Sawbones: Birth Control


If you've been unnerved by a pesky stork that won't stop circling your home, we've got just the thing to keep babies at bay. This week on Sawbones, Dr. Sydnee and Justin have a ton of absolutely foolproof, historically-proven methods for birth control provided you're looking for methods that don't work so great.

You can subscribe to their show right now on iTunes! Then tweet about or follow the show on Twitter (@Sawbones) so all your friends and family can be as horrified and entertained as you.

Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Katharine Dexter McCormick

I'm a graduate student at MIT, and I live in McCormick Hall, named after Cyrus McCormick's son, Stanley McCormick. Cyrus died in 1884, and was never Katharine's husband. The money for the dorm was given by Stanley's wife, Katharine Dexter McCormick, an MIT grad (1904) and wealthy woman of her accord. Involved in women's suffrage, she was the first treasurer of the League of Women Voters, and was a critical source of money in several progressive movements in the 20th century. After Stanley was diagnosed with schizophrenia, she funded many projects to help develop better mental health care, as well as basic research into the hormonal components of mental disease. And then there's the birth control pill. Without her money, it wouldn't be here. And even before hormonal contraception had been studied, she was a smuggler of contraband - our dorm's first floor has several wooden trunks that she used to take back and forth to Paris to buy the latest fashions...and have a cadre of women sew diaphragms into the linings so she could smuggle them into Boston and distribute them to free clinics with Margaret Sanger.

Let's just say she was kind of awesome. :)

Like most, you miss one critical talking point

In most health classes and podcasts about health it seems that it's invariable that the point that condoms are available in different sizes is almost never brought up. Most brands and styles available at your Friendly Neighborhood Pharmacy are made for an 'average' size, which can vary wildly and could perhaps be the subject of a podcast all its own.

If a person is particularly well-endowed, most off-the-shelf condoms are too small, and because they're being stretched tight, are more prone to breaking with concomitant results. This is something that both men and women usually don't know about. Larger sized condoms are usually available over the counter, there are also condoms sized in the opposite direction that are described as 'snugger fit'.

The condom being the correct size is very important for proper function.

great podcast

I'm interested in medical history as a hobby, and I love you guys.
I do think it should be known that Margaret Sanger was a proponent of eugenics, which you neglected to mention in this. She kept her racist views out of the clinic thankfully, but did believe in compulsory sterilization of the "undeniably feeble-minded."
It might be a little heavy, but I read someone else's comment suggesting you talk about Henrietta Lacks and medical consent. I would love to hear you talk about that.

Love the podcast!

I just started listening to this podcast (after hearing it suggested on stuff you missed in history class) and absolutely love it! What a fascinating topic to learn about. One of my favorite classes in undergrad was history of microbiology. There is so much interesting history in the medical world--I am so glad you guys are doing this podcast and I look forward to many more interesting topics.