Gabrijela Simetinger

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    Cultural beliefs on the so-called natural methods and their impact on abortion in Slovenia

    Gabrijela Simetinger1, Vesna Leskosek2 1General Hospital, Novo Mesto, Slovenia, 2Faculty of Social Work, University of Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenia - gabrijela.simetinger@siol.net

    Objectives: The use of contraceptives in a particular social environment depends on a cultural conviction about the body, sexuality and conception. One of the ideological issues is also the so-called natural methods of contraception, i.e. coitus interruptus (CI) that are used independently of health care professionals. According to the data, CI is the major cause of abortions in Slovenia among those that use it as a contraceptive method. The aim of the study was to explore women contraceptive users’ views and opinions on contraception and sexuality, focused on CI. Method: Qualitative study included in-depth interviews with women contraceptive users regarding contraception and sexuality in general and CI and sexuality in particular. A total of 52 semi-structured in-depth interviews with women contraceptive users from various geographical parts of Slovenia were carried out between December 2010 and May 2011. Results: Results show that 38 out of 52 interviewees used CI as contraception at a particular time of their life. Of those, 23 interviewees use it on a regular basis and the same number believe that they have no other choice. Eight out of 38 got pregnant using CI. They use CI despite the fear of getting pregnant and awareness that sexual pleasure is therefore limited. More than half of the interviewed users of CI experience difficulties in having orgasm. Most of them think that they cannot influence their sexuality and accordingly they feel powerless. Conclusions: Even though gynaecologists in Slovenia generally do not promote CI as a method of contraception the use among women is quite widespread. They still follow traditional cultural beliefs about ‘reliable natural methods’ even though they are familiar with the consequences. In addition, new channels of communication and ways of exchange of information contributed to a new belief that ‘natural’ prolongs human life and ensures health and well-being.