The author's focus on the age of various forms of birth control is a sad sign of our times. Like with furniture, new isn't always better: most advances in medicine have improved or saved lives, but others have been harmful or even deadly. If one has endured despite multiple competitors, it probably works -- and no matter how new something is, some patients will have unpleasant or fatal reactions.As a bit of a side note, I have a slight suspicion that the author mentioned might have been experiencing a psychosomatic reaction to some degree. I noticed years ago that on discussion groups for self-identified asexual people, there were three very distinct groups:
Note: I've never been bothered by the issue I wrote about below; I shared it because otherwise my reaction to the article wouldn't make a whole lot of sense.
I've been on various hormone pills since my ovaries self-destructed at 13 years old. Each year, if I still didn't have sexual thoughts or interest in finding a mate, I was given a higher dosage, until I finally answered 'correctly' at 19. We've bumped it up repeatedly since then, and given my symptoms, will probably do it again around the 20th anniversary in a few months.
I've tried to quit a few times after reading anti-BCP rants, but learned even before my first doses that without the drug, I have intolerably severe perimenopausal symptoms. Big whoop if my libido never learned to notice anyone sexually/romantically, I'm less "womanly" in mind than my ex-BFs were, and I never have surges of hormones -- I'm not suffering from hot flashes, cold sweats, random crying fits, simmering rage, attention/memory deficits, etc.
So I really have to wonder what Geraldine Sealey would have done in my shoes -- or, if she eventually has peri-menopausal symptoms as horrid as mine are but reacts badly to hormone replacement, what she'll do then. She might have to handle any emotional issues with medications, as I do with my PTSD-induced anxiety/wariness & depression.
PS. Since she felt this was worth sharing in detail despite its relative rarity, the author should find a routine activity to keep things in perspective... It can even be upbeat: volunteer at a hospital's pediatric playroom, join a night class or seniors' group focused on autobiographical writing (plenty of great tales there), read some of the blogs at Inspire.com, etc. It's not about how good one has it -- it's about being reminded that we all have challenges that sometimes feel horribly unfair/burdensome if we don't see real evidence of others fighting along with us, and then getting that 'evidence' so we feel more determined/optimistic again.
I'm not saying that nobody gets to recognize that life's unfair (it is!) or that this fixes the really traumatic stuff. I'm talking about handling things more in line with my having to carry an asthma inhaler & spacer everywhere, her not being able to take BCPs, your team losing a big game, and so forth. As a really cool sociology teacher put it, "you have one minute -- don't waste it."
For Salon: you're not doing yourself any favors with the "traumas of the privileged class" series, especially since most aren't very well-written. If you want to attract readers with personal tales, there are quite a few on Open Salon alone (let alone other blog sites) that are more engrossing, hard-hitting, and well-written, plus some of the authors could use the money. Some blogs/posts I'd strongly recommend, shortened due to the absurdly long URLs OS uses:
-- never had sexual interest/awareness, no fantasies, no real sense the body is gross (like a kid before being told it is)
-- people that had been sexually abused or were virgin girls afraid of sex hurting the first time
-- people with strict religious or otherwise anti-sex upbringings that they internalized
I'm in the first group: I don't mind having sex, I can orgasm, but I just don't seem to notice anything/anyone as having sexuality. As far as I can tell, that is what it is to be asexual -- and I'm pretty damn sure people in the other two groups have a major psychological hang-up about sex in the way. Among friends of mine that didn't handle BCPs well in that way, there was a similar breakdown: some of them just became asexual, but others (who often had anti-chemical or anti-science parents, went that way in college, etc.) acted more like they had some kind of personal guilt/morality issue making the whole thing so horrible that they didn't want to even think about it. No need for BCPs if you're too disgusted/uninterested to have it, after all.
(I'm not saying that I necessarily don't have mental issues of my own in the sexuality department. With my medical history, I'm quite certain that I do... However, given I have no emotional reaction and a working libido that simply doesn't seem aware that living creatures exist sexually any more than doorknobs, I don't think the medical stuff is the culprit.)