinched it for me.

Particularly the story of that first smart woman getting drunk and having a one night stand with a married man? Well, gee, I’ll say it does. No wonder these things keep showing up in romance novels, right? One really should read the whole thing. Look at this:

Nearly half of survey respondents said they don’t seek out information on preventing pregnancy because they know enough already. Yet when the National Campaign tested the same group on their knowledge, women scored 6 out of 11 on average and men a dismal 4.7. Why no urgent need to be informed? Researchers found that women are often passive or ambivalent about getting pregnant, with more than one in four saying, “If it happens, it happens” or “It would be no big deal.”

Even if one add a large helping of salt (after all, this is msnbc not a medical journal or study), those are rather disturbing numbers.

They do say that life imitates art. Reading these stories, one must wonder if it’s not the other way around.


  • Las
    April 1
    5:05 pm

    It’s really that “It won’t happen to me” mentality. I know so many women who are careless with birth control…like, they say that the condom must have broken, when really it’s, “well, we just did for a little while before getting the condom.” Or my sister, who, I shit you not, used the rhythm method. It’s mind-boggling to me, but then I really don’t want children, so I’m fanatically careful. I can imagine that women who want children eventually and are in committed relationships (or at least are have sex with decent guys they trust) might be careless.

    At least the truly smart women learn their lesson and don’t experience any more oopsies.


  • Las
    April 1
    5:41 pm

    I forgot to say that that first woman in the article cannot in any way qualify as “smart.” I could understand the getting drunk and having sex with the married friend part (wrong, yes, but shit happens), but then waiting for three days to get the morning after pill, and then waiting for the THIRD missed period to take a pregnancy test…sorry, she’s a damn moron.

    I also think that as dumb as it may be, unplanned, unwed pregnancy is really not that big a deal as long as the woman has her shit together. I dislike the implication in the article that it’s some kind of tragedy.


  • I think the average woman knows very little about the real mechanics behind making babies. Why do I say this? When DH and I were going through fertility treatments, I was stunned by the numbers of women I met in various support groups and waiting rooms who had no idea what was involved in a normal ovulation cycle. A lot of women still believe that 28 days crap and assume that if they didn’t have sex around day 14, they’re safe. Uh, not even close. When I tell people that five days before ovulation is the red zone, they’re stunned. If I tell them about charting cervical changes, cervical fluid and temperature, they look at me like I’m nuts. But, hey, relying on the old pull-out method right around day 14 is safe, right?

    Grrr. Seriously, I’ve given away more copies of Taking Charge of Your Fertility than any other book. I highly recommend it for all women–those actively avoiding or trying to get pregnant. And young women especially. It’s like an owner’s manual to your vajajay, ovaries, and uterus!


  • The one email complaint I get on a regular basis about any of my books is “why do the hero and heroine have to use condoms”…huh? Why do you think? It’s not just the whole preggers thing.

    And “Why so many smart women botch their birth control” I would suggest they’re not smart at all. Oh hell yes, we all make mistakes but if in theory the most sexual part of your body is your brain then why not use it?


  • sula
    April 1
    11:08 pm

    wow. I find that hard to understand. I have an alarm clock on my cell phone that rings LOUDLY to remind me to take my pill every night. And I’m paranoid about forgetting. Even though I’m in a stable, long-term relationship (getting married this year) and have a job, I don’t want to take ANY chances until I’m good and ready.


  • eggs
    April 1
    11:18 pm

    The heroines could be using the Billings method and know they weren’t fertile at the time of intercourse!

    I used to recommend this to women all the time, but was told too many times that they couldn’t use it because “it’s gross” to have to touch your own vaginal fluids each day. If you’re too grossed out to touch your OWN vagina, WTF are you doing with that stranger’s cock in your mouth?!? If you’re a regular user of barrier contraception, Billings provides a great peace-of-mind knowledge back-up for when the condom inevitably breaks.

    And what about using Granny’s good old fashioned lemon juice for birth control method in an historical? I don’t think I’ve ever seen this one used in a book, although it was (and still is) a relatively effective method of birth control.

    TBH, I’m not to concerned about the issue of sexually transmitted diseases in romance novels – just like I’m not too concerned about the Hero’s likelihood of having heart disease, or cancer or leprosy or whatever. You can only carry so many “real world” concerns into your fantasy reading, and STDs get left behind for me.


  • All you really need to know is winky – condom = pregnant.


  • What boggles my mind is how many doctors I had to try to convince that I knew the exact day I got pregnant so therefor I knew when my due date was. I had to repeat you’ve got that wrong so many times I wanted to scream and then when my water broke (almost a month early according to the doctor and a day late by my count) they finally started to believe me. Cause really when you’ve had sex only one weekend for the whole month you can tell which day you got pregnant. They always wanted to go by the date of my last period, which made no sense when I could tell them the dates I had sex for the previous six months. What really confuses them though is when you still menstruate while pregnant, by their count my full term daughter should have been 4 months early, luckily I had the chance to switch clinics and find some doctors that you know actually looked at my belly I couldn’t see past and agreed I was more than 2 months pregnant.

    So I really don’t blame a lot of supposedly smart women doing stupid things concerning birth control when it seems a lot of them may be getting really stupid info from their doctors.

    By the way I was 18 with the fist and all of 20 with the second.


  • Randi
    April 3
    8:40 pm


    Not to put you on the spot-but having a child is sometimes the best thing that can happen to a woman who does NOT have her shit together. Sometimes a child is the impetus a woman needs to pull it all together. My mother was one of these. Young, poor, unmarried, ostrasized by her own parents and family. It took her a few years to figure it out-but damn if I don’t consider her my role model. She was a freakin excellent mother and person; but she probably wouldn’t have turned out that way if she hadn’t gotten pregnant.


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment