Being sick enough to require antibiotics is bad enough, but then just as you’re feeling better there’s more bad news: antibiotics mess with your birth control. Using an “alternate method of birth control” while you’re on antibiotics generally means abstinence, oral sex, or condoms. Abstinence for 10 days is lame. Oral sex is awesome, but can leave you longing for more after a few days. And condoms are… well… sigh.

Lots of people use condoms all the time, and maybe they’re used to it. If you’re slutting around with tons of people it makes sense to use condoms. But as a married couple condoms just feel wrong — not morally of course, but physically. It’s almost like you’re not even having sex. As I wrote in Yes, You Should Swallow the sharing of bodily fluids is incredibly intimate, and the condom is there to prevent exactly that. It’s like wearing rubber gloves to hold hands!

rubber gloves

But is the worry about accidental pregnancy while on antibiotics overblown? Basically, there’s little evidence that any antibiotics other than rifampicin can reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Rifampicin is generally prescribed for bacterial infections like tuberculosis and leprosy, so it isn’t very common. Nevertheless, the “better safe than sorry” mentality makes everyone paranoid.

A complex study published in May, 2011 involved about 18,000 women and 1330 episodes of contraceptive failure. Researchers looked at the data on women both during months of contraceptive success (i.e., not getting pregnant) versus contraceptive failure to see if taking antibiotics made any difference. The bottom line: contraceptive failures did occur, but it was no more likely to occur if a woman was taking oral antibiotics.

Now, it’s impossible with science to prove a negative. Even the best, largest studies can’t say with 100% certainty that a super-rare event can’t occur. It could be that in very rare cases, antibiotics could somehow affect the way oral contraceptives work. So if you want to be super-safe, using two contraceptives is never a mistake. But as far as could be determined by this large epidemiologic study, women on contraceptives (excluding rifampin) were no more likely to experience a contraceptive failure than women not taking antibiotics.

If you was to be “extra safe” go ahead and use an alternate method of birth control, but is isn’t necessary. As long as you take your birth control pills every single day as directed and avoid known drug interactions you almost certainly won’t get pregnant due to antibiotics.

 

When you were reading Shakespeare in high school you may not have enjoyed it to the fullest extent if your teacher didn’t explain the Bard’s sexual wordplay. It seems that many people find Shakespeare to be dull, but his writing is edgy and sexual in a subtle way that rewards deeper examination.

La petite morte is French for “the little death”, and the phrase has been a common idiom for orgasm and sexual ecstasy since at least the early 17th century. To “die” is to climax, and understanding this single metaphor leads to a new level of appreciation for Shakespeare’s highly sexual scenes. Let’s look at a few examples from Romeo and Juliet — this is by no means exhaustive… the whole play is full of sexual wordplay.

Juliet in Act III, Scene II, waiting in eagerly for Romeo’s arrival that night:

Come, night; come, Romeo; come, thou day in night;
For thou wilt lie upon the wings of night
Whiter than new snow on a raven’s back.
Come, gentle night, come, loving, black-brow’d night,
Give me my Romeo; and, when he shall die,
Take him and cut him out in little stars,
And he will make the face of heaven so fine
That all the world will be in love with night
And pay no worship to the garish sun.

Romeo in Act III, Scene V, insisting that he must leave Juliet because the sun is rising:

It was the lark, the herald of the morn,
No nightingale: look, love, what envious streaks
Do lace the severing clouds in yonder east:
Night’s candles are burnt out, and jocund day
Stands tiptoe on the misty mountain tops.
I must be gone and live, or stay and die.

“Stay and die” both literally — discovered by Capulet — and figuratively.

Capulet in Act IV, Scene V, upon discovering his daughter Juliet’s body on the morning of her wedding to her fiance Paris:

FRIAR LAURENCE
Come, is the bride ready to go to church?

CAPULET
Ready to go, but never to return.
O son! the night before thy wedding-day
Hath Death lain with thy wife. There she lies,
Flower as she was, deflowered by him.
Death is my son-in-law, Death is my heir;
My daughter he hath wedded: I will die,
And leave him all; life, living, all is Death’s.

Again, death has taken Juliet, both literally and figuratively. (Though at this point Juliet is only unconscious from a sleeping potion.)

Finally, the climactic scene in which Romeo and Juliet take their own lives, each believing the other to be already dead. Romeo drinks poison from a chalice (a symbol of female sexuality) and Juliet stabs herself with Romeo’s knife (a symbol of male sexuality). Act V, Scene III, Romeo kisses the chalice:

Here’s to my love!
Drinks

O true apothecary!
Thy drugs are quick. Thus with a kiss I die.
Dies

And Juliet, upon discovering Romeo’s body:

O happy dagger!
Snatching ROMEO’s dagger

This is thy sheath;
Stabs herself

there rust, and let me die.
Falls on ROMEO’s body, and dies

It sure beats sparkly vampires. Do you have any sexual literature to share?

Orgasm permission is a submission technique that’s easy to add to your sexual repertoire and can add a little mind-play to an otherwise vanilla encounter. (And vanilla is great! When you’ve got a family there isn’t always time to set up all the toys.)

The basic idea of orgasm permission is simple: ask your spouse for permission before you climax, and then hold off until you receive it. You can easily initiate this submission by yourself — just wait till you’re close and moan/groan/yell, “can I come?! can I please come now?!” Then hold yourself close to the edge and wait for your spouse to say “yes, come for me now!”

Alternately, you can tell your spouse that you want them to ask before they orgasm. Since you’re asking something of them, make sure you briefly discuss your expectations. You and your spouse will figure out what works best for you, but you want the experience to be hot, especially the first time. Make sure the mind-play enhances the experience for both of you and doesn’t drain any of the sexual energy:

  • Don’t ask for permission until you’re close to orgasm.
  • When asked, give permission quickly. You or your spouse may eventually find it enjoyable to deny permission for a period of time, but work your way up to it. You don’t want your spouse to lose their orgasm because you said no for too long.

This submission technique can be used with almost any kind of sexual encounter, from missionary to blow jobs to vibrators (good luck!). Have you ever asked your spouse’s permission to orgasm? Leave a comment below!

It seems that many people don’t like the name of the Advanced Cow position that we mentioned in our recent post about advanced sex positions. Why do cows get a bad rap? They’re delicious! Many sexual positions names are Hindu in origin and are derived from the Kama Sutra; the cow animal is viewed much differently in ancient Hindu culture than in modern American culture.

The classic Cow is when a woman stands with her feet apart and the man enters her from behind. She then bends over until her hands touch the floor. In this spiced up version of the position, the man can hold the woman’s waist as she — calling upon ample upper body strength and muscle control — lifts her feet off the ground. Cadell said the Cow is an especially good position for less endowed men.

But anyway, let’s have a contest! Come up with a new name for the Advanced Cow and post your idea in the comments. (You can post anonymously.)

Men’s Journal posts a list of sex positions for athletes. The positions as described seem quite difficult and often uncomfortable; the silhouette illustrations are essential for understanding your end goal. Sexy Corte and I enjoy trying the positions we have in our books and numerous sex position websites, but most of the time the fun is in the attempt. If you decide to try a few out with your spouse, don’t be discouraged if the stranger ones just aren’t that fun to hold till you orgasm!

I think I want to try the Cross Your Heart, the Advanced Cow, and the Washing Machine.