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 Selfless Snaps: Vinny Guadagnino’s Big-Ass Box Of Condoms Would Provide A Lot Of Protection IRL 

Reported by MTV Act.

The 40/40 Club 10 Year Anniversary Party
Vinny Guadagnino, of “Jersey Shore” and “The Show with Vinny,” is back on MTV, and this time it’s to talk about the importance of condoms!

But it’s no super-serious PSA he’s behind. Vinny has a fake condom ad (and a later cameo) in this video from MTV Other’s “Two Guys Named Josh.” He Tweeted:

Deciding that condom boxes are too small, the fake ad presents the solution: Vinny’s Big-Ass Box of Condoms. How big-ass? Well, there are 364 condoms in a box, and this number was picked on purpose. “That’s a condom for every day of the year, except one: Don’t have sex on Halloween,” he jokes. “That’s too scary.”

The ad may be for LOLs, but using condoms is def no joke. April is STD Awareness Month, and in our recent article “Common STD Myths Busted, Once + For All,” expert Meredith Mishel explained, “Male latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly — meaning EVERY time, and from start to finish — are highly effective in preventing the spread of HIV. They also reduce the risk of many other STDs. Condoms are also the only method that protects sexually active people from both STDs and pregnancy.”

If you ever have any Qs about condoms, like the best kind to use, the proper way to put them on, etc., you can check out It’s Your (Sex) Life. They have a special section explaining condoms, plus info on other forms of birth control. The ad might be fake, but the importance of protecting yourself can never be overstated!

Photo: (Getty)

 Common STD Myths Busted, Once + For All. 

Reported by MTV Act.

safesexcondom
April is STD Awareness Month, which got us thinking about how many myths and misunderstandings there are about STDS. Like, how can and can’t you contract an STD? Or, how often should a person get tested?

Thankfully, Meredith Mishel from the medical nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation was here to answer our Q’s. She breaks down myths from reality so we can all be more empowered with knowledge on this super important topic.

ACT: Can you clear up for us how STDs can and can’t be spread?

MEREDITH: Almost all STDs that can be passed on through unprotected vaginal sex can also be passed on through unprotected oral and anal sex. This includes genital herpes, genital warts (caused by HPV), gonorrhea, hepatitis B, chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV. The possibility of contracting an STD from oral sex is generally less risky as compared to vaginal and anal sex, although any unprotected sex with someone who has HIV or an STD carries some risk.

Unprotected anal sex is riskier than oral or vaginal sex. Male latex condoms, when used consistently and correctly–meaning EVERY time, and from start to finish–are highly effective in preventing the spread of HIV. They also reduce the risk of many other STDs. Condoms are also the only method that protects sexually active people from both STDs and pregnancy.

ACT: What are some myths you’ve heard about contracting STDs?

MEREDITH: The most common myth about STDs is that you would know if you had one – that you could see it or just tell by looking or that you would have symptoms.

The truth is that the only way to know if you or anyone else has an STD is to get tested. You can’t always tell by the way someone “looks.” Even more to the point: STDs, including HIV, often have NO symptoms. Zero. That’s right. So, many people who are infected don’t even know it! Want to know for sure? Then Get Yourself—and Your Partner—Tested (GYT). Knowledge is power! Know yourself. Know your status.

Another common myth is that only “some kinds of people” get STDs. It could never happen to ME.

In reality, STDs are VERY common. 1 in 2 young people having sex will get an STD by age 25, and most won’t know it. And it only takes one sexual experience to get one. STDs don’t discriminate. And they don’t define who you are.

Other common STD-related myths include: it will hurt; everyone will know; if I use birth control, I don’t need to worry about STDs; STD testing is for cheaters/players; if he pulls out, I won’t get an STD;if I get an STD, there is nothing I can do about it; if I needed to get tested, my doctor would test me; sex in a hot tub will prevent getting an STD; oral sex and anal sex are safe sex.

A great feature to refer out to here is our 10 most outrageous sex myths.

ACT: Here’s something that sometimes causes confusion: What’s the difference between an STD and an STI?

MEREDITH: STDs and STIs are the same thing – the only difference is the term. The D is for DISEASE and the I is for INFECTION. Some public health experts and organizations use disease and some use infection but they are the same thing – absolutely no difference.

ACT: How often and under what circumstances do doctors recommend a person get tested for STDs?

MEREDITH: If you are sexually active, it’s important to get tested for STDs once a year and/or every time you start a new relationship.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all people 13-64 should be tested at least once a year for HIV.

It’s important to remember that STDs are not like allergies; you can’t do a massive test for all the major ones out there. STD tests are specific to each infection. You and your health care provider will decide which STDs you should be tested for.

But most importantly, you need to speak up and ask to get tested. You can’t assume that you have been tested for STDs if you have had blood taken, given a urine sample, or (for women) had a pelvic exam or pap test. If you want to know, ASK to be tested.

Be honest and open with your health care provider about your sexual history. They are there to help you, not to judge you. The doc will help you make important decisions about test(s) you may need. Certain STDs are so common that your health care provider may suggest that you get tested regularly for them.

ACT: If a person wants to get tested, what is a great first step to take?

MEREDITH: Okay, so you’ve decided to get tested. Now what? The type of test—or tests—you need can vary depending on your age, sex, sexual history, and which STD you’re getting tested for. Remember, there is no single test that can screen for all STDs. To find a testing center near you check out GYTNOW.org.

Photo: (Getty)

 What 8 Iconic Movies Taught Us About Safe Sex [GIFS] 

Reported by MTV Act.

MovieSexEdMain
By Melissa Unger

April is STD Testing Awareness Month. Though the topic of STDs might still seem scary, movies have never shied away from exposing the sometimes embarrassing but super important truths when it comes to sex. Here’s a list of 8 movies that taught us a thing or to about, well, doing it.

+ “Saved!”

Saved1
Remember that crazy comedy where Mandy Moore as Hilary Faye and Macaulay Culkin as Roland attended a Christian high school? Their friend Mary (Jenna Malone) tries to cure Hilary Faye’s boyfriend of being gay by sleeping with him. After losing her virginity and ending up pregnant, Mary finds herself ostracized and demonized by her former friends including the self-righteous Hilary Faye who turns on her.

The Lesson: The world is not black and white (or right and wrong) and despite what Hilary Faye says, it’s impossible to change someone’s sexuality by having sex with them. However, you can change their STD status (and they can change yours), which is why it’s important to get tested before and after having sex.

+ ” Juno”

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Ellen Page’s break out role as Juno was heart-warming and full of hard truths. For example, what do you do after turning 16 and realizing the dude, aka Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), you love and had sex with has gotten you pregnant? In true Juno fashion, she decides to make an offbeat and unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

The Lesson: The choice between having a baby or having an abortion is a lot harder to make than the decision to skip causal sex, no matter how boss Paulie Bleeker is. It’s important to really feel ready when you do the deed.

+ “Superbad”

SuperBad1
Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and the character McLoven have one last hurrah before realizing that their co-dependent high school days are over. The trio embark on a booze-soaked party in which they hope to drown their sexual fear and score with their high school crushes.

The Lesson: Alcohol, teenagers and sex lead to awkward, and often unsafe results. Protecting yourself means coming to the party prepared, and not letting anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.

+ “The To Do List”

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Brandy is an overachieving but socially awkward teenager who graduates as the valedictorian and is in love with college student, Rusty. After Rusty rejects her, Brandy assumes it’s because she is sexually inexperienced. Seeking to change that, she draws up a list of sexual acts that she believes will help her achieve her goal of getting Rusty and heading off to college experienced.

The Lesson: Sex or any sexual act is too important to be put on a “to do list.” Unless of course you mean using protection, which should always be on your “to do list.”

+ “Fast Time at Ridgemont High”

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Probably the most iconic teen sex comedy off all times, “Fast Time at Ridgemont High” stars a then unknown Sean Penn. The film follows several teens as they take on yet another year of high school, enjoy malls, sex and rock n’ roll. The majority of the film focuses on Stacy Hamilton, who through the guidance of her friend, loses her virginity and explores the world of boys and eventually an unplanned pregnancy and abortion.

The Lesson: In the immortal words of Stacy Hamilton anyone can have sex, but what she wants is a relationship, especially with uber nerd Mark “Rat” Ratner. It’s important to find a partner you can openly discuss safety with.

+ “Easy A”

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Emma Stone shook up Hollywood, in this modern day tale of love, sex and the high school rumor mill. Emma plays a high school student using the high school’s gossips to spread rumors about her fake sex escapade. This is the movie that re-images the iconic tale of the “Scarlet Letter.”

The Lesson: Gossip, rumors and reputation means nothing when it comes to losing one’s virginity. Plus, despite what you may think, chlamydia doesn’t care if you have a clean-cut reputation. Anyone can contract an STD. In fact, 50% of people will contract an STD before age 25.

+ “Clueless”

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Alicia Silverstone, plays Cher, the apple of everyone’s eye at the ultra-rich Beverly Hills High School. She learns amongst all the shopping, school and socializing, sex is not what everyone says it is in this modern day tale of Jane Austen’s “Emma. ”

The Lesson: It never hurts to educate yourself about the basics, because no one wants to be clueless when it comes to safety.

+ “American Pie”

AmericanPie1
In this raunchy comedy, four teenage boys explore sex, yes even doing it with a pie. The foursome also make a pact to lose their virginity by prom night.

The Lesson: Here’s the deal: you can plan your losing virginity. You can be prepared by making a protection plan with your partner, getting tested before and after, and using birth control.

Photos: (Getty/YouTube)

 

 Do Your Friends Baby Their Phones? Try This Prank From DoSomething.org 

Reported by MTV Act.

spaghettibaby
Is it possible to prank for a good cause? Well, DoSomething.org has a prank going on that’s aimed bring down the teen parenthood rate, and you could use it to get your friends thinking about preventing unwanted pregnancy.

The Pregnancy Text
campaign is going on till June 12 and you can “impregnate” your friend’s phone (check out the site or text BABY to 38383 to get started). During a thirteen hour period, your friend’s phone will act kind of like a baby, sending them text message of baby-related situations they’d have to deal with if they were a parent. And if your friends find text messages about spit-up, diapers and crying annoying, you can remind them (nicely!) that this is still nothing compared to a real baby.

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If you send this out to six friends, you can enter to be in the running for a $7,500 scholarship. The campaign’s page also has info on different forms of birth control and what rights you have in each state. Because it wouldn’t make much sense to tell someone not to get pregnant but then not explain how to prevent pregnancy. Prank or not, this really is supposed to be about education.

As the campaign points out, it doesn’t want to “insult or demonize” teen parents — it just understands being a teen is hard enough without being a parent on top of it, so it’s trying to give you the resources and understanding you need to keep yourself protected and do what’s best for you. Check it out, and if you have any more Q’s about birth control and preventing unwanted pregnancy, check out It’s Your (Sex) Life!

Photo: (DoSomething.org)

 Sweet Tweet: Kristen Bell Knows Who Owns Your Ovaries 

Reported by MTV Act.

The Paley Center For Media's PaleyFest 2014 Honoring "Veronica Mars"
People often think of birth control as just something that prevents unwanted pregnancy, but it’s so much more than that. Kristen Bell decided to highlight the many positive side effects to birth control — like how it can majorly improve both women’s rights and the economy.

The star of the new “Veronica Mars” movie Tweeted:

Kristen’s link takes you to an Upworthy chart that discusses why birth control is so necessary. As it explains in the beginning: “Other side effects of birth control include people of all genders living longer and earning more money. Trufax.”

The chart goes on to say: “222 million women want to prevent pregnancy but need contraception… Women with access to birth control have 40% higher earnings than those who don’t… Additionally, for every dollar invested in family planning and reproductive health, there is significant savings in education, immunization, water & sanitation.”

Think about it: if a woman has access to birth control, she can make sure she doesn’t have kids until if and when she’s ready. In the meantime, she can get an education and start a career. If and when she has kids, she already has herself established as an independent woman making her own income. She can afford her lifestyle and afford to take care of children, so she doesn’t need help from elsewhere.

If she has only the number of kids she wants to have, she’s able to take better care of them and afford what they need. When people have their education, their career, and the ability to take care of themselves, that helps the economy big time. People with access to birth control live longer, healthier and wealthier lives — both men and women!

 Wait, So What’s Going on With Birth Control & the Affordable Care Act? 

Reported by MTV Act.

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Birth control isn’t just about sex — access to it also helps women’s health overall and drastically improves the economy.

The Affordable Care Act is working to make birth control available to all women, but some companies are fighting this and it’s being taken to the Supreme Court. To better understand what’s going on with birth control, the ACA and SCOTUS, the Center for Reproductive Rights is doing a Twitter chat Monday at 2PM EST to answer your Q’s. Just make sure you use the hashtag #ReproChat to get involved.

Earlier this week I spoke with Julianna Gonen, theDirector of Government Relations, at the Center for Reproductive Rights, about how to get birth control under the ACA, how to end the stigma against it, and how access to birth control would actually save us billions of dollars.

ACT: Before the chat happens, can you give us the basics on what’s going on with birth control and the ACA? Can you clear up some common confusions and misinformation?

JULIANNA: Absolutely. The Affordable Care Act—which was signed into law by President Obama more than three years ago and later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court—did a whole host of things to improve the standard of health care in the U.S. Among those historic advances was a huge expansion of copay-free preventive health care services for women, including things like contraception, cancer screenings, HIV and STI testing, well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, and prenatal and post-partum care and counseling.

But since the preventive services benefit under the ACA went into effect, more than 40 private, for-profit companies have filed lawsuits to try to deny their female employees access to those birth control benefits in their employee health plans, claiming that it somehow violates the company’s religious beliefs.

On March 25, U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments from two of those companies: Hobby Lobby, a national arts and crafts chain, and Conestoga Wood, a cabinet company based in Pennsylvania.

But for-profit companies are no more entitled to deny women insurance coverage for birth control than they are entitled to dictate how employees can spend their paychecks or what they can do on their days off.

Contraception is not your boss’s business—it’s your business. No employer should be able to impose their own personal religious beliefs on your health care decisions.

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ACT: How will the ACA help you in getting birth control?

JULIANNA: Nearly all women have used some form of birth control in their lives. In fact, 99% of all sexually active women in the U.S. use birth control at some point during their reproductive years.

So by having access to co-pay free contraception in their health plans, millions of women will be able to afford the birth control that is right for them. Women won’t have to choose between paying for contraception and other living expenses like rent, groceries, or child care.

To find out about your own benefits and coverage for contraception in your health insurance plan, call the member services number on the back of your health insurance card. If you don’t have health insurance, be sure get over to www.healthcare.gov before March 31st to see how you can get covered!

ACT: How can people stand up for their right to use birth control, especially with all the recent attacks against women’s reproductive rights?

JULIANNA: If you agree that contraception is your business and not your boss’s, you can stand with us in Washington on March 25 outside the U.S. Supreme Court! And if you can’t make it, you can add your name to a list of supporters that will be featured on a banner we will fly at the rally.

It’s incredibly important to tell your elected officials—from your governor and representatives at the state capital to your senators and representatives in Washington—that you think that any attempt to roll back the clock on our reproductive health and rights is unacceptable. For more information on what you can do right now, visit Draw the Line.

ACT: Can you explain why better access to birth control is so necessary for women, and how it’s tied in to women’s rights and overall health in general?

JULIANNA: Every woman—no matter where she lives or how much money she has — deserves a basic standard of reproductive health care.

Access to contraception when she needs it enhances a woman’s opportunities for education and employment, and further supports her ability to provide adequate care, nutrition, housing, and education for her family. She succeeds in the job market and gets more education.

She’s healthier, as are her children if she chooses to have them. She has more independence, dignity, greater equality, and participates more freely in society.

Contraception empowers women. It prevents millions of unintended pregnancies and saves billions in health care costs across the globe every year. Expanded access through the Affordable Care Act is a tremendous step forward that we can all rally around.

Photo: (Getty)

 Selfless Snaps: Shalyah Evans Remembers Awesome Get Yourself Tested Party 

Reported by MTV Act.

2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Arrivals
You have slumber parties and birthday parties and girls’ (or guys’) night-out parties . . . why not have Get Yourself Tested parties? Shalyah Evans of “Girl Code” went to one, and she talked about it for her #ThrowBackThursday.

Shalyah shared this on Instagram, writing, “#tbt GYT party with GirlCode!”:

The girls on “Girl Code” aren’t shy when it comes to talking about sex. But they also know that if you’re gonna have sex, your mental, emotional and physical health are #1 priority. It’s important for you to decide if and when you have sex, and you get to set whatever boundaries you want for you and your partner. At the same time, physical health is important, and that’s done through preventing unwanted pregnancy and STDs.

Shalyah and others on “Girl Code” have done some pretty funny skits about getting yourself tested. They do it to make people feel less embarrassed and uncomfortable about getting tested. Going to a doctor and getting tested for STDs shouldn’t make you feel ashamed — it should empower you, because it’s the responsible thing to do! That way you can know what’s going on with your body. If you do have something, you can get it either cured or treated, which is sooo much better for your body than ignoring it.

Half of sexually active young people will catch an STD by time they’re 25. If you’re sexually active, the best way to keep yourself protected is to use a condom every time you have sex. GYT tested might not be the most typical kind of party, but protecting your health is a reason to celebrate!

Photo (Getty)

 The New York Times Praises ‘16 and Pregnant’ For Lowering Teen Birth Rates 

Reported by MTV Act.

Jenelle - Season 1Husband and wife journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are behind the women’s empowerment book and movement Half the Sky. And, it turns out, Krisof is a fan of MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” for its proven work in reducing teen pregnancy rates.

In his piece for the New York Times, Kristof spoke about how reducing the teen birthrate is a big step in ending cycles of poverty. “We’ve tried virginity pledges, condoms and sex education,” he wrote. “And, finally, we have a winner, a tool that has been remarkably effective in cutting teenage births. It’s ‘16 and Pregnant,’ a reality show on MTV that has been a huge hit, spawning spinoffs like the ‘Teen Mom’ franchise. These shows remind youthful viewers that babies cry and vomit, scream in the middle of the night and poop with abandon.”

He talked more about the study done on how these MTV shows are bringing down the birth rate. “Kearney and Levine [who did the study] find that regions with a higher audience for ‘16 and Pregnant’ and the ‘Teen Mom’ franchise had more of a drop in teenage births. Over all, their statistical analysis concludes that the shows reduced teenage births by 5.7 percent, or 20,000 fewer teenage births each year. That’s one birth averted every half-hour.”

Another thing he brought up is the importance of birth control being accessible to couples who need it. “It’s also a reminder of the paramount need for clinics that offer free, long-acting contraception: When a teenage girl searches the web for birth control, let’s make sure she finds solutions.”

Earlier this year, MTV’s network President, Stephen Friedman, spoke to The New York Times about the show and said, “It’s another reminder that great storytelling can be a powerful catalyst for change.”

Teen parenthood is something that’s 100% preventable, and if you ever have questions about birth control and how to keep yourself protected, check out It’s Your [Sex] Life.

16 And Pregnant” returns April 29th at 11/10c.

+ Watch A Preview Of This Season Of ’16 And Pregnant.’

Photo (MTV Press)

 In Mozambique A Rapist Can Force His Victim To Marry Him. Here’s How You Can Help. 

Reported by MTV Act.

Mother With Her Child
A wedding is supposed to be a happy occasion, but in some parts of the world a rapist can force his victim into marriage so he won’t be charged with sexual assault.

Mozambique, a country in Africa, is considering making this loophole into law. A man could sexually assault a woman, make her marry him, and then get away with it because he “did the right thing.”

Morocco had the same law until recently. 16-year-old Amina Filali was one example out of many there — she was sexually assaulted, forced into marriage with her rapist, and then she committed suicide, viewing it as the only way out. Amina’s story, however, managed to make big headlines, and Morocco felt the heat so much they changed the law.

Now with Mozambique considering the whole “sexual assault is okay if it ends with marriage” law, we need to let our voices be heard. Amnesty International has set up a quick petition you can sign. If enough people know about this proposed law and speak out about it, it could stop it from happening. As Amnesty International says, “No means no – not ‘I do.’ ”

That is true everywhere. “No” always means “no.” Consent needs to be granted to begin with, and consent can always be taken away. For instance, you can say “Yes” to someone one night and “No” another night. No one can touch your body without your permission, just as you can’t touch someone else’s body without theirs.

If you or someone you know are ever in a situation that isn’t consensual, you can reach out to RAINN for help or call at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Photo: (Amnesty International)

 Mozambique Could Allow Rapists To Force Victims Into Marriage. Here’s How You Can Help. 

Reported by MTV Act.

Mother With Her Child
A wedding is supposed to be a happy occasion, but in some parts of the world a rapist can force his victim into marriage so he won’t be charged with sexual assault.

Mozambique, a country in Africa, is considering making this loophole into law. A man could sexually assault a woman, make her marry him, and then get away with it because he “did the right thing.”

Morocco had the same law until recently. 16-year-old Amina Filali was one example out of many there. Amina was sexually assaulted and forced into marriage with her rapist. Then she committed suicide, viewing it as the only way out.  Her story managed to make big headlines, and Morocco felt the heat so much they changed the law.

Now with Mozambique considering the whole “sexual assault is OK if it ends with marriage” law, we need to let our voices be heard. Amnesty International has set up a quick petition you can sign. If enough people know about this proposed law and speak out about it, we could stop it from happening. As Amnesty International says, “No means no — not ‘I do.’ ”

That is true everywhere. “No” always means “no.” Consent needs to be granted to begin with, and consent can be taken away at any time at all. For instance, you can say yes to someone one night and no another night. No one can touch your body without your permission, just as you can’t touch someone else’s body without theirs.

If you or someone you know are ever in a situation that isn’t consensual, you can reach out to RAINN for help or call at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Photo: (Amnesty International)

 Selfless Snaps: Gabrielle Union Stands Up For Sexual Assault Survivors 

Reported by MTV Act.

2014 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter - Arrivals
Gabrielle Union was sexually assaulted when she was younger, and now she is bravely speaking out as a survivor.

Gabrielle spoke at the Call of the Game Dinner, then shared some images afterward on Instagram.

She wrote, “Sat night I was honored to co-host the #callofthegamedinner to speak about being a rape survivor and to highlight #laurenskids foundation that helps children who’ve been abused. It is NEVER easy to talk about my journey from rape victim to survivor but I recognize the greater good that comes from my speaking out. I live for the day when I don’t hear ‘It happened to me too’ … That day hasn’t come yet… So I continue to do the work… Whatever it takes. Always remember you aren’t alone, ppl DO care, and there IS help. So to all the survivors, to all the strong but don’t know it yet and ESP to all those struggling to find hope… Love, Light, Healing and Many Blessings”.

Lauren’s Kids is an org founded by Lauren Book, a woman who was sexually abused as a child and who doesn’t want to see that happen to others. She has speaking engagements around the nation and teaches both kids and adults about sexual abuse through in-school curriculum.

One third of girls and one fifth of boys are sexually abused before turning 18. Sexual abuse is never okay, and Gabrielle is right that people do care and there is help available. You can always call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE or live chat with someone at RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. You are not alone.

 Birth Control Sabotage Exists + You Need To Know About It 

Reported by MTV Act.

BrokenCondom

It’s estimated that  almost 1 in 10 American women are affected by reproductive coercion, a form of abuse in which her partner tries to control her through her reproductive health. This includes not letting her use birth control, forcing her to get pregnant against her will and/or not letting her make decisions about her own pregnancy.

Birth control sabotage is a form of reproductive coercion in which a partner tries to control his significant other’s use of birth control and try to force a pregnancy. It’s done as a form of power and control. And while reproductive coercion is a type of domestic abuse, it’s not one many people know about.

To bring more light to the issue, I spoke with expert Elizabeth Miller, MD, Ph.D., Chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

ACT: What are birth control sabotage and reproductive coercion? How common are they?

DR. MILLER: Reproductive coercion includes a range of controlling and abusive behaviors that includes pressuring a woman to get pregnant against her wishes, preventing her from using birth control, and controlling the outcomes of a pregnancy. While these behaviors often are associated with other forms of abuse in the relationship, such as physical, sexual or emotional abuse, we have also found that some women report experiencing reproductive coercion, and have not experienced physical or sexual abuse by that partner.

This means that for some women, they may not immediately recognize that his removing condoms during sex, telling her not to use birth control or saying things like “We’re going to have beautiful babies together,” may, in fact, be a way for him to keep her in his life forever.

Because we so often hear people talk about how girls ‘trapped’ a guy by getting pregnant, it is surprising to hear that this can work the other way as well. That male partners may sometimes coerce their partners to get pregnant, including refusing to use condoms, removing condoms during sex, preventing her from using birth control, and actively removing her patch or vaginal ring, or throwing away birth control pills. The entire range of behaviors is called “reproductive coercion.” “Birth control sabotage” is specifically the active interference with contraception.

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ACT:  How common is it?

DR. MILLER: We estimate about 9% of women in the country are affected by reproductive coercion. In our studies, about a quarter of women report ever experience this. We also find that this is more common among the adolescents and younger women in our studies.

[Editor’s Note: these particular studies she mentions were done with women seeking care in family planning/women's health clinics. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has also said that 1 in 4 of its callers have experienced reproductive coercion.]

ACT: How does fit in with other types of abuse?

DR. MILLER: Reproductive coercion is another way in which male partners can attempt to have power and control in their relationship. By getting her pregnant, he may think he can keep her in his life and make sure she doesn’t go somewhere else, for example.

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ACT: What are some stereotypes about birth control sabotage that need to be kicked to the curb?

DR. MILLER: Historically, we’ve heard about girls who ‘trick’ their boyfriends about being on birth control and get pregnant on purpose. While there is no doubt that such behaviors occur, we are trying to highlight that this phenomenon of birth control sabotage does occur and results in unplanned, unwanted pregnancies (which are bad for women’s health; we want pregnancies to be wanted, planned and timed).

ACT: What are the warning signs of this going on? If you suspect your partner might be doing it, where can you get help?

DR. MILLER: Your partner [might say] things like “Hey, you’re going to have my baby,” even if you don’t want to be pregnant; your partner [may get] angry at you when he finds out you’re using birth control.

Your local domestic violence and sexual assault services [can help you]. The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE can connect you. Also, check out Know More Say More.

[Editor's Note: You can also live chat with a trained professional to get help. It's private, save and secure.]

ACT: How can you help a friend who might be going through this?

DR. MILLER: If you have a friend who is experiencing this, please help her to understand that this is not her fault. You could say something like, “I was just reading about how some guys try to control their female partners by purposefully getting them pregnant. That feels so wrong and abusive to me.” Please also offer to your friend some information that could provide more counseling and support for her.

Assure her that she is not alone, tell her that you care about her and that she deserves to be treated with respect and that no one has a right to control her body. Offer her the website information above.

ACT: How can people spread awareness and work against reproductive coercion and birth control sabotage?

DR. MILLER: Talk to your friends; help us to train healthcare providers to recognize this; integrate discussion of healthy relationships into teen pregnancy prevention programs so that we can raise awareness about this.

We also need to talk to the good men in our lives and to start to change the way in which men think about their female partners — not as objects to be controlled and possessed.

Photos: Getty