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contraception

You should wait for sex, but if you can't....

This is one of a long line of common phrases in sex education and sexuality messaging people, including people I think of us allies, use that I deeply dislike, like "preventing teen pregnancy." Let me explain why, working backwards.

"You should wait for sex, but if you can't..."

That's usually followed by "then you should have sex using safer sex and contraception." Or -- and usually addressing both those things -- "then you should at least be responsible."

In some respect, that's fine. Now, not everyone needs contraception, either because they don't have a partner with a radically different reproductive system than them or they're not having the kinds of sex that can create a pregnancy, so that doesn't always make sense. But for people choosing to have any kind of sex, we're 100% on board with the sentiment that all of us -- no matter our age -- should be engaging in sexual practices supportive of safeguarding everyone's best health, and in alignment with whether we do or don't want

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What's the Typical Use Effectiveness Rate of Abstinence?

That question probably either sounds like a really important one or a really stupid one, depending on your view. But I want the answer regardless, and am seriously tired of waiting for it.

As an organization that provides information on all methods of contraception and other aspects of sexual decision-making, we include talking about abstinence (or celibacy, or not having certain kinds of sex, terminology we prefer because they're more clear) as a method. We are supportive of our users who choose to be celibate, in whole or in part, as their method of birth control, just as we're supportive of our users choosing any other method of contraception. We know full well that there is no one best method of contraception for all people and would never suggest that there is.

For every other method, we provide perfect and typical use rates of effectiveness. Those are two pieces of information, combined with additional info on each method, we provide for those making choices about contraception;

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UK "Repeat" Abortion Rate for Teens Increases: What Does It Mean and What Can We Do?

Originally written for The Guardian, condensed version can be seen there.

In 2008, over 5,000 UK women under the age of 20 had an abortion that was not their first. As was made clear by the alarmist headlines following the publication of those numbers, this is a big concern for the public.

A woman’s reproductive life often spans 30+ years. Around 1/2 of all pregnancies in the US and UK are unplanned. Contraception isn’t used or used properly. It fails sometimes even in perfect use. Female fertility peaks between the ages of 19 and 24: the reason we tend to see the most abortions (and pregnancies) in that group is because it is the most fertile group having the most sex. (Piccinino, LJ, Mosher, WD. Trends in contraceptive method use in the United States: 1982-1994. 1998. Family Planning Perspectives. Vol. 30(1): 4-10 & 6, Table 1) The UK teen pregnancy rate is the highest in Western Europe: six times higher than the Netherlands, nearly three times higher than France and more than twice

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Is birth control safe? Are certain brands best?

Gwenaly asks:

I've been wondering if using birth control is safe? And is there a certain brand of birth control that I can use that will be the best to use?

What's riskier?

Cayannagirl asks:

My Fiance and I have been having sexually active for about a year now, but we don't live together so we don't get to have sex that often, usually only on weekends if we're lucky and get my house to ourselves. We don't use condoms because the latex makes me break out and I haven't started birth control yet because I wasn't sure about what to use and because since both of us are Christian, we thought that if I got on birth control we would have sex more frequently which we didn't want to do since we were trying to keep from doing it too much and thus getting pregnant. Whenever we have sex he pulls it out before he ejaculates, but I've heard that some people still can get pregnant when doing that...is this true? Also, I'm really worried about gaining a lot of weight when I start birth control, because weight is a very big issue for me...is there a birth control that I can use that is effective, but won't cause me to gain a ton of weight?

Is it really illegal to sell me condoms?

ADistantPlanet asks:

This may be a bit of a strange question, but my attempts at researching this question have yielded very few results. I'm 16 years old, and the other day, I went into a gas station near my home in Michigan to buy some condoms. I'm on the Pill, but I use condoms every time with my boyfriend due to my paranoia of pregnancy. When I brought the condoms to the counter, the woman behind it informed me that there is a law that forbids the selling of condoms to those under 18. This didn't really sound plausible to me, considering that the age of consent in Michigan is 16 and it would be rather counterproductive to ban condoms for 2 years, however, the woman vehemently refused to sell them to me. Is there any sort of law (in Michigan or a national law) that forbids stores from selling condoms (or pregnancy tests, etc.) to minors?

First-Time Intercourse: It Was...Good?

We hear so many horror stories about first-time sex. Perhaps it might be good therapy to read about a first time that went well.

Implanon Part 2: In Which There Is a Very Large Needle

Earlier this week, I drove over to my very awesome local sexual health clinic, willingly had my upper left arm anaesthetized, and got a matchstick-sized piece of plastic jammed under the skin just for the heck of it. Well, okay, not exactly...

What I really did was get Implanon inserted, and it was actually a very neat experience. A couple of weeks ago, I'd had a long consultation with one of the doctors at the clinic to talk about whether Implanon would be a good choice for me (the blog entry about that is here) and I decided that even with the potential side effects, it sounded like a pretty darn good idea. No pill to take every day? Cool! No shot every three months? Great! No patch to irritate my skin or ring to irritate my vagina? Even better! Very effective contraception for three whole years? Absolutely fabulous!

At my consultation appointment, once I was sure Implanon was what I wanted, I was given a prescription for the implant. I think some clinics keep a stock on

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Boys, Birth Control, and Nature

I swallowed my reservations about hormonal contraceptives, why can't the men?

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