As a young women who is sexually active, there may be a lot of different questions you ask yourself before jumping into bed (or the backseat, you do you!) for the first time with a new partner. “Is he the one?” “Is this for fun, or for feelings?” “What should I wear?” “Should I shave or wax?”
I want to encourage you to also take into consideration, the options of birth control. Don’t expect a guy to show up prepared, because he just may be expecting the same from you. So what are your different options? What are the practical, day-to-day positives and negatives of each option, and which option is best for you? I am not a healthcare professional, nor am I medically educated beyond the knowledge of what’s in my first aid kit, before you use any form of birth control, please seek the advice of a doctor or health care professional to discuss what form of contraception is best for you.
The pill is the first form of birth control that comes to mind for most people. There are multiple forms of the oral contraceptive that are available depending on your physical health (age, weight, and medical history, such as whether or not you smoke or are diabetic are all factors in choosing the correct hormones). Some specialize in minimizing PMS symptoms, while others can cut out your period all together. Most oral methods will require you to take a small pill, once a day, every day for 7 days before it reaches its full potential of preventing pregnancy. I highly recommend this option for those who feel uncomfortable with the invasiveness of the others, and are able to commit to taking the pill at the same time every day. If this sounds like something you may struggle to remember, don’t worry, there are other options for you.
Basically, you get a needle in your ass once every 3 months. It’s one of the more low-maintenance choices; great for those who don’t want the commitment of an implant but don’t want to deal with the more regular upkeep of the other selections. If you can handle the sting of a needle, the depo shot is an easy and effective choice. Just remember to schedule your next appointment on time, because unlike some of the others, there is no empty container to remind you that you need a refill!
The ring reminds me of a smaller, more flexible version of a glow-in-the-dark bracelet. You pinch it in the middle and insert it like you would a tampon. You leave it there for 3-4 weeks, take it out, put a new one in. Your doctor can give you a full medical rundown, but you get the gist: it’s pretty easy. Some men have said that they can feel it, but that it “provides an extra ridge that adds to the pleasure”. This option also gives you the ability to chose if you would like to have a period. Either leave it in for 3 weeks, remove, have a period, and add a new one, OR, leave in for four weeks, remove, and immediately insert another.
These are two different but similar options. The IUD is a small copper rod implanted into your cervix that lasts 10 years, and the Implant is a plastic rod injected into your arm that lasts three years. They both offer you long term baby protection without the hassle of needing to take anything on a regular basis and, on top of that, you have no period! This is a long term option though so the commitment may not be for everyone.
This thing looks like an over-sized band-aid. You stick it to your back, butt, or hip, leave it on for a week, take it off and add a new one. Seems simple enough, but the downside: it itches like hell! I mean, you literally have an adhesive stuck to your ass for a week. Probably not the best choice if you are a lifeguard or a long-hot-bath type of person, as soaking in water tends to make the sticky, less-sticky. If you have a high tickle-tolerance though, and you’re not a mermaid, the patch is a very simple and convenient form of birth control.
I know this may seem obvious, but, I occasionally get the feeling people forget that condoms can prevent pregnancy. This is a great option for those who are leery about taking hormones and the possible side effects of most other forms of birth control. Just make sure you get the correct size, lubrication, flavor, and color, and put the thing on right. You can keep them in your purse and don’t have to worry about remembering to take something hours or weeks before hand.
The Morning After Pill:
So if your hormones got the best of you and you’ve had unplanned, unprotected sex, don’t worry. You can go to a local pharmacy after the deed has been done and spend $50-80 on these two little pills to prevent your egg from being fertilized. You see, those tiny little sperms really have a long way to travel to reach the egg, that being said, it is still suggested to take it as soon as possible, as the chance of effectiveness decreases the more time you wait. The morning after pill will not work if the egg has already been fertilized so it is recommended to take within 72 hours of having unprotected sex.
There is never any shame in taking responsibility for your reproductive health, so hold your head high as you gain control of your body and make preventative decisions! Of course the only 100% full-proof way to prevent pregnancy is to not have sex, unless you are a virgin in Bethlehem, in which case you’re screwed…figuratively speaking of course.