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What If Rush Limbaugh’s Imaginary Slut Pills Were Real?

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When Rush Limbaugh went on his vile rant last year about Sandra Fluke, then a Georgetown law student who wanted her birth control covered by the university’s health insurance, he revealed a bit of confusion about the birds and the bees. Limbaugh seemed — or pretended — to believe the cost of birth control pills depended on how frequently a woman — or just Fluke — was getting laid. “She’s having so much sex, she can’t afford her birth control,” Limbaugh said and repeated 30 or so times over the course of three days. He was talking as if the pill were taken by the encounter, and not doled out in overpriced monthly prescriptions with an annual pap-smear tax.

Limbaugh’s ignorance was likely just in the service of arriving at his big (and ultimately costly) finale — Fluke is a slut. But his imaginary, take-one-before-boning slut pill was the stuff of single-girl dreams. It turns out the reproductive health community agrees. 

Over the past few years, enthusiasm and interest has been growing among doctors for a real-life slut pill. They call it pericoital contraception, a pill you take around the time you have sex, if and when you have sex. A lower dosage of the emergency contraceptive Plan B, it was used with some popularity in Asia and Eastern Europe in the eighties. In 2011, an American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists literature review concluded that pericoital birth control was “moderately effective” (more effective than condoms) and called for more rigorous research. Before its call for a better condom, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation provided funding to a group planning for clinical trials of a pericoital pill. The latest, published in Contraception last month (h/t Steph Herold) found the majority of the women who visited abortion or family-planning clinics would be interested in pericoital birth control, especially those who have had trouble accessing birth control or have unprotected sex regularly.

Even though Plan B is now available over the counter, it’s still treated like a once-in-a-lifetime, "Hail Mary" pass for responsible people whose condoms break; and it’s priced accordingly. But according to Contraception, for lots of people, unprotected sex isn’t an emergency, it’s the norm. Punishing them by making them carry pregnancies they don’t want to term is one way to deal with it, but it’s a little unnecessary given the possibility for and interest in a non-emergency slut pill. Then birth control wouldn’t have to be all about the grave, biological risks and responsibilities of being a woman and could be more about actually having sex, conveniently and spontaneously. Like Viagra. Imagine Vagagra! And its sex-positive competitors, Yoloft, Bonowva, Nokidone, Intimacil, Sexapro, Slutafed and Plan A.

Photo: Beathan/Corbis

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved. The Cut® are registered trademarks of New York Media LLC.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2013, New York Media LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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