sex and pregnancy

Increase In Men Tampering With Birth Control Reminds Me I’m Lucky To Have An Honest Husband

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condomsThis new study led by Brown University surprised me, because it upturns the stereotype: this study found that men are frequently tampering with their partners’ birth control in order to get them pregnant. This only makes me more grateful to have found a partner who respects me, and would never make a life-changing decision without consulting me first.


The study consisted of 641 ob-gyn patients, and found that 16 percent had been “tricked” into parenthood because their significant others sabotaged their birth control.

It is called “reproductive coercion” and is thought to affect mainly unmarried, sexually active women in abusive relationships. 

But now, researchers are finding that the issue is wider than previously thought, as it happened across socioeconomic and educational backgrounds.

“What is striking is that reproductive coercion affected women of all socioeconomic levels and educational backgrounds,” Dr. Lindsay Clark said. “It doesn’t just affect poor and uneducated women.”

The primary explanation for this problem is that the abusers want to create a nuclear family, so that they may provide something for children that they didn’t have growing up. Also, it’s apparently a status symbol for gang members to have lots of children. Both of these seem like reasonable explanations, but there’s something else I’m wondering about.

Isn’t it possible that some of these men, especially the abusive ones, would want to impregnate their partners to tie them down to the household — or at least keep them from leaving? I don’t think all men have secret patriarchal oppressive agendas, but it just seems like this could be the intent with some of the more controlling ones. It’s not too far-fetched, considering I’ve known (from a distance) women who messed with their own birth control in hopes it would make their partner stay.

I feel if there’s any element of mistrust or abuse, each partner should take it upon him or herself to guard against pregnancy. If a man’s scared of his wife or girlfriend poking a hole in the condom, he should buy and apply the condoms himself. If a woman wants to make sure she won’t get pregnant, she can keep her pills in a secret place — or opt for a different contraceptive, one that can’t be tampered with, like the shot.

However, economics probably play into the problem here, too. Not everybody can afford the shot or other long-term types of birth control. Economics are the reason I haven’t yet tried an IUD, despite really wanting it. It would cost me over a thousand dollars, which we can’t save up for easily.

But my husband and I, fortunately, have a deep mutual respect. Despite my tendency to want more children and his adamant decision that one is enough, I’m not the kind of person who would “trick” my husband into impregnating me. The potential for happiness another child might bring into my life is not worth the loss of mutual trust in my marriage.

(photo: Iwona Grodzka / Shutterstock)