The first time it happened, I had only been seeing the guy for a month or so. As we walked into town at 7 45 on a Saturday morning, so we could be at Boots when it opened at 8, I couldn’t help thinking “why me? What were the chances?”. We had used a condom, but fallen foul of the 99% effectiveness ratio and it had split.
A quick google at 1 am had reassured me of a few misconceptions: firstly I didn’t have to find my local sexual health clinic - because although people always use that phrase I had no clue where or really what that was; secondly I didn’t have to wait until a GP could see me, making it really worrying if we’d meet the 72 hour limit; and thirdly, that it was free.
We walked into Boots and my boyfriend awkwardly patted my shoulder. I had always logically felt that there was no shame in sex, contraception, or any of it going wrong, and I definitely wasn’t willing to take my chances, but I had been dreading this. Walking up to the pharmacy counter, I practiced the medical name for the pill in my head so I would get less embarrassed, but my mumbled attempt led to a loud clarification that I wanted “emergency contraception? Do you need the free kind? Ok we’ll need to check some things with you” and being led away to the “Private Consultation” room.
I was asked pretty standard things like if I was on any medication, how many hours it had been since the unprotected sex (a term I actually objected to at the time – it was theoretically protected, I had just been cruelly betrayed by durex), and boring normal things they ask you when giving you any medication. I swallowed the pill then and there, and re-joined my boyfriend, awkwardly lingering between the family planning aisle and the baby clothes upstairs in the pharmacy. I laughed at his positioning, and by the time we had walked back to college, we were joking about it.
The thing I really took away from the whole experience is that even people who consider themselves pretty well sex educated don’t know a lot about emergency contraception. As I spoke to some friends about it I realised that it hasn’t only been me – lots of people had no idea how easy and painless (metaphorically and literally) the whole process of getting that little pill was.
It happened once more, when I was changing contraception methods and we had to use condoms for a week. I declared us the unluckiest couple alive and, much less panicked, walked pretty jovially into town when I got up in the morning. The real bummer then was, upon arriving at the pharmacy on a Sunday morning I was told there had been a “rush” on the morning after pill and they were all out of the free kind. Not willing to lessen the effectiveness, I shelled out 27 quid for piece of mind. That would be my one and only ‘tip’ for this article - on weekends, go early to beat the queue, because even though it feels like this has never happened to anyone else, you’re definitely not the only one.blog comments powered by Disqus
In this section
Lifestyle: Don't worry, all genitalia are ugly
Features: Drawing on art for essay inspiration
Escape: Varsity Trip: Exclusive or accessible?
Fashion & Beauty: The psychology of power dressing
Fashion & Beauty: The New Wave of Scandinavian Style
Lifestyle: Podcasts to make you...
Lifestyle: The types of college parents