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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Choosing birth control that's rigth for you

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Author Topic: Choosing birth control that's rigth for you
alaska
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I was wondering about the following: How did you all decide which birth control method was right for you?

What was the most decisive factor when you decided which birth control method was best for you? Was it cost, effectiveness, availability, STD protection or side effects? How was your choice influenced by others? Did you discuss your choice with your partner, your friends, a parent or a doctor beforehand? Where did you get your information to make a good decision on birth control? Did you feel your sex ed in school prepared you well for that decision?

And now that you’ve been practicing your method of choice – are you content with it? Do you think you will try out other methods in the reproductive years ahead of you?

And from those of you who aren’t sexually active yet – how do you think you will decide on your birth control method?

For me personally, the most important factor was effectiveness. When I went to the gyno for the first time, I had my heart set on not leaving that office without a pill prescription, even though I was only in a casual relationship at that time. At the same time I knew though, that I’d still be using condoms for STD protection. I had been pretty well informed through my school sex ed and through books and had discussed the issue with my friends, but not with my parents.
In the end, my choice turned into a necessity: I have a disorder that is best regulate with the pill and will probably be on it for a big part of my reproductive life. I had always hoped though that I could step away from hormonal birth control for a while, but right now that doesn’t look like a possibility for the near future. – But all in all, I am quite happy with the pill/condom combo.

So how about you?


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LilBlueSmurf
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Funny you should ask that ... lol

I've been on the birth control pill for almost 2 years now. First it was to straigten out my period, but a few months later i was sexually active so it kinda did two jobs.

I haven't gotten pregnant, but it's doing nothing to help my periods. I haven't found the right one yet It works for 3 months and then just stops ... Really really irritating. Of course you've gotta remember to double up w/ condoms ...

Later down the road i might look into getting a diaphram. I remember a few years back, i found my moms and thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I was ... 7 or something. And she had spermicide jelly or foam stuff that she put in it. I asked her about it and she explained the whole thing to me


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ErinK
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I've tried a variety of methods before settling on condoms with the Pill as a backup. I have a disorder similar to Alaska's, so the Pill is a wonderful thing for me personally because it's brought me from Menstrual Hell to "oh, that period thing? Know when it's going to happen, know that it's going to stop."

However, another medication that I take may make the pill far less effective than it would be normally (the drug that I'm taking is fairly new and they're just not quite sure what happens, so they've been very good at both the doctor's and the pharmacy about telling me to be careful), so condoms are actually my primary method of birth control.

I'm reasonably happy with how things work out. I'm currently irked at the school clinic because they're having trouble getting pills in and are trying to make me pay the non-subsidized price for them (I know that I'm fortunate that they're subsidized, but it doesn't stop me from grumbling when I have to pay the full price).

My partners no longer have difficulty with condoms -- with one of them, we had some problems using them the first few times because of some issues unique to him. It's all good now.

I will probably take the Pill until I make a decision about whether or not I want to have children. And then we'll see.

Erin


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unhappykoger
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i tried the pill but i couldnt remember to take it. then i tried depo-provera i hate getting shots but i was on that for about a year. then i wanted my tubes tied after my second kid but the doctor wouldnt do it because i am so young. so now i have an iud and that is fine because it lasts for ten years and is reversible, although it has given me some problems i am ok with it. as for condoms they never seem to work out they either break or we forget about them. but now that im married i dont have to worry about that anyway.

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Posts: 365 | From: dayton,ohio,u.s.a. | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
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Just a brief note: being married does NOT mean one doesn't have to worry about disease and infection, especially if

1) you and you parter have not tested free and clear for STDs and STIs for a good long time,
2) You and your partner are married but are not monogamous, or have not been for minimally one year, and
3) You or your partner have the same sorts of infection to worry about passing on that even long-term monogamous partners do, like some sorts of yeast infections and other general bacterial infections.

In general I do now (as a monogamously married person) and have for years practiced condom use combined with abstaining from procreative sex (even with a condom) during my fertile times. being the age I am, I've tried a good deal of methods (including some that are now obsolete -- yikes!) and I find this works best for me because it serves a double-duty, it allows me to experience my natural cycles, and abstrianing during my most fertile times purposefully puts a certain cognition and intent that allows me to be very aware of prectcing conscious conception (and prevention of) that I like a lot.

Since using this method, I have had no pregnancy scares, no STI or STD transmission, it's cheap, it's easy and it makes everyone happy and keeps us aware.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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pink
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I'm not on birth control yet, but I think if I were, I'd choose Depo-Provera. I don't have any idea how much it costs, but I think it would be a lot easier for me, because
1. I'm very forgetful. If I had to take a specific pill at this time at this interval day after day, I'm bound to forget. I can't even remember to take my Claritin (speaking of..). Just getting a shot every few months is easier to me.
2.Effectiveness. Depo is, from what I've read, about 98% effective. But that's no reason not to use condoms!
3.I'd rather get a shot than take swallow pills, no matter how small.

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Sin by thy lips? Oh trespass sweetly urged, give me my sin again!


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Gumdrop Girl
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well, the Pill is good for me because it controls my periods. I'd almost bleed to death without them. And it keeps me from getting pregnant. But I do dig condoms ooh, I love the condoms. They're practical. They're tidy. They're impermeable to disease! And they come in neat colors and flavors and with li'l bumps and ridges on them. oh, and my favorite part: condoms prolong the act of sex!!! wooHOO

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unhappykoger
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well miz s im not worried about stds anymore with him. and i have a 1% chance of gettign pregnant that will most likely lead to miscarriage if it did happen. i am not worried about pregnancy i dont want another baby but if i have one i will deal with it. it wont be the end of the world for us just another thing in life i have to deal with wcich i dont think that i would have a problem becuase i would love the baby no matter what. except for the threesome we are both monogomous. so i am still not worried about stds. dont get me wrong for the first year of sex we used condoms all the time. im not saying that it is just because im married its just that i am pretty sure that i have nothing to worry about. if i do then we have otehr problems. but anyway. dont worry about me.

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Posts: 365 | From: dayton,ohio,u.s.a. | Registered: Oct 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
alaska
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Koger, dearie, I really don’t want to offend, you, but let’s be a little more realistic, okie?

The only way you don’t have to worry about STDs anymore is when you’ve been tested twice, at least 6 months apart, and have ONLY practiced safer sex in the meantime. And I think that hasn’t been the case, has it? The fact that you used condoms in the past doesn’t guarantee that you don’t have any STDs now, dear. The only thing that does is testing. Not worrying about STDs has nothing to do with trust or marriage or whatever but all with having got negative test results, hon. Why only be “pretty sure” when you can be “sure”?

Plus your statement that you are “monogamous apart from the threesome”, dearie, simply shows that you and your hubbie are NOT monogamous. If you have any other partners or include other partners for that matter, you aren’t monogamous and hence need to be extra extra careful in regards to STDs.

STD testing is no biggie, koger, you can most likely get it free at a clinic near you and it would make your life a little safer to know for sure, wouldn’t it?


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unhappykoger
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for your info alaska i go to the gyn all the time and i always get tested while im there. as a matter of fact i go to the gyn again on the 17th. every time i go i get a pregnancy test and an std test. thank you very much.

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Heather
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There is no reason for this thread to get snippety.

Let me just for the record state what sexual health groups and this site advocate in terms of safer sex:

It is ONLY safe to CONSIDER being sexually active without condoms and other safer sex practices if -- and only if
1) You and your partner have BOTH been ONLY with one another in ANY moderate risk sexual capacity (manual sex, oral sex, vaginal or anal sex) for at least one year (that means monogamy to the letter),
2) You and your partner have USED safer sex practices for the whole of that year,
3) You and your partner have each been tested and clear TWICE for ALL STD/STIs during that year, and
4) You and your partner continue to ONLY be with one another and continue to be tested twice each year.

That's our policy, and that is what we endorse here.

Again for the record, from a personal standpoint -- and even for myself -- I still advise using safer sex practices even when all of the above are in place.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

"If you're a bird, be an early early bird --
But if you're a worm, sleep late." - Shel Silverstein


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unhappykoger
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i agree with all of that. but to keep from arguing further i will stop posting in here.the forum asked about birth control i told. i am sorry. from now on i will not post in a topic like this because i dont want to argue with anyone.

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SlowCookie
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I started out using only condoms but that didn't last very long. I always got freaked out about them breaking and slipping. To ease my fears, I got on the Pill. The Pill is simple to use and I always remember to take them. Also, I like it that I know exactly when my period is coming.

I love the combination of the Pill and condoms. The combo isn't perfect but it's pretty darn close. The Pill is highly effective but it can fail. I'd rather not rely on the less than 100% effectiveness. No thanks, I like my peace of mind. Not to mention, it doesn't protect against diseases. So the condom is my friend. I like shopping for condoms and testing out new brands. Condoms also help my boyfriend last longer. He probably won't admit to that but shhhhh.

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You know, Hobbes, sometimes even my lucky rocketship underpants don’t help. -Calvin


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Eclipse
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I spent about a month researching bithcontrol before engaging in procreative sex. The research was mostly on-line and then discussions with my mom and my friends and my gynecologist, and of course, my sweetie. That was while I was home on christmas break. My big decision factors were effectiveness, non-invasiveness, lack of side-effects, availability. I can't really answer the school sex education question!

When I got back to school I bought a thermometer and started keeping BBT and tactile cervical/mucosal records. It took me a while to become good at it, mostly due to the variable sleep schedule of being in college, but now that I got used to it, it's totally automatic. The alarm goes off, I turn off the alarm, I stick the thermometer in my mouth and wait for the beep. If I think about it at all, it's to think "mmm.. this will buy me a few more seconds of not-moving..." I'm not a morning person.

We've always used condoms, originally the free Durex that we get here at school. So abstinence during suspected fertile times (which were have gotten shorter as I've gotten better at record keeping) and condom use otherwise.

And then since discovering and being inspired/informed by Scarleteen, I've slowly added to that. We started using kimono microthin condoms. I got a speculum and LadyTester in January to add to the fertility records. The speculum is the coolest thing ever. No more groping around in the dark! I still haven't gotten very clear results with the LadyTester. I'm disappointed with its mechanics...the lens pieces stick together, and I can't figure out how to change the battery, and the light button sticks. I have seen some pretty clear salt patterns, but not strongly correlated with when I know I am fertile. And I can tell when I'm fertile, so I don't really need to use saliva at all, but I'd like to be able to just for the heck of it. I think I am going to talk to a fertility awareness counselor at some point, but I didn't do it right off 'cause we were and are using other forms of protection and are going to continue to (we pretty much have to wear condoms an often abstain 'cause I'm still prone to frequent frikkin' yeast infections...grrr...). But eventually I'm going to take a series of my charts in and pay for a "professional" to look at them and be impressed.

And then a couple weeks ago when I went to the gyno (at planned parenthood) for my annual checkup, I was fitted for a diaphragm. It was really cool. I'd always gotten the impression that it was a strange and expensive ordeal... I guess the fact that it's always mentioned that you have to be "fitted by a doctor"... I sort of imagined a big ol' speculum rigged up with measuring tape or something! But she just eyeballed it and said, looks like the standard size would fit, and gave me a sample 7 (that's for 70mm diameter) and explained how to put it in. She gave me this really cool hand-held film reel, where you look in the eyepiece and turn the crank, you know? that was made by the company that makes the diaphragms (ortho pharmeceuticals), showing how to use it. It was from the mid-70s. It was so cute. Anyway, she left the room and I put it in... they go in sort of tilted, the top is over the cervix, but the bottom is held in place behind the pubic bone, right inside. Anyway, I put it in and she came back and made sure I'd done it right, and then she gave me my own and some spermicide gel that goes with it, and I paid and I left. I think the diaphragm and tube of gel and the "fitting" all together cost about $35, and then the check-up/pap smear was about another 35 or 40. Very reasonable.

So: I monitor my fertility using BBT, visual/tactile examination of cervix and mucous, and salivary salt crystallization. I abstain from procreative sex from day 7 ('cause my shortest cycles ever have been 27 days) until 2-3 days after ovulation (as determined by BBT rise, which is very distinct for me, and which tends to occur 2-3 days after max fertile mucous). I get about 10-11 days from 2-3 days after ovulation to menstruation, and then the first 7 days of my next cycle, so about 17-18 days per cycle. And during this time when we have intercourse we use kimono microthin condoms with KY liquid, or astroglide if we're feeling indulgent, and I use the diaphragm with the nonoxynol-9 jelly that comes with it. I feel like I need more lubricant when I use the diaphragm, but otherwise I don't even notice it. I really like it. It's very easy to put in, and pretty easy to take out, and the rest of the time it's just there and I can ignore it. I'm still considering ditching the spermicide, because I am prone to infections (was even before I was sexually active at all). My gyne said I should try doing preventative yogurt treatments, and I agreed. I make my own yogurt (from organic milk when possible, and not when not) and I freeze it in cardboard tampon applicator tip (can you buy just cardboard applicators? 'cause I hate to waste tampons, but I don't use tampons). It keeps for a while (although I need to find out how long acidophilus can stand being frozen?? Is frozen yogurt active culture?), and then I peel off the cardboard and can insert evenly measured yogurt doses with relatively little mess. It doesn't feel as cold as you'd think, I swear it doesn't. It seems to work.

Anyway. I think I'll be satisfied with my sexual health once I stop getting infections. I imagine I'll continue to sample non-hormonal methods of birthcontrol when I can afford them. I might like to see how the cervical caps or the lea shield compare with the diaphragm (they're usually all lumped together in birthcontrol information), I'll probably try the Reality condom (the "female condom") at some point, and if I'm ever really rich, I might even get one of those hormonal fertility tracking computers (I think they start at like, $300 and go up though, so I can live happily without one).


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Nookiebabe16
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right now, since im so young-16- abstinence is my birth control and since im very accident prone, it will be for a while
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Siren
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Condoms. I made the decision to rely solely on condoms until I've had at least one baby. I am really worried about how the pill will effect my hormones and don't like my hormones being controlled by anything other than the natural cycles that my body goes through.

I made the decision on my own. Many people told me the pill was great, especially for cramps, but I never had bad periods so that wasn't a big deal for me. And because my illness makes it difficult for me to get pregnant, that has never been a fear. And condoms are easy to get, cheap, and I have never had one slip off or break. I find them extremely reliable.

In the future I think I'll definitely look into other birth control methods. Right now condoms are fine.

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Lil Siren


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Duff
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I used to use condoms, but then that was all too annouying, and i still do, but i am gettin gon depo asap, mainly because, i don't need std protection and it has the huge perk of my period stopping, so really there are no worries on my part, with my present partner. But when i get a new partner i'll have to use both condoms and depo, untill i know whats up with them.

I really, really don't like condoms though.


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SlowCookie
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Hey Duff, everyone needs STD protection, even you. Hopefully both you and your partner have been tested for STDs. Please don't assume that if you've been with someone long enough, diseases automatically disappear and you have nothing to worry about. Please scroll up and review Miz Scarlet's posts. If you've done everything right, congrats!

Please give condoms another chance. What's so bad about them anyway? Even if you have no diseases to worry about, Depo can fail. The extra protection that a condom provides can't hurt.

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You know, Hobbes, sometimes even my lucky rocketship underpants don’t help. -Calvin


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all star me
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The first few months when I was sexually active (intercourse) I used only condoms. When my boyfriend and I were thinking and talking about having sex we both thought it would be best if I was on the pill first, but that kind of got pushed aside and I didn't end up going on the pill until recently. I'm not sure if i'm even going to stay on it yet, because I really don't like the idea of messing with my body's natural cycles.. and so far I've had some pretty nasty nausea. So if the pill thing doesn't work out, I will stick just to condoms, and maybe learn more about tracking my body's cycles, and only engaging in sex (with a condom) when i'm least fertile.
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magpie
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My boyfriend and I became sexually active about a month ago. We just use condoms and we've planned around my cycle so we have the lowest risk possible. I finally got up the guts to talk to my mom about birth control, so I went to the gyno and I have 2 months worth of Ortho - TryCyclen to start on when I get my next period. My boyfriend and I made it as a joint decision. We plan on stopping using condoms after I've been on the Pill for a while. We are gonnna do this because we both haven't had any other sexual partners AND we have both been tested for STD's and came out clean. About the price... condoms aren't very expensive and they are easy to get so that's why I got them first. Then after I talked to my mom, she said because I went through her that she would pay for the Pill.

Smiles
magpie


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daisygirl
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just wanted to say that i'm glad i found this thread... i've recently been contemplating the pill because of horrible pain during my periods, but also because my boyfriend and i have been discussing sex (intercourse) for a couple of months. we've definitely agreed on condoms (not sure why you would choose to not, they are cheap, easy, and hey, extra protection? why not?) and i'm discussing the pill with my mom (she's a doctor) but only for the bad periods, she doesn't know about the whole sex thing. so thanks so much for starting this thread Alaska and for everyone that contributed, i've learned way lots

oh, i read the article comparing the different methods of birth control... i was wondering if someone could give me a site that went more in depth to the side effects of each one? thanks so much

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i'm gonna clear my head, i'm gonna drink that sun. i'm gonna love you good and strong while our love is good and young.
--indigo girls

[This message has been edited by daisygirl (edited 04-22-2001).]


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alaska
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Daisy, Planned Parenthood has reliable & extensive info on all kinds of birth control methods, and you'll find a whole lot of links in our resources section in "reproduction", too.

Hope that could help.

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"We must become the change we want to see."
Mahatma Gandhi


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