When do we want it? Now! Of course, these kind of things take time and money. And if these things don’t fit the Big Pharma money-making model (take a pill, day after day, year after year, and keep shelling out the dough for it), then getting backing and support is an uphill battle. But¬†Vasalgel¬†seems to be the little birth control that could. After three decades of research and trials in India, this method of reversible male contraception has made it’s way to America thanks to the¬†Parsemus Foundation, which is dedicated to finding low-cost solutions neglected by the pharmaceutical industry. The latest news on this front: preliminary rabbit safety and efficacy studies in the U.S. just started this month!
We reported¬†last week that a leading U.S. medical advisory panel recommended that all insurers be required to cover contraceptives for women free of charge. Well, guess what? The Obama administration went for it! And we don’t mean the kind of “free” where you have to pay an annoying co-pay or other deductible. We mean 100% on the house.¬†Let the celebratory protected boot-knocking begin!¬†Insurance providers will be required to cover every single contraceptive method approved by the FDA, including sterilization procedures and… wait for it… emergency contraceptives including the Plan B pill. Halle-fucking-lujah.
Move over, Pill! According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the IUD is a whole lot more effective — and safer than was traditionally thought.¬†For a long time IUDs have been recommended only for women in long-term monogamous relationships who’d already had children — this was based on concerns that IUDs raised the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which, left untreated, can cause infertility. But according to ACOG, the evidence does not support these concerns — meaning, IUDs do not cause PID.
When you combine this news with what we already knew — the overwhelming effectiveness of a device that you insert once every five or ten years, as compared to a pill that you have to remember to take daily — it’s kind of a no-brainer. Or, at least, the IUD is definitely a contender. Currently it’s the redheaded stepchild of the birth control world — in 2008, IUDs, were the chosen method of 5.5% of women using contraceptives (and only 1.3% in 2002). But as more and more women find out that (a) IUDs are a lot safer than they’d been warned and (b) a lot more effective than the Pill or condoms, we’re guessing that will change. Here’s more from us on IUDs:
If anti-abortion activists thought that redefining the laws of gravity would help their cause, they wouldn’t let a little scientific evidence get in their way. And the latest campaign is almost as far-fetched: A group called Personhood USA is trying to redefine when life begins. It starts “exactly at creation,” according to Keith Mason, president of Personhood USA. “It’s fertilization; it’s when the sperm meets the egg.” Mason wants laws to recognize every fertilized egg as an individual and complete human being.
Not that it matters to Mason, but the, um, facts aren’t exactly on his side. Medically, fertilization does not mark the beginning of pregnancy — because only about half of all fertilized eggs end in pregnancy. Medically, pregnancy begins once a fertilized egg implants in the uterus. But perhaps Mason doesn’t realize this, given that he probably thinks sex ed is for losers.
There has always been great debate between sex-positive free-speech porn advocates and anti-porn chicken-little moralists. We’ve always fallen somewhere in the middle: you can’t really legislate desire and fantasy, but at the same time all this porn, like too much fast food, can’t be good for you. An interesting site we’ve found that seems to rely heavily on science without any moralistic judgment is YourBrainOnPorn.com — it smartly and succinctly explains how heavy porn use can have unwanted effects on the brain and offers suggestions for reversing those effects. The founders of this site have a blog on Psychology Today called Cupid’s Poisoned Arrow and just this week posted one guy’s account of his “rebooting,” an attempt to rewire his brain circuitry with a porn/masturbation/orgasm fast — pretty fascinating stuff:
We have long repeated the adage that confidence — whether real or faked — leads to success on the pick-up scene and in the dating world. But a new study by a psychology professor at Queens College in New York suggests the exact opposite: insecure people try harder in the dating world, which can lead to success at least as often as it can lead to your appearing desperate and needy.¬†‚ÄúInsecure individuals [present] themselves as warm, engaging, and humorous people,‚ÄĚ the professor, Claudia Brumbaugh, writes. In other words, maybe insecure people who fake confidence actually do better than confident people who take their self-confidence for granted.
Teens now spend a whopping seven hours per day on various forms of media. So the American Academy of Pediatrics just issued a revised policy statement, ‚ÄúSexuality, Contraception, and the Media,‚ÄĚ in the September 2010 print issue of Pediatrics (published online Aug. 30). In addition to calling for the creation of a national task force on children, adolescents and the media to be convened by child advocacy groups in conjunction with the CDC or National Institutes of Health, it includes updated recommendations for pediatricians and parents on how to deal with this sex-soaked culture. Among the new recommendations since 2001:
In addition to supervising their children‚Äôs traditional media use, parents (as well as pediatricians) should understand social networking sites and counsel kids about using them.
The entertainment industry should be encouraged to produce more programming that contains responsible sexual content and that focuses on the interpersonal relationship in which sexual activity takes place. Meanwhile, advertisers should stop using sex to sell products.
Pediatricians and the government should urge and encourage the broadcast industry to air advertisements for birth control products.
Ads for erectile dysfunction drugs, which can be confusing to young viewers, should not air until after 10 p.m.
Parents can use media story lines as teachable moments to discuss sex with their teens instead of doing ‚Äúthe big talk.‚ÄĚ
A study by Bill McCarthy of the University of California and Eric Grodsky of the University of Minnesota found that teens in romantic sexual relationships have similar school experiences to virgins. Meanwhile, students who engage in NON-romantic sexual activity (hook-ups, friends with benefits, etc) were found to be more likely to be suspended or expelled, less likely to aspire to college, and more likely to earn lower grades.