You Will Seriously Never Guess What The Second Most Popular Form Of Birth Control Is

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woman considering birth control pillWhat’s the most popular form of birth control? The pill. What’s the second most popular? Sterilization! Ha ha! No seriously, it is.

An article on Time.com today discusses the latest report from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which says that out of the 62% of U.S. women between the ages of 15 and 44 who use birth control, 16% use the pill and 15.5% chose sterilization:

The CDC report shows that nearly one in three women ages 35 to 44 opted for female sterilization. By contrast, fewer than 1% of women between ages 15 to 24 chose it.

I think that this is fantastic news. It means that more women are choosing to take control of their bodies and say, “I don’t want any more (or any) kids, and I am going to use the right I have to make decisions about my body to choose this.”

Sterilization sounds like an extreme choice to many people because it’s irreversible. But it makes perfect sense for women like me who have had all the children they want and are just counting the days until menopause. Getting sterilized is a heck of a lot more convenient than any other birth control method out there. You do it, and you’re done. You never have to think about it again. Even with IUDs, which last for years, you still have to deal with it from time to time. And why do that when you are sure about what you want?

The fact is that we still view a woman choosing to be sterilized as a reason for concern. One common objection is that they might change their minds later and regret it. This concern can move into the realm of the absurd:

“But what if your husband dies and then you remarry and want to have kids with your second husband?”


If we’re talking about a 21-year-old, I might caution them to wait to make this decision as well. But at the age of 35 or 40? Most women around my age don’t have a sentimental attachment to their fertility. For many of us, it’s a pain in the ass and a source of dread. The idea of sterilization to many of us is freeing, which also may be where part of the stigma comes from.

Women are tied down by our ability to reproduce: we are the ones who get pregnant, we are the ones who have to take time off from work, and we are typically the ones who take on the majority of the child-rearing. A woman who is free of any of those concerns also has fewer obstacles or limits to what she can achieve. Our fertility is seen as being so central to what defines us as women, that to reject it can leave people stunned. To me, this high percentage of women choosing to be sterilized is a sign that more and more women are taking their bodies and their lives back, either after years of parenting or after years of defending their decision not have children.

I say tie those tubes, ladies. I’ll take a double knot, please.

(Photo: Image Point Fr / Shutterstock)