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I'm 19 and recently became sexually active. Also had a recent pregnancy scare. My boyfriend and I have been using "The Pull Out Method" but we've been talking and we want something a little more effective. I've read a ton of information and had so many mixed views. I really want to know what real women would suggest. I'd prefer to hear what women who've tried more than one form of birth control suggest, but all opinions are welcome. I really want to have a well rounded idea. I wanna know the positive and negative affects real women have. (Sorry this is so long winded. Lol)

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Hi there, 

I strongly suggest that you say away from any sort of hormonal contraceptive. I say this from personal experience and based on the number of posts from women who are having difficulties both staying on and coming off of the pill and other hormonal methods. 

I'm 20 years old and was on YAZ for only 1 year and started noticing that it was making me act well, crazy really! I was unbelievably emotional, cried often, and became very, very depressed. When I came off of the pill, I had severe panic/anxiety problems - as well as this annoying feeling of "detachment" from reality. It's been 5 months and I still feel this way. Many women have reported feeling similar symptoms - some say it takes up to a year to "stabilize." 

That said, it sounds like these sorts of side effects don't happen to all women. The pill is definitely one of the more effective methods of birth control - with a perfect use failure rate at .3% (Hock, 2012). What people don't realize is that the the "typical" use failure rate for the pill (9%) is actually higher than the condom perfect use failure rate (2%). Typical use is the tendency most women have to forget to take their pills at the same time every day, etc. 

 

Right now, I am just using condoms with my boyfriend. Neither of us really like them because there is this rubber "wall" between us but I'm extremely paranoid about getting pregnant and feel better knowing that we're using some sort of protection.

If you do decide to use condoms, I would suggest either Kimono Condoms, Sit. Richard's Condom Company, or Lifestyle's SKYN condoms. These are the only three condoms that we have tried (all in ultra-thin) that don't feel abrasive, impersonal, etc. 

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L They feel very smooth and un-abrasive which makes the experience all the better for me! My boyfriend likes them as well for the same reasons as the Kimono Condoms. Nice and snug and thin enough to feel like there's nothing there! (Well, almost nothing, haha). If you don't like the thought of using condoms all the time, you could try combining the "fertility awareness method" with the "withdrawal method." For the fertility awareness method, you would need to take your temperature every morning before getting out of bed - as well as take note of vaginal discharge. Before you ovulate, your temperature should be fairly steady. When you ovulate, your temperature should increase between .4-.8 degrees F. Around this time, your vaginal discharge should be clear and stretchy. After ovulation, your temperature should stay the same as it was when you ovulated. Between ovulation and your period is the "safest" time to have intercourse. I know some women don't use condoms or the withdrawal method at all at this time. I personally would be way too nervous for this and would probably use one of the two. All you really have to do for this method is buy a little thermometer from the drug store and maybe set up a spread sheet on your phone or something to track your temp. 

Other than that, there are things such as the cervical cap, diaphragm, and spermicide gel. Both the diaphragm and cervical cap require a visit to the doctor to have it custom fit. Overall, this can be a fairly expensive process - although if you're buying a box of condoms every so often there probably isn't much of a difference in cost. I don't know a whole lot about these barrier methods but you can look here (https://www.optionsforsexualhealth.org/birth-control-pregnancy/birth-control-options/barrier-methods/diaphragm) and here (https://www.optionsforsexualhealth.org/birth-control-pregnancy/birth-control-options/barrier-methods) for more info!! 

Spermicide is not something I would personally use because it is essentially a poison that kills off sperm cells. If you're comfortable with spermicide and it does not irritate you - it can make condoms or other barrier methods more effective. I would not suggest it if you'd prefer to take a more holistic approach to your sexual health. 

Anyways, hope this helps! 

All the best in your sexual endeavours!C. 

 

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