It’s conventional wisdom and socially accepted hysteria on my mind this morning. There isn’t really one common phrase for this, but several ideas permeate our thinking that all add up to the idea that unprotected sex WILL lead you to get pregnant. Especially when you’re young and stupid.
When we’re young (and stupid), putting the fear of consequences, like teen pregnancy, into our minds has some merit. You WILL get cancer if you smoke, you WILL get pregnant if you have sex, you WILL NOT get into college if you have bad grades… all of these are common ideas and used to help steer us to better decisions as we dip our toes into independence. Of course, none of them are exactly fool-proof statements which is why we humans test them and find them to be untrue for some… but true for others. And it’s always the ones who mess up who make the “rules” for the rest of us- and the cycle begins again.
The conventional wisdom and social “rules” around sex and conception are what have me bothered this morning (you’re surprised, eh?). I know there’s a lot of research about how it’s better handled in other countries but the United States is where I’m at and so it’s my focus. We have a system that puts the fear of God into our youngsters about premarital sex, telling us to abstain because of the unspoken implication that you WILL get pregnant or come away from it diseased. Even in the states that have Health and Sexual Education courses for those in the early years of puberty and mid-teens… it’s still woefully skewed and incomplete material. Where are the parents you ask? They’re under-educated too! Fucking Puritanical roots.
The facts are, it’s actually NOT terribly easy to get pregnant. And there’s a disconnect between what we’re taught about our bodies and the conventional wisdom that guides our thinking. If I’d known when I was 14 about temperature, cervical fluid and position, cycle length, and exactly how much perfect timing is needed for conception… I probably would have been far more relaxed about the times I DID partake of the forbidden fruit.
I also probably would not have waited so long to start paying attention to my body to learn that when I DID want a pregnancy it would be a long road.
We are cheating ourselves by swallowing only the conventional wisdom that pregnancy is easy… and all the other cautionary tales. We are cheating ourselves by not teaching our children better about their bodies- especially when the information is out there and accessible.
I feel cheated.