Contraception and heterosex: an intimate relationship

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Whilst the importance of contraception within heterosex has long been accepted, particularly in relation to the prevention of HIV/AIDS, the way in which the use, or non-use, of contraception re/constructs heterosexual encounters themselves has had far less attention. The embodied nature of both the risk of pregnancy, and most contraceptive technologies leads women to assert a right to bodily autonomy. Yet this assertion conflicts with their expectation of equitable coupledom within heterosexuality and their routine consideration of men’s preferences. This article will argue that the use of contraception is an intricate part of heterosexual practices, and shows how normative ideas about heterosexuality leave men as appearing as an absent presence within women’s contraceptive decisions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-92
Number of pages18
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • contraception
  • heterosexuality
  • sexual practices


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