That's right, it's time for that dreaded sex talk. Recently I mentioned charting to my sister. She stared at me kind of blankly. She goes to a Catholic high school, and I thought for sure they would be teaching them about charting as a birth control method (since it doesn't go against the church and all) But to my surprise, she hadn't heard anything about it. Her class never did the condom on the banana thing, and she wasn't aware of many of the other methods either... it was time to have a talk.
Before I get into the nitty gritty I want to make it clear that I am in no way condoning sex, and I am in no way telling you not to have sex. My point is to provide you with some very basic information on how to protect yourself, avoid pregnancy, and avoid STIs/STDs.
Some very very very important points
1. The ONLY way to avoid pregnancy 100% is not to have sex (abstinence).
2. No birth control method (the pill, IUD, condoms etc.) prevents pregnancy 100% of the time.
3. The pill, IUDs, the depo shot etc do not protect you from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI), you should still be using a condom.
4. You can get an STI from having oral sex.
Birth Control Methods
Condoms (male)- A condom is most often made of latex. Make sure to read the package to learn how to properly put on a condom. It is my belief that all young girls should know how to put them on, so ladies, practice on a banana if need be. Depending on what stats you're looking at condoms are effective in protecting against pregnancy 82%-98% of the time. They effectively protect against STIs 80%-95% of the time when used correctly. They are the best method to protect against STIs. Condoms are available with spermicide (not good for oral sex), lubricated, and non lubricated as well as many other shapes, sizes, colors and tastes. (Interesting fact: A person who is allergic to apricots is often allergic to latex. If that is the case non latex condoms are available in most drug stores.) You should never use 2 condoms at the same time for 'extra protection'. 2 condoms actually decrease the effectiveness and heightens the chance of the condoms breaking.
Condoms (female)- The female condom is inserted into the vagina and there is a hard plastic rim that keeps it from slipping all the way in. It is not made of latex so it can be used by people with latex allergies. The female condom is 80%-95 percent effective against pregnancy when used correctly. It may be a little tricky to learn how to use, so it is not suggested if it's your first time.
The Pill- The birth control pill goes by many different brand names, you need to see your Dr. to be given a prescription. You do not need your parent's permission to obtain a prescription, and the Dr. must keep it confidential. The Pill is a series of 21 (or 28) pills that a woman takes every day, that release hormones into your body which prevents an egg from leaving your ovaries. The pill must be taken at the same time every day or it decreases it's effectiveness. If you have a 21 pack you will stop taking the pills for 7 days. If you have a 28 pack the last 7 pills are simply sugar pills. The pill is effective in preventing pregnancy 92% of the time when used correctly. The pill does not protect against STIs. ***Certain antibiotics/medications can make the pill ineffective, ALWAYS tell the pharmacist if you are taking the birth control pill.***
The Patch- The birth control patch is a thin beige square that releases hormones into your system which prevents an egg from being released from your ovaries. It can be placed in several discreet places on your body. You wear one patch a week for 3 weeks, the fourth week you do not wear a patch. Repeat. You must see a Dr. to get a prescription. The down side to the patch is that it collects dirt around the edges much like a bandaid and may not look very attractive by the end of the week. When used correctly the patch protects against pregnancy 92% of the time. The patch does not protect against STIs.
The Birth Control Shot- (Depo) The shot is a long acting hormone which prevents an egg from being released from your ovaries. The shot must be given at a Dr's office every 3 months. If you miss your shot, or delay your appointment you run the risk of becoming pregnant. When used correctly the patch protects against pregnancy 97% of the time. The shot does not protect against STIs.
IUD- IntraUterine Device. Is a T shaped device that is inserted by a doctor into your uterus. IUDs make it difficult for an egg to implant in your uterus, it also prevents sperm from getting to the egg. IUDs may shift or move so it is very important to check them frequently. When used correctly they are one of the most effective forms of birth control preventing pregnancy 98% of the time. IUDs do not protect against STIs.
Charting- (a.k.a the rhythm method) Charting is the method often recommended by the church. It involves taking your temperature every day before getting out of bed in the morning, keeping track of your period, observing your cervical fluid and really paying attention to your body. This method relies strongly on the woman to be very aware of her most fertile days, and only having sex when she is the least fertile. Most women need to chart for several months before they understand their bodies enough to know when the safer times are and when she is more fertile. Either way if you are having sex without protecting odds are very high that you will get pregnant. This is the least effective method of birth control.
The morning after pill- Is a high dose hormone pill which can be taken up to 72 hours after having unprotected sex, or in the event where a condom breaks. In Canada the morning after pill can be purchased at the drug store, but you need to speak to the pharmacist. It may cause nausea, and may cause you to get your period. The morning after pill is effective in preventing pregnancy approximately 98% of the time. The morning after pill is not meant as a birth control method, but it is available in the event that your main line of birth control fails.
True or False?
If he pulls out, you can't get pregnant
BIG FAT FALSE. The pull out 'method' is not a good method of birth control. There are many many things that could go wrong. He might not pull out in time for one. Secondly if he ejaculated prior to intercourse there could still be sperm hanging around in there which means they could make their way into you during intercourse before he's even thinking of pulling out. And there could also be sperm in the pre-cum
You can't get pregnant your first time
FALSE. As soon as a woman gets her period she is able to get pregnant. It is not dependent on how many times you have or haven't had sex. In fact, the egg is released before you get your period, so it is possible to become pregnant before you even get your first period.
You can't get pregnant if you have sex while you're on your period
FALSE While it does lessen the odds, it does not make it impossible. Sperm can live up to 10 days in a woman and an egg can live 3 days. Do you really want to risk it?
As Sue Johanson used to say. 'If you're not mature enough to buy condoms, then you're not mature enough to have sex.'
If you have any questions about sex make sure to ask somebody more experienced than you, whether that be your mother, teacher, older sister, cousin, friend's parents. Heck, e-mail me. Just make sure you're getting your information from a reputable source.
I'd also like to invite everybody to share their sex myths and knowledge.