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Question About Conctrecption

Posted: Fri Dec 18, 2020 7:47 pm
by CatHaru26

So I've been having anxiety recently about if what I'm doing to protect myself sexually is enough.

I've been in a relationship with my boyfriend for about 8 months now. We were each others first time and we are both monogamous. We only became sexually active in September. I've been on the combination birth control pill (Norethindrone Acetate and Ethinyl Estradiol) since August and because of that we figured we wouldn't need to use condoms (neither of us find that we're at any risk of STDs). However, just to be safe, since the pill isn't 100% effective, we also use the withdrawal method. Yes, I know that on its own thats not a very reliable method but I thought that maybe in tandem, the two of them together could be effective. I also very occasionally miss a pill (like, I've only missed it twice, and they were in totally separate pill packs), and I thought that the withdrawal method could serve as a backup in case I do miss a pill, even though technically I am still protected even if I miss one.

My question in short is: Are the two of these together enough? And is the withdrawal method even helping or is doing that a little bit pointless?

Thats all, thank you :)

Re: Question About Conctrecption

Posted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 5:14 am
by Siân
Hi CatHaru 26!

So we have a whole article on exactly this! Using two methods of birth control together ups your overall level of protection. We call it the buddy method, and we talk in more detail in the piece I've linked at the bottom. In short, whilst withdrawal isn't great on it's own, when you combine it with the pill you have a really solid level of protection:

=> Combination pill alone = 99.7% effective alone with perfect use - 91% effective alone with typical use
=> Combination pill + Withdrawal = 99.98% effective with perfect use - 97.6% effective with typical use

It's worth remembering, that those percentages are for a whole year of use. We still recommend getting tested regularly for STIs once you start being sexually active with someone.

The Buddy System: Effectiveness Rates for Backing Up Your Birth Control With a Second Method

Does that help?

Re: Question About Conctrecption

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2020 4:12 am
by Melamyl
I've always wondered too if withdrawal method is enough for having safe sex. Isn't just doing intercourse while you're both in the middle of it will have a chance to make the girl pregnant?

Re: Question About Conctrecption

Posted: Thu Dec 24, 2020 8:39 am
by Sofi
Using just the withdrawal method on its own is considered high risk because of the possibility of fluid exchange that could lead to pregnancy. Of course it's an even higher risk if ejaculation happens right after withdrawal, but even if withdrawal happens way before ejaculation, it's very risky without birth control involved.

Re: Question About Conctrecption

Posted: Sun Jan 03, 2021 3:55 pm
by CatHaru26
Thank you that does help! That article really put my mind at ease.

I actually had another quick question about contraception. On days where I forgot a pill, for example, my boyfriend and I will of course use condoms. But for some reason, he says the condom feels too tight on him and makes sex less pleasurable. (Just adding, I don't think hes lying or anything. He usually suggests we use the condom and even though he says it bothers him, he uses it with no quarrels.)

Neither of us really understand the different types of condoms, or how to know how to pick the right one. We're just using regular, lubricated condoms as of now. Any advice on how to fix the issue?

Re: Question About Conctrecption

Posted: Mon Jan 04, 2021 8:08 am
by Sam W
Hi CatHaru26,

If the condoms you two are using are too tight, it may be that he needs a slightly larger style of condom (they'll usually have things like "large" or "XL" in the name). If you're looking for extra help in picking condoms, this article is a great place to start: Your Map to the Condom Aisle.

Re: Question About Conctrecption

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 6:33 am
by idk anymore
Yes, the withdrawal method is only slightly more effective then the method of having sex standing up, i.e not at all. It is highly unlikely that the withdrawal method is helping all that much. Not only can it be difficult to remember such things in the heat of it, but such things as pre-cum can make it effectively pointless. I recommend using condoms as well as birth control. Not only is it a good habit to get into, you'll likely need it later in life, but it is also much more effective then pulling out.

Re: Question About Conctrecption

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:26 am
by Sam W
I do want to clarify that Withdrawal is 73-82% effective in one year of typical use, which isn't the same as effectively pointless. We generally don't recommend that younger folks rely solely on withdrawal because it's lack of experience and control over their bodies increases the likelihood that it will fail (and it doesn't protect against STIs). Too, it's just not a good option for anyone looking to choose a method with a high protection against pregnancy, since hormonal methods and condoms have high effectiveness rates.

When withdrawal does fail, it's most often because the person just doesn't withdraw in time. Less frequently, it's because sperm is picked up by pre-cum as it moves out of the body. Pre-ejaculate does not ever, all by itself, contain sperm. What can happen, though, is that on the way out of the penis, it can pick up sperm left over from a previous ejaculation.

Re: Question About Conctrecption

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 8:54 am
by idk anymore
Wow! I guess you learn something every day. I was under the impression that it was completely ineffective, but I looked it up and your totally right.

Re: Question About Conctrecption

Posted: Tue Jan 05, 2021 5:56 pm
by Mo
That's what we're here for, to help you learn something new! :)