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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » starting FAM, need clarification

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Author Topic: starting FAM, need clarification
fallchild
Activist
Member # 28780

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Hi, so I need clarification with this please [Smile]

I'm about to go off the Pill, preferring to use FAM as a secondary method of birth control. However, there's something I don't understand. How do FAM and condoms work together? I understand that you can hypothetically have unprotected sex during your infertile period after you can confirm ovulation (but I want to use condoms as a back-up and to prevent infections). HOWEVER, what about during the rest of your cycle? Should I completely abstain from sex during my fertile period? Or can I still have sex during my fertile period if I use a condom? And if we do that, is there really a "back-up" method in play at all because we're really just using condoms? I'm confused...

Also, can you recommend a good quality, reliable basal thermometer? I'm having the biggest trouble trying to find one that seems worth it. I've been reading a lot of product reviews, and it seems like so many of them are unreliable, sometimes erase the previous reading, beep LOUDLY, etc.

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

Posts: 117 | From: SLC, UT | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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The first thing I'd make sure you have before doing FAM is a very good book on it (ideally, a good in-person teacher, but one does what one can). I really like the tried-and-true Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler. I've also met Toni, and she's great people.

You're also going to want to bear in mind that it may take as long as six months for your cycle to get back to normal post-pill, so it may be as long as nine months to a year before you have a good idea of when you're most fertile.

With basal thermometors, seriously, any you can pick up will be just fine. What makes a basal therm special is that it is a basal therm, that's all. The only I've had forever I just picked up at the drugstore for ten bucks and have never had an issue with it.

With the condoms, that basically depends on how much protection from pregnancy you want. If you want FAM and condoms to basically give you a higher perfect use rate than condoms have, then you'd abstain completely from intercourse during your fertile times, and use condoms the rest of the time. You're right, if you have sex with condoms during fertile times, effectively, you're just using condoms and FAM doesn't provide you any extra protection. When FAM would provide you extra protection (via extra information) is if you were using it with condoms during least-fertile times, and abstaining completely during fertile times.

Some of that sounded a little convoluted to me because it's hard to explain when one method of BC isn't a device or medication of any kind, so holler if that didn't make sense to you and I'll have another go at it. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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KittenGoddess
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Member # 1679

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I concur with Heather about basically any basal thermometer being fine. Just pick one that says it'll save the last reading and that beeps. I actually like something with a louder beep...since you want to put it in your mouth immediately upon waking (before you even get out of bed) and not be moving around a lot, you may find that you doze back off while you're waiting for it to read...a good beep will wake you back up.

I think my old one was just a drugstore brand (CVS maybe?) and it worked fine...until I dropped it really hard on the tile floor of my kitchen. I wouldn't have expected any thermometer to survive that.

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Sarah Liz

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fallchild
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That's okay Heather, it made sense to me [Smile] I have another question though. I know it will take a few cycles for my cycle to return to normal after being on the Pill for eight months, SO, do I have to abstain from sex until my cycles return to normal? The reason I ask is I know I won't have a good idea of when I'm most fertile until my cycles go back to normal. Is it pretty safe for me to have sex BEFORE my cycles go back to normal if I use condoms?

And thanks for your reply, KittenGoddess. I just ordered a basal thermometer, yay. It seemed to be getting good reviews on Amazon.com. I also ordered "Garden of Fertility" by Katie Singer and am learning a lot from it.

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"It's better to die on your feet than live down on your knees"

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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If you're comfortable just using condoms alone and having the effectiveness condoms can offer alone, no, you don't have to abstain if you don't want to. Condoms all by themselves, when used correctly and consistently, are very effective at preventing pregnancy: 98%.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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