Lena Dunham on What Access to Birth Control Means to Her: It 'Makes Me Feel Really Safe'
The writer and actress shares her history with various forms of birth control, particularly as someone with endometriosis.
“I’ve been on the birth-control pill on and off for almost fifteen years. It’s the only thing that can control my endometriosis pain, and it’s made my skin clearer, my moods more even, and my life altogether finer,” Dunham, 30, writes in the latest Lenny Letter.
Those “off” periods came before she was diagnosed with endometriosis back in college.
“I’d go off it whenever I broke up with someone or just felt restless,” she says. “During one of those pill-less periods, I decided I was going to use the contraceptive sponge, newly back on the market. I was visiting a boyfriend and taking an eleven-hour Greyhound bus to get there. I was so excited to have sex and so intent on making it seamless and romantic that I inserted the sponge in the bathroom of the moving bus five hours before we arrived.”
“By the time I got to him I had insane burning, and my distress was palpable. The rest of the weekend was a wash.”
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Now with the benefit of hindsight, Dunham says she uses the extended-cycle birth control pill Seasonique.
“My periods are painful and disruptive and can put me out of commission, so limiting them to a few times a year is better for my health and happiness,” she says.
With her endometriosis, Dunham says that hormone-controlling birth control pills are the only way to stay pain-free.
“I know that without the pill, I would not have been able to be a productive and functioning member of society, and that’s not an exaggeration. I am genuinely nervous for the day I go off it in an attempt to get pregnant because it’s such a big part of regulating my body, and the routine makes me feel really safe. Also, my pill case is a gorgeous, appropriately fleshy pink.”