Conscious Contraception - A Guide to Natural Birth Control
Updated: Apr 8
Mystic Jasper uses a sovereignty and community care approach to promote wellbeing. All content and information on this website is for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute medical advice.
Contraception is a two-way exchange, all parties have the privilege of choosing what and what not to create out of intimacy. For too long, women + birthing people have held the sole responsibility of managing birth control using a variety of pharmaceutical agents, inserts, chemical shots and surgery. It's time to change the narrative.
My aim in this article is to help people move forward without fear by choosing knowledge. Birthing people can find resources to connect with their cycles and for their partners to be sensitive to their role as an active participant in Conscious Contraception.
What happens when we use pharmaceutical contraceptives
How Hormonal Birth Control Works
Most chemical contraceptives use synthetic estrogen and/or progesterone (more on these here). These chemicals artificially disrupt the ovulation cycle and implantation.
Hormonal birth control interferes with nature by:
stopping ovulation, no eggs are released in this process
thickening the mucus layer in the cervix so sperm may not enter, or
altering the lining of the uterus so implantation into its walls cannot occur or
ALL of the above.
Why Hormonal Birth Control can be Problematic
Our bodies are an amalgamation of rich hormonal processes that ensure overall health by regulating systems. When new (synthetic) hormones are introduced, the body systems, the chemistry of our brains, and as a result, our emotional systems are urged to regulate, which can lead to a variety of side effects.
If you've been on hormonal contraceptives, you can attest to the amount of time it takes for the body to acclimate to a rhythmic pattern whether you're starting them or coming off.
Potential complications with Hormonal Birth Control (Center for Young Women’s Health)
From IUDs to The Pill, hormonal birth control carry an array of complications and side effects that include but are not limited to:
Nausea, increased appetite, headaches, and irregular bleeding in the first few cycles
Increased risk for blood clots
Weight gain, tiredness, and possibly a decrease in bone density
Mislodging of the IUD into the uterine wall and, rarely, puncturing of the uterus
Depression, nervousness, hair loss, and weight gain
Potential chemical infertility following lengthy use
It's important for people to ask if hijacking ovulation with synthetic hormones is worthwhile when there are other contraceptive options available?
DISCLAIMER: the only 100% effective contraceptive is abstinence, so we agree that any moment we decide to have intercourse, we understand that we open possibilities for procreation (whether a child or otherwise)
Natural Birth Control Methods
FABMs (Fertility Awareness-Based Methods)
Mapping your cycle will give you a clear indication of how your cycle flows and functions. People can use period tracking journals or apps to keep track of what's going on throughout the month. I use Kindara, but there are many available.
Note: Cycles can fluctuate seasonally so trusting an app to tell you exactly when you're ovulating is FOOLISH, listen to your body and read the signs!
Here are a few physiological natural birth control markers to follow:
Cervical Fluid Texture
Cervical fluid will become more accommodating to sperm just before and during ovulation. When we check cervical fluid daily, with clean hands, we begin a contraception practice that helps us understand what our cervical fluid is telling us.
According to Fertility Friend:
Not everyone experiences every type of cervical fluid. You may also have some cervical fluid that does not seem to "fit" perfectly into any category, so leaning towards the most fertile category is the safest choice. Here are some cervical fluid textures:
Dry: No cervical fluid present at all; if you notice no cervical fluid in your underwear; and if the outside of your vagina feels dry. You can expect to see dry days both before ovulation, after your period and after ovulation.
Sticky: This is glue-like, gummy, stiff or crumbly and if it breaks easily and quickly and if it is not easily stretched. It will probably be yellowish or white, but could also be cloudy/clear. You may or may not see some sticky cervical fluid before and after ovulation.
Creamy: It is like hand lotion, white or yellow or cloudy/clear, like milk or cream, mayonnaise or like a flour/water solution. It may stretch slightly but not very much and break easily.
Watery: This cervical fluid is clear and most resembles water. It may be stretchy also. This cervical fluid is considered fertile and this may be your most fertile cervical fluid or you may get it before you get egg white cervical fluid or you may not get this type of fluid at all.
Egg white: This is your most fertile cervical fluid. It looks at all like raw egg white, is stretchy and clear, or clear tinged with white, or even clear tinged with pink. It also resembles semen (and has a lot of the same physical properties to allow the sperm to travel and be nourished). You should be able to stretch it between your thumb and index finger.
What is necessary to make fertile cervical mucus tracking work according to the Mayo Clinic:
“Before ovulation, cervical secretions change — creating an environment that helps sperm travel through the cervix, uterus and fallopian tubes to the egg. By recognizing the changing characteristics of your cervical mucus, you can predict when you'll ovulate. In turn, this may help you determine when you're most likely to conceive [or misconceive]... Formal training is usually required to master the cervical mucus method. This method also necessitates ongoing, rigorous daily monitoring. In addition, abstinence — or use of another type of contraception...”
Know your Yoni-Shetat: Learning the Flow of Eggs
During a regular menstrual cycle, there are four major hormones that are at work, Estrogen, Progesterone, Luteinizing hormone and Follicle–Stimulating hormone.
First day of Period to Pre-Ovulation: Estrogen rises
Your level of estrogen is at its lowest on the first day of your period. And during this a person is bleeding, resting and often on retreat. From this first day, it starts to increase. Your body sends a signal to your brain to start producing follicle–stimulating hormone (FSH), the main hormone involved in producing mature eggs. Follicles are the fluid–filled cavities in your ovaries. Each follicle contains one undeveloped egg. The FSH stimulates a number of follicles to develop and start to produce the hormone estrogen.
Normally one follicle becomes "chosen" and the egg ripens within the follicle as that follicle gets bigger. At the same time, the increasing amount of estrogen in your body makes sure that the lining of your womb is thickening with nutrients and blood. This is so that if you do get pregnant, the fertilised egg will have all the nutrients and support it needs to grow. High estrogen levels are also associated with the appearance of ‘sperm–friendly‘ mucus (or, to give it its technical name, fertile cervical mucus). You may notice this as a thin, slippery discharge that may be cloudy white. Sperm can swim more easily through this mucus and can survive in it for several days.
Journey to Ovulation: Estrogen and Testosterone rise till they peak
The level of estrogen in your body is still increasing and it eventually causes a rapid rise in luteinising hormone (often called the ‘LH surge‘). This LH surge gives the ripening egg the final push it needs to fully ripen and be released from the follicle. This process is known as ovulation. Ovulation tests read the presence of LH in urine, it is at its strongest level in the morning. For more signs of ovulation, explore here.
The day of ovulation will vary depending on your cycle length. Some women feel a twinge of pain when they ovulate, but many feel no sensation at all or notice very subtle signs of ovulation.
Retreating from Ovulation, the Fade Out: Progesterone rises; estrogen and testosterone drop the first half this week, then estrogen rises again
Once the egg (or ovum) has been released, it moves along the Fallopian tube towards your womb. The egg can live for up to 24 hours. Sperm survival is more variable, but typically 3–5 days, so the days leading up to ovulation and the day of ovulation itself are your most fertile – when you are most likely to get pregnant. As soon as you have ovulated, the follicle starts producing another hormone: progesterone.
Progesterone now works to further build up the lining of your womb in preparation for a fertilised egg. Meanwhile, the empty follicle starts to shrink, but carries on producing progesterone and also starts to produce estrogen.
During this time, you may get symptoms of pre–menstrual tension (PMS) such as breast tenderness, bloating, lethargy, depression and irritability at this stage.
Final days of your cycle: Estrogen and progesterone plunge
As the empty follicle shrinks, and the egg is not fertilized, levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease because they are no longer needed. Without the high levels of hormones to help maintain it, the thick womb lining that has been built up starts to break down, and your body shed. This is the start of your period and the beginning of your next cycle.
This is how your womb works, every person cycle may vary in length, so ovulation may be delayed or sped up for a variety of reasons, so we cannot rely on numbered days alone, which is why checking cervical fluid, basal body the signs of ovulation is the most accurate way to determine ovulation.
Post - Coitus (After Intimacy) Techniques and Methods of Stopping Implantation
Queen Anne’s Lace (Wild Carrot)
According to Sister Zeus.com “The Chinese view Queen Anne's Lace as a promising post-coital agent, "recent evidence suggests that terpenoids in the seed block crucial progesterone synthesis in pregnant animals." When asked about the contraceptive effects of wild carrot, some herbalists have described it as having the effect of making the uterus "slippery" so the egg is unable to implant.” Its recommended use varies from preparation to preparation, but the most convenient way i’ve found has been through a flower essence tincture. This is ingested every 8 hours after an accident for three days.
Other Herbal Contraceptives
Stoneseed root. Native Americans, such as the Dakotas and the Shoshone, would drink a cold infusion and inhale the smoke of stoneseed root to induce permanent sterility.
Thistle. Native Americans such as the Quinault drank a hot tea made with thistle to cause infertility.
Ginger root. Natural healers suggest drinking 4 cups of ginger tea per day for no more than 5 days to initiate menstruation. You can also mix 1 teaspoon of powdered ginger in 6 ounces of boiling water and consume while hot.
Yoni Steaming (My Plan B)
In conjunction with these methods, as a final method, yoni steaming works incredibly well to make sure your period comes. Yoni steaming introduces emmenagogue herbs into the body, softening the uterus and bringing on the menses.
Yoni Steaming must be used in conjunction with your natural cycle for this application. We would steam a few days before your period is meant to arrive.
Notes for our Sex Partners
Our sex partners contribute greatly to the success of contraception. If you are with a partner who is unwilling to compromise ejaculating inside you during fertile windows, is unwilling to learn your cycles or is not interested in practicing semen control and withdrawal: THEY DO NOT CARE ABOUT YOU and DO NOT ATTEMPT CONSCIOUS CONTRACEPTION with them.
If you are with someone who is openminded and can listen to you when you tell them that you are ready to learn your cycle and attempt natural birth control WITH you, please share these methods with them:
Ejaculation Control Methods
“Some sexologists suggest a kind of exaggerated nonchalance while making love to delay ejaculation. They advise men to think about politics or business while making love, or even to break off completely for a smoke. This may be an effective way to ward off ejaculation, but no way to achieve ecstasy or to even harmony with his partner who is sure to resent his remoteness or absent-mindedness - and with good reason” - The Tao of Love and Sex by Jolan Chang
The External Locking Method
The Three Fingers Method
The Modern Locking Method
Masters and Johnson’s
Ancient Chinese Squeeze Technique
Each method and their variances depend largely on the experience of the partner performing the techniques as well as the patience and time they’re willing to spend learning them.
The Withdrawal Method
Make sure the penis is clean and free of residual before intimacy
Learn the signs of ejaculation
Communicate with the receiving partner where it is going to go and agree upon it
Withdraw before the threshold period passes
Urinate and wash yourself following ejaculation to ensure no residual is left, especially when engaging for a second time within close proximity
NOTE: The more urinations in between ejaculations, the less likely there will be viable sperm present
“The man who practices withdrawal must assume full responsibility and remain in perfect control. During the deepest moments of passion, his love partner may urge him not to withdraw. Afterward, however, she [may] regret it. So if the man cannot remain in control at such moments, it is better for him not to practice withdrawal” - The Tao of the Loving Couple
Misconceptions and statistics of the withdrawal method
According to the Femininst Women’s Health Center in Atlanta, Georgia, “While withdrawal has been criticized as a non-method, it is 73-96% effective for birth control, depending on the male partner's self-knowledge and self-control.”
What about viable sperm and prejaculation?
“Many sources that discuss the ineffectiveness of withdrawal argue that pre-cum can contain sperm. This is because previous ejaculations can leave some sperm behind in the folds of the penis. While there is a need for further study, it is likely that urination before intercourse washes leftover sperm from the urethra, the tube from which both urine and semen exit the penis.” (Feminist Women’s Health Center)
According to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, “The pre-ejaculate fluid itself does not contain sperm. As the pre-ejaculate leaves the body, however, it may pick up sperm from a previous ejaculation that remains in the urethra. One study found small clumps of sperm in the pre-ejaculate fluid of some men. Though only a few hundred sperm were present, they could theoretically pose a low risk of pregnancy. Such small amounts of sperm can likely be flushed out with urination, although no research has verified this.”
“... the risk of pregnancy with the withdrawal method is very great because ‘there are always a few drops of secretion in the penis; each drop contains about 50,000 sperm. If they leak into the vagina, one drop is more than enough to make an egg into a baby’” This is a quote by David Reuben, author of Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex
How Much Sperm It Takes to Achieve Successful Pregnancy
“If the concentration falls below 20 million sperm per mililiter there is usually some trouble with fertility... If you don't have enough competitors to start, none are left at the finish.”
So the claim that 50,000 sperm is enough to create a baby is a mismark according to the numbers.
Though this method may have hitches of its own, when used in conjunction with fertility awareness and with extreme caution and care, the method can pose a wonderful alternative to hormonal contraceptives.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology information,
Neem oil proved to be a strong spermicidal agent. Rhesus monkey and human spermatozoa became totally immotile within 30 seconds of contact with the undiluted oil.
In vivo studies in rats (20), rabbits (8), rhesus monkeys (14), and human volunteers (10) proved that neem oil applied intravaginally before sexual intercourse prevented pregnancy in all the species.
Studies on rats' vagina, cervix, and uterus showed no ill effects of neem oil in these tissues.
Neem oil as an oral supplement (60 mg per day) can curb fertility in men to nearly 100% after 6 weeks of use while also showing a full resurgence of fertility after 4-6 weeks.
Oral neem use is not recommended in long term application and you should advise with a doctor before beginning.
As a spermicide, the 100% undiluted neem oil can be inserted into the vagina by means of a cotton ball, fingers, egg or whatever creative means you can come up with. Its spermicidal properties need only 20 minutes to become fully active and are effective up to 5 hours after use.
Neem oil kills nearly all sperm on contact! Neem oil does not taste great, it has a numbing quality and is very bitter, so please be aware of that if swapping from vaginal to oral sex.
A Note on Herbal Abortion or Have Miscarried
Overall, the power is in our hands to create a safe and pleasurable environment for
everyone involved in intimacy. One of the unspoken benefits of natural birth control is that we connect with womb consciousness instead of shutting it up and masking symptoms.
If you do get pregnant, the choice is wholly yours with what to do next, for information about herbal abortions, please listen to this amazing podcast.
If you have just had an abortion or have miscarried, I would love to sit for a consult with you and will send an art print of my painting "Procession of the Starbabies"
If you have any more questions or would like some help getting set up with yoni steaming, beginning your journey with natural birth control, feel free to reach out to me directly.