Ejaculating Responsibly by Gabrielle Blair book review

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Sure, sex is great, but have you seen the title of Gabrielle Blair’s new book, “Ejaculating Responsibly?” As I discovered firsthand when I left my copy on a coffee table, some people find the title intriguing – others are, no pun intended, off.

Surely it must be offensive to this second group that someone would dare to tell them what to do with their bodies. I can not imagine ! It’s only because I don’t have to. As everyone knows, the Supreme Court overturned Roe vs. Wade this spring. Blair’s book offers a (theoretically) very simple solution to the thorny issue of abortion: if men took responsibility for knowing how and where they ejaculate, it would eliminate most unwanted pregnancies and, therefore, necessity of most abortions.

“My main contention is that 99% of abortions are the result of unintended pregnancies and men cause all unwanted pregnancies,” Blair writes. “An unwanted pregnancy does not happen because people have sex. An unwanted pregnancy only happens if a man ejaculates irresponsibly – if he deposits his semen in a vagina when he and his partner aren’t trying to conceive.

After decades of political and legal maneuvering, culture warfare, protests and manifestos, and real life and death consequences for providers and patients, could the answer really be so obvious? It’s simple ? Blair seems completely convinced that is the case. And if you allow yourself to take a step back and not jump to the usual “but, but, but” answers you’ve learned over time, you might just find yourself okay with her. I know I did.

“Ejaculate Responsibly” started as a 63-long tweet thread in 2018. “I was totally scared no one would answer,” Blair said in a recent interview. “I was thinking, ‘How soon can I delete?’ “Instead, the tweets went viral. Blair, a mother of six and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says the first person who called her after seeing her tweets was her bishop, who told her she could go there. build a legal career. Instead, she wrote this book. On the podcast”mormon land“Blair said her treatise emerged from conversations with the many women she’s met over the years, particularly through her lifestyle blog, Design Mom. Now she’s asking his followers there to send “Ejaculating Responsibly” to specific members of the Supreme Court. (So ​​far, Judge Amy Coney-Barrett has the most copies in her box.)

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Blair’s argument is clear and direct. Smartly, she doesn’t engage in a debate about whether abortion is good or bad. In plain language and (mostly) straightforward examples, she points out how unacceptable we find it to simply suggest that men take responsibility for their actions (and their cum). Or how unthinkable it is for men to compromise their pleasure in any way, such as by using a condom (although she has a lot to say about the myth of condoms impacting pleasure almost as much as we’ve all been led to believe). believe him) . Or expect men to tolerate even mild side effects for the greater reproductive good, as happened when another successful 2006 trial for male birth control was discontinued because some participants suffered from acne and weight gain. Or as women like to refer to these side effects: to be alive.

But, as Blair makes clear, the issue of who takes responsibility for birth control isn’t just a situation men believe in. It’s a lot of us who believe this situation: “We men and women have a huge blind spot when it comes to men and birth control. Men assume that women will do all the work of preventing pregnancy, that a woman will take responsibility for her own body and the man’s body, and women assume that women will too.

Instead of telling women to keep their legs closed, Blair wonders why men can’t keep it in their pants (or in a condom or have a vasectomy – methods that are easier, safer and more effective than birth control options for women.) As she notes that when condoms are used correctly, they are 98% effective in preventing pregnancy. They are also the only form of contraception that prevents the transmission of sexually transmitted infections. Vasectomies are 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy. Although the pill is 99% effective, it is also a hormonal form of birth control which must be taken daily, requires a prescription, is not instantly effective, has financial implications for the user and a long list of potential side effects – and is also susceptible to employer health plan restrictions and, well, in June “following the overturning of Roe v. Wade,” Blair points out, “the judge of the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas has signaled that Griswold v. Connecticut, the case legalizing birth control use by married couples, could also be reversed.

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She also argues against those who answer, “All women have to do is ask men to wear a condom and then refuse to have sex with him if he doesn’t.” Like it’s always that simple or we live in a world where there are no real power dynamics and potential for domestic violence. ” Do not ask : Why don’t women choose better men? Ask instead: Why are there so many violent men? And: Why don’t we teach men not to abuse?“It reminded me of my local police department offering a self-defense class for women, suggesting it was the perfect mother-daughter activity for girls 14+, but didn’t offer an equivalent class. for fathers and sons teaching them how not to assault or rape girls and women.

Blair’s book is incisive, but there are some stumbles. As a long Twitter thread, his arguments packed a real punch. It was simple and bold, cutting avenues to counter-argue left and right. The augmented version of the book can sometimes lose its way and momentum. The points made by Blair can get repetitive, so much so that at one point I thought I had lost my place and was re-reading a few chapters by mistake. Analogies can sometimes be a bit silly, losing their power to illustrate a valid point. And some chapter headings (like “Sperm is Dangerous”) seem designed to shock at the risk of losing the reader who might otherwise be open to his argument.

Also, since this book is, in fact, a rebranding of the abortion issue – by the creator of “Design Mom” ​​no less – it’s odd that the book itself isn’t an exercise more satisfying design. Blair’s powerful core proposition and the information contained therein are perfectly suited to a tighter, more compelling approach. For every credible stat there is a Wikipedia reference or a pasty phrase like “the vast majority”. There are caveats and footnotes aplenty which can sometimes make for a disjointed reading experience. A more infographic style could have helped eliminate some of these weaknesses and reinforce its strongest points.

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Still, Blair’s new reframing should be required reading for anyone who has sex, wants to have sex, or is raising someone who may have sex in the future. This slender book has what it takes to be the foundation of a movement. At a minimum, the point Blair makes in her introduction should cause everyone to take a closer look at their expectations, biases, and judgments: “We have placed the onus of preventing pregnancy on the person who is fertile 24 hours a month, instead of the person who is fertile 24 hours a day, every day of his life. It seems impossible to argue with this point in theory. But the problem with responsible ejaculation is that we now have to see it in practice. Therefore, to say.

Kimberly Harrington is the author of “But You Seemed So Happy”. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Cut and McSweeney’s. She is also a creative director and has worked with Apple and Nike.

A Whole New Way to Think About Abortion

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