Half the contents of any sex shop don’t have as controversial a past as birth control, so why not run with the stigma and admit it makes sex better? Not to say that women all have contraceptive kinks or anything, but being on the pill can definitely help to steam things up.
Let’s start at the beginning, with how birth control helped to level the sexual playing field. This was it’s greatest impact, because neither had to fear pregnancy after the pill’s introduction (well, to as great of an extent). Any imbalance of power between men and women in this regard has been eliminated. Since women won access to the pill, they have the potential to cheat without fear of pregnancy (which is the main reason men kept women from the pill for so long), not to mention pregnancy fears sap a lot of the joy out of sex. The pill allowed us all to separate sex from reproduction, so parenthood can be delayed indefinitely. Fear limits pleasure, and worrying about potentially popping a baby out every time you spread your legs lessens the fun. Recently, I interviewed a lovely woman on the pill who I will reference a few times in this article. She pointed out that “when you’re relaxed, orgasms tend to come easier.” It’s difficult to be relaxed with images of college savings accounts and baby shoes on the mind.
Everyone loves a bit of experimentation, and the confidence birth control gives women actually helps creativity during sex. Couples don’t have to fumble around for condoms, allowing spontaneity with no pauses to hunt down a rubber. Speaking of condoms, while they are important and wonderful things, women have to completely trust men that the condoms are good. Who knows how long those things have been sitting around in some wallet! I’d rather rely on my own ability to take a pill. “It was really liberating for me”, were the words of this faithful birth control user, and why wouldn’t it be? Not only do cramps and PMS lessen, which are as big of a turn off as anything, but it stops all the extra bleeding. That has been proven to sap energy from women, so make way for some contraceptive driven, energetic sex.
Again, it’s important to reiterate that the greatest thing birth control has given us is a level playing field. This is for the women out there with wandering eyes, because now they don’t have to worry about being knocked up by another man if they have affairs. Say what you want about cheating, but now it’s an equal threat to both sexes. That isn’t to say that the pill doesn’t help monogamy, it does loads for couples who remain true to one another their entire relationship, but now there’s one more reason to not ignore the hot guy at work.
This potential to cheat is one of the reason why Loretta Lynn’s country song “The Pill” was considered so scandalous back in 1975. You wouldn’t expect such an innocent song with a cheery little beat to be denounced by preachers and banned from radio stations, yet this one found a way. It tells the story of a woman with too much on her plate, from a husband who doesn’t pull his weight around the house, to getting pregnant every year and having to raise the children singlehandedly. In order to even things out between her and her husband, she goes on the pill and relishes it. You can say it helped out her sex life, too, judging by the lyric “The feelin’ good comes easy now, since I’ve got the pill.” Even though this offended a more conservative fan base, enough good was done for it to have been worth it. Playgirl interviewed her about this whole hoi polloi, and Loretta Lynn said that she had been approached by several doctors, thanking her for drawing attention to the availability of birth control in rural areas.
The pill’s past reaches back much farther than most people expect. Although it wasn’t referred to as birth control until the 1920s, women have been trying to prevent pregnancy since ancient times. There are even records of women in Mesopotamia trying different, natural methods, spread by word of mouth, to family plan. The Book of Genesis references pulling out and birth control was on the rise until some English Bible thumpers saw it as sinful. Women who provided contraceptives could be easily accused of witchcraft. It does seem like sorcery, but that’s a bit extreme.
Birth control’s comeback is easily tied to the rise of feminism. They were happening simultaneously and with good reason. The frontrunners in this re-emergence of preventing pregnancy saw how women were ruining themselves with too many children, or using unsafe and illegitimate forms of birth control. Even Lysol pretended to be useful in preventing pregnancy, and they produced euphemistic ads, but only ended up causing serious injuries to women who just wanted to stop getting knocked up. It took until 1960 for the first pill to be approved by the FDA and the initial laws preventing it to be struck down. That doesn’t mean this was still easily accessible for everyone, though. It took twelve more years for unmarried women to have total access to birth control. Spousal consent (or even having a spouse to begin with) shouldn’t be a necessity, and actually sounds a bit redundant. Now we are at today! Living in a country full of women in control of their bodies and on the verge of finally having a male birth control, but that’s a whole different story.
The pill has given us so much. There was a time when women had to choose between sex and pursuing a career, and that just sounds ridiculous nowadays. We are free to change positions, both in bed and at work. Not to mention there’s no forced marriages due to unintended pregnancy, something I imagine would wreak havoc on any decent person’s sex life. The pill increases a woman’s desirability, so why not treat it that way? In the wise words of my interviewee: “I think the pill puts women on more equal footing with men. If we want to be libertines and have sex with whoever we want and whenever we want it, we can. If we want to fuck the hot coworker before coming home to the boyfriend or husband, we can. Or if we just want hot monogamy, that’s cool, too! I don’t believe women are that different than men when it comes to sex. It was the potential consequences that kept us at home, so to speak.”