Men bring condoms, women take pills: Men's and women's roles in contraceptive decision making

  • Fennell J
  • 66


    Mendeley users who have this article in their library.
  • 35


    Citations of this article.


The most popular form of reversible contraception in the United States is the female- controlled hormonal birth control pill. Consequently, scholars and lay people have typically assumed that women take primary responsibility for contraceptive decision making in relationships. Although many studies have shown that men exert strong influence in couple’s contraceptive decisions in developing countries, very few studies have considered the gendered dynamic of contraceptive decision making in developed societies. This study uses in-depth interviews with 30 American opposite-sex couples to show that contraceptive responsibility in long-term relationships in the United States often conforms to a gendered division of labor, with women primarily in charge. A substantial minority of men in this study were highly committed contraceptors. However, the social framing of contraception as being primarily in women’s “sphere,” and the technological constraints on their participation, made even these men reluctant to discuss contraception with their women partners.

Author-supplied keywords

  • demography/population
  • family
  • reproduction

Get free article suggestions today

Mendeley saves you time finding and organizing research

Sign up here
Already have an account ?Sign in

Find this document


  • Julie Lynn Fennell

Cite this document

Choose a citation style from the tabs below

Save time finding and organizing research with Mendeley

Sign up for free