Taking care of your own contraception allows you to be in control of your own health, and ultimately, your own body. It means taking a stand against the spread of STI’s and unwanted pregnancy, and that you’ll be able to choose exactly when you want to have sex, when you feel comfortable about it. Surveys[1] have shown that only 49% of respondents think “it’s important to be personally responsible for contraception”, and one in five even believe that being prepared with a condom “is a man’s responsibility”. Learning what’s out there could stop you leaving it up to him. So…

What's available?

There’s a long list of potential contraceptives[2] that allow you the choice, depending on what you like. Popular types of contraception include condoms (both male and female), the pill, and implants. There are others, but these can either be permanent, or less known, and it’s worth talking to your doctor to find out about the potential benefits of each, and what could work for you.

Specifics for girls

The Pill

Probably one of the most famous contraceptives, the contraceptive pill, or simply ‘the pill’, has been around for decades, and famously allowed women to take control of their sexual health for the first time – leading to the “Summer of Love”. It works hormonally, preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg, and it also makes it difficult for sperm to reach an egg, too. Because it works with hormones you’ll want to talk to a doctor about which type of pill could be best for you, since there are a great variety, and there are many questions to answer. While the pill is effective against pregnancy, it cannot prevent STI’s. Combining it with condoms can be an effective way of preventing both.

The Contraceptive Implant

Relatively new, an implant works like the pill but is actually a tube that’s inserted into your arm. It can last for up to three years, and stops the release of eggs from ovaries. Like the pill, the implant doesn’t protect you against STI’s, but it is effective at preventing pregnancy. It also has the benefit of not having to be taken orally every day. Just one insertion is all that is needed. Speak to your doctor about the kinds of contraception available, and even find out whether you’re covered for it by your national health system.

Female Condoms

Female condoms fit inside the vagina, and work on the same principle as male condoms. They’re made of a thin, soft plastic called polyutherane. They’re 95% effective with perfect use[3]. Female condoms often get a bad ‘wrap’ (ahem) but are a good choice among other kinds of contraceptives, and protect you from both STI’s and pregnancy. All forms of contraception should be a personal choice, but don’t rule something out without trying it first, or just talking about it. Making those decisions should all begin with a conversation with your partner.

Your Own Protection

Taking control of both types of contraception and its availability are central to your own sense of empowerment, and also potential enjoyment when it comes to sex. In letting your partner choose, or bring, contraception, without talking about which is best can have an impact on the relationship you have, and the confidence you have when it comes to safe sex. Great sex with the chosen contraception can allow you to really let yourself go, and provides peace of mind that can help boost your passion.

[1] reports.mintel.com/sinatra/oxygen/brochure/id=637671

[2] http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception-guide/pages/how-effective-contraception.aspx

[3] http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/contraception-guide/Pages/female-condoms.aspx