Sex: Nothing to be ashamed of

One thing rarely ever spoken about is the stigma and judgement we put on ourselves. Especially as a woman, I never realised that my own insecurities would be the reason I felt so awful when getting the morning after pill.

A while ago, I’d casually been seeing a guy for about two months and on one occasion we ran out of condoms. Contrary to the many PHSE lessons and sex talks of my youth, we decided to risk it in the heat of the moment. We realised the implications the next day, but taking a chance just didn’t seem so important at the time.

However, the next day, the idea of confronting the situation and worst of all, getting the ‘morning after pill’ made me feel so anxious. I remembered the shame and judgement I’d seen first hand, when gossip spread about other girls needing to get one. Suddenly I’d been thrown into their position. The same recurrent thoughts tortured me the whole morning, making me feel so small: How could I be so stupid? I should’ve known better than this. Everyone will think I’m a slut. I knew I had no other option but to get the morning after pill, but I couldn’t face going into a pharmacist and uttering those words. I felt sick at the thought.

Another day passed and I managed to book an appointment at the university health centre pretty easily. At this point I was so nervous at the thought of becoming pregnant that I was able to force myself to ring the number. Actually saying the words and making it to the doctor’s was something I hadn’t considered. In the end, I went and found myself talking to a really lovely female doctor. Once I managed to squeeze the words out and explain what had happened, I looked over to her and saw she was completely unphased. She hadn’t flinched for a second. In fact, I felt so at ease that I walked out feeling lighter, completely different to the girl who had walked in. She had prescribed me the pill along with a free chlamydia test, and that was that.

Ordinarily, the story would end here, but a few days after taking it I started feeling very low and and tearful. I have no idea whether it was related to the pill or a reaction to the whole ordeal, but I suddenly returned to that vulnerable girl I didn’t recognise. I started flitting between anxiety and feelings of such anger that I had no idea who to turn to.

Normally, I wouldn’t have confided in a friend about this as it seemed so personal and embarrassing, however it was the best thing I could have done. As anyone would expect, she reassured and confirmed to me that these were temporary feelings and everything would be OK. She was completely right as those feelings soon passed, and I’ve always wondered why I had allowed my own fears and insecurities overwhelm me so much. Ultimately, no one made me feel embarrassed or ashamed other than myself. It’s something teachers or parents never tell you about sex and relationships, yet I think it’s something that needs to be shared and discussed.

Our Author wishes to remain anonymous

If you would like help or advice regarding sexual health, you can contact:
University Health Service, 53 Gell Street, 0114 222 2100
Sexual Health Sheffield, GU-Medicine, Royal Hallamshire Hospital, 0114 276 6928
Central Health Clinic, 1 Mulberry Street, 0114 226 8888

It’s really important to never let fear or insecurities get in the way of the healthcare you are entitled to. It is especially important with emergency contraception as it is most effective straight away.
For long term use we do not recommend emergency contraception, consider alternatives such as the contraceptive pill, condoms or IUDs. Remember, only condoms and female condoms protect against STIs.

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