Melbourne School of Population and Global Health - Research Publications

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    Women’s contraceptive decision-making: juggling the needs of the sexual body and the fertile body
    Keogh, Louise A. (The Haworth Press, Inc., 2005)
    The contradictions faced by women in the area of fertility management justify an in-depth qualitative study of contraceptive use. The experience of needing emergency contraception (EC) is an opportunity to study decision-making about fertility management. Thirty two in-depth interviews were conducted with users of EC recruited in Melbourne, Australia. Women were juggling the needs of the sexual body and the fertile body. The sexual body was expected to be available in women’s relationships, and the fertile body required protection from pregnancy in the present and preservation for the future. The needs of these two bodies were very often in conflict and women chose to resolve this conflict in subtly different ways; three strategies were identified. Some women chose to make sexual availability and security from pregnancy a priority; others felt forced to sacrifice sexual availability and security from pregnancy; and a final group chose to make the protection of the fertile body for the future a priority. This study provides a starting point for developing a context-based, woman-centered understanding of the experience of fertility management for women in developed countries.