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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Birth Control Experiences: The Ring

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Author Topic: Birth Control Experiences: The Ring
Executive Director & Founder
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For those looking into the different methods of birth control to find what's right for them, here's one of several threads where users can report their experiences with a given method so that other users can get a more personal idea of what using a given method is like when they're looking into what might work best for them.

If you have used or do use the vaginal ring, please report on it in the following format:

Pros: List what you have experienced as the pros or benefits -- the good parts -- of using this method.

Cons: List what you've experienced as the downsides or cons of using this method.

Ease of use: Talk about how easy -- or not -- it's been for you and/or your partner to use, access and afford this method, how it's worked out in your relationships, etc.

Effectiveness: Talk about how well this method has protected you from pregnancy, and if it ever has failed, note that, including any explanation of how or why, if you know or suspect how or why.

Feel free to also add any extra notes, hints or tips!

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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I love the ring. I'm prone to random bouts of depression, and the pill made me somewhat pyschotic. However, the nuvaring didn't affect my symptoms at all. Probably because the hormones are absorbed locally. I didn't notice any weight gain, and my periods were lighter (although not shorter)

cons: it take some trial and error to position it in a way that is comfortable and feels secure. You'll spend the first month or so paranoidly making sure it's still there every time you go to the bathroom. I found that twisting it into a number 8 shape and then folding it back onto itself and pushing it up against the cervix to be effective.

Effectiveness: very effective. In my recently ended 3 year relationship, it was our only form of birth control for the most recent two ( after three STI tests came back negative, of course )

I HIGHLY recommend the ring to those who may be prone to depression or worry about forgetting to take the pill.

"I need no warrant for being, and no word of sanction upon my being. I am the warrant and the sanction."
~Ayn Rand

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I used Nuvaring for a few months.

Pros: Novelty factor, liked to explain what it was to my partner & friends, helped me get to know my body a bit with insertion & removal, easy to use

I found the hormone levels too high and they affected my already bad mood swings.
I also got a horrible yeast infection, much more painful than any other I've ever had. Not certain it was due to the ring, but definitely didn't help having something to collect bacteria in there.
Also, I could never leave it in for sex like they say you can.

Ease of Use: Really simple & almost fun to use.

In the end I switched to pills, but my roommate has stuck with it for a while and loves it. She did tell one funny story where it had fallen out in someone's bed during sex, and she had to sneak back into his room to search his sheets!

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Pros: less work than the pills and the patch, more private if you don't feel like announcing what birth control your on, lower hormones equaled less side effects for me, effective birth control

Cons: The first time I had intercourse with it in, there was some mild discomfort afterwards. The second time felt perfectly normal. It can also be tricky to get in (I recommend using a clean, empty tampon applicator to insert it). It's also a little more expensive than the pill.

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First off, Nuvaring has been my best bud since I gave up the pill, and I will never go back. I love you, NuvaRing!

Pros/ Ease of Use:

NuvaRing is discreet. You pick it up at the pharm, you put it in, and you esentially forget about it for three weeks. It's easy to insert: you squeeze it and it kind of slips right up there. It never falls out. It's anchored up around your cervix by your vaginal walls. You can't feel it there, even during intercourse. About 8 out of 10 men don't feel the NuvaRing during intercourse. My previous partner was on the longer and girthier side and could feel it a little, but didn't mind one bit. NuvaRing yields a lower dose of estrogen than the pill(this does not lower effectiveness so no worries there), which makes for less side-effects. And the best part about NuvaRing is not having to remember a daily pill!


It can get a little mucky with your girly fluids, so every few days or so, I take it out and rinse it with a little cool or lukewarm (not hot, as heat releases the hormones) water and slip it back in, just to keep things sanitary. [Smile] But of course, it's no big deal if you don't worry about it until you take it out. Also, I use the DivaCup (a menstrual cup), and rarely my withdrawl bleed overlaps with the day and time I put my new NuvaRing in, so on rare occasions I have to use pads on the last day or so of my withdrawl bleed. This would also be a factor if you use tampons. NuvaRing is also $15 for me with my insurance, versus the $5 I spent on the pill.


I used NuvaRing for about a year while sexually active, and it never failed.

There were a couple times when I would decide, for various reasons, to take it out when my partner and I were having sex and we'd go to sleep afterward and I'd forget to put it back in (there is a minimal pregnancy risk if out of your vagina for more than 3 hours), but that was mere human error...and plus, in the past, the pill proved more of a pain in the 'forgetfulness' department for me.

My bag of Tricks:

If you go online to you can get the first month for free if you bring the coupon to the pharmacy you'll fill the perscription at! You can even print one out for a friend, too.

NuvaRing perscriptions come with a little page of reminder stickers to put in your planner or datebook...or, the website has a cute downloadable program called "NuvaTime" for your PC or MAC that installs a little reminder clock for you, right on your computer. [Smile]

[ 05-25-2007, 10:46 PM: Message edited by: StarHallie ]

"Sex without love is an empty experience, but as empty experiences go, it's one of the best."
-Woody Allen

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forget me not
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extremely easy to use
no daily pill-taking to worry about
i cant feel it & neither can my boyfriend
balances out my moods so i dont feel so PMSy

seems to give me yeast infections but with medication it's tolerable

Ease of use:
nuvaring has been sooo easy to use. i put it in for exactly four weeks, take it out, start my period, and put another one in on the first day of my period. it shortens my actual bleeding, but spotting occurs for 2-3 days afterwards.

Effectiveness: i've been using nuvaring off and on for about 3 years now... and i havent been and am not pregnant! so for me, nuvaring is 100% effective thus far.

"Fortes fortuna adiuvat" (Fortune favors the brave) - Latin proverb

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Hi I've been using NuvaRing for over a year now and I love it.

Very easy to use
Very discreet
I can put it in and not worry for 3 weeks
I cant feel it once its in
Makes my periods much lighter and shorter

For the first month or two i had terrible breast tenderness and bad nausea but i continued to use it and soon it completely stopped.
Sometimes it slips down and I can feel it but I just push it further in and its ok.

Ease of use:
I just twist it into a number 8 shape stick it in no worries.
With my current insurance I only have to pay $6 for it and that's great for me!
I also love the reminder stickers it comes with so I can just put it on my calender and go

Highly effective because I've never been and am NOT pregnant so it serves its purpose well!

Diamonds R Forever!

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I've been on NuvaRing for about two years.

*very* easy to use
nearly impossible to forget
steady flow of hormones - no ups & downs
shorter, lighter periods
almost no cramps
less mood swings during PMS
i actually lost weight (but maybe not because of the ring)

I get a lot of colds, and I've heard a lot of my friends on the ring say that they do, too. Upper respiratory infections are listed as one of the less common side-effects, but it kind of hit me full force. No cold is as bad as my PMS used to be, though, and it's definitely not as bad as getting pregnant.

Ease of Use:
Okay, I've never once had it fall out, not even during masturbation or sex. What I do is keep it in it's regular shape, but just pinch it a little so it will fit into my vagina. Then, I use one finger to push it *all the way* up to my cervix. It takes a little finagling, but if you can get one side of it up behind your cervix (towards your back) so that it sort of sits *around* your cervix, you should really never have to touch it again until it's time for it to come out. I wish I could draw a picture!

There is sometimes a little overlap between the end of my period and when I put in a new ring, but I don't find that it's a problem to use a tampon with the ring in as long as the ring is far enough up.

Effectiveness: Not pregnant yet! Seriously, I think the main effectiveness issue with most birth control is human error, and NuvaRing is pretty much idiot-proof. It's perfect for an airhead like me who would probably forget her pill every other day.

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We don't have a whole lot of experiences for the Ring up yet, and since I'm just starting my third month on it, I figure I'll jump in and contribute.

Pros: I experienced absolutely no side effects when I first started (as opposed to the pill, which gave me a horrible first month). Aside from that, it's just so nice and convenient: I put it in, and I forget about it. I was worried that might be bothered by the ring (I'm certainly bothered by the feeling of wearing a tampon), but I don't notice it at all. It doesn't get in the way of sex, either. I leave the ring in, my partner doesn't feel it at all, and it hasn't slipped out during sex.

Cons: It's slightly more expensive for me than the pill, and my insurance does not cover it. I've also noticed that my periods have gotten a bit heavier since I started using it, and I get a little PMS-y, which has never happened to me before. The ring does also slip down occasionally, but that's not a big deal: when I feel that it's slipped down, I just push it back up.

Ease of use: Since it doesn't really matter where the Ring sits as long as it's inside of you, it's incredibly easy to insert. I just rinse it with water, fold it, and push it inside.

Effectiveness: Not gotten pregnant, but we do also use condoms, and I haven't been on it for all that long yet.

Scarleteen Volunteer

"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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Sorry for the necropost, but since I've asked so many questions on here I feel like I should contribute in some way. Plus, I've kind of become a walking NuvaRing advertisement because it's so awesome, so I want to encourage people who are considering it. [Smile]

Pros: So many!
First, the obvious: NO WORRIES about missed pills. Remembering to insert/remove the ring itself is no problem (they even give you plenty of cute little stickers in the package so you can stick them to planners, calendars, etc, and there's an application you can put on your computer to remind you), and it's SO much nicer than worrying about taking the pill properly every day.

Another huge one which I don't hear people praise enough is this: Because the Ring secretes hormone at a very low, constant rate, it's a lot easier for most people's bodies to get used to. In general, what causes most side effects on other hormonal BC methods isn't the hormones themselves as much as the CHANGE in hormone levels that your body goes through (example: take the pill, levels go up, then slowly go down until you take another, and god forbid you take it at the wrong time!). So with other methods, it's kind of like a rollercoaster, whereas with the Ring (and the implant, I believe), you just get a constant (VERY low) hormone dose, which your body appreciates more than being yanked around, lol. This was very important to me in choosing, because I'm a very organic person and I really hated the idea of messing with my hormone levels at all, but the ring really works WITH your body in that sense.

SO, because your dose is constant AND it's lower than ANY other hormonal BC available (correct me if I'm wrong on that), the side effects can be a lot better for people who've had issues on other pills. I was on Yasmin for a year and then Mircette for a month; both of them depressed me and killed my sex drive, and Mircette made me gain weight and have other bad effects. Meanwhile, NEITHER of them did anything for my horrible (10-day, extremely debilitating) periods. On the ring, my skin is still fine, I've gained no weight, I'm not depressed, I have a sex drive to speak of, and my periods are now FOUR DAYS LONG. Sorry for all the caps, but seriously, that's one of the best parts for me, lol. So if other BC methods haven't fixed your periods, there is something out there that will! The Ring did for me. [Smile]

Cons: I'm pretty enthusiastic about this product, so there aren't really many cons for me, but I'll give it a try:
- It's a little expensive compared to most pills, because it's newer so there's no generic available. Also, it has to be refrigerated, so if you're ordering it shipped (from an insurance company, for example), it has to be shipped in a refrigerator box, which is more expensive. However, the difference isn't awful...3 packs of Yasmin ordered shipped were $50 for me, and 3 Rings were $70, BUT if I just pick them up at the pharmacy (which I do since realizing the expense of shipping refrig boxes), they're almost the same price as the pill.
- If you're uncomfortable touching your genitals, you might be squeamish about insertion/removal. However, if you use tampons, you'll be fine. I've even heard some people put the ring in a tampon applicator for easier insertion, but I don't find this necessary.
- At first, you'll worry about it slipping out, but trust me--it never will. By the end of the first month, mine had kind of found a little niche for itself, and now every time I put it in, it automatically goes there and I forget about it for 3 weeks. [Smile]
- You probably will feel it during sex (it's pretty substantial, so unless these people Novocaine themselves before intercourse, I don't get how they can not feel it, lol), but it's so easy to slip it out and put it on the bedside table (less interruptive than putting on a condom, IMO). As long as you remember to put it back in within 3 hours (my nervous nelly boyfriend usually reminds me in plenty of time), it's no problem to take it out. You can even rinse it off if you want. [Smile]
- If you have a propensity toward vaginal infections, you may have more of them using the Ring, because it provides a place for bacteria to congregate. However, you can rinse it in cool water as often as you want if this is a worry for you (just put it back within 3 hours), and if you DON'T usually get vaginal infections, you probably won't suddenly start getting them just because of the Ring (that's my experience, anyway. Haven't had any trouble with that).

Ease of use: The Ring is bigger than you probably expect, but if you see a picture of it and think it's way too huge, DON'T WORRY. [Smile] I did, for no reason, but now I've learned. The Ring is not expected to blow up into a full circle once inside you--you squeeze it (or fold it into a figure 8) and insert it, and the ring shape just exerts tension on the walls of your vagina so the ring doesn't slip out. So it stays in a squeezed or figure 8 shape inside you, basically the size of a small tampon. I have trouble even getting 2 of my own fingers in, but I can EASILY get the ring in and out, so don't worry at all about size. [Smile]

I think someone earlier in the thread mentioned that using the ring is fun...I absolutely agree, lol. I do look forward to the days when I put it in or take it out, because I've got the little sticker on my calendar and it's kind of an Event. Think of the first time you took birth control pills (if you ever did), and how you got kind of jazzed up to take the pill at the designated time each day. Well, that's how it is with the Ring, except that you interact with it so rarely that the novelty takes a much longer time to wear off. Lol.

Effectiveness: Personally, I haven't had proper intercourse yet, so I haven't had any experiences one way or the other. However, consider this: the Ring's effectiveness with perfect use is about the same as with perfect use of the pill, BUT it's so much easier to use the Ring perfectly that you're more likely to get better protection than on the pill. In other words, I can remember to put in the ring once a month and take it out on the correct day, and that's basically perfect use, whereas with the pill there were always days when I took it late or forgot it or had to take it early because I wouldn't be able to at the right time. So typical use is a lot closer to perfect on the Ring than on the pill (other hormonal methods, like the shot, patch, implant, etc, have this same benefit).

I am a huge fan of the Ring, and I recommend it to anyone who asks me about BC issues. The best thing about it, I think, is the fact that its constant, low dose is so much better for your body chemistry than the higher, variable hormone levels on other types of BC. as you can see, I'm basically a NuvaRing fangirl. If anyone has questions about it, I would be happy to answer. Again, sorry for posting so late in the game, but I do think we need more replies in this thread! [Smile]

Posts: 96 | From: West Coast USA | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
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(Just want to make clear per your post, London Blue, in most broad user studies, the majority of ring users and their partners report that they do NOT feel the ring during sex. That's not surprising since the part of the vagina where the ring sites is largely without sensory nerve endings: that's why diaphragm users will most frequently not feel those during sex, either. So, I think it's most accurate to say most users will NOT feel the ring, rather than the opposite.)

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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I've been on the ring for about 5 months now as a last ditch effort before delving into female non-hormonal options.

Pros: Doesn't mess with my moods or depression like pills; it seems like the "steady" delivery method minimizes side effects for me. Generally feels less like a hormonal method than other kinds.

Cons: Made my breasts larger and quite sore, which didn't go away after the first few months. Also, nobody told me it can.. you know.. spontaneously fall out, for no reason, and be nowhere to be found. Since I usually can't feel it when it's in, I had no idea it was gone and for how long, so I'm dealing with EC and quite a scare.

I like it as a method in general, but there's no way I can keep on a method that can be flushed down the toilet or something without noticing.

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I just started my second cycle on Nuvaring, after being on LoOvral 28 birth control pills for over three years. My fiance and I pair my hormonal method with withdrawal.

Pros: For me, the most important thing (even more of a consideration than pregnancy risks, actually) is that it takes care of my debilitating period pains. Not wanting to go back to throwing up from pain every month, I knew I had to stay on a hormonal BC method.

The pill was working OK for me - since taking it for actual BC, I had gotten a lot better about taking it on time every day and my periods got EXTREMELY regular (Every fourth Wednesday morning, ending by Sunday evening or Monday). But I was getting kind of sick of having to set alarms on my phone for 9pm every night and forgetting the pills at school when I went home for the weekend and having to carry them along if I was out past midnight (or rushing home to take them within my three-hour grace period). I had to go to PP for a renewal of my BC soon anyway, so I figured, after reading up on the boards, that I'd try the ring.

So far, and this is only based on one cycle, the main pro is that it works on my cramps! It's super super easy to use, since I just stick it in, set an alarm on my cell phone for three weeks, and take it out again when the alarm goes off. My period is still super regular and short. It hasn't fallen out at all except once during sex (it looked like a busted condom because it was around my fiance's penis lol). Oh, and this might seem like a con to some, but I think it increases my vaginal discharge and is helping me get wetter when aroused. I think because of the lower hormone levels I am more easily aroused now, too.

Cons: Well, that vaginal discharge smells pretty acidic during the first few days after I insert the ring. I figure it's my vagina going 'o noes foreign invader!' and trying to push it out, but it hasn't fallen out so far. Also, I think it's made me more sensitive, but not in a good way. I used to enjoy very deep cervical stimulation during sex but now certain positions that used to feel very good are painful. This cycle, it took about 24hrs for the ring to situate itself properly, which was kind of a pain because I could feel it slipping down and it was a little uncomfortable. We've had to take it out a few times during sex because it was uncomfortable for me, but we just slip it back in right after.

Ease of use: Way easier than my pills! My fiance and I were always stressing about me taking them on time (he'd remind me if the alarm went off and I wasn't home, and tried to make sure he asked if I'd taken it, which got a little annoying but I definitely appreciated).

Effectiveness: Well it's so much easier to be a perfect user on this method! I haven't become pregnant, but that's only after one cycle.

Although...and this might be a totally unfounded fear and just me being silly, but I worry about using it with withdrawal sometimes. I am a little scared that my fiance is going to withdraw one day and the ring will be hooked around his penis and he'll ejaculate and get semen all over the ring. I don't even know if that's even physically possible, but it would kind of suck due to, you know, having to shove it back up my vagina. I'd probably just wash it off and keep it out for a little bit, since sperm die pretty soon in open air, right?

Overall, I'd recommend it for anyone who wants a low-dose hormonal BC method but doesn't want to have to remember a pill every day.

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I've had lots of problems with depression on all oral contraceptives.
Did any of you have the same problem and did the ring help?

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I know I'm a few months late in this thread but I thought I would share my experience.

I was on Yaz for about a year or two for acne/cysts/heavy irregular periods, but I was so terrible about taking it that I would get a lot of spotting. I did a lot of research on more long-term methods that I wouldn't have to think about all the time, and decided that an IUD or Implanon (which I don't see on the list?) wouldn't work because periods would be unpredictable and potentially heavy (I'm anemic so I try to keep blood loss to a minimum). Plus it's a very big decision, and kind of expensive when I would really prefer just to experiment with different methods. I chose against the patch because I didn't want my birth control to be obvious, and I wasn't sure the shot would help with my acne. Anyways, my experience with the ring was generally poor:

- Didn't have to worry about a daily pill
- I got an OK from my doctor to take it continuously so I didn't get periods

-It was ALWAYS trying to escape, and I could feel it. My job requires a lot of standing and walking, which may have something to do with it, but I found myself having to push it back in every time I went to the bathroom
-It was generally painful to have. I haven't heard of this problem before, but it was just overall uncomfortable, possibly because it is kind of large. It wasn't unbearable to have it in by any means, but it's definitely more comfortable now that it's out.
- I took it out a lot because I was so worried about intercourse being painful, which meant it was out 4-6 hours a night, five to seven days a week, which I think really lowered the effectiveness
-Having to remove it so much led to a lot of bleeding which STILL hasn't been resolved even though I've gone back on the pill (Lybrel)

Ease of use: Since I have medical reasons for being on birth control, I get it pretty cheap through insurance. As far as its impact on my relationship, it was stressful for me to have to worry about the effectiveness, and I was always panicky about condom failure and the possibility of a pregnancy.

Effectiveness: As far as I know it's been effective. I'm probably taking a pregnancy test in a couple weeks just for peace of mind, but at this point I highly doubt I'm pregnant. I think if it's comfortable for you to have in (obviously the biggest obstacle for me) this is a really really effective method because it's almost impossible to mess up- you don't have to worry about forgetting a pill or anything.


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Bun Bun
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So far I've been on Nuvaring for a little over one cycle! In all, I really like it!

-No mood swings! On the pill, I'd have horrible moodswings when I'd go on the placebo week. So far, none with the ring.
-Less vaginal dryness/tightness compared to being on the pill. I have much more discharge, so that might be a con for some. For me, it's not problem. (PS, there's no smell, irritation, or odd colour or anything. It's just regular old discharge!) It's actually a total pro, because sex is much more comfortable.
-Reduced cramps compared to no birth control at all. It's about the same effectiveness as the pill at reducing cramps for me.
-WAY less bloating! I felt constantly bloated on the pill, and I don't have that with Nuvaring!

-I find it harder to trust the effectiveness of the ring compared to the pill. Perhaps because I was on the pill for almost 3 years and got used to it!
-For the first while, you're always worried about it falling out and I was constantly checking! (It's never even gotten close to falling out XD)
-It's not covered by my insurance, while the pill is. For me, the ring costs about $54 CAD every three months

Ease of use:
Getting on the ring was easy. I just told my doctor I was interested, and she wrote me a prescription! I find it incredibly easy to use. There's no issue inserting it and taking it out (which is fantastic because I have issues with tampons, so I was worried). I have glittery star stickers on my calendar to remind me to take it out or put it back in! My partner doesn't feel it at all during sex and neither do I. He was, however, disappointed after reading the scarleteen article on it, because it didn't come out on his penis [Razz]

Effectiveness: Got my withdrawl bleed 3 days after taking the ring out! So far, so good!

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Pros: No daily action required like the pill, which is really what I was looking for.

Cons: I was hoping it would make my periods lighter/ease cramps, which it did the second month, but as of my last withdrawal bleed I'm back to heavier bleeding and quite a bit of pain.

Ease of use: Super easy to use! As well as to afford thanks to the family PACT program here, so I receive them for free. Sometimes it sits super low and I'll take it out and reinsert. Its only come out once, where I found it on the bed afterwards. Two other times it started slipping out, but compared to the times where nothing has happened, those 3 incidents are a blip on the radar.

Effectiveness: So far it's prevented pregnancy. Much easier to achieve closer to the "perfect use" than it was with the pill.

Also, one of the most common questions I've seen and been asked was does my (cisgender male) partner feel it-I was curious myself, and no, he doesn't. I think there's a lot more going on during intercourse than whatever he would feel from the ring, but that's just my opinion.

Posts: 5 | From: CA | Registered: May 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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i know this doesnt go with the thread.figured since there is many people here who can give me advice.

i would first like to say that i have never been on birthcontrol before, but due to my painful period(which i currently take naproxin prescribed for my pains) and lately my periods are not on time, started having sex 4 months ago with my current boyfriend i am now deciding to start birthcontrol. By the way i will be 18 in 8 months and my parents dont know of my sexual activity and disaprove of birthcontrol (despite the fact on how ill i get from my period and my doctor recommends) due to their religious beliefs.
-is it true that your period will always come on the week the ring is off?
-can i go to the pharmacy and buy it without a prescription?
-how much does it cost without insurance?
-do you recommend i go to planned parenthood? Will it be cheaper there? [Confused] [Confused]

"There is more to sex appeal than just measurements. I dont need a bedroom to prove my womanliness I can convey just as much sex appeal, picking apples off a tree or standing in the rain." -Audrey Hepburn

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