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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » What's Your Safer Sex AND Birth Control Like?

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Author Topic: What's Your Safer Sex AND Birth Control Like?
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Unless someone is in a same-sex relationship, or is only using condoms, and condoms alone, for safer sex AND birth control, it can be easy to forget that to best take care of ourselves and partners, we need to have BOTH a set of safer sex practices AND, if we do not want to become pregnant (or get a partner pregnant) birth control practices.

Sometimes, too, once people use another method of birth control besides condoms, they stop doing any kind of safer sex, which is one reason public experts always state as a biggie per why rates of STIs are so high, especially among young people.

So, how about we share what EACH of those practices currently are for us at this time? I'll go ahead and start to give an idea.

Current relationship status: Monogamous for over one year on both sides, agreement on monogamy for now, w/opposite-sexed partner.

Safer sex practice: Stopped using condoms after six months of monogamy + a full negative STI screening for both of us had passed/been done. Will each continue to each test once a year, and if relationship status changes with monogamy, will then go back to condoms and more frequent testing.

Birth control practice: My partner got a vasectomy a few months ago, so I'm no longer doing my most common method of BC when I'm with male-bodied partners, which was some combination of condoms + charting + a cervical barrier. So long as I stay with this partner and the relationship stays monogamous, this will be our method.

[ 05-31-2010, 07:21 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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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

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Parapluie
Neophyte
Member # 43325

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Current relationship status: Monogamous heterosexual relationship for almost one year and we have a monogamy agreement that we don't plan on changing.

Safer sex practice: Both of us went together for full STI screenings, everything was clear. We have always used condoms though, from day one and without question.

Birth control practice: I recently got an IUD, so we've stopped using condoms and just use the IUD now. We've agreed that condoms are still always a back up option though, and that either of us can say we want to use one at any time, and that's okay.

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"The truth of all predictions is always in your hands."

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KittenGoddess
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 1679

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Current relationship status: Monogamous for something like 8-9ish years on both sides, with opposite-sexed partner, agreement on monogamy for the foreseeable future.

Safer sex practice: Use condoms and get STI screenings at annual exams.

Birth control practice: We currently use condoms + FAM as our method of choice. I'm confident in my charting ability (have been charting for 3+ years), but we are both more comfortable with the level of protection provided by combining methods. In the case of a condom failure, I'd use EC if I were anywhere near my fertile window.

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Sarah Liz

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eryn_smiles
Peer Ambassador
Member # 35643

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KittenGoddess-
I am interested in charting and rhythm methods. When you say "condoms + FAM", do you mean that you abstain completely during fertile times or that you use condoms during that time? If you use condoms, how is that different from using condoms method alone? Someone I know was saying that it can be quite hard to abstain during fertile periods because often people have highest sex drive during that time. Do you have an opinion on this?

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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KittenGoddess
Scarleteen Volunteer
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Sure...

(In the interest of being transparent about my situation here...I am rapidly approaching 30, have fairly regular cycles, and am very confident in my ability to chart and interpret my temps and CM. I have one child, am able to support myself, and am in a stable relationship. For me, these factors are the most salient in making choices about what level of risk I am okay with in terms of possible pregnancy.)

With condom use, we do that all the time for any activities involving genital contact. Generally, we abstain from anything that might create a pregnancy during those fertile times. Sometimes that means not being sexually active, other times it might mean choosing types of sex that do not have that level of risk.

There have been times when I chose to go ahead and have intercourse during that fertile time relying solely on a condom. But if I make that choice, I do so with an understanding of how well I can rely on a condom to protect me and assurances that we can use condoms correctly each and every time. To be clear, that's not something that my partner and I choose on a time to time type of basis, but rather a longer-term renegotiation. For example, right now would be a really bad time for me to be pregnant. I have a parent battling cancer, I'm trying to finish school and am teaching classes, we have a toddler...just an all-around less than optimal time. So, it's condoms all the time and abstaining from risk around that fertile window. Last year, when parts of life were less stressful, I was comfortable with the level of protection provided by condoms and by being aware of my fertility such that if a failure occurred around a fertile time, I was okay with the risk reduction of EC and with making the choices surrounding pregnancy if need be. (We've never had a problem with condoms either, so there's that too.) We negotiate our safer sex as needed.

I've never really felt like it was hard to abstain during fertile times. It's a choice that you get to make, just like anything else. But I also think that the problem is often more one of misunderstanding and mislabeling things. I'm sure that if one views intercourse as the holy grail of sex or the only thing that is actually "sex", it might be harder to think about abstaining. Once we stop devaluing other kinds of sex (when we choose not to act like those things are somehow not sex because they don't involve putting a penis in a vagina), that apparent problem becomes less of a problem. Just because it's a fertile time, doesn't mean I don't get to have sex. Oral sex, manual sex, dry sex, masturbation, including toys in sex play...all of those things are still sex, but without the same level of risk (when practiced mindfully) of pregnancy. So it doesn't have to be not having any sex at all, but rather choosing to have other kinds of sex that don't have the same level of risk involved.

That's just my 2-cents though, your mileage may vary.

[ 06-08-2010, 10:52 AM: Message edited by: KittenGoddess ]

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Sarah Liz

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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This is totally, utterly OT, but Sarah, I can't believe you're getting close to 30! How did that happen?!? [Smile]

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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

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KittenGoddess
Scarleteen Volunteer
Member # 1679

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Hehe, I know! I find myself wondering how this happened too. Your 20s really do fly by! October of this year will make it 10 years that I've been a registered user here, December will be 10 years as a volunteer. [Smile]

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Sarah Liz

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Well, I think I can speak for everyone and say how lucky we all are to have had you around for this long. [Smile]

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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

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eryn_smiles
Peer Ambassador
Member # 35643

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Thanks for explaining about that Sarah Liz, sounds like those methods work very well for you.

(Sorry to hear that your parent is battling cancer and I wish them a full recovery!)

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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wobbuffet4
Activist
Member # 47570

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Current Relationship Status: Monogamous heterosexual relationship for almost 11 months.

Safe Sex Practice: Used condoms for a few months but mainly a birth control issue. (We lost our virginity to each other).

Birth Control Practice: Used condoms w/ spermicide and withdrawal for the first 2 months of intercourse. Now I'm on Depo-Provera and sometimes we use condoms and sometimes we don't. We always use withdrawal though.

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pantas25
Neophyte
Member # 47634

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Current relationship status: Monogamous heterosexual relationship for almost 2 months. I've known him since seventh grade though (we're going to be seniors in HS). We began having sex after one month of dating- something I would have thought was too soon before, but for our relationship it didn't change anything.

Safer sex practice: We've been using condoms, but I'm okay not using them eventually because we both lost our virginity to each other, so STDs aren't a concern.

Birth control practice: I've been on the pill since I was 14 or 15 for non-birth control related reasons, and I'm just getting used to taking it every day at the same time. Once I get used to that and confident in the pills protection, we'll probably stop using condoms.

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-taylor

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