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Whose Responsibility Is It To Get Contraceptives?



Art begets art. It is for this reason that I’m, once again, inspired to  write an article based on a movie I saw this weekend. This movie,  The Pill, a romantic drama involving Fred (Noah Bean) and Mindy (Rachel Boston), who after meeting at a party end up in bed together and the drama that ensues following their liaison. Quite an interesting and seriously realistic movie, The Pill sees Fred and Mindy having unprotected sex after Mindy initially falls asleep and wastes the only condom Fred has. Mindy wakes up later at night to get down and dirty despite the lack of protection.

The following morning is hilarious with Fred getting worried about Mindy’s non-use of the morning-after pill since she’s Catholic. Now Fred is even more worried about Mindy’s seeming lack of concern given the fact that she’s not even sure about the details of her cycle. She then cites the side effects as a reason she does not take the pill. Fred is confused and perturbed as she uses condoms but not pills. Even more confusing is the fact that she’s out of touch with her body’s cycle. They eventually get to the pharmacy and she takes the first dose under Fred’s imaginative prodding – he buys her breakfast and helps her moves her stuff from her old apartment. They part only for him to realise that there is still another dose she has to take in twelve hours. The film follows the rest of their day (as he tries to get her to take the second one without offending her) and how they eventually become closer.

I had fun watching this movie delve into this funny yet serious issue, the issue of contraceptives, and who bears the burden of ensuring that it is taken. Now, I am sure we all know that contraceptives are used to prevent unwanted pregnancies and to protect against sexually transmitted diseases, and the assumption is that any couple who is not trying to get pregnant would use some form of contraceptives. Right? Wrong! I find in my little experience and following a little research that a significant number of sexually active young Nigerians whether or not they are in an exclusive relationship, do not use or know the first thing about contraceptives, apart from the condom. But what happens when the condom breaks or those times when you just want to get the proper feel of things and forego its use? The pill quite naturally should come to mind. But you will be tripped the number of women who are clueless about the pill and their bodies. I have heard of women preferring to use condoms as against the pill due to the side effects of using the pill – bloating, irregular cycles etc; besides condoms provide the added protection against diseases they argue. Some women have never even heard of the pill. Postinor II? What’s that?

There are also women who keep condoms at hand. For women, there is also the perceived added embarrassment of walking into a pharmacy to ask for the pill. Well as I say, guys walk in to buy condoms, so why can’t women walk in to buy the pill or even condoms. I think it just shows that you are responsible.  I have had to go buy the pill for one or two women I had been with and just like Fred in the movie, followed up to ensure that they took it correctly.

But really whose responsibility is it to provide protection? The man’s or the woman’s? I have had male friends say that beyond the condom the responsibility is the woman’s. It is assumed that most men carry condoms about and use them. But what about those men who don’t or can’t use them? They still have sex, don’t they? When they are done, the men pull up their trousers and go, but what happens? Do the women know that they are definitely “safe” or do they go and take the pill or do they pray that fertilization does not occur and that nothing has been transmitted?

So what is the point of this article, you might ask. The point is…. if you are having sex, you should be having sex responsibly and that includes protecting yourselves properly. Women need to get educated about contraceptives and use them properly, no excuses. Men need to be supportive and understanding as this seems to be one sensitive area for women. Proper research needs to be done by both parties and an agreement reached. In the case of married couples who are no longer trying to have children, it could be difficult for the man to go back to using condoms. The women or men may be against having the implant or the IUD done. Whatever decision taken must be good for both parties.

Find what works for you, no excuses.


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