Your contraception is like a native language; you feel comfortable using it, you’re familiar with its respective nuances, and you may even use more than one. Prior to the popularisation of the condom, however, there were only two acceptable contraceptive methods: abstinence and withdrawal (TIME). But after latex became everyone’s best friend, it stuck. The condom- if not abstinence – is continuously preached as both the best form of contraception and the best way to prevent STIs. Whilst they are indeed effective, the birth control world remains incredibly condomcentric, leaving many options in the blue. Despite the emphasis our society places on condoms, the kind of birth control you use is your choice – and the contraceptive language you choose to speak is completely up to you; the decsion to experiment and take risks is yours. If you trust your partner(s) enough to use methods that don’t protect you from STIs then here are a few alternative forms of contraception:
After condoms, the pill is likely the second most popular option, even though it’s unlikely that you’ll hear anyone praising it in sex ed class. Taken daily, the two hormones within the pill – progestin and estrogen – help to prevent ovulation, ending any potential pregnancies. As a method that is 99% effective when used properly, it’s an attractive and viable option for many; the only major downsides are the side effects associated with the hormones and the relatively higher cost compared to condoms (NHS).
An IUD – or a intrauterine contraception device – are little devices that look like the letter T. They come in two forms: hormonal and copper. For people with uteruses, having an IUD inserted helps alter its chemical makeup, making it difficult for sperm and eggs to meet up. Considering their price, their insertion, their side effects and the length of time they’re kept in, an IUD is an investment, not just a fleeting phase. That said, if you’re up for commitment, the IUD boasts a 99.8% effectivity rate – the highest among all popular methods of contraception (Planned Parenthood).
VCF and Spermicide
As the name suggests, spermicide is a sperm-killing chemical that is often used with condoms as an extra protective measure. However, spermicide is also found on Vaginal Contraceptive Film – a film that is inserted into one’s vagina 15 minutes before any kind of vaginal sex. VCF is an extremely convenient and relatively inexpensive contraceptive method, but is on the lower end of the effectivity scale with a 94% effectivity rating – a rating that still renders it quite effective (Planned Parenthood). Use at your own discretion!
Beyond these three methods, there are so many other options: the ring, the patch, the shot, and the diaphragm to name a few. In every case, a number of factors come into play when deciding the best contraceptive fit; concerns with pricing, comfort, hormones, side effects and accessibility are all valid factors that come into play. Hopefully this will encourage you to explore and help you find the contraception that speaks to you!
Below is a list of resources to help you explore: