CycleBeads Myth: You can't have sex often using this method.
Many people look at CycleBeads and since they see that there are 12 days that are indicated as fertile days, they think that people must not have much sex when using this method.
The Truth: Let’s be clear. Couples can have sex during the fertile days, but if they don’t want to become pregnant, they should use a back-up method such as condoms. Interestingly research has shown that even when couples using this method are abstaining during the fertile days they have sex just as often as other couples, they just time it differently during a woman’s cycle.
A 2005 study conducted by researchers at Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health found that couples who use fertility awareness-based methods of family planning and specifically CycleBeads to prevent pregnancy engage in more frequent sex before and after the fertile time, and have less sex during fertile days. Frequency of intercourse over the course of a woman’s entire cycle is comparable to those of couples using other methods of family planning.
CycleBeads Myth: You can't have sex often using this method.
You may be surprised to hear that most women have no idea when they can get pregnant. A recent study showed that 2/3 of young adults in the U.S. do not know that women are most fertile around the middle of their cycles (Berger, 2012). In an Australian study, only 16% of women actively seeking fertility treatments could correctly identify which days of their cycles they could get pregnant, despite the fact that most of these women thought that they were targeting the right days to achieve pregnancy. And according to a study by Johns Hopkins researchers, almost 60% of women and 50% of men say it is somewhat likely that they are infertile, without having information from a healthcare provider. Furthermore, the American Infertility Association, says that at least 20% of "perceived infertility" cases are due to mistimed intercourse.
So what is going on? Why are so many women unaware or misinformed about their fertile days? Why do so many people believe they may be infertile? And how can using a simple family planning tool like CycleBeads help reduce the number of anxious couples trying to get pregnant, and the millions of dollars spent on unnecessary fertility treatments? We have a few ideas...
CycleBeads Myth: Men won't use this family planning method.
We hear this a lot especially from health providers working in particularly male dominant social contexts. There is a sense that men in these situations don’t care whether or not their partners get pregnant and/or can’t control themselves if they have to abstain or use a condom.
The Truth: It is true that it's important that both partners agree to use this method in order for it to be successful. However, there have been numerous surprising examples of how interested men actually are in using this method. They are often happy to have a method that won't cause side effects for their female partners and the fact that CycleBeads is a clear visual tool changes the dynamic of a conversation about whether or not it's a good time to have sex or use a condom.
One example of the interest level among men occurred in a program in Benin when CycleBeads were first introduced in that country. There was concern that men in this male dominant and Muslim country might not be willing to use CycleBeads. The health clinics were shocked when men started showing up asking for CycleBeads to take home to their wives. The providers had initially planned to counsel women and thought that they would have to give them the tools to convince their husbands. In fact, they had to change their protocols so that they could counsel the male partners who in turn wanted to explain it to their wives.
CycleBeads Myth: You must have a “perfect regular” 28 day cycle to use this method.
The Truth: CycleBeads are designed for women with cycles between 26 and 32 days long. This means that women using this method could have cycles that vary by as much as a week in length from one cycle to the next, and still be good candidates for using this method. In developing this family planning method, the researchers first looked at data from the World Health Organization to determine the length of most women’s cycles. They found that 80% of cycles are in this 26-32 day range. So, you don’t have to have a “perfect 28 day cycle”. You just have to have a cycle that is in the 26-32 day range – which most women do.
Posted in: CycleBeads
CycleBeads Top 10 Myths About This Natural Family Planning Method: Myth #4 - It's Only for Certain Types of People
CycleBeads Myth: This is just for Catholics or other religious people
The Truth: While this method may appeal to people who have religious or cultural reasons for wanting to use a natural family planning method, most CycleBeads users do not use CycleBeads for religious reasons. According to our ongoing surveys, the vast majority of women who choose to use this family planning method do so to “avoid side effects”. “avoid specific health risks” and “lead a healthy lifestyle”. Learn more about the reasons women use CycleBeads according to our most recent survevy, “Why Do Women Choose CycleBeads for Contraception? Survey Results Are In!”
CycleBeads Myth: This is just the rhythm method
We hear this claim a lot. Most often we hear it from people who "don't believe" that natural family planning works. We also hear it from people who advocate for other fertility awareness-based methods and think that the term "natural family planning" only applies to the practice of tracking your secretions, temperature, and other signs of fertility.
The Truth: CycleBeads and the Standard Days Method on which it is based are very different from “the rhythm method”. While people often use the term “the rhythm method” disparagingly to describe natural family planning methods in general, this is not accurate. Technically, the rhythm method is an algorithm that requires a woman to track her cycle for 6 months and then do complex calculations to figure out which days in her current cycle she is likely to get pregnant. Further, there are a variety of formulas that have been used for this calculation, but none have ever been tested in well-designed efficacy tests. Needless to say, it’s a complex, vague calculation that has never been well studied and means a lot of different things to different people. The Standard Days Method is based on a standard algorithm that has been well researched and tested and is used the same way every cycle. It is included in the World Health Organization's family planning guidance documents, in numerous family planning guidelines, and in modern reference books for family planning health professionals under "fertility awareness methods". See more in this earlier article, “CycleBeads is Not the Rhythm Method”.
CycleBeads Myth: No one wants to use a family planning option like this.
In general, most people who claim that “no one wants to use this method” assume that people don’t want to use a natural family planning method at all. Occasionally they may be referring to the fact that the original CycleBeads tool is a color-coded string of beads and that somehow this is “too different” from what people think of when they think of family planning. Well we have a surprise for them.
Studies show that 1 in 5 women are very interested in using a natural family planning method when they are given good information about these methods in the context of a full range of family planning options. And while CycleBeads may be quirky to some, this unique tool has been used by more than 2.5 million worldwide, and 75,000 women in the US alone to plan or prevent pregnancy. Of course while the initial CycleBeads tool is still eye-catching and useful, many women are starting to use digital tools such as CycleBeads Online and the iCycleBeads smartphone apps.
We hear a lot of innacurate claims when it comes to CycleBeads, and we'd like to address the most common myths about this family planning option in a top 10 list. We'll be sharing these top 10 myths and responding to them over the next few weeks...
CycleBeads Myth #1: It’s not an effective form of birth control.
Many people believe that natural family planning in general is ineffective as birth control and that they can get pregnant at any time during their cycles. Others who use symptoms-based fertility awareness methods are often quick to assume that a method like CycleBeads that does not require analysis of an individual’s bodily changes such as temperature or cervical secretions, can’t possibly work. While these two groups come from opposite ends in terms of their beliefs about fertility management, they somehow arrive at one sweeping inaccurate conclusion - that CycleBeads and the method on which they are based, can’t possibly be effective.
There is significant research that proves CycleBeads is highly effective and actually considered the most effective fertility awareness-based family planning method in terms of Typical Use efficacy.
Researchers from Georgetown University’s Institute for Reproductive Health found that when used correctly, CycleBeads is more than 95% effective. This means that it is as or more effective than other user-directed methods. Interestingly the research also determined that using this family planning method is the most effective natural family planning method among those that have been scientifically studied including the Symptothermal method and the Ovulation method. See the original efficacy study here. Read more about the research behind this natural family planning method here.
Is Your Family Planning Method Effective? The Difference Between Typical Use and Perfect Use Efficacy
Many of us have no idea how effective (or ineffective as the case may be), different birth control methods actually are. Doctors will tell you the effectiveness rates of some birth control options based on their “Perfect Use” efficacy rates and for others, you will hear their “Typical Use” efficacy rates. Perfect Use efficacy rates, also known as "Correct Use", reflect what happens when a contraceptive method is used correctly all of the time. Typical Use efficacy rates, also known as "Actual Use", reflect what happens in the real world when we factor in human error in the first year of use of a method. The chart below shows the difference in Typical Use efficacy vs. Perfect Use efficacy rates in some of the most commonly used user-controlled family planning methods:
Note that "user-controlled" methods have a somewhat greater difference between Typical Use and Perfect Use efficacy than "doctor-controlled" methods such as IUD's and hormonal implants.
CycleBeads are now available through the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to international NGO's This natural family planning tool is included in the AccessRH Catalog and can be ordered along with other health supplies in an efficient, low cost manner. The AccessRH Catalog is designed to offer a huge range of reproductive health and related products to NGO's around the world. The catalog contains everything from condoms to hormonal contraceptives and includes only those products and manufacturers that have been fully vetted for quality and price. CycleBeads is the only fertility awareness-based family planning method that can be ordered through this procurement system. More information is available at www.myaccessrh.org