An Focal · Health · Sex

The Best Methods of Safe Sex

Red condom and thumb upPeople have been using birth control methods for thousands of years.

Now, we have many safe and effective forms of effective contraception available but which are the best methods?

Women have more contraception choices then men who must use condoms, abstain or consider abstinence.

With careful and consistent use condoms are 99% effective against pregnancy and STIs.

Condoms are widely available, can be used in conjunction with other forms of birth control, protects both partners and has no medical side effects.

However putting them on correctly requires practice, they can get damaged or split easily and they must be used before the expiry date.

Male sterilisation is a drastic and permanent form of birth control. It is useful for men who have completed their families or don’t want children. Sterilisation does not protect against STIs.

Women have many more methods to chose from and it is important to chose what is best for you.

The Implant (the bar) is a match-stick sized rod that is inserted into the arm to prevent pregnancy. It doesn’t interrupt sex, works for up to three years and may reduce period pains.

The are of course disadvantages with this method as with all methods. The bar may cause irregular bleeding, weight can or it may stop your periods. Insertion and removal must be done by a doctor and it does not protect against STIs.

The Pill is the most common form of birth control for women and is 99% effective is used properly. It doesn’t interrupt sex, reduces bleeding, period pain and PMT and can protect against cancer of the ovaries and womb.

The disadvantages include vomiting, diarrhoea and weight gain. Antibiotics can interfere with its effectiveness and it does not protect against STIs.

Diaphragms are a flexible rubber device inserted into the vagina to prevent sperm from reaching the egg.

It can be put in any time before sex and can be re-used. However you must be fitted for a diaphragm, spermicide is needed for every use, must stay in place for at least six hours after sex and it does not protect against STIs.

The Coil is a small plastic and copper device that is put into the womb. It works as soon as it is inserted and can stay in for up to eight years. It may cause irregular bleeding, insertion and removal must be done by a doctor, there is a risk of pelvic infection and it doesn’t protect from STIs.

Of course abstinence is always the best way to avoid unplanned pregnancy and STIs but remember that there are other ways to reduce the risk if keeping your pants on is not an option.

If getting amorous stay safe and use protection.

(Text originally published in An Focal 5 March 2013)



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