WHY Knocked Up? is a national book awards winner.

Why Knocked Up? The Paradox of Sex, Magical Thinking, and Accidental Pregnancy in This Age of Contraception, won a NYC Big Book Distinguished Favorite award, 2017. “As New York City is synonymous with the global publishing industry and setting the standard for excellence for decades. New York City Big Book Award winners are selected from books published across the globe from London to India; from Portugal to Hong Kong; and from Australia to Canada. Books are judged on presentation, editorial quality, and audience appeal.”


Congratulations to a Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Winner

Why Knocked Up? The Paradox of Sex, Magical Thinking, and Accidental Pregnancy in This Age of Contraception.
Author: Carol Cassell PhD
Publisher: XLIBRIS
ISBN-13 978-1-5035-9945-1
Non-Fiction Award: Social Sciences (Honorable Mention), Finalist: Women’s Issues

“I wrote this book,” says Cassell, “to call attention to why so many men and women still have an accidental pregnancy despite birth control being everywhere. One out of two pregnancies are unintended with consequences both personal and public. I hope my book will spark a conversation about what we –all of us, personally involved or not—can do to about those off the charts rates of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies. “




Award winners represent the best books published in 2016 and were narrowed down by Foreword’s editors from over 2,200 individual titles spread across 65 categories. “Choosing finalists for the INDIES is always the highlight of our year, but the choice was more difficult this time around due to the high quality of submissions,” said Victoria Sutherland, publisher of Foreword Reviews. “Each new book award season proves again how independent publishers are the real innovators in the industry.”



A valuable, enjoyable read…

“While the book will make you think (and occasionally laugh), it won’t leave you depressed—rather, it will make you want to talk to your friends about a subject that touches absolutely everyone.” Marty Klein, PhD


An excellent book…well-cited references…

If you are interested in a relevant contemporary source about why after 50 years of amazing medical advances in contraception half of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned… this is the book for you. Douglas Braun-Harvey, The Harvey Institute





Peeling back the layers of conflict, denial, and dreams about sex and love, this provocative book reveals why millions of women say an unwanted pregnancy “just happened.” Dr. Carol Cassell uniquely blends her own research with those of psychologists, anthropologists, political scientists, and other reproductive health researchers, to draw a map of the personal, cultural, and political forces driving unintended pregnancy. She illustrates how our hypocritical, quirky sexual norms lead to magical thinking about sex—combined with the far-right’s efforts to block affordable contraception, sex education, and abortion—actually escalates unintended pregnancy. Cassell then shows how the dire consequences of Knocked Up pregnancy–our high rates of abortion and untold numbers of fragile families–are directly connected to our dismal lack of intelligence about sex and misunderstandings about contraception.

Ignoring the problem only adds to the problem. A major barrier to acknowledging accidental pregnancy is a critical national issue is due to the fact that Knocked Up pregnancies have all of the characteristics of a Black Elephant—a cross between a “black swan” (an unexpected event, that was eminently predictable) and an “elephant in the room” (a problem no one wants to admit is there). As a result of turning that blind eye to the reality of the issue, the U.S. has the highest rate of unintentional pregnancy among all industrialized nations, including Italy and Spain. Despite the challenges, Cassell delivers a powerful argument as to why unwanted pregnancy merits our concern even if we aren’t directly involved: we all pay a high price dealing with the complex tangle of personal dilemmas and the economic crisis in families it creates.

Optimistically moving forward with bold and brave actions. While Cassell presents a strong sense of empathy for the women and men who have faced the dilemma of an unintentional pregnancy she also points the way forward to dramatically reducing the risk of unplanned parenthood or abortion. In a stunning final chapter, she assures us that reducing Knocked Up pregnancy isn’t a hopeless challenge and endorses a range of effective and edgy resolutions.

How This Book is Put Together by Dr. Carol Cassell

Why Knocked Up? is built upon a foundation of research studies and surveys drawing from sources as diverse as behavioral economics, sex education, reproductive health, family and child welfare, psychology, moral psychology, demographics, and social science. It is especially enriched from a multiplicity of insights from reproductive health practitioners, sex therapists, counselors, and educators about the inner workings of sexual risky behaviors and the circumstances of unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. Personal interviews with both men and women helped me clarify befuddling issues about sexual responsibility. My arguments about the roots and complications of the Knocked Up Paradox are presented in four parts. Although each part tackles different aspects of those factors, they are all inter-connected. Unlike the cheese, none stands alone.

Part I. Stork Realities, Magical Thinking, and Accidental Pregnancy presents two up-close and personal chapters, each revealing a range of attitudes and behaviors surrounding pregnancy, in the bedroom and beyond. A Pregnant Pause defines the meaning of a Knocked Up pregnancy and how women feel and cope with the experience. I Didn’t Think It Would Happen to Me examines the intricacy of a woman’s–often seemingly inconsistent or illogical–reasons why she doesn’t consistently use contraception to avoid an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy. The role of men is discussed in Part III

Part II. What Drives the Knocked Up Paradox? offers two chapters illustrating the most significant forces driving Knocked Up pregnancies. These are: A Scarcity of Sexual Intelligence and an Abundance of Shame and Guilt and The Cabal and The Great Anti-Contraceptive Crusade. The titles tell all.

Part III. The Domino Effect examines the fall-out of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies with a focus on the plight of the women and men involved. Who’s Your Daddy? The Fatherhood Predicament reviews the profiles of the men involved in unintended pregnancy. It also assesses the lingering impact that uninvolved and absent fathers have on the lives of kids. Single Mothers and Fragile Families: Life on the Edge explores the never-ending struggles many single moms undergo to keep their families afloat. While this chapter recognizes that single moms successfully raise healthy and notable children (including presidents, cardiologists, and guitar gods), it raises a yellow flag of warning that many single mothers are raising children without a safety net–and not faring very well.

Part IV. Optimistically Onward: Putting Science To Work (A major section of the book) has two chapters describing how applying science –based research can reduce rates of unintended pregnancy or soften the edges around those dicey situations when children are born to people who are unprepared and too overwhelmed to care for them. What We Can Learn from Sexually Sane Countries proves we have a lot to gain by understanding how other countries manage to have lower rates of Knocked Up pregnancy. An Optimist’s Cliff Notes on Bold Agendas, Brave Actions recommends innovative and tried–and-true initiatives from a diversity of sources, including, among others, CDC (obviously)and the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Addendum: The ACA Contraceptive Mandate V. Freedom of Religion (Including the Ham Sandwich Defense and Rush Limbaugh’s Slut -Scapegoating of Sandra Fluke)