Feminism | Posted by Maia M on 12/20/2010

NuvaRing: Sexual Misinformation?

Nuva Ring

Nuva Ring

So I’m watching Glee on Hulu because homework is boring and the internet is slowly but surely taking over the world. And because I don’t like interruptions, I opt at the beginning of the clip to watch the two-minute NuvaRing spot, instead of watching the whole episode with commercials throughout.

The scene: there are a bunch of women (props to NuvaRing, they’re not all white) sitting around a pretty garden table, laughing together as they share their hilarious, completely relatable experiences with birth control pill mishaps. The woman in purple embarks on a gripping story about how she dropped a pill while on the subway, and started calling around to pharmacies to ask “if they had any extras.” One pharmacist tells her, “You could probably just use protection, like condoms…”

Woman-in-Purple gives a mock scream of horror, as the rest of the table bursts out laughing at this silly, silly suggestion—clearly, they all agree with woman-in-purple’s assertion that, “that defeats the entire purpose!” Haha. Silly pharmacist. Everyone knows that the only risk of sex is pregnancy, so if you’re on birth control, go ahead, do whatever whacky things you do in your bedroom. You’re covered.

Does anyone else get really annoyed by things like this? It’s bad enough that hardly anyone thinks things like oral sex are “serious” enough to use protection for. And then there are the people who are “saving themselves for marriage,” or are products of abstinence-only sex education and rarely use any protection at all, but that’s a whole ‘nother category of sexual ignorance. But really, NuvaRing, really? Yeah, go ahead, tell your entire viewership that one form of birth control is enough, you don’t need any other sort of protection whatsoever. Come on, people. What about STDs? And yeah, what if you miss a pill, what if something goes wrong?

Then of course, there’s the troublesome line of thinking that, in heterosexual sex, protection is entirely the woman’s responsibility. Of course men don’t need to worry about protection, they’re not the ones getting pregnant!

I mean, I get it, “Wear the NuvaRing and… well, and use a condom anyway” isn’t the best advertising campaign, but isn’t there enough sexual ignorance in America?

What are people’s thoughts on this ad, and about some of the sexual misinformation floating around out there?

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  • Ari @ at 1:09 pm, December 20th, 2010

    I think the problem with most birth control commercials is rarely do they picture the fact that these women are in a serious monogamous relationship. Birth control should be used with condoms if you are perhaps having sex with more than one partner and/or waiting to see if this relationship will become serious/monogamous. Along with that- STD/AIDS/HIV tests.

    Rarely is it touched that (shock!) women would want to have sex more than one person for usually it is results sadly into slut-shaming. It’s a touchy subject and seriously sad that we do not talk about female sexuality/safe sex beyond catchy, acne-free, no crazy hormones birth control commercials. Now excuse me as I listen to The Veronicas “We’re Not Going To Take It”

  • Natalia @ at 3:21 pm, December 20th, 2010

    Didn’t the ad say by the end that it doesn’t protect against STD’s? I thought that was mandatory by law. Well when I get my birth control pills, it says in big letters on the cover “only 99% protective against pregnancy but NOT std’s”.

    The problems with ads is that their only purpose is to sell, not educate. It’s incredible though, I had sex ed in high school with my friends and they make the same mistakes (have unprotected sex or stop using condoms even though neither of them have been tested for stds).

    I know we always blame the sex education system, but in Canada we have a decent sex education program in high school. And SOME people still don’t learn.

    PS: I kind of sympathize with the women when it comes to the pharmacist. I also think it’s absurd that they don’t include extra pills on the pack. It’s a nightmare when the pills are white and you drop it on a white carpet….uggh..

  • O'Phylia @ at 8:51 pm, December 20th, 2010

    Wait a minute,

    You can opt out of interrupting commercials?! Why didn’t anyone tell me?!

  • Dylan @ at 11:32 am, December 21st, 2010

    Just a counterpoint, I’ve known numerous women who absolutely hated condoms. Nuva is (possibly? probably?) advertising to women who are in monogamous relationships, and who do not want children. If you are hooking up with different people on a regular basis, and those people are doing the same, condoms are the only way to go, and pregnancy is, as you allude to, only one of many unwanted outcomes of that lifestyle.

  • Jessica @ at 5:31 am, June 6th, 2011

    I have always felt the problem with advertisements and discussions with contraceptives – from ads in public to articles in magazines with no sponsorship – is that they are aimed at those who think they’re monogamous. It’s like they’re refusing to acknowledge that even one sexual partner who’s had one sexual partner before you can pass on an STD, or worse, that if you want to screw around you’re a whore who should get STD’s.

    I’d like to see discussions on the theme that if you want to have sex with a number of partners but you don’t want to get pregnant and don’t want STD’s, then use both barrier protection and something medical for extra anti-baby protection.

    After all, sex is fun and if you can take the emotional baggage away from the sex, why shouldn’t women enjoy it and feel safe from STD’s and unexpected babies?

  • Laura @ at 8:26 pm, December 23rd, 2011

    I do agree with the fact that some women don’t enjoy using condoms, but I just hate it how it seems an expectation that they don’t use them. I also agree that sexual acts such as oral sex and all could cause an STI and we have a choice to protect ourselves against them if we want. It is frustrating that it is the womans responsibility to use protection, “because she will be the one getting pregnant” but the thing is that it should be 50% the males responsibility if she were pregnant to, it is just never shown that way.

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