I'm Going Off the Pill

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 09:26
Submitted by Carlin Ross

I was 18 the first time I got pregnant.  Raised in a Christian Fundamentalist family and taught at home, I was simply paralyzed during sex.  I had condoms in my bag but I couldn't get the words "I'm not on birth control you need to suit up" out of my mouth. That's the problem with raising girls to be passive sexually: they can't communicate about birth control, what they want, or how they orgasm. 

I rolled the dice and I lost.  Oh, and when I went into the clinic on abortion day one of my mother's friends was protesting outside and told my mom all about it.  Suffice it to say I suffered....hard. 

After my first abortion, I went straight on the pill.  The light periods were great and I liked not having to worry about getting pregnant again.  It was much easier to orgasm knowing that I had nothing to fear.  No wonder so many women don't orgasm during sex.  You're too busy worrying about getting knocked up to enjoy yourself. 

After my divorce, I went off the pill.  I wasn't having that much sex and none of my married girlfriends could get pregnant.  I was 30 years old and figured I was borderline infertile (I'm not saying it was logical but it made sense at the time).  Fearing the reality of a real relationship, I started dating a married man.  We had sex...lots of sex...hot sex...kinky sex.  We used the rhythm method and low and behold I was pregnant again. 

Sitting in a hospital gown waiting with a bunch of 18 year olds at the clinic for your second abortion - post-30 - is sobering.   The sense of failure is overwhelming.  You feel like a big, fat fucking asshole.  I knew two things: that I wasn't going to give birth to a bastard and I was going right back on the pill.  If I had learned one thing, it was that I was super fertile and needed maximum protection.  That lasted for 5 years.  I went off the pill again at 35, got pregnant with a condom, had another abortion, and ran right back to the pill. 

I've been on the pill on and off for the better part of 20 years.  That's a long time.  I do have ovarian cysts so there is some medical advantage but I think deep down I stayed on the pill because I'm scared of my sexual self.  My libido on the pill is in overdrive.  What would it be like if my body wasn't fooled into thinking it was pregnant with a big monthly dose of progesterone?  I haven't known the real sexual me in two decades.  It's time I got to know her again. 

I guess the real reason I'm going off the pill - besides Betty's daily chidings - is that I want to get back to me.  I want to have real periods again...soak through tampons...and free bleed.  I want to feel my pussy change from day to day - see how the secretions vary.  I want to feel my fertility even if I'm not choosing to become a mother.  I want to feel tied to the earth and the moon and the tides.  I want to be part of nature again.

My diaphragm-fitting appointment is March 7.  I plan on blogging about my experience - the pros, the cons, the changes.  Here goes nothing *fingers-crossed*

Editor in Chief & Keeper of All Things Betty Dodson

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The best news I've heard from you in a long time.

Betty Dodson's picture
Wed, 02/29/2012 - 09:55
Betty Dodson

Congratulations Carlin! I know this was a big step and I'm here to support you in any way I can. The diaphragm or what I called "My little flying saucer" is a dream to use once you get used to it. Now you get to meet the real you without Big Pharma messing with your hormones.

Carlin, I have to address

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 11:35
Elin A (not verified)


I have to address one thing that you write:

"I knew two things: that I wasn't going to give birth to a bastard".

I was truly disgusted and offended by this comment.

If you don't want to have children outside of marriage, that's fine. But it's absolutely horrible to label children as "bastards". Furthermore, you're doing damage to the women's cause by stigmatizing childbearing outside of marriage - signaling that there's anything wrong with being an unmarried mother.

But calling children bastards, or even an unborn child a bastard, really takes the prize. Not only has it such a hugely negative meaning that it's a household curseword, but it literally means that the child is illegitimate and is less worth. It is unacceptable to speak of any children in such terms.


Wed, 02/29/2012 - 11:52
Marisa Black

As I said in my FB comment, getting off the pill was one of the best things I ever did for myself.  All my best as you rediscover your own rhythms and cycles.

Congrats, Carlin!  About a

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 13:22
Sarah J

Congrats, Carlin!  About a year ago, I went off the pill after eight years.  I love it for exactly the reasons you describe: I feel so in touch with myself and with my cycle (both when I'm menstruating and when I'm not).  Personally I have an IUD (non hormonal one) and love it like crazy.  Enjoy yourself! - in every sense of both of those terms!

Congratulations Carlin!

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 13:30

Yes!  get Big Pharma and synthetic progesterone out of your blood stream.  
As always, thank you for having the courage to share this experience with us.

Elin I think Carlin using the

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 15:27
Jake E

Elin I think Carlin using the word bastard was a negative emotional reaction to all the anti abortion attacks aimed at her and you. Whenever I get angry about something it feels cathartic to let it out, but the result usually isn't good and I very often feel I have to apologise.  

what I meant by "bastard" was

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 15:43
Carlin Ross

what I meant by "bastard" was that I wasn't going to give birth to a child whose father was married to another woman & already had a family.  I didn't want to be the mistress with the love child.

I don't think or believe that you have to be married to have a child.  Quite the contrary.  It was about him being married to another person.

Jake, Don't worry, I see

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 16:02
Elin A (not verified)


Don't worry, I see nothing in your post that needs apologizing for.

I don't think I've ver heard anyone against abortion argue for their cause by calling children illegitimate. Nor do I see how frustration over anti-abortionists could make one refer to children as such, so I really don't see where you're coming from there. 

It's possible Carlin didn't mean it as it came out. In such case, it would be nice to hear her explain since it's pointless to speculate. But without such an explenation, the sentence is in my opinion clearly hostile to children born outside of marriage as well as their parents. 

Carlin, Than you could have

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 16:32
Elin A (not verified)


Than you could have written just that.

Who was married or not doesn't make it any more acceptable to refer to children as bastards, for all the reasons I stated above. 

Congratulations Carlin!

Prose4Hoes's picture
Wed, 02/29/2012 - 16:57

This is great news. I'm really happy for you, and really excited to read what you say about the diaphragm. In my health class we just covered forms of birth control. I was surprised at how many there were, and how many I hadn't heard of. I wasn't really told my options when I went for my first gyno visit. I'm on the pill now, but it doesn't feel natural. Also, I'm not have sex on a regular basis, so i've been thinking about other options. Congratulations!

I meant "bastard" in the

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 17:49
Carlin Ross

I meant "bastard" in the literary sense.  He could never claim the child kind of thing

Elin I wasn't apologising :)

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 18:23
Jake E

Elin I wasn't apologising :) just explaining that I too make mistakes like Carlin does and everyone does. I thought using the word bastard came over badly too. As bastard is used overwhelmingly now as an insult which for me invalidates it's use in any other way unless there is a big thing about reclaiming the word, like cunt, which there hasn't been.   I think I'm gonna stop using bastard as an insult as it's original application as an insult is pretty uncool (bit like using whore). So yeah I can't use it unthinkingly now as I've just thought about it :)

Yeah we all make mistakes and for me something good has come of this :)


Wed, 02/29/2012 - 21:43

It will be interesting how your libido changes off the pill, considering it is in overdrive on the pill. The main reason I'm not on the pill is because, like many women, my libido is significantly lower when on the pill. I want to feel my full sexual self.

Learn about fertlity awareness while using your diaphragm

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 23:19

Carlin, I recommend readning "Fertlity Awarness for Women" by Toni Weschler and googling Ovacue.  OvaCue isn't FDA approved for pregnancy prevention yet (just conception) but I can see how it can be used for pregnancy prevention.

oh get off it and calm down,

Wed, 02/29/2012 - 23:33
teclado (not verified)

oh get off it and calm down, youre just causing an even bigger stink and ruffling your feathers. Carlin explained herself, you took offense, now chill out yo. 

Hey Carlin, I look forward to

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 08:40
Anonanonanon (not verified)

Hey Carlin,
I look forward to hearing how you find it- I love being synthetic hormone free and being in touch with the different stages of my cycle. My partner and I recently tried the diaphragm but found it a bit of a bulky object when in place and the edges uncomfortable for him during sex- this was after a second fit with a second type-silicone. Is there anyone else who uses one that can comment on their experiences with using one? 


Thu, 03/01/2012 - 10:56
Leigh23 (not verified)

Hi all, 
I was on and off the pill as well and I have recently discovered the femcap...so far so good! It's still hard to get used to the emotional part of it...it's hard to let go and enjoy instead of always worrying about pregnancy...with the pill I feel far more certain that pregnancy is less likely to happen. This method is forcing me to touch myself more, and understand my body (specifically uterus/cervix). It's been interesting and my partner has learned a lot about my anatomy already. It's amazing how little we know about female sex organs. Sometimes I feel like Big Pharma wants to keep us down, and keep us from touching ourselves. Once we learn how to harness our sexual power...who knows what will happen...probably amazing things. 
I am 23 now, but a few years ago a doctor prescribed me a Nuvaring, and being young and not knowing anything about it I went for it. There were side effects of course, but I feel way better being off hormones. I think we have all spent too many years tricking our bodies, in the name of good sex. 
But if I'm feeling nervous about penetration, who cares because clit stim rules. And you can't get pregnant that way. Tongues, fingers, dildoes, it's all the same heh, heh. 


Thu, 03/01/2012 - 13:12

The name of the book is "Taking Charge of your Fertility"

Jake, I'm sorry. I didn't

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 13:17
Elin A (not verified)


I'm sorry. I didn't think you were apologizing, but thought you implied that I should. So I undulged in a bit of sarcasm. I totally misread you...

In my opinion, using the word bastard as a loose curseword is quite benign. But its true, many cursewords come from names for people who are seen as less worth in society. "Idiot", for example, was basically a gathered name for the mentally ill. We call people idiots today when we're pissed off, and the word has lost a lot of its original value - it's just a curseword. But if we were to apply it to a mentally ill person, its original significance comes back with grandeur and it's horribly offensive. Likewise, you don't go around calling sexually active, unmarried women whores (well, some do, I guess). It's offensive and wrong. Likewise is using the term bastard to actually descibe children born outside of marriage offensive and wrong. It just shouldn't happen, expecially when the stigma of childbearing outside of marriage is still alive and well.

I will not chill out. The explenation doesn't justify the use of the term. It was offensive and still is.

Carlin,  I know you did. In

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 13:37
Elin A (not verified)


I know you did. In my opinion, bastard in the literary sense is offensive, as I clarified in my first post. 

Diaphragm Use

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 13:43

I used a diaphragm for about 12 years without a single slip. No accidental pregnancies, no health issues related to its use at all. And when I didn't have a partner or wasn't having sex very often, it was nice not to have to think about or pay for contraception. With my first husband it worked very well. We used it like a sex toy...getting it into place was half the fun. However, I will say the taste of the contraceptive gel used with it was not very pleasant and it numbed the tongue, so that had a somewhat limiting effect on the order of ceremonies, so to speak.

In my second marriage, the diaphragm proved to be problematic. My new husband was interested in sex two, sometime three times every day. I was fine with the frequency, but it meant I was basically wearing the diaphragm all the time and continually adding more contraceptive gel which got pretty messy. I got tired of leaking all the time. Also, hubby #2 just could not see the diaphragm as a sexy play thing, despite my best efforts, which meant it was entirely up to me to deal with it, which frankly got old.

So I switched to an IUD which was good in that I never had to think about contraception once it was inserted, but over time it caused more and more low back pain, painful and long periods (10-12 days), and after seven years I finally had it removed. Hubby got a vasectomy which at that point was the best solution of all.

In all my fertile years I never used hormonal contraception, so I can't say how it might have affected me or compared, but now that I am menopausal, I am happily using bio-identical hormone replacement to maintain my sanity, improve my physical health and preserve my libido--and my husband and I are having the best sex of our lives at age 50. This is in no small part because of all we have learned from this site and the sex positive community we've found here, so for that I thank you!

A long journey . . .

Thu, 03/01/2012 - 23:14

It must have been difficult, and taken real courage, to post something so personal. Knowing that you were raised in a fundamentalist home makes me wonder how you survived it all. I hope that your parents eventually went beyond their judgments into some sort of compassion and acceptance.

The Bastard !

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 05:05
Unicorns (not verified)

Well "Bastard" isn't offensive to me. Neither is "cunt" or "clit" or "idiot" or "black" or "nigger" or "honky" or "chimpanzee"  or even "son of a silly person".
It's actually foolish to be offended by words like this. What is better is to let them out and to let them tell you about the person using them. Don't let certain words control you, and dictate what you can and can't express to another adult human. Isn't that one of the things Betty has taught us all ?
Now in the case of "bastard" it expresses perfectly (it seems to me) what Carlin meant to say. Bastard is actually a legitimate noun you know ! It has an historical lineage, which flavours it and enhances the whole sentence. The bastards' of the kings of England for example used to have high status positions at one time, it was good to be King !
Remember we are not talking about a baby! We are talking about a non existent baby. A baby she did NOT have. So it's not as if she's leaning into someone's crib and calling a particular baby a bastard ! Nor is she saying all babies born outside the blanket are unworthy in any way. It's a notional bastard. The concept of a bastard, a bastard avatar, a virtual bastard ! "I am not going to put myself in the way of something that will cause me in particular great harm". Why would you drink something harmful just because not drinking it offended someone else ? 
With the right to offend comes the right to be offended. When people stop freely expressing themselves because it might "offend", that is the beginning of totalitarianism.
It makes no sense to be offended by someone calling a non existant thing a name you dislike.
Fucking unicorns, who knew they were such bastards ?

The Best Decision :)

Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:51
Iownmypussy (not verified)

Hi Carlin,
First I'd like to say I really admire you and Betty for being so intelligent and unabasdedly outspoken. Your website has made me feel so comfortable with sexual issues that I had in the past, so thank you!
I digress... Carlin I applaud you for deciding to go off the pill.
At 16 I began getting ovarian cysts and the pill was pushed upon me by an offensive GP. I was on it until I was 25. I tried a few different brands but they always made me feel weird and different somehow. I hated them. Thus I decided to go off the pill.
My boyfriend at the time was not happy (umm fuck you!!! Birth control can be your responsibility too). So we started using condoms which was a "hassle" for him. So a few times we had sex without and he fully came in me but I didn't get pregnant.
After another year of being off the pill we broke up. Me being the love seeker I found new partners. I was using condoms with all of my new partners. During that time I got a few cysts and my cycle was very irregular. I got my period maybe once every 2-3 months.
After another year I went to see an endocrinologist to investigate whether my hormones were normal and why my periods were so irregular. The MD said that it would be very difficult for me to conceive because of my cysts and the irregularity of my periods. Honestly I couldn't be happier because I did not want to have children.
Needless to say I gave the good news to the man I was seeing at the time. Yup so we did it sans any protection. He came in me once. Bang I got pregnant. Yes of course he flipped out, as did I. I got an abortion.
Then I moved away for post-grad. While there I met and fell in love with a very handsome man who was in love with me too. It was a bit of a whirl wind romance but he was very eager to marry me and have babies. Why wait right? I was hesitant but I allowed him to cum inside me. Man was I stupid. I got pregnant again.
Anyway so during that time of being pregnant, within 2 weeks he became a crazy psycho so I decided to abort. He was not supportive at all and I really felt like shit. I felt like a bad person for allowing tis to happen and I was needlessly having an abortion. My only rationale was that the guy was a psycho and I didn't want him to have any access to an innocent child. I decided I was actually being responsible. 
At the clinic I told them to ensert a copper IUD (non-hormonal). That was the best decision I made about my fertility and contraception. Now I know I won't get pregnant, I feel like an un-altered woman, and I'm not being a slave to the pharmaceutical companies, or ignorant doctors who insist the pill is the best option. It was a big FUCK YOU to them all ani it feels so good!
I do occasionally get cysts but they are pretty minor and really sporadic. I say you are making the best pro-femisist decision for yourself. Enjoy your new freedom :)

No artificial contraceptives for me

Sat, 03/03/2012 - 19:00
Lola D. (not verified)

Betty has taught me that I do not need to have a penis in my vagina to enjoy sex with a male partner or otherwise. I will therefore never let a penis in my vagina unless I intend and want to get pregnant. That's the most efficient form of contraception.

Artificial contraceptives should only be used to avoid conception in anticipation of rape.

"Artificial contraceptives

Sun, 03/04/2012 - 09:47
Elin A (not verified)

"Artificial contraceptives should only be used to avoid conception in anticipation of rape."[/size]

Are you crazy?? Since when can you "anticipate rape"?[/size]
(Unless you are in a relationship or family where rape occurs continuously).[/size]

And so what that you prefer not to have penetrative sex? I'm all for questioning the fixation on vaginal penetration, and I'm also sceptic towards most forms of contraceptives, as they have conciderable side effects. But everybody is different and for many people intercourse is something they enjoy and treasure.
And what do you mean by "artificial contraceptives"? They're all artificial.

@ Lola D.: "Betty has taught

Sun, 03/04/2012 - 09:55
icyqueen (not verified)

@ Lola D.:

"Betty has taught me that I do not need to have a penis in my vagina to enjoy sex with a male partner or otherwise. I will therefore never let a penis in my vagina unless I intend and want to get pregnant. That's the most efficient form of contraception."

Yes,I agree 100%! I also don't want PIV sex because I want to avoid a pregnancy. But I think it is not easy to find a guy who agrees to go without PIV sex. 


Sun, 03/04/2012 - 13:30
Elin A (not verified)


First, let me address the whole expression thing.
I have to say I find it tiring that everytime you go to a forum and have a disagreement,
someone has to wave the freedom flag. No one has questioned anyones right to do
whatever. This is a forum for discussion and there is nothing wrong with having
different opinions or even telling someone that they're downright wrong. And I
hardly think Betty, since you for some reason bring her up, would hesitate to
do so if she found something a person said to be offensive.
You also go ahead
and say "Don't dictate what you can and can't express to another adult
human". Well, guess who just did? YOU. And it's not only your right to do
so, I won't even call it a problem. You can even tell me I’m the stupidest asshole
in the world without getting a bash about "the beginning of
totalitarianism." Nobody’s censored or scared anyone in here. You have to be able to protest or claim that something said is not acceptable, it’s a vital function of the free flow
of ideas and evolution of culture. So let's give that part of the discussion a rest.

Foolish to be offended by words like this”? Why don't you say that to the black person being called the n-word and let me know how that works out for you. I do agree you shouldn’t let words control you. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t protest against them if you think they’re
offensive. There are words that, used in the wrong context, do damage. As I wrote to Jake:

"In my opinion, using the word bastard as a loose curseword is quite benign. But it’s true,
many cursewords come from names for people who are seen as less worth in
society. "Idiot", for example, was basically a gathered name for the
mentally ill. We call people idiots today when we're pissed off, and the word
has lost a lot of its original value - it's just a curseword. But if we were to
apply it to a mentally ill person, its original significance comes back with
grandeur and it's horribly offensive. [...] Likewise is using the term bastard
to actually descibe children born outside of marriage offensive and wrong. It
just shouldn't happen, expecially when the stigma of childbearing outside of
marriage is still alive and well."

As for your lecture on the word bastard, I know
exactly what it means and the history behind it. That illegitimate children of
kings had a certain status is irrelevant – they were exceptions. This is not
the case with the ordinairy child. The term means "illegitimate"
and was applied to children because they were concidered just that. They had little
or no rights and were looked down on in society. This is also why it became a
curseword - the recipient is demeaned by applying a socially repelling label to
them. In this context especially, it's not in any way a neutral word. The
nature of its origin and the fact that the stigma still is, makes that impossible.

And no, she's not calling a particular baby a
bastard. But you can obviously use a word and have it be offensive without
directing it to a specific person, since it signals the lower status of a
certain group. You wouldn't say "I wasn't going to give birth to an idiot"
which is a “legitimate noun, you know”). To make an even clearer illustration: if you say “I don’t like homos”, it’s not directed at someone in particular, but it's still offensive to people of that group. So it does make sense to be "offended by someone calling a non existant
thing a name you dislike."

Lola D., icyqueen, and penetrative sex . . .

Mon, 03/05/2012 - 01:47

I agree that vaginal sex is overemphasized, although many couples do enjoy the closeness it involves. But, as I hope you know, it won't be necessary for you to make an exception and have intercourse with a man simply because you want to get pregnant. That sounds suspiciously as if you'd just be using him as a sperm delivery system, and that's not nice. Instead, there's always artificial insemination. Or your boyfriend could ejaculate into a syringe and you could inject yourselves. That would preserve your values and be much more respectful to your male partner.

Elin A. Is there any chance we could criticize the message

Sun, 03/04/2012 - 16:37

Elin A. 
When I read your posts I feel like a  woman is wagging her finger  at the person who posted something here.  Is there any chance of criticizing the message not the messenger?
Please..this is such a great website and community.  This thread has been primarily about our celebration and support of a member of our sisterhood getting off Big Pharma and another toxic drug.  I would love to read your personal experience with the pill or any personal experience in your life that relates to Carlin's decision.  
RX : Have 2 orgasms and call me in the morning.