The Sexy Times | Vagina-Havers, Get the IUD

The Sexy Times is The Pitt News’ biweekly sex blog written by Genna Edwards.

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By Genna Edwards, Senior Staff Writer

First off — it does not hurt as bad as the internet says it will. Do not go to Reddit, do not listen to your friends’ tales — while some women do report pain, reading this kind of babble will only terrify you before you even have your feet in the metal stirrups.

If you’re contemplating an IUD at this moment in history — or, I suppose, any moment in history — I am telling you straight to your face to bite the bullet and get it. Reproductive health for people with vaginas always seems up in the air. I hear every week of yet another roadblock, yet another anti-choice Supreme Court wannabe, yet another study or article detailing that men just aren’t ready to burden themselves with birth control and its side effects.

For the time being, women do the grunt work of birth control and many women around me are worried about their future contraception access. I have a simple recommendation — toss your daily pills and meet Mr. IUD, a bendy plastic (or copper) man that you won’t have to worry about for up to seven years. You heard me – seven years of not thinking about birth control. Seven years of pure bliss.

You’ve likely only heard about the IUD in passing. As I’ve discussed before, sex education in this country does not arm vagina owners with correct and helpful information regarding contraception options. Because of this, I had to do a lot of research on my own before I felt comfortable enough to give the gynecologist a thumbs up.

Of course I was worried about the pain. All IUD stories I’ve heard read like horrific old wives’ tales — “the pain was so bad I descended into Hell, where Satan prodded at my uterus until it exploded with the fire of a thousand suns.” Like, I’m here firsthand to tell you that these stories are all subjective and singular. I went into the doctor’s office prepared for a bloodbath. I was… totally fine. For me, it wasn’t as big a deal as people make it out to be.

And that’s saying a lot for me. I have a history of vasovagal syncope, meaning I tend to faint in medical situations. It sucks. Shots, procedures, even the metal glimpse of a speculum — my eyes roll back. You’d think if the pill had been working for me for years I’d just stick to it, but look, I’d had enough. Would you ask any 20-something man to take a pill at the same time every day for years? Likely not. So why do I have to, on top of everything else we’re all dealing with right now?

The procedure goes like this — you’ll put on the little flowered hospital gown, lay down and place your feet in the stirrups. A really nice doctor will talk you through everything before it happens so you’re not shocked or scared. She’ll insert a speculum — honestly, this is the worst part, I cannot stand speculums — and measure the inside of your bits to make sure you’re the right size for the type of IUD you want. (I got the Mirena.) Then she’ll swab your cervix with some pink soap. It will tickle.

You can opt for a medicine that will numb your cervix so the actual IUD insertion feels like barely a nudge. This is what I did. The medicine feels super weird, and you’ll feel the numbness down there, but it can help with fears and anxiety about the IUD going in.

When the doctor puts the IUD in, you will feel cramping in your uterus. I didn’t have terrible pain — if you do, rest assured it only lasts for a second or two in my experience. They’ll give you a heat pad. If you pass out like I did, they’ll get you some orange juice and put a wet cloth on your face while you babble about how “that was totally easy and barely hurt I can’t believe this oh man.”

I’ve had my IUD for about a week now. I named her Shirley. She gives me some cramps but she’ll ultimately be worth it — I don’t have to worry about birth control for the next seven years.

If you’re on the fence about an IUD, just get it. I may not be the most serious guy out there, but if there’s one thing I don’t joke about, it’s women’s access to contraceptives. You deserve to not have to worry about getting pregnant. You have loads of stuff to do, dammit.

For more information on IUD types and side effects, you can check this out or simply ask your primary care doctor or gynecologist.

Genna Edwards writes about gender and media for The Pitt News. You can drop her a line at [email protected].

 

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