Why do British Asian women feel contraception shamed?

Let’s talk about sex, baby

When it comes to taboo subjects within the Asian community, sex is right up there with the likes of interfaith marriage, divorce and homosexuality; to name just a few.

We can all agree that the topic of contraception is rarely, if at all, discussed within Asian households or within the community as a whole. We’re living in an era where many people (men AND women) are sexually liberated, so contraception is a smart decision.

No slut shaming, please

It’s human nature to worry how we’re being perceived. If you’re purchasing contraception will the person serving you, especially if they’re Asian, think you sleep around? It’s not solely a male’s responsibility to purchase or take care of contraception.

Being on or purchasing contraception isn’t an indication that an individual is promiscuous; they’re just being safe. But why do we, as British Asian women in particular, feel embarrassed and shameful when taking the steps to find out about contraception? Many women from all different backgrounds confidently purchase contraception and Asian women should be no different, despite the matter being unmentioned within our community.

There’s can be an unfair pre conception that if you’re unmarried and having sex, you’re a ‘slut’. We’re living amongst a culture where you’re told by your family to “find your own”, so naturally we dabble in dating. If you’re in a secure and happy relationship you’re naturally going to want to take those steps to be closer to your partner, and that’s absolutely OK. And if you are going to do so, you shouldn’t be ashamed about purchasing contraception, in fact, it should be encouraged.

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If you’re from a majority Asian community in particular, you may notice a lot of doctors and pharmacists are of Asian descent, so you’re forever questioning if they’re a family friend or even a distant relative, which can make purchasing contraception 100 times more uncomfortable. “Will they tell people I brought contraception?” “Will my parents find out?”. Some of them may look you up and down with judgement, and others will see you purely as a patient and respect your confidentiality.

Let’s move forward…

Our parents are fine with us learning about sex and contraception in school, so why not in our household?

There’s a blurry grey area when it comes to sex, and the stigma surrounding it. It’s important that our Asian community understand we’re living in a crossover of two cultures and we are part of the transformational generation. Just because some Asians may be more Western, it doesn’t mean that they don’t respect their traditions or love their roots, they’re simply embracing the other half of their modern culture.

It’s also important to consider that if there’s silence around the topic of sex in a household, it may lead to the younger members picking up their understanding elsewhere. And that might not be from the best sources! Having the right understanding around consent, sexual health and healthy relationships is important for the choices we all make and how they affect others too.

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Who can I ask about contraception?

The best people to ask about contraception are your GP or your local sexual health clinic. They can advise the best forms of contraception for you and your lifestyle. If you’re nervous about speaking to someone; take a friend, partner or someone you can trust for a little support.

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A consultation before deciding on a form of contraception is highly advisable. All forms of contraception have the risk of some kind of side effect so it’s important you have all the information you need before making this big decision.

If you have any questions or seek advice, you can go to https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/

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britishbindi

An Award-Nominated blog which discusses what it's like to be a contemporary British Asian Woman.

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