Amanda Brennan, Intern
In the last few decades society has jumped on an environmental bandwagon, a green one to be exact. People are trading in junk food for organic food, companies such as Bank of America are reducing paper intake by doing more online banking, and recycling has become strategic and readily-available. The idea that was initially meant to help the environment has developed into a “Go Green” craze. The initiative has opened people’s eyes to being better stewards of both the earth and the human body. But has it been eye-opening enough?
Ashley E. McGuire of the new women’s magazine, Verily, presents a fresh take on the subject of “Going Green” in reference to sex. In the article, Love and Living Green, the author reveals that being a good steward of the human body is not only about minding what food and drink goes into your mouth and how much you exercise, but also about realizing the importance of sexual health. McGuire describes the present trend of making more nutritious choices by avoiding foods drenched in pesticides, ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, and hormone-tainted meats. Yet, as the author points out, deadly chemicals enter women’s bodies each day by way of hormonal contraception.
“As Americans quasi-obsessed with eating organically–with making sure no chemicals go into our produce and no hormones into our meat–we are at the same time culturally attached to a most un-organic method of sex and reproduction,” explains McGuire. The author is not the first to bring this reality to light. Dr. Janet Smith, Chair of Life Ethics and Professor of Moral Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan,explains in Contraception: Why Not?, “We live in a culture that is beginning to realize that it’s bad to put chemicals in the air and in the water supply and food. But women are putting chemicals in their bodies day after day, month after month, year after year, to stop something that’s perfectly healthy.” McGuire notes that “over 40 percent of women aged 15 to 44 in this country [are] using some form of hormonal contraceptives.”
The data from the Guttmacher Institute coincides with The Marriage and Religion Research Institute’s Annual Report on Family Trends. From 2006 to 2008 it is shown that 28 percent of women aged 15 to 44 used the birth control pill during sexual intercourse. The remaining 12 percent noted above in the total 40 percent must be attributed to other hormonal contraceptives such as the patch, certain IUDs, and the vaginal ring. In any case, the reality is this: destructive artificial hormones are making their way into the human body and the environment via human waste despite peoples’ attempts to lead a wholesome lifestyle. Thousands of women seek to be healthier; however, their efforts are often in vain due to the effects of hormonal contraceptives, which are believed to contribute to health risks such as high cholesterol, breast cancer, liver cancer, cervical cancer, high blood pressure, and blood clots.
In order to create a healthier environment for the earth and its inhabitants, people must be aware of what they are putting into their bodies via food, drink, air, and now in the realm of sexual health. Adopting “Green Sex” and grasping the truth of hormonal contraceptives will only benefit society. So, ponder McGuire’s ending question, “As our culture increasingly embraces eating and living organically, is it time to extend this philosophy from the kitchen to the bedroom? Is it time to reconsider life’s most organic act – sex? Is it time for green sex to go mainstream?” And decide for yourself.