How I Had Sex in 1950

Navigating Birth Control Before the Pill

I was a virgin on my wedding night. This is neither a confession nor a brag, simply a statement of fact. It was expected. The year was 1950. Horror stories of how giving birth “out of wedlock” would ruin one’s life were common. They were told by mothers, grandmothers, and aunts to keep you on the straight and narrow.

No one in my home talked about contraception; I’m sure I wouldn’t have known what the word meant if I had heard it. That is, until I told my parents I was …