United States Italy
Women age 15-44 using modern contraception 70% 36%
Birth rate per woman 1.8 1.4
What’s Their Secret?
When it comes to birth control Italians have a preference for the “natural” you can trace to the Catholic Church, which long since banished the contraceptive diaphragm and persuaded most people not to use IUDs, Pills, patches, rings, implants, Depo-Provera shots, or sterilization. Condoms, which Italians usually call preservativi – watch out what word you use for jam or you’ll get snickers – are fairly popular. But what most people do to avoid pregnancy is what they call stare attenti or being careful: watching the calendar, and using withdrawal on days they think (rightly or wrongly) that they’re fertile.
Nonetheless, the Italian birth rate hovers between the lowest and the next-to-lowest on the planet. How come? The main explanation is that – contrary to what I was taught in medical school – withdrawal works. It helps that Italy has a surprising culture of shared responsibility between men and women in this particular realm, so guys are more willing to use condoms, and more skilled at pulling out.
What about the poor female left hanging on the edge when HE pulls out? Poverina...ReplyDelete
Well, since withdrawal is properly accomplished only at the very last instant before ejaculation, the female only misses out on a thrust or two. So the only ones who lose out bigtime are the lucky few whose orgasm gets triggered by their partners' orgasm...Delete
I suspect many factors are involved - including actual location for any intercourse - if many Italians still live at home with their parents well into their 30s a place for full-on intercourse is probably harder to conceive of ('scuse pun), so there's probably more heavy petting going on, than anything. BTW In Rome I've heard the withdrawal method called surprisingly 'il salto della quaglia' - the Quail Jump (or would it be a hop?)... either way it does seem to do amazingly well... AND could it be also that Italian women aren't telling the whole truth about their use of contraception... re: private clinics - they are also used for anonymity (rather than be seen by their neighbours at a local hopstial , for instance a friend resorted to a private clinic abortion)... still however it does remain quite the mysteryReplyDelete
I love the "quail hop" - hadn't heard that one before! You could be right, but what women tell me in my office about their use of contraception jibes well with the official statistics. And people have managed to find spots to have sex since time immemorial... Yes, a good many abortions are done illegally, in private, but that's virtually always in doctors' offices (no anesthesia, btw) - not in "clinics" or private hospitals, which are mostly Catholic and, when not, would run huge risks if discovered to be allowing abortions on their premises.Delete