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Breaking UP with Birth Control

The other day I received some skepticism after sharing an interesting fact about how hormonal birth control (HBC) impacts women’s attraction to men. One woman wrote me and informed me that I was causing harm by sharing information that was proven to be untrue and that I needed to do my research. I wasn’t upset with her for this because I myself at one point wouldn’t have believed it.

Talking about the negative side of HBC is a trigger to many women, and rightfully so! This little pill has done wonders for our freedom and autonomy as women. That little pill has allowed us to have sex without the weighted fear of unwanted pregnancy, it has allowed us to skip over the very awkward conversations about condom use and it has given us a break from having to always remind our male partners to use protection.

For those with acne that’s been hard to get rid of, it has provided clear skin and therefore boosted confidence all over, has given women with PCOS a damn break from the pain they endure every month during menstruation, has helped ease premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), eased cramps in general, along with “cycle regulation”, helps to ease endometriosis, reduces the risk of ovarian cysts and also reduced risk of uterine cancer.

For so many of us, we’ve benefited from this “wonder drug” and never bothered to ask what the catch was and ohhhh let me tell you, there’s a detrimental catch and it’s costing you greatly.

I got on to HBC when I had just turned 19 and was about to have sex with my then-boyfriend. I was so excited to get on to HBC! The ads were so effective on me and I associated the pill with sex and sex with being an adult and I was ready to gobble it all up. I had successfully got through my VERY horny high school years without having sex and when things were getting really serious with my best friend, turned boyfriend, I was so fucking raring to go! I loved the pink packaging my birth control came in and I loved that my cramps were barely a thing. I had been getting my period since I was 12 and it was a common occurrence for me to leave school early on the days it arrived, stop by the gas station to pick up a bag of oreos, pop two Midol and sit on the couch at home watching shows.

No one had explained to me that period pain didn’t have to happen because most people had no idea themselves. So I cursed being a woman every month and when the pill came into my life, I felt like I could function in a way that society expected me to - no breaks to care for my health, just be productive and feed the machine. It wasn’t until a few years later that I started to question how the pill actually worked and so I started to dig.

When I found out that the pill was altering my very self- how my brain functioned, who I was attracted to and the health risks, I immediately found instructions on how to get off and detox and after that, I began the journey of learning the Natural Rythm Method to have unprotected sex most days in my cycle and avoid pregnancy, all while enjoying my beloved, very sexy cream pie fetish.

So let me walk you through what you need to know right now since it’s likely your first time learning this or you’ve started to poke your head out a bit to digest bite-sized pieces of information and are wanting to take a bigger bite.

First, let's go over how hormonal birth control works.

In a nutshell, the combination pill uses two synthetic hormones. Synthetic estrogen and

synthetic progestin (Progesterone is a naturally occurring steroid hormone made in varying amounts by male, and female bodies. Progestin is a synthetic chemical that mimics the effects of progesterone on the body.) It prevents ovulation, thins the lining of the uterus and alters the mucus in the neck of the uterus, making it hostile for sperm.

When you're on the pill, it means that you're on the same, steady level of hormones, every day, which is not natural for a woman in her menstruating years. Because the hormones are at a flat rate, the uterine lining does not get thicker. When you take the placebo pills at the end of your pack, every month, your body recognizes a drop in the hormone levels, and if there is any lining of the uterus that comes out. This is called a withdrawal bleed or fake period due to the hormones being inconsistent… it’s not a real period.

How Does it Impact Women’s Bodies?

We know that sexual function and sexual desire decrease for women on the pill compared to their counterparts on their natural cycle, but why is this? Well, because relatively high levels of estrogen and testosterone, along with lower levels of progesterone, facilitate sexual desire and response in women as progesterone inhibits a woman's sex drive.

The hormonal birth control pill has high levels of progesterone (progestin) and relatively low levels of estrogen and testosterone, which basically means the pill is a sexual inhibitor.

So what else happens when estrogen is lowered in women? Well, decades of research show that the amount of testosterone women prefer in a partner is directly correlated to a woman's estrogen levels. This means that the pill is impacting who women are attracted to. Because estrogen loves testosterone, women who have relatively high levels of estrogen are more attuned to cues in men that have been linked historically to testosterone and masculinity; especially facial cues. Her preferences will change throughout her cycle, which is important to note. Because the pill alters your body to keep levels of estrogen low, researchers make the prediction that women on the pill tend to be attracted to men with significantly fewer cues that are associated with testosterone preference.

AKA: women on the pill are attracted to men who display fewer historically, masculine traits.

Studies show that: “when women were off the pill, they were attracted to men, whose biochemistry was genetically dissimilar, but when on the pill, women were attracted to men whose MHC (major histocompatibility complex), was more similar to their own".

So basically what this means is when you're on the pill, your body thinks it's pregnant and it has a natural desire to have familial members around in order to help keep the mother and child safe and comfortable, so you actually find yourself attracted to people who are similar to your family members. This isn't ideal obviously because we are set up to be attracted to partners who are genetically dissimilar. Choosing a mate, who is genetically dissimilar, actually lowers the chance of miscarriages, heightens the likelihood of a healthy baby and results in more satisfying sex, along with a happy relationship.

The Major Histocompatibility Complex plays an important role here as The Journal of Psychological Science found that women were less sexually satisfied and more likely to cheat when they were paired with MHC-similar men versus the women who were paired with MHC-dissimilar men.

It’s important to note that in most cases, women aren’t even being approached by dissimilar men and turning them down due to the pill's altercations, but women aren't releasing the specific pheromones that attract genetically dissimilar men when on the birth control pill in general!

Women’s Brains on the Pill 🧠

Women's sex hormone levels change on the pill, which means a version of their brain that they are creating is changed. We also know that our brains aren’t fully formed until 25 and so a woman placed on the pill before this age will be greatly impacted even more so than a woman who goes on to HBC for the first time after 25. Additionally, the pill is impacting how women are handling the daily stress in their lives in terms of how cortisol is handled in the body.

Although cortisol is often looked at as the enemy, it plays an important role in our health and brain function. Our bodies cope with stress by releasing cortisol in order to get away quickly from a high-stress situation. It dumps fat and sugars into the bloodstream and it helps prime the brain for learning and memory which helps us to better cope in the future if we ever find ourselves in a similar situation.

Well, guess what also impacts his function? Yep, you guessed it! Women who are on the pill will experience blunted or absent cortisol response to stress. Our bodies are actually structured in a very specific way that impacts other

parts of our body and when you try to mess with it… it will eventually mess back with you. Having a blunted or absent cortisol response can cause major changes in the structure of your brain, decrease your overall ability to handle stress, and can result in problems with your ability to regulate your emotions, as well as cause learning, and memory impairment. If these effects sound somewhat familiar to you, it's probably because you've heard them around the impacts that we see in people who've undergone trauma or have PTSD.

One of the questions that this information leaves me with is how much of the learning impairments we are seeing in young women in high school/college/university are due to being on the hormonal birth control pill? Do I have ADHD and memory issues because of being on HBC for four years, all before I reached 25? Is it worth it to be on something that prevents pregnancy but alters every other aspect of my mind and body in a negative and detrimental way?

There’s one last part to this post that’s even more interesting and important for you to know about HBC.

  1. The combination pill has been classified as a group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organization, included in this group are asbestos, mustard gas, tobacco, plutonium, and diesel exhaust.

  2. The national blood clot, alliance website states: “Although the pill does not cause blood clots, most birth control pills do increase a woman's chance of developing a blood clot by 3 to 4 times.”

  3. The Nurse's Health Study at Harvard Medical School reported that pill users are 250% more likely to have heart attacks and strokes than those who don't use the pill. Note: this doesn't mean women who have been on it for years, there are reported cases of women dying just three months after starting the pill.

  4. Studies show that women who are on the pill between 5 to 9 years, experience two times the risk of cervical cancer, and if birth control use is over 10 years, the risk is increased three times. What's most interesting is that being on the pill seems to reduce the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer which is amazing, but they experienced six times more breast cancer than uterine and ovarian cancer combined.

Before you get scared and start to freak out

let us both take a minute to process all this new information.

When I learned these things, I was on the pill and after the feeling of shock passed, I had waves of anger and distrust against the medical industry, doctors and the government. If we have all of this information that shows just how harmful it is in so many aspects, why the fuck is no one talking about it? Why the fuck are millions of women still on it?

Why the hell are teenagers being prescribed the pill for their acne when it doesn’t fix the issue, just masks it?
Why are women dealing with PCOS given the pill when it doesn’t actually fix the issue but just masks it?
Why are women with severe, painful cramps not being given ALL the other available routes to healing what’s causing the pain but instead, placed on pills to mask it?
Why have we been given a pill that claims to “regulate” our cycle when it’s not actually a cycle at all?
Why have we not been taught how to sync our own natural menstrual cycles with our lives and learn to prevent pregnancy with this very effective fertility awareness method/rhythm method?

As I’ve ventured out of my purely big pharma faith, I’ve come to understand that women are getting amazing results for their cramps, acne, PCOS and mood swings from firstly, understanding the patterns of their natural cycle, learning how to eat, move, and work accordingly to their cycle and starting to learn the language our bodies use to communicate its issues and needs to us.

I’d encourage you to go down the rabbit hole of Big Pharma and the lack of care they have for the patients who use their medications. Then look at the lack of funding natural approaches receive for their own research along with the impossible rules set out for that research and then take a deeper dive into the studies done between pharmaceutical products vs the placebo tests and you’ll be gobsmacked.

This month isn’t about rabbit holes though or trying to get you away from using pharmaceuticals. I myself take a 50/50 approach when it comes to my health. I go the natural route and put a lot of effort into trial and error with natural and holistic medicine. It’s only if nothing else works that I then move over to pharmaceutical “medicine” to help.

I think the main takeaway question is this:

Why are women being stripped of their natural cycle and rhythms?

Why are women (the more complex working body) the ones who take the full brunt of synthetic options to prevent pregnancy when it would make more sense for men to be the ones to do?

What is it about a woman living life in sync with her natural cycle, her natural -un interfered with brain chemistry development, her natural genetic attraction and her natural sexual response that scares our patriarchal system so much that they would work this hard to cut the woman off from her rawest and pure form?

That’s what I want you to ask yourself.

As Taylor Swift so smartly stated: bandaids don’t fix bullet holes.

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