Women, experts call on men to take greater share of responsibility

By Zhao Yusha Source:Global Times Published: 2018/3/13 18:23:40

A pregnant woman waits to have a check-up in Hangzhou. Photo: VCG

Cici, 29, often jokes that she spends more time and energy worrying about her period coming late than anything else in her life.

"I freak out every time my period doesn't come on time," she said.

Many unmarried women nowadays have the same worries as Cici. Getting their period late can lead to anxiety and many sleepless nights.

And Cici's boyfriend, who refuses to use condoms during sex, says he is tired of listening to her "whining almost every month about this topic."

"I just like the natural feeling and pull it out before I come," he said.

This is a feeling shared by many men, who asked to remain anonymous, approached by the Global Times. They naturally think the burden of contraception falls on women.

"There's little that men can do, but many things that women can do," said Cici's boyfriend.

Cici believes that, in theory, it is fair for women to take more responsibility when it comes to contraception.

"Women are the ones who have a uterus. We can choose to take the pill or not, or other contraception methods."

In practice, however, she thinks it's unfair.

"I used to take the pill, but it made me swell up. Now I have to worry about my period every week just so that he can feel good in bed," she said.

No easy option

Condoms seem to be the cheapest and easiest option, but many couples still reject it. This is despite the fact that manufacturers are making condoms increasingly thinner to give more sensation, with some even adding creative flourishes such as attaching threads to them to give users that extra special feeling.

According to a survey of 100 Chinese married couples who used contraceptives in 2015, 55 percent of females had intrauterine devices (IUD), 26 percent had ligation operations, while only 4 percent of males received ligation operations and 14 percent of males used condoms, news site thepaper.cn reported on Thursday, citing a yearbook of China's population and employment statistics from 1993 to 2016.

The data showed that at least 80 percent of females have received ligation operations over the years. The number of males who have had the operation was very small and declining. The report provided no details of the sampling, such as the couples' age groups.

It is unfair and irresponsible for women to shoulder more responsibility for contraception, because it damages their bodies and may give them sexually transmitted diseases, a gynecologist at a top Beijing public hospital told the Global Times.

Furthermore, "ligation operations can cause multiple injuries to women, including a strong possibility of bleeding after the operation, which can lead to anemia and even infection," Yin Su, a former gynecologist in Central China's Henan Province, told the Global Times.

A United Nations report says male sterilization accounted for 10 percent or less of all sterilizations among couples in 29 out of the 47 countries covered in the survey.

Old thinking

"In China, people are easily trapped by the conventional thinking that men will lose their manliness if they undergo a ligation operation, while women, who are generally in a weaker position, seldom seize the initiative on the issue," said Ke Qianting, a researcher of feminism and professor at Sun Yat-sen University.

Ke said females who have such operations and related organizations should play a more important role in spreading knowledge about the harm such operations can cause women, adding that effective and equal communication should be encouraged between couples.

Newspaper headline: Contraception conflict

Posted in: SOCIETY

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