Birth Control

It only takes one instance of sexual intercourse to get pregnant, whether it's your first time or your hundredth. The only 100% effective way to avoid pregnancy is through abstinence. However, if you choose to have sex, make sure you read the following. No birth control is effective if used improperly, and believe it or not, there are many people who use it improperly.

Condom
Female Condom
The Pill
Diaphragm
Cervical Cap
Spermicidal Foam
The Sponge
Depo-Provera Injections
Norplant

Pregnancy can occur when using a condom without the proper precautions.

Your condom breaks. To prevent this, always make sure there is enough lubricant for the vagina and condom. If a condom breaks, use the morning after pill within 72 hours.

Your condom slips off inside the vagina. To prevent this from happening, only enter a vagina with an erect penis. Once you've ejaculated, immediately hold the base of the condom against the base of your penis and gently withdraw your penis with condom from the vagina. If you notice it slip off during intercourse, retrieve it and use the morning after pill within 72 hours.

You put a condom on backwards, realize it's backward and flip it over. If you've ejaculated recently, that condom could already have thousands of sperm exposed to the outside thanks to the drop of natural lubricant that usually appears on the tip of your penis prior to sex. If you put a condom on inside out, throw it out and get another.

Your penis rubs against her vagina depositing a natural drop of male lubricant. As mentioned before this drop, occurring prior to sex may contain thousands of sperm if you've recently ejaculated. To prevent this keep your penis well away from her vagina until your condom is on.

If you are pressured to not use a condom Having sex without a condom is like picking up a stranger's gun, placing the barrel against your temple and pulling the trigger without checking whether or not it's loaded. Condoms significantly reduce your chance for becoming pregnant and acquiring incurable, possibly deadly, sexually transmitted diseases. If your partner claims to be a virgin, free of STD's, or on the pill, you are still at equal risk. People are human. We lie for many reasons: We're afraid of losing someone. We're embarrassed. We really want to get laid! There is no way to protect yourself from STDs if you don't use protection.

Birth Control (Prophylactics):

The Condom

A thin rubber, latex, polyurethane or animal skin barrier placed tightly over an erect penis to prevent sperm from entering the vagina and offering protection from most STDs.

Effectiveness: 96 to 98%

Only use condoms...

  • Made of latex or polyurethane. "Natural" or animal skin condoms don't guard against STDs.
  • With a receptacle tip to allow a space in which your semen can collect.
  • In mint condition. Condoms that have been worn down in your pocket or wallet for weeks are unreliable.
  • That are marked, "for disease protection"
  • Never use oil-based lubricants. Vaseline can destroy the latex of a condom in 5 minutes. Oil can destroy a condom in less than 1 minute! Be careful when using massage oils before sex. If you do, it's a good idea to shower with soap after the massage and before sex. Oil on the hands or near the penis or vagina could damage the condom.

Ensure effectiveness by...

  • Checking the expiration date.
  • NOT using condoms that are brittle, gummy or discolored.
  • NOT using condoms in wrappers that are worn down and seeping lubricant.
  • Using a spermicidal water-based lubricant.
  • Making sure there is lubrication between the outside of the condom and the inside of the vagina. If a dry condom is forced into a dry vagina, it more is likely to break. Some women tend to be more dry then others. In this case you need to apply a sexual lubricant to the outside of the condom.
  • Carrying your condoms in a hard protective case to avoid friction. A pack of 12 Pleasure plus condoms come in a protective aluminum case.
  • Increase effectiveness by...
  • Using spermicidal foam or the pill along with the condom.

How to use

  • Achieve an erection.
  • Determine the side of the condom to be placed against the penis.
  • Squeeze the receptacle tip and roll the condom onto the erect penis.
  • After sex, hold the condom against the base of your penis and withdraw the penis from the vagina to prevent the condom from slipping off or semen from spilling out.
  • Never use a condom more than once. When the man ejaculates, throw the condom out. When the man is able to have sex again open a new condom wrapper and use a brand-spanking new condom.

Positives

  • No side effects.
  • Available at every corner drug store, gas station, and in most grocery stores and super markets. Those in drug stores, grocery stores and super markets are usually a lot fresher and more reliable than those in gas stations and vending machines. Protection against most STDs
  • Quickly tearing open a condom wrapper and placing the condom on the penis can be a part of foreplay that raises anticipation.
  • A man can get excited when a women takes the initiative to roll a condom on him.
  • Some condoms today are designed to intensify pleasure.
  • Pleasure plus condoms and Durex Enhanced Pleasure condoms have a contoured shape with a loose pouch resting below the head of the penis to intensify pleasure for both partners.

Negatives

  • Condoms can break if they don't have a receptacle tip, if there's not enough lubrication, if the condom is old and worn down, or if the condom is a cheep piece of junk.
  • Condoms can slip off, if the man does not withdraw before he loses his erection or if he fails to hold the condom against the base of his penis when removing it.
  • In a study of 990 prostitutes, the use of a spermicidal gel containing nonoxynol-9 was found to increase their chance of acquiring HIV from 10% to 15%. Nonoxynol-9 is an effective spermicide that can increase a condom's effectiveness against pregnancy. However, its effect on a condom's ability to protect against STDs is now debatable. Although the spermicide does kill HIV in a test tube, it also irritates the lining of a woman's vagina causing small tears, which allow HIV to enter the blood. The women in the study inserted spermicidal gel up to 20 times a day, so it is not certain if nonoxynol-9 increases HIV risk when used only once or twice a day from the amount supplied with a condom. It is safe to say that nonoxynol-9 does not protect against STDs. There is also a possibility that it increases the risk of acquiring STDs, especially among those in high-risk groups.

Myths

Condoms don't allow you to feel as much pleasure? There are condoms specifically designed to give you and your partner enhanced pleasure (Pleasure plus condoms, Durex Enhanced Pleasure). How much pleasure will you feel when you have open sores on your genitals, when it feels like you're urinating razor blades, when you've caused an unplanned pregnancy, or when you receive positive results from an AIDS test?

Condoms ruin the moment? Baloney! Condoms can enhance the moment. A condom says "I respect and care about you", "I'm a smart healthy person". Tearing into a condom wrapper can be exciting for your partner. Always keep one close at hand and you won't have to worry about "ruining the moment." Slip it under the pillow before hand. If she's expecting to make love, once the two of you are naked, you can tear it open above her head and subtly place it on your penis before she even notices. Suddenly you're a condom creating magician! And women, many guys get turned on when a woman places a condom on the penis.

The Female Condom

A polyurethane pouch with two flexible rings at either end, one be placed over the cervix inside the vagina and the other to be placed over the outer vaginal area.

Effectiveness: 80% when used correctly

Ensure effectiveness by...

  • Checking the expiration date.
  • NOT using condoms that are brittle, gummy or discolored.
  • NOT using condoms in wrappers that are worn down and seeping lubricant.
  • Only using condoms marked, "for disease protection."
  • Using a spermicidal jelly, cream, foam or other water-based lubricant to ease insertion.

Increase effectiveness against pregnancy by using a lubrication with spermicide. (See nonoxynol-9)

How to use

  • You can insert a female condom up to eight hours before sex.
  • Apply spermicidal jelly or cream to the entire condom.
  • Insert the smaller rim into the vagina and place the rim around the cervix.
  • Be sure not to twist the condom as you insert it.

Positives

  • Guards against pregnancy
  • Guards against STDs
  • The best form of contraception to protect against genital warts, herpes, and HIV since it covers the outer lips.
  • If your male partner refuses to wear a condom, and you still want to have sex with a disrespectful loser, you'll have a barrier to protect you from STDs.

Negatives

  • A bit awkward the first few times you use it. Practice makes perfect When used alone, it's not the best way to prevent pregnancy Can be torn with fingernails during insertion if you're not careful!

Spermicidal Foam

The most effective form of spermicide! A foam that comes in a pressurized container like shaving cream, and is inserted into the vagina using an applicator in order to immobilize and kill sperm. To be used with another form of contraceptive!

Effectiveness

Against Pregnancy

  • Alone: considerably less than 96%
  • With a condom: around 99%

Against STDs

  • Alone or with anything other than a condom: Barely effective at all
  • With a condom: Very effective

How to use

Make sure the expiration date has not passed. Squirt the foam into the applicator as instructed. Use the applicator to squirt the foam into the vagina as close to the cervix as possible. Repeat with a fresh supply of foam every time you have sex.

Positives

  • Greatly inceases the effectiveness of condoms or diaphragms against pregnancy
  • Usually no side-effects
  • Available in most every drug store
  • Only used when having sex
  • Insertion can be incorporated into foreplay (kiss or lick down the body or up the legs just before inserting foam)

Negatives

A few people might experience vaginal or skin irritation.

A study on 990 prostitutes, completed from 1996 to 2000, found that the spermicide nonoxynol-9 may increase a woman's risk of acquiring HIV. After 4 years, they found that 15% of the women using a lubricant with nonoxynol-9 had acquired HIV, compared to 10% of the women who acquired HIV using a lubricant without nonoxynol-9. These women inserted the spermicide up to 20 times a day. They found that frequent use of nonoxynol-9 irritates the vaginal lining causing tiny tears that allow the virus to enter the blood. This study only proves that nonoxynol-9 increases the risk of acquiring HIV within high risk populations, such as prostitutes or homosexual males with many partners. For most people nonxynol-9 wouldn't be inserted anymore than once or twice a day, and thus may not cause a significantly higher risk of acquiring HIV. However, it is still a cause of concern. Nonoxynol-9 does increase the effectiveness against pregnancy, but now we know that it either does not guard against STDs or actually slightly increases your risk for STDs, especially among high-risk groups.

Spermicidal jelly, cream, suppositories or film are less effective than foam.
These are other forms of lubricants containing spermicide. Cream, suppositories and film are melted by body heat inside the vagina. Follow the instructions on the package for the amount of time to wait before having sex. Jelly and cream are handy to use on both sides and around the rim of diaphragms, cervical caps, and other barriers against pregnancy. Still foam is the most effective type of spermicide against pregnancy.

The Sponge

A circular piece of foam saturated with spermicide that's inserted into the vagina, where it releases spermicide, absorbs sperm and acts as a barrier.

No longer marketed in the United States because it has a 25% failure rate!

The Pill

A monthly series of pills, one taken each day, containing a synthetic combination of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

Effectiveness: over 99% (If taken every day as instructed)

How it works

The hormones...

  • Prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs.
  • Affect the uterine lining to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the rare case that an egg is released and fertilized.
  • Possibly inhibit movement of sperm through the cervix by increasing the thickness of cervical mucous.

How to use it
The pill comes in packs of either 21 or 28

21 pack: Start the packet on the 5th day after your period begins. Take the pills every day for 21 days. Repeat after your next period begins.

28 pack: Start the packet on the 5th day after your period begins. Take the pills every day at the same time for 28 days. The last week's pills are sugar pills that don't contain hormones but prevent you from having to determine when to start and stop the pills. You simply take them every day.

Each week you take a different combination of hormones. These are usually color coded according to the week for which they belong.

If you forget a pill or two...

  • As soon as you remember take the pill you forgot along with your regular pill for that day. Use a backup method of birth control for the rest of your cycle.
  • Never borrow pills from someone else. In order to work properly, you need to have the pill prescribed for you, to cater to your specific needs.
  • When a relationship with a sexual partner ends, we recommend continuing to take the pill for several months. This way, if you get back together or find a new sexual partner, you won't be subjected to a physical readjustment to the pill.
  • Vomiting or Diarrhea can reduce the absorption of the pill. If you are ill with these symptoms, use backup methods of birth control for the rest of your cycle.
  • Let your physician know what medication you're on. Some drugs such as anticonvulsants, tetracycline, or other antibiotics can reduce the pill's effectiveness.

Possible Negative Side Effects

Side effects occur more frequently in smokers

  • Spotting between periods
  • Headaches
  • Tenderness of the breasts
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Acne

Some of these side effects are often caused by a hormone imbalance. This is why you need a pill specifically prescribed for your body. If side effects occur, your doctor may change the prescription to give you a different combination of hormones.

The pill may cause changes in blood sugar, so those with migraine headaches or diabetes should not use the pill unless closely supervised. Those with a history of abnormal vaginal bleeding, high blood pressure, blood clots, cancer of the reproductive system or liver disease should not use the pill. Some women are sensitive to certain forms of the pill, which may irritate the lining of the blood vessels. If you feel pain in your chest or calves that is unrelated to your chest or calf muscles, see your doctor immediately. If left untreated this irritation could lead to rare side effects such as strokes, blood clots or liver tumors. These are more common among older women.

Positive side effects

  • You don't get pregnant!!!!!!!!!
  • You aren't faced with the decision of what to do.
  • You aren't faced with the risks of a young pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Possible relief from heavy or painful periods
  • Reduction of your risk for ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, and fibroid tumors which can lead to infertility.
  • You don't have to irritate your vaginal lining by using a spermicide.

Depo-Provera Injections

A shot in the arm or buttocks 4 times a year. Each shot offers birth control for 13 weeks.

Effectiveness 99%

How it works
It prevents eggs from being released by the ovaries.

Possible negative side effects

  • Irregular periods (heavy periods, no periods, irregular bleeding or spotting)
  • Weight gain
  • Headaches

Side effects can decrease with time or with the help of your physician

Those with an allergy to Depo-Provera or a history of stroke, blood clots, liver disease or a family history of breast cancer should avoid using this drug.

Positive effects

  • You don't get pregnant!
  • Total privacy
  • No pills for your parents to find
  • No pills to remember to take every day

Norplant

6 flexible capsules containing the hormone progestin inserted under the skin on the inside of the upper arm by a medical professional, providing constant protection for 5 five years. Very valuable to those who commonly fail to use protection or who can't risk pregnancy due to health risks.

Effectiveness 99.8%

How it's implanted

  • Usually implanted within 7 days from the start of a period
  • Procedure takes about 10 to 15 minutes
  • Local anesthetic
  • A one inch incision
  • Implants inserted in a fan arrangement
  • Incision secured with butterfly bandage and gauze bandage

How it works

Implants release hormones inhibiting ovulation and thickening cervical mucus to inhibit sperm from entering the uterus.

Positive side effects

  • You don't get pregnant.
  • You don't have to worry about birth control for another five years. However, you do of course have to worry about protecting yourself from STDs.

Possible Negative Side Effects

  • None, nada, zip! No health side effects have been found.
  • Implants are usually not visible but can occasionally be noticed.

Women weighing 155 or more pounds need to replace their implants every 3 years.

Major weight fluctuations can reduce the effectiveness.

Diaphragm

A rubber cup fitted by a physician and placed by you over the cervix, used with spermicidal jelly or cream.

Great for those who don't have sex too often and are responsible enough to use it every time they do have sex. If you realistically are a very impulsive person or don't see yourself using it every time you have sex, you should consider another form of birth control.

Effectiveness - if fitted correctly, 97%

How it works
It acts as a barrier preventing sperm from entering the uterus. The spermicide immobilizes and kills sperm.

  • How to apply it
    Before inserting it for use, always check your diaphragm by holding it up to light or filling it with water to ensure there are no holes or tears.
  • Apply spermicidal cream or jelly to the rim and to both sides of the diaphragm.
  • Squeeze the rim and place the diaphragm deep in the vagina so it covers the cervix.
  • Check placement by feeling for the cervix against the dome.
  • If you have sex several hours after insertion, apply more spermicidal jelly or cream with an applicator.
  • If sex is repeated once again add more spermicidal jelly or cream.
  • Always leave the diaphragm in for at least 8 hours after intercourse.
  • After you've waited 8 hours after sexual intercourse, you can remove, wash, dry and store your diaphragm in its container.

Side Effects Ð NONE!

  • You might find it messy or inconvenient.
  • You must replace it every time you lose or gain ten pounds.
  • You must replace it every year.
  • Wide seal diaphragm is recommended to reduce the chance of dislodging during intercourse.

Positive Effects

  • You don't get pregnant!
  • Only used when you need it
  • May prevent cervical displasia (abnormal cervix cells)
  • Makes it less messy to have intercourse during a period

Cervical Cap

A smaller version of a diaphragm that fits snugly over the cervix and used with spermicidal jelly or cream.

Effectiveness Ð if applied correctly, over 97%
Like the diaphragm, if you're too impulsive or don't realistically have the self-discipline to care for and use the cervical cap every time you have sex, don't bother. Find another form of birth control.

How it works
Just like the diaphragm, preventing sperm from entering the uterus.

The Positives

  • Requires less spermicide than the diaphragm
  • Is somewhat more effective than the diaphragm
  • Can comfortably be left in place for several days before and after intercourse.

The Negatives

  • Not everyone can be properly fitted since the cap comes in a limited number of sizes.
  • If left in place for a few days, it may cause an unpleasantly odorous discharge.
  • It can become dislodged during intercourse.
  • It requires self-discipline.

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