We Don’t Celebrate Bs


When Jane was in 6th grade she struggled with organization. Homework and other assignments were constantly getting lost or not turned in. One semester she had a C in something, English perhaps, and was able to turn it around into a nice high B. Although pleased with a B I told her that we wouldn’t be celebrating it.

If a B was demonstrative of Jane working to the best of her ability I’d throw her a party for it but this B was Jane salvaging the beginning of a not-good start to the trimester. When the kids get B’s on tests it’s time to study a little more, if they have a C it’s time for a tutor (which at times is me) because learning new concepts is like erecting a skyscraper. You need a sturdy foundation.

Last night Jane came home from school after having sex education. High school sex education is (by necessity) quite different than middle or lower school sex ed. She was squeamish talking about things like Norplant and IUDs. Alexander was fascinated and, predictably, I had to interrupt with a condom lecture. I told them that babies aren’t the only things we want to avoid and then Jane regaled us with an in class anecdote.

Apparently the instructors were talking to the kids about using condoms and explained that when used correctly they had a 2% failure rate, which is pretty impressive. Unfortunately condoms are often not used or stored correctly and the actual failure rate is 18%. The kids didn’t seem moved by this information until one of the boys noted that an 18% failure rate is 82% or a B-, at which point they all started freaking out.

It’s scaffolding. Not accepting a B may have seemed harsh in 6th grade but as we apply it to today’s lesson, it’s bordering on brilliant. 

Birth Control Without Hormones


A lot of women don’t want hormones in their birth control. There are as many reasons for not wanting the hormones as there are people. I just don’t see the need to alter my body’s already perfect chemistry when there are so many other options available. Some women are offered tremendous relief from things like the birth control pill for those of you who aren’t here’s a list of non hormonal birth control options.

Cervical Cap: There’s FemCap, it’s a latex free barrier to the cervix. Used with spermicide you’re looking at a 92% effectiveness rate.

Condoms: I know… this is so high school. The male condom can be irritating for everyone involved but if you are not monogamous they are an absolute must, and I know a few married couples who happily use them. There’s a female condom too but it doesn’t seem to be popular, I’ve never tried or seen one which leads me to believe that they might be cumbersome and unsexy.

Diaphragm: I think they talked about these in 6th grade sex ed but I honestly don’t know anyone from my generation who has ever used one. If you have used a diaphragm and have feedback leave it in the comments, go anonymous I won’t out you.

Film: The vaginal contraceptive film is a great one that no one seems to have heard of. This is the only brand I’ve ever seen. We used it in between kids and there were no accidents. It’s 94% effective when used properly (it’s easy to use but I wouldn’t suggest it for teen who might not be familiar with her body).

Intrauterine Device (IUD): Paragard has a small bit of copper that the doctor inserts into your uterus. It can stay there for up to 10 years. Cramps and bleeding can be horrible the first few months, but if you can bite the bullet (and it might not even be that bad for you) you’ll have up to 10 years of birth control that you never have to think of.

Spermicide: You’ll want to use this with some of the barrier methods for better birth control.

Sponge: It’s part barrier and part spermicide. Used correctly 1 in 10 women will get pregnant and accounting for user error the numbers go to 1 in 7. This might be a good choice if you think you might be open to being a parent.

You can always use the rhythm method or have the guy pull out but it’s reasonably likely that you’ll end up pregnant.

I know I’ve missed some options so please share what you know in the comments. If you leave a link it won’t show up immediately but don’t worry I’ll get in there and approve it soon.