Why I Care About Birth Control Dissatisfaction And You Should Too

Change comes from consciousness

Krystale E. Littlejohn, PhD


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The number of people dissatisfied with their birth control is astonishing.

I published an article last week on the importance of women’s dissatisfaction with birth control drawing on my book and other research that I’ve done over the years. It all started after I was a guest on this NPR show.

One thing led to another — the interview led me from talking about my research to writing a Medium post about it to a YouTube video where I elaborated on it. Imagine my own astonishment when I realized that I wanted to write another article to share because the video is a bit different than the original post, even though it draws on some of the same research.

Apparently I just get pumped talking about dissatisfaction with birth control (if you want to see how much, you especially have to watch the end of the video because my our-society-should-be-ashamed-of-itself-finger-wagging game is on point). For those who just want to watch the video, you can check it out below. For folks who prefer a short overview of my three reasons to care about dissatisfaction, read on.

Lots of people are dissatisfied

I mention that my 2012 research shows that 37% of women ages 23–44 who had ever used hormonal birth control had ever stopped it because they were dissatisfied with it. More recent data from the National Center for Health Statistics shows that things are largely unchanged. One analysis examined women ages 15–44 years old in 2011–2015 who had ever used specific methods and stopped them because of dissatisfaction. The verdict: 34% had stopped using the pill, 47% had stopped using the shot, and 27% had stopped using the IUD. The leading cause was side effects in every case.

Dissatisfaction negatively affects people’s lives

It’s important that people feel happy with their birth control and their lives. When people are dissatisfied with their birth…



Krystale E. Littlejohn, PhD

Author & Sociologist @ University of Oregon. My book on sex, birth control, and inequality: justgetonthepill.com.