As your prototypical sexually active straight man, you can imagine I’ve had my fair share of forays betwixt the sheets. And over the course of my escapades, I’ve learned that perfection isn’t always easy to achieve in the bedroom, especially when it comes to birth control. A broken condom here, a forgotten pill there – the next thing you know, you’re having nightmares about changing diapers and shopping for onesies.
Of course, the more likely outcome of a birth control breakdown is an unintended pregnancy scare, not an unintended pregnancy. Still, the resulting situation can be rather unpleasant. For a guy, emotions range from apathy to pulse-pounding fear. For a girl, initial concern is followed by massive, crippling panic. Although the “morning-after” pill is 89 percent effective in preventing contraception, it has no proven effect on the fighting, resentment and bitterness that often arise from a surprise pregnancy scare.
However, through careful trial and lots of error, I have stumbled upon a few rules of engagement that can prevent even the most terrifying of pregnancy scares from causing long-term relationship complications.
RULES FOR GUYS
Tell Her When There’s A Problem
This is the first rule because it’s the most important. In my vast, vast…vast sexual experience, I’ve found that it’s very possible for an accident to happen without your partner’s knowledge. Usually this is the result of a broken or improperly used condom, or the always nefarious seepage. You notice it, she doesn’t.
As a guy, the first impulse is to just keep quiet. No harm no foul, right? Wrong. Telling a girl that she needs to take action may be inconvenient for you, but on the off chance that maybe, just maybe, one of your little guys did get in there, she needs to know.
Cater to Her Desires (No, Not Those Desires)
As a guy implicated in a pregnancy scare, you may be tempted to wash your hands of the whole situation and walk away. After all, it’s her body and her problem. Why not let her handle it? My advice is exactly the opposite — offer anything and everything.
Your partner may be the type of modern gal who wants to stop at the CVS on the way to work and pick up the morning-after pill all by herself. Or she may be the old-fashioned type who wants you to be her hero and run to the pharmacy for her. Or maybe she wants you to split the difference and go together. The point is that you won’t know unless you ask. Showing that you care and are willing to devote a little of your own time to solve a mutual problem will put her at ease and ensure she doesn’t hold the situation against you. And that might give you a chance to, ahem, rectify your misdeeds down the road.
Let’s be honest; if you were use a condoms and/or birth control, you’re probably not looking to be a father anytime soon. Make sure you haven’t become one now. If you guys are dating, mention the incident casually a couple of days after the fact. The morning-after pill is effective up to 72 hours after intercourse, so if she’s been slacking, there’s still time. If it was a one-time hook up, a phone call after 48 hours will suffice. It’ll be awkward at the time, but a lot less awkward than making monthly alimony payments for the next 18 years.
RULES FOR WOMEN
Work Toward A Resolution
You women tend to get a little indecisive during a pregnancy scare, and sometimes if we look closely enough we can see the little scale in your heads as you weigh the potential costs and benefits. As men, we demand a quick solution to the problem, but in this case there should be no rush to judgment. You’re making a potentially life-altering decision.
Still, at the end of the day, there are really only two possible choices. Either stand pat and play the optimist, or cover your bases and go pick up a pack of Plan B. And ladies, it really shouldn’t take that long for you to figure out which one it is.
Try Not To Place Blame Or Hold A Grudge
Yes, we’re the dolts responsible for putting you in this situation. Yes, us, right here in the boxer briefs. But last time I checked, consensual sex meant both partners had an equal stake in the entire affair. And that includes an accidental insemination. You were there too you know, even if you’re mind was somewhere else.
It’s really easy to blame us — you’re the victim after all. And no matter what happens, rest assured I won’t be slumped over the toilet one morning. But the bottom line is that it takes two to fertilize. Assigning blame may make you feel better in the short term, but it can lead to animosity later on. Why create bitter feelings because of a mistake that is eminently fixable? Better to forgive and forget, especially if you and your partner are monogamous. Chances are, this scenario will repeat itself sometime during the lifespan of your relationship. And when that time comes, you may just want him to run out to the drug store.