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This period app I downloaded is the best birth control

The first thing I did when I got a new phone was download the period tracking app that my friends swear by. Now I’m terrified to go past third base.

After years of using a pretend smartphone, I finally got an iPhone, and all of my friends told me the same thing when I did: Download a period app. It’s amazing! It helps you get pregnant! It helps you not get pregnant! You’ll feel empowered!

I feel far from empowered or amazed. What I feel is bewildered. And like I will never have sex again.

I’ll admit that for someone who could label an eighth grade diagram of a woman’s reproductive organs in under 30 seconds, I was woefully ignorant regarding what a period actually was. I mean, I knew the basics but I’m embarrassed to say that until mortifyingly recently, I thought a period was the week of hell I spent in sweats, not the entire cycle.

Now I know more than I ever cared to; there is a place for me to log textures, flow levels, mood changes, bloating and skin issues. My phone jangles when the week of hell is approaching, it nags me if I don’t post my feelings. You may feel sensitive soon, it prods gently, PMS is approaching. It’s like a pocket gyno that cares way too much about my bits. I think I’ll delete it.

I actually downloaded it to not get pregnant, because I’m extremely bad at birth control. I keep forgetting to take the pills (despite being reminded by another app I ignore), the shot gives me cysts, I’m not sitting through an IUD insertion, and I’d rather just raise another kid than ever use a condom again.

It’s totally working as birth control, though not as intended. I realized pretty quickly that there will never be a moment in time where I’m not bleeding, fertile or limping along with tender breasts, acne and fatigue (oooh, sexy). Every time I open the app I see a month of abstinence stretching out before me.

Period tracking app

The way my app works is this: You start logging on the first day of hell week, and then it helpfully calculates when you’re primed for making babies and when you can expect to retain water. Do this for a few months and it’s practically psychic. One point on the cheerful, sunny circle graphic horrifies me: a little sunburst that denotes my most fertile day. The fertile window. If “cellar door” is the most beautiful phrase in our language, “fertile window” has to be the ugliest, next to “moist, yeasty balls.”

My entire life has become about avoiding that window. Nothing more sexy than that, right? Logging and checking and logging and checking. My entire month tagged with little green dots for mood changes and skin problems and cramps and aching breasts. The only missing tag is the pink “gettin’ it on” tag, which I haven’t used for a while.

Recently I decided to put the app away and just go back to my life of living on the edge by taking birth control pills sporadically and just letting everything be natural. Lo and behold, it came time to get down and I wasn’t even thinking of fertilization.

Proud of myself for ditching my neuroses, I decided to tag it. Hell, I should use that button at least once before I uninstall the app, right?

A month of green, except for one single, solitary pink dot. Right on the little happy sunburst.

That’s it. This stupid app has to go.

More on women’s health

Keeping it interesting in the bedroom
Take charge of your fertility
What your period can tell you about your body

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