As a holistic sex and relationship coach, I'm always on the lookout for ideas and concepts to apply to human sexuality that are natural and empowering.
Birth control is one big area where many people, even if they have an organic approach to many other areas of their lives, default to pharmaceuticals.
There is another way.
I went on The Pill and off The Pill early in my sexual history. I've only been on it for two years of my life. The rest of the time, I've practiced natural birth control, with impeccable success.
Every female in the animal kingdom shows visible signs of estrus.
Human females are no different.
There are several methods of fertility awareness out there. My favorite is The Billings Method, developed by husband and wife team Drs. John and Evelyn Billings in the 1950s.
The method involves observing the changes in female mucus secretions throughout the month. These secretions follow a distinct pattern. Once you become aware of this, it’s very easy to see the differences.
Simply by placing a finger at the opening of the vulva, a woman (or her partner) can observe the consistency of the mucus and instantly know whether she is fertile or not.
The method is sexy, easy, safe and once you learn it, takes about five seconds a day to use.
Using iPhone apps that guess at your fertile window, playing “just the tip” or using “withdrawal” as a birth control methods is like playing Russian roulette. Employing a method with a 99.5% — 100% success rate gives you a precise answer.
Here are 10 reasons to give natural birth control a try:
1. It’s as effective as The Pill. Or more.
Various studies over the years have placed the Billing Method’s effectiveness at 97.5% to 100%. The most comprehensive study to date, done over a year period in China and looking at 1000 women, found the method-related (i.e. when used properly) incidences of pregnancy with The Billings Method at zero. Use-related (i.e. someone made an error when using) pregnancies were at 0.5%.
To compare this to The Pill, the method-related pregnancy rate is 0.3%. The use-related rate is 8% (for example, someone forgot to take a pill). Either way, the Billings Method still comes out on top.
2. You’ll keep your breasts.
There's growing evidence that hormonal birth control massively increases the risk of breast cancer. The Pill/hormonal birth control was deemed a Group One carcinogen by the WHO in 2005, which places it in the same class as radium and asbestos.
One study by the Mayo Clinic showed that women have a 44% increased risk of getting breast cancer if taking oral contraceptives four years or more before having children. Swedish oncologist Hakan Olsson found that before age 20, women increase their breast cancer risk by 1000%.
3. You’ll revive your libido.
Countless numbers of women come to me with complaints of low libido. When I ask whether or not they are on hormonal birth control, the inevitable answer is yes. Many studies have confirmed hormonal birth control’s impact on libido, lubrication and enjoyment of sex.
4. You become more in tune with your body.
By listening to the signs that your body has to give you about your fertility and not having to rely on an outside source, you strengthen your ability to hear more of your body’s messages in general. You can hear other cues better, like hunger, arousal, fatigue and your “gut feeling” or intuition.
5. You’ll preserve the natural rhythms of your hormones and your cycle.
Suppressing normal hormonal ebbs and flows wreaks havoc on women’s systems. They feel the effects in everything from mood swings to weight gain.
6. It’s easy.
We’ve been conditioned as women to think that our cycles are complicated and mysterious, and that understanding fertility is a great challenge — something only an external device or pill can do successfully.
Millions of women around the world use the Billings Method. Robin Lim, a midwife in Indonesia who received CNN’s 2011 Hero of the Year Award for her work with women in developing countries, has taught the method to all education levels. The method is listed as one of the Chinese government’s endorsed choices of birth control.
If rice paddy workers all over the world can easily learn the method, so can you.
7. It’s sexy.
Your lover can walk up behind you while you are cooking dinner, slide his hand into your pants and tell you what’s happening there. Then you run off to the bedroom, put a sticker on the chart and either finish dinner or start having sex.
8. It’s free.
Women's rights activist Sandra Fluke claimed that she spent $1000 on birth control every year. Natural birth control costs nothing. You don’t need any kind of equipment or device. Except your finger.
9. It will be easier for you to get pregnant, when you decide to.
Getting to know your body’s natural windows of fertility and infertility will make it easy to know when to aim for sex dates.
I also attribute the myriad problems women have trying to get pregnant once they come off hormonal birth control to years of altering hormones and suppressing ovulation.
10. Birth control becomes a shared responsibility.
Both partners can participate in the process of observing and charting fertility. The Billings Method involves recording your cycle on a wall chart, in plain view for both partners to see. Understanding and practicing the method together builds intimacy.
An excellent online resource is the official Billings website. You can watch videos, connect with an online instructor and learn more about the method. Also check out the book The Billings Method: Controlling Fertility Without Drugs or Devices.