Pregnancy is Fucking Scary

I don’t care to debate the objectionable topic of abortion, but recent events in Texas have shone a light on this particular issue. There is one factor that never gets talked about regarding a woman’s right to choose, which is, for many, the prospect that pregnancy is absolutely terrifying.

I haven’t got a maternal bone in my body, and the idea of motherhood makes my skin crawl for a handful of reasons, but the main reason for my reluctance is that pregnancy itself stirs irrational fear in me. However, when we take a look at statistics and testimonials surrounding childbirth… is it really so irrational?

Do men ever think about that? Have any of you male readers considered the experience of being a living host for a growing parasite that deforms your body, weakens your bones, terrorizes your moods and eventually ejects itself by tearing you apart from the inside out?

I’m shocked that I don’t run into more women who are phobic about pregnancy. I mean, I could barely surrender my bodily autonomy long enough to get my wisdom teeth removed, but that fetus is a rapacious leech in the abdomen for 9 months! It depletes all of the body’s resources. Even in a “healthy” pregnancy, it is common for pregnant women to lose bone density and experience fatigue, infections, hair/tooth loss, and weight gain. Our biological systems betray us to accommodate this hungry, invasive little bean… but the real challenges start once the imposter is ready to leave its snafued vessel to drain you now from the outside for the following 18 years. Pregnancy is a horrifying concept, but it pales in comparison to my fear of giving birth! Even a routine delivery is extremely traumatic to the mother’s body and mind. I won’t get into the risks of a pregnancy gone wrong, but even with the help of modern medicine, pregnancy kills about 800 women every day! And I cannot think of an equivalent where a man is encouraged –nay, expected— to endure such risks to fill a compulsorily imposed role in society.

The arguments most frequently made by pro-choicers have to do with rape, incest, and the possibility of medical complications. These are all valid arguments to keep abortion safe and accessible, but the fact that pregnancy is simply scary just isn’t talked about enough. If the idea of motherhood is daunting to me, a 26 year old woman, then how must a naïve 15 year old feel when she falls pregnant? I cannot fathom how my life would be different if I was unable to get an abortion at age 19, when I was still learning about myself, my body, and what I even wanted from life. Like any high-risk undertaking, pregnancy should only be approached by those who can confidently give informed, enthusiastic consent to the experience. A woman doesn’t need to find herself in tragic circumstances to warrant an abortion.

 I know there are plenty of empathetic husbands and compassionate fathers out there, but there is also a large proportion of males who never consider the female plight of sexual responsibility. If only these men could imagine being host to a hungry parasite that steals their vitality, makes their bellies swell like balloons, and steals their life and mobility away while subjugating them to a series of invasive medical procedures… then they wouldn’t be so quick to condemn every woman to the bondage of motherhood.

For a scientific explanation of why pregnancy is especially hostile and risky for primates, check out this article written by evolutionary biologist Suzanne Sadenin:

September 1, 2021, Austin, Texa, USA: University of Texas women rally at the Texas Capitol to protest Governor Abbott’s signing of the nation’s strictest abortion law that makes it a crime to abort a fetus after six weeks, or when a ”heartbeat” is detected. Abbott signed the law Wednesday, Sept. 1st, 2021. (Credit Image: © Bob Daemmrich/ZUMA Press Wire)

Period Sex: To Fuck or Not to Fuck?

Do you fuck on your period?

Do you fuck your girlfriend while she is on her period?

Why or why not?

Period sex is a nasty, sticky business, but does it exceed the inherent nastiness of “normal” sexual intercourse?

Opinions on this topic are wildly subjective, varying from person to person, but for me, period sex is perfectly acceptable. It’s as natural as the hair on my legs and the sweat beads on my skin; mere functions of the body that I expect my sexual companions to accept and adore, along with the rest of me! Sure, I might not expect my partner to dine on the fruit of my loins when the red river is flowing, but primal vaginal intercourse has never phased me during menstruation. Luckily for me, none of my sexual partners have paid much mind to menstrual intercourse, either…. Not until my most recent long-term relationship, of course, where our conflicting opinions on period sex were a huge source of disunity between us.

This partner came from a more traditional mindset, feeling that sex with a menstruating woman is taboo. I didn’t know this about him, however, until months and months into the relationship, because my method of birth control minimized the signs and symptoms of my period. I remember how abruptly he desisted at the presence of blood, and how adamantly I disagreed with his decision. And, of COURSE, I took it personally. Imagine my poor soul, rejected by my lover for something I hadn’t been bothered to feel shame about in over a decade! In a heated moment where both parties are eager and libidinous, a bit of menstrual blood seems like a petty thing to stand in the way of nature’s union! I reacted with anger. I told my partner that his hesitance was “weak little boy shit,” and he actually asked me to leave his house.

Naturally, this innocent quandary, the result of a simple difference in upbringing, mutated into a recurring impasse between this partner and I. I thought to myself: “How can I care so deeply about someone so ideologically flawed?” and “How can he possibly stand to perpetuate this misogynistic, sexual double-standard?” and “I’m sexually liberated and can’t be expected to go back into the box of period shame for any man!”. As an angry feminist, my mind is frequently occupied by the sexual and societal disadvantages of the female body. Being sexually denied on the basis of a natural body function –something far beyond my control—feels like unjust suppression.

However, one of the major tenets of feminism is enthusiastic consent, along with the notion that consent can be withdrawn at any time, and for any reason, without question. Feminist concepts are always there to protect women who become uncomfortable in sexual situations, but occasionally I need to remind myself that men deserve the same respect in those scenarios. In this way, I have failed every time that I chided this partner for refusing to perform in the presence of my monthly flow. If he has a visceral reaction to blood, it isn’t fair to force him to proceed in conditions that make him uncomfortable. Moreover, it is unfair to make any assumptions about the source of this aversion. Sure, the angry feminist wants to assume that this is all a result of unrealistic expectations imposed on women by media and pornography, but who knows? Aggressive, punitive behavior does little to change minds, anyway, so the best thing for me to do is hold space and let him come around to the activity if, or when, he was ready… right?  

            Alternately… the long-term affect of being rejected on the basis of menstruation has inevitable, negative, repressive consequences on my relationship with my body. Suddenly, I would sink into a pit of perceived undesirability and dirtiness whenever my cycle rolled around. I felt off-limits, closed for maintenance, and out-of-order (but maybe we can try again later??). I was always comfortable with the ebbs and flows of my body, but I grew to resent my womanly fluctuations worse than I did when I was a fumbling teenager. It certainly isn’t fair to shame my partner for having boundaries, but is it any fairer that my sexual fire is allowed to decay, only to be replaced by insecurity, uncertainty, and doubt? If my partner insists on monogamy (a concept I am more flexible about) then shouldn’t he be prepared to meet all of my emotional and sexual needs? Who should concede, and how does a couple compromise when both parties are so firm in their beliefs?

In conclusion, I have reached no conclusion. Differing beliefs about period sex seem like an insignificant issue in the wide scope of relationship complexities, but over time, it is impossible to ignore. I especially curious to hear the opinions and experiences of others out there, who have run into this dilemma. (Click on the title of the post to leave a comment. <3)