Let's talk about sex: here's everything we got up to at our UCC #MyMorningAfter panel
Brought to you by ellaOne
What a turnout, ladies and gents!
It has already been two weeks since we held our #MyMorningAfter talk at UCC and, let us tell you, we are still raving about it.
We had such a great time talking to you all, hearing your thoughts on things, and spreading some important info about the morning-after pill (as well a squashing some ridiculous myths).
Our very own Niamh Maher from Girls With Goals was joined on the panel by Ireland AM's Brianna Parkins, Irish model and influencer, Shauna Lindsay, and Kelly Coyle, the UCC Students Union Equality Officer. Really we couldn't have asked for a better panel. These ladies did everything in their power to crush that morning-after pill stigma.
In Brianna Parkins's own words:
"The more you talk about it, the less shameful it is. You take the sting out of it and I think if you all get up and share mortifying stories of going to the chemist and buying the morning-after pill, it becomes a lot less mortifying. You're all in it together."
She's certainly not wrong. A survey conducted by morning-after pill brand ellaOne showed that almost 90 percent of women aged 18 to 24 claimed to have had sex previously where the contraception failed or where no contraception was used. That's almost all of us, ladies. So it's true - we are all in it together. (Cue the High School Musical tunes.)
So if the number is so high, why haven't we been talking about it? It's all because of that old, slimy stigma that comes with taking the morning-after pill. In the same ellaOne survey, 59 percent of women aged 18 to 24 who have had unprotected sex said that they have felt judged in real life, or through the media, for their decisions when it comes to emergency contraception.
So, yeah, this stigma makes us feel crappy and judged when we have to take emergency contraception ourselves but, more than that, the stigma means we aren't talking about it. Which means people don't learn about it. Which means that rumours surface and people don't know enough about the topic to argue those rumours.
Our UCC panel was all about getting rid of those troublesome myths and letting people know the truth about what's what when it comes to the morning-after pill.
Just to give you a little taster of how enlightening our chat was, here are a few of the myths we busted on the day:
Myth 1: The morning-after pill is like having an abortion.
--> Nothing like it. The morning-after pill does not cause an abortion or "emergency period". If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception will not interrupt your pregnancy. The morning-after pill works by delaying your egg release (ovulation) so that the sperm waiting in the fallopian tubes will be unable to meet an egg and fertilise it. This is similar to regular contraceptive pills, which mostly work by preventing egg release.
Myth 2: You can only ever take the morning-after pill once / you can't take it more than three times, etc.
This seems to be the most commonly believed rumour. UCC Students Union Equality Officer Kelly Coyle gave us her say on it:
"It's such a scare tactic. It's like, once you take it once, you're never allowed to take it ever again. Like, choose the right time. That's it. You get three chances and that's it."
Let's get this straight - there's no limit to the number of times you can take the morning-after pill during your lifetime. Of course, it should only really be thought of as a back-up method of contraception (so stick to those condoms and contraceptive pills/bars/etc., ladies!) but when mistakes do happen, the morning-after pill is an option regardless of how many times you've taken it before.
Myth 3: The morning-after pill can cause infertility.
There is ZERO evidence to suggest that using the morning-after pill will make you infertile. Emergency contraception has no effect on future fertility. If you take the morning-after pill, your fertility can actually come back very quickly, so it will not protect you from pregnancy if you have unprotected sex again in the days after you take it.
How many of these rumours have you heard before? And that's just a little snippet - there were plenty more where those came from. We had a great time busting those myths and seeing who in the audience knew enough to bust the myths themselves (with a little prize-winning incentive, of course).
It made for some great chatting, some needed learning, and some good laughs. Plus we had some delicious nibbles for everyone to dig their teeth into while we talked (so necessary).
The whole event turned out so well. Our guest speakers were wonderful and we had an absolutely top-quality audience (go, UCC students!). Every little helps towards getting rid of that morning-after pill stigma and this panel was a huge step in the right direction.
If any of you are around UL way this coming Thursday and you didn't get a chance to visit us in Cork (or if you did and you loved it so much you want to go again), we'll be continuing all our sex talk in UL's Millstream Common Room. Author Stephanie Preissner, model Shauna Lindsey and Niamh Webb O'Rourke will be joining Niamh Maher on the panel this time, talking about their own thoughts on and experience of the morning-after pill. Click here to find out all the information for that event. We hope to see you there!
Brought to you by ellaOne
ellaOne is an emergency contraceptive pill that is available from pharmacies without a prescription. No other morning-after pill is more effective at preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex.
ellaOne consists of one film-coated tablet which should be taken as soon as possible, but no later than 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Each film-coated tablet of ellaOne contains 30 mg ulipristal acetate. Always read the label.