Discussing Birth Control With Your Partner

Different couples decide to start having sex at different times. If you feel like you and your partner are ready and want to have sex, it is important to bring up the topic of birth control as soon as possible.


Both Partners are Responsible

Although many forms of birth control are designed to be used by women, the decision to use birth control and what kind of contraceptive should be used is something both partners need to agree on. The possible consequences that result from not using birth control, such as unplanned pregnancy and spreading sexually transmitted diseases, are life changing and effect both people in the relationship.


When and How to Talk About Birth Control

Since sex is both a strong physical and emotional experience, discussing sex and birth control should be done before a couple starts having sex.

Prepare yourself before bringing up the subject to your partner. Plan out what you will say and do your research on contraceptives. During the actual conversation, be honest about your feelings, concerns, and wishes, and be open minded about your partnersí feelings as well. Keep in mind that your partner is probably feeling as anxious as you, but talking openly about sex will lead to more fulfilling sexual experiences.


What Should You Discuss?

Talking about birth control and sex can be awkward. However, to ensure a fulfilling and healthy sexual relationship, the following should be discussed.

-Each partnerís health history. (Is there a possibility of someone having an STD or AIDs?)
-Previous experience with birth control
-Personal preferences and religious views on birth control
-How frequently each person wants or expects sex to happen
-Cost of contraceptives
-Effectiveness/strength of different kinds of birth control
-The effort it takes to use a certain kind of contraceptive (i.e. The pill requires more effort than a condom)

This might also be an appropriate time to discuss sex itself, especially if it is one personís or both partnersí first time. Talk about each personís likes, dislikes, and emotional/physical concerns.


Different Types of Birth Control

The following is a broad outline of the most common types of birth control used.

-Hormonal Methods-Contraceptives under this category are designed for women and are usually excellent at preventing pregnancy. Hormonal methods include birth control pills, shots, birth control patches, sub-dermal implants, and vaginal rings. Most of these will require either professional medical consultation and/or a prescription.
-Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)-This is a small, T-shaped contraceptive that is inserted into the uterus by a doctor. The effects of an IUD last 5-10 years.
-Barrier Methods-These include condoms, contraceptive sponges, and spermicide foams and gels, and diaphragms. Though more accessible, barrier contraceptives are not as effective and must be used every time a couple has sex.
-Natural Family Planning-This method entails keeping track of a womanís ovulation cycle and knowing what time periods a woman is more or less likely to get pregnant.
-Sterilization-A man can either have a vasectomy or a woman can have her tubes tied. This is know as permanent birth control and should only be done when a couple does not want to have children at all.


How and Where to Obtain Birth Control

In general, the more effective and expensive a contraceptive is, the more likely it is you will have to see a health professional.

-Contraceptives such as condoms and sponges can be purchased at a drugstore.
-Birth control with long term effects require seeing a health professional. Birth control and other hormonal methods require a a doctorís prescription. Other contraceptives, such as an IUD and sterilization requires a doctor.

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