Jul 31

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Atlantic article: Why We Keep Getting Pregnant Accidentally

Lindsay Abrams writes in The Atlantic that, according to the National Survey of Family Growth released this month, a whopping 37% of all US births result from unplanned pregnancies. The overall number of unplanned pregnancies annually is actually much higher, since that figure reflects only pregnancies that resulted in birth and excludes miscarriages and induced abortions. Very telling is the most frequently cited reason for not using birth control among women surveyed who chose not to use it: “I didn’t think I would get pregnant.” Clearly, denial and magical thinking are not solely the province of teenagers. The underlying question is this: Why are so many women living in 21st Century America so ignorant and/or irrational concerning even the most basic knowledge about sexual intercourse and reproduction, and why aren’t we addressing this issue prominently on a national level? Surely, comprehensive human sexuality education is part of the solution. For other provocative details, check out the full story at Atlantic.

Permanent link to this article: http://sexandsensibility.net/2012/07/31/atlantic-article-why-we-keep-getting-pregnant-accidentally/


  1. Patti Flowers-Coulson

    This phenomenon was most recently highlighted in popular culture by the infamous Rielle Hunter, who was quoted in People magazine as saying she was “surprised” that she became pregnant, but wasn’t using birth control at the time. Sheesh!

    1. Deborah

      Thanks, Patti. What great example of a dynamic that’s really important to understand. At the root of it (apart from ignorance) is basic denial–the psyche’s most primal psychological “defense mechanism” against anxiety. So the question remains, what is so anxiety-provoking about sexual intercourse and/or the possibility of pregnancy in women’s lives that causes them to think emotionally rather than rationally?

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