Recently, behind the scenes, the Skepchick Hive was discussing birth control: what we use, what we don’t use, what works and what sucks. We realized that this conversation was probably pretty useful in-front-of the scenes, too.Â So I’m going to be putting together some information for you, in a series of posts, on how to avoid pregnancy – long term, short term, mid term, and oops-term.
If you have any questions about a birth control method, comment on the blog or email us a question and I’ll do my best to thoroughly Google it and post my findings.
Today’s topics are “Condoms and Whaaaaa?”. I’ll get to condoms – use, options, pros and cons – in a minute, but first I want to talk about misconceptions about how to avoid pregnancy without birth control.
We’re all familiar with the bad advice we’ve all heard (or heard that other people heard). You can’t get pregnant:
- the first time you have sex
- if you’re having your period
- if you do it in high heels
- if the woman is on top
- if you do it standing up
- if you do jumping jacks after sex
- if dude pulls out
But there are a few more myths that, logically, seem to be obvious ways to avoid pregnancy… but they’re not.
So unzip your pants (if you’re still wearing any) and join me on a NSFWÂ journey through the warring nation-states of Getting and Not-Getting Knocked-up.
How not to not get pregnant
See? You probably stopped reading to go find something to throw at your computer screen in anger, yelling “You can’t get pregnant from anal fucking sex, Elyse!”
That’s why I’m writing this. You can. I’m not jerking your….you know. Granted, it’s a fantastic way to reduce your chances of pregnancy versus vaginal sex, but it does not eliminate the chances completely.
The problem here is not that fertilization happens up the butt; the problem is leakage. If sperm leak out of the anus, they can find their way to the vagina where they can swim up and fertilize an egg. The odds of this happening are not great. It’s far less than shooting a wad right up against the cervix, but if your goal is to avoid embroys, use a condom (which will also greatly reduce risk of STD transmission and virtually eliminate risk of male UTI from poo germs.)
If you listened to the first ever Skepchick podcast, you heard me drunkenly and not so eloquently declare that you can get pregnant from dry-humping (at least I think it was dry-humping) because “you bump and bump and things swim up.”
Think of it this way, you know that rubbing together an unsheathed penis with an unsheathed vulva, even sans penetration is a recipe for disaster, right? (If not, see anal sex, but this time dart lands even closer to the bulls eye.) Dry humping is essentially doing this, but with a soft (or seemingly soft at first) denim sieve between you.
Do this test: dump a couple tablespoons of milkshake on your pants. If anything goes through, they do not protect against pregnancy or STDs.
Dry Humping tip: Your mom will know what that stain is on your pants. Do your own laundry or at least buy yourself a Tide pen.
Hand jobs, Blow jobs, and other types of -jobs
These acts will almost always be safe for pregnancy prevention. But the important thing to remember here is that anything that has touched the tip of the penis during play, the entire penis following play, and/or any semen should not touch the vulva or the vulva’s neighbors.
If you give your dude a hand job, and you have to pee shortly after, wash your hands before you wipe. And use common sense – like don’t use your panties to clean up the mess then wear them.
The moral of the story is that sperm can live up to 5 days. If you keep them warm they’re going to try to find an egg util they die. Don’t give them that chance.
Condoms are a fantastic option for immediate-term to short-term birth control. Though, if you can cope with them, they can be used long-term as well.
In reality, I think once a couple decides they’re in it for the long haul, condoms are one of the first things to go (right before the illusion that neither partner farts). And that’s only for couples that have been bothering to use them in the first place.
Condoms get a bad rap for being uncomfortable and inconvenient. But they’re the only form of birth control that provides a physical, visible barrier of protection (so you know it’s there and can see that it’s working or not) and that helps eliminate risk of most STDs.
Using condoms doesn’t have to be an awkward burden. With styles ranging from glow-in-the-dark to flavored to enhanced-pleasure (and I don’t mean the old ribbed-style that has failed to, even once, increase any woman’s pleasure), condoms can be F-U-N! Yes, even though your penis is glowing in the dark, you’re still going to have to block out the inevitable hair-yank to come. Just try to, you know, keep your eye on the pink ribbon. (Also, if you buy fun-style condoms, check the box to make sure they are intended to prevent pregnancy and protect against STDs.)
People used to have to deal with allergy issues hampering condom use. Nonoxynol-9 and latex being the culprits. Unfortunately, I don’t see anything overthrowing nonoxynol-9’s reign as king of the sperm-exterminators, but there are plenty of other non-spermicidal lubes. The good news for those allergic is that nonoxynol should not be used by frequent condom users anyway because it will irritate the skin, even for those not allergic. That irritation can cause abrasions, increasing risk of HIV infection.
Latex allergy sufferers used to have 2 options: something else or lambskin. Neither of those options protect against HIV and not using condoms at all puts you at risk for other STDs. Fortunately, now there are polyurethane (and similar materials) condoms. These are a little more expensive, but they’re just as efficient and they’re thinner. They are a fantastic option for someone who likes condoms in theory, but hates them in practice. The new non-latex options offer increased sensitivity for the guy. If you’ve always hated condoms, but know you should be using them, give these a try.
- Pay-per-use. They only cost you if you use them, and at less than $1 per romp, unless you’re doing it more than once a day, it’s one of the most cost-efficient ways to prevent pregnancy.
- Protects against disease. With the exception of HPV and Herpes, you can protect yourself against virtually all STDs.
- You don’t have to rely on one partner or the other to be protected. Either partner can buy them and keep them handy.
- The only form of birth control available for men
- Can be used with other forms of birth control as backup/STD protection
- Can be incorporated into sexy time. Your partner can put it on or you can put it on… it can be applied by hand or by mouth. It’s actually way hotter to put a condom on your guy than it is for him to insert your IUD.
- 98% effective against pregnancy when used properly (85% when used improperly)
- Can be uncomfortable
- Some varieties are only intended for fun use and not pregnancy or disease prevention (if you can eat them, don’t use them for protection)
- Requires a time-out in the middle of the action
- Dulls sensation
- Possible allergic reactions to latex or nonoxynol-9
- Extensive use of nonoxynol-9 can increase risk of STD transmission due to causing skin irritation.
Here is a video on how to properly apply a condom. Enjoy!