As a woman, I often get pissed off about the awful shit women have to go through because of our reproductive system and the stupid way it's constantly approached by science. But looking back in history still ALWAYS makes me feel better about how good we've got it today (which, still isn't that great, dammit).
When I read Poison, which takes place in the 1400s, I was completely grossed out by a scene in which the main character goes to the local 'witch' for a contraceptive:
I reached into her palm and chose the stone that was the smallest and pale purple. She put the rest of them in the bag, locked it back into the chest and with a great heave slid the heavy box under her bed. The purple stone she put into a kettle over the fire and made her fire blaze high under it. She put in some herbs, too. I am not sure of all of them but I could smell trincilla, and I recognized hyssop and the white hellebore flowers. The steam rose higher, and it began to boil.God! It makes me cover my cunt and shudder! But almost as bad or worse than jamming a stone up your twat are the methods of contraception covered over at Cracked.com: History's 10 Most Terrifying Contraceptives. The list includes:
Visita led me into a small room with no windows... "Lie down," said Visita, and I did. She took my underclothes from me and opened my legs and I was lying with my knees up as I did for Alvaro...
Visita was an agile old woman, gentle and her hands were clean, but it hurt me when she put the little stone up so high. She had a wand that she used, something made of bone that held the stone and pushed it farther than where her fingers could go, past that circle of flesh that closes a woman's womb. When she did this, there was a terrible clenching in my belly, and it did not go away, even after an hour or more. I felt cold all over.
- weasel testicles
- crocodile shit
- beaver testicles
- mercury (WTF!!!!)
- gold and/or silver
- animal intestines
- opium (at least that one sounds fun!)
- blacksmith water
I'm still trying to find the best method of contraception for myself and the closest thing to what I'd like to use is a technique called conscious conception:
It sounds simple ~ by knowing when we are fertile, we can still express sexual love yet not conceive babies merely by not having seminal intercourse. Women are usually fertile for 1/3, 1/4 or 1/5th of the monthly cycle. During this phase of fertility, sexuality can be deepened by exploring many ways to ecstasy exclusive of intercourse. There is a courtship/honeymoon rhythm each month which cultivates desire and passion. Plus, the dilemma of an unwanted pregnancy needn't interfere with the on-going deepening of trust between lovers. (from ash-tree-publishing.com)I know a lot of people will think that is stupid, and I think that's a natural response. We've come to rely on science & scientists to inform us about our own bodies instead of listening to our bodies and forming relationships with them. For instance: Did you know that when you are not ovulating your body literally creates a barrier to block sperm from entering your uterus?
Sure, it's all new-agey and crap, but when you learn exactly how your reproductive system works and how easy it is to be in tune with it and thus plan or avoid pregnancy, a LOT of stress associated with sex just disappears.
So that's where I stand, and here's a few books I read on the way to getting here:
A New View of a Woman's Body
Cunt: A Declaration of Independence
Women's Bodies, Women's Wisdom
And if you want to hear more about this subject from me, you can check out Sitting In The South, which is another one of my blogs. I've written a lot about female fertility & power and the like over there.
Goods 4 Girls
Babes in History and Fiction
Act Now to Save Affordable Birth Control
Rape is NOT an Occupational Hazard
Bratz: Hos or Positive Role Models?
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