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Is it insane to rely wholly on condoms for birth control?
September 11, 2012 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Is it insane to rely on condoms for birth control?

My hair started falling out after 10 years on Implanon. I took it out, thinking I'd get an IUD, but completely chickened out. After a few months of using condoms only, I decided to do the mature thing and get back on the pill (Microgynon). Two cycles in and my hair is falling out by the handful in the shower and I feel constantly nauseous.

So my question is - is it totally nuts to rely on condoms? A pregnancy is not an option at the moment.

Note: please don't scold me about not getting an IUD. I know it's the best option, but I'm terrified of the insertion process and potential complications. I just want to know whether condoms are reliable enough to be our only birth control method.
posted by nerdfish to Health & Fitness (51 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
You're gonna get lots of varying opinions on this... but hey, ain't that what AskMe is for? Somewhat well-informed opinions?

Anyhows: female here, been on varying forms of birth control for 15+ years. I know that, for ME personally, if pregnancy was absolutely, positively NOT AN OPTION, I would not rely exclusively on condoms. Are they better than using nothing? Yeah, absolutely. Are they FAIRLY reliable? Yep, they sure are. Are they even REMOTELY failproof? Hells no. There is a failure rate even with "perfect" use, and I can tell you right now, NO. ONE. uses the things perfectly.

This isn't "scolding", in any sense of the word, but just a data point: you may wish to speak to your healthcare provider about the possibility of getting some kind of light/"conscious" sedation for an IUD insertion. In my experience, if you tell a sympathetic healthcare provider, "Dude, I really want/need this procedure done, but I am UTTERLY TERRIFIED OF IT," they will bend over backwards to find a way to make the experience less-scary for you. I had a Paragard put in a few years ago, and it was totally non-awful.
posted by julthumbscrew at 8:03 AM on September 11, 2012 [5 favorites]


Is stocking up on Plan B/the Morning After Pill an option in your area (in conjunction with a condom). That way if there is any irregular use of the condom, you can use Plan B as the backup method.

There will be side effects, of course, but they should be more temporary than daily hormonal BC.
posted by muddgirl at 8:05 AM on September 11, 2012 [7 favorites]


Condoms used flawlessly are highly, highly effective - about 98%. If that is not reassuring enough for you, you can also double up with FAM or the sponge.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:06 AM on September 11, 2012 [13 favorites]


Do you live in a place where abortion is available and safe? Because relying on condoms is a risk. There's a 2-3 percent chance of pregnancy even if you use them perfectly, and perfection is difficult. As juithumbscrew points out, there are better ways.
posted by Etrigan at 8:06 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


It is not insane. People do it all the time. Get the book Taking Charge of your Fertility and get a good grasp on your cycle. Do you have a consistent partner? Get him on board with the plan. Follow best-practices for condom use. Enjoy the fact that condom use often slows down sex and encourages participants to get a little more creative. Don't feel guilty for avoiding elective drugs that make you feel terrible. Your health is important.
posted by amanda at 8:06 AM on September 11, 2012 [17 favorites]


I had a terrible reaction to hormonal birth control in my early 20s and have never used anything else but condoms. Make sure you use them religiously and I think you'll be fine. I've never had a legitimate scare in the 12 years I've been sexually active.
posted by jabes at 8:06 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not insane at all. I've been doing condoms exclusively for about a year with no problems. My mom used only condoms throughout her marriage (except when she wanted to get pregnant of course) and never had any issues. I did try the pill for a while (a couple months) but found that it caused me to feel more depressed, lose my sex drive and overall feel off-kilter somehow. I tried taking antidepressants before realizing that this was just treating the symptoms instead of killing the root of the problem which I firmly believe now was the pill I was on.

I switched to condoms and it's been fine. When there is a problem it is pretty obvious and you can have Plan B on hand. Even my ridiculously paranoid self has only taken Plan B twice and that's erring on the side of abundant caution. The nurse practitioner I was getting my birth control from didn't blink when I said I'd switched to condoms. I asked if she'd advise against that and she just shrugged and said she'd been married for 13 years and had used no other form of birth control but condoms, so she thought I'd be fine.

So advice: keep Plan B handy, and go for it! You can often get Plan B free from your local Planned Parenthood, FYI.
posted by peacheater at 8:11 AM on September 11, 2012


Note also that the 2 % risk of pregancy is for an entire year -- i.e. if you use condoms for an entire year as you only form of birth control, about 2 % of women will get pregnant, statistically speaking. It's not a 2 % chance during any given encounter (it's much much less).
posted by peacheater at 8:12 AM on September 11, 2012 [8 favorites]


No, it's not at all insane to rely on condoms. However, I'd mind what muddgirl said above and think about whether you need to absolutely not get pregnant [in which case use a back up method like the sponge or a diaphragm] or you need to not have a baby [in which case think about Plan B and/or the availability of abortion in a worst case scenario]. Some of this will have to do with your particular values, but if you use condoms seriously they are quite effective. Of course if you're in a monogamous long term relationship you may also want to consider whether a vasectomy would put your mind at ease and is an option for your relationship.
posted by jessamyn at 8:13 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Something else I wanted to note: it sometimes take a little while to get the hang of condoms. I haven't had any slipping or breaking in many many months and that's because my boyfriend and I have really gotten the hang of having sex with condoms. Obviously this is not something you want to mess around with, but bear in mind that it will get easier the more sex you have with condoms.
posted by peacheater at 8:14 AM on September 11, 2012


I'm in the Netherlands, so I can grab a pack of the Dutch version of Plan B from any Kruidvat or Etos. Abortion is also safe and legal. I'm in a monogomous LTR, and we do hope to start trying for kids in the next three-four years, just not now.
posted by nerdfish at 8:22 AM on September 11, 2012


Is it insane to rely on condoms for birth control?

If it's insane, call me crazy, because that's what I've been doing since I became sexually active at the age of 19.

Well, in general that's what I've been doing. There have been three points in my life when I was in a mutually monogamous relationship and knew I was going to be having sex on a pretty dang regular basis; in those times, I would switch to another method (first one was the pill, the second and third time was a cervical cap [which is an AWESOME THING but that's another Askme]). The rest of the time, sex has been infrequent enough that proper condom use has been perfectly fine (plus, it also protects from STDs). Sure, there have been a couple instances when something broke, but we're talking only about three or four times in 20 years, and I always got Plan B after. And I also always was really careful to make sure I was using them the right way.

And in that whole 20 years, I have never to my knowledge been pregnant, so there's that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:23 AM on September 11, 2012


I'm in the Netherlands, so I can grab a pack of the Dutch version of Plan B from any Kruidvat or Etos. Abortion is also safe and legal. I'm in a monogomous LTR, and we do hope to start trying for kids in the next three-four years, just not now.

Then IMHO you are extremely well positioned to rely on condoms as your sole measure of birth control and should go forth and happily shag to your heart's content.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:25 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Also, to clarify - I didn't switch to other methods of birth control when I was in a more mutually committed relationship because I mistrusted condoms' ability to back me up during periods of increased sex. It was actually more like "woo-hoo having sex with something other than a condom is gonna be HAWT."

Provided you use them properly, if that's what you want to use, it should be fine.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:28 AM on September 11, 2012


Here's a really handy chart comparing the effectiveness of various kinds of contraception. You can do a nifty interactive comparative thingamajig if you want to weigh other issues (like how hormones affect you.) They also have ridiculously extensive information about how condoms work, what your risks are, etc.

Please keep in mind that plasticky materials like latex don't necessarily play well with all kinds of other materials, and have to be kept in somewhat climate/light controlled environments. I'm personally pretty sure that "didn't put it on right" is only a little bit ahead of "mistreated the thing" in the great big list of "reasons the condom failed." Especially now that I know that other people aren't nearly as baffled by the intimate use of whipped cream as I am.
posted by SMPA at 8:33 AM on September 11, 2012


It is a question of risk tolerance. I am also in the 'would never do it because a small level of risk is still too much for me'. Even with Plan B on my shelf and abortion available, I wouldn't do it, I would find getting pregnant and needing to make that decision and go through the process absolutely emotionally draining and disturbing, even though I'm totally pro choice.

Throwing the idea out there, have you considered NuvaRing instead of the pill. It has a very low level of hormone that is localized and of course, everyone's mileage varies, but some people find that they do not get whatever pill symptoms they don't like with it. And it's very easy to use.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:37 AM on September 11, 2012


No it's not totally crazy. It's all my wife and I ever used until I had a vasectomy. This included a period where unwanted pregnancy would have been even more serious than usual for medical reasons. We felt it was an informed and responsible decision.

Follow the rules religiously. The most important rule is withdraw immediately after ejaculating and clean up thoroughly before renewed contact. Best quality condoms used perfectly are very effective and there is Plan B in the event of an actual failure or error (for what it's worth we never had one fail over something like 10 years with condoms as the sole method - and I doubt low fertility is an issue as she was pregnant in like two months when we actually tried).
posted by Luke Skywalker at 8:39 AM on September 11, 2012


Use condoms and tell him to pull out just before he comes.
posted by discopolo at 8:39 AM on September 11, 2012


Use condoms and tell him to pull out just before he comes.

I'm under the impression that this is recommended against, because it's not how condoms are designed to be used and can increase the risk of slippage.
posted by lwb at 8:44 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, no one has the right to bully you into using HBC. Women will give you recommendations about what's good for them, but your body is your body and you have to be your own champion. Other women can be dismissive and some men think taking HBC is like popping a Necco wafer instead of a med w/side effects, and some people will think you're lying or are at fault for even experiencing side effects, but screw them. You have to do what's best for you.

Would finding some gyn who does fittings for cervical caps/diaphragm help?
posted by discopolo at 8:45 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Condoms worked for us.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:48 AM on September 11, 2012


After your follow-up I'm even more convinced that you'll do just fine on condoms. I think that people underestimate the effectiveness of condoms, and, conversely, overestimate the ease with which one can get pregnant. Obviously, you should be careful and get the rhythm down, but there's definitely no need to pull out, and it can even have detrimental effects as mentioned above. I think there's a lot of pressure on women to take hormonal birth control and some amount of guilt-tripping from male partners is also common. But ultimately as discopolo said above, you have to do what's best for you. And for me, and possibly for you, that means messing with my hormones as little as possible.
posted by peacheater at 8:51 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


My second girlfriend had similar problems with birth control, and so she didn't use it. Since she would have been opposed to abortion, I calculated the odds of her getting pregnant (before subsequently breaking up with her). Based on a 99% effectiveness rate, and assuming that you have sex (on average) once a day, you have a 97.5% chance of having a condom be ineffective by the end of the year. 1 - (.99^365) is the formula.

Of course, that's based on a 99 percent effectiveness rate, which is inaccurate. Per the CDC website: Male condoms are 82–98% effective at preventing pregnancy.

So yes, it's pretty insane.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 8:56 AM on September 11, 2012


You're not crazy. I've tried them ALL and find that most bc available to women, while effectve, is invasive as hell and potentially damaging in lots of little ways, and condoms at least provide a reprieve from the drugs and devices.

After almost a year of recommending the IUD as the holy grail of bc, i realised I was having a host of side effects that I was attributing to stress (and my inability to cope with it), including significant hair loss, loss of sex drive, and severe depression. Googling showed me that I wasn't alone, and I had the thing removed to much protest from my gyn. I feel so so so much better, and the baby hair sprouting around my temples has proven that I wasn't mistaken about the hair loss, at least. I've been relying on condoms ever since, and plan to pick up a copy of TCOYF for additional ammo.
posted by sundaydriver at 9:07 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


So yes, it's pretty insane.

Keep in mind the other math that goes into this.

- you're fertile maybe five days a month, seven if you stretch it out, account for sperm and egg lifespan
- you can track that with decent accuracy (some people can, some people can't) for the sake of having a secondary "method" to keep you from getting pregnant
- you can opt to have no PIV sex during that time specifically

With just a few adjustments to this, you can reduce your chances of pregnancy significantly, even if you have sex almost every day.
posted by jessamyn at 9:13 AM on September 11, 2012 [6 favorites]


I've been relying on condoms as birth control for most of my (adult, sexually active) life.

In almost fifteen years of using condoms this way, I had exactly one instance of the condom breaking. I took the morning after pill almost immediately and did not become pregnant.

I've never experienced slipping or falling off or any of the other things you sometimes hear about.

I'm not sure about other "incorrect" uses per statistics, but, again, in almost fifteen years of use, I have never had a surprise pregnancy.

I'm not aware of any "learning curve" that is involved, assuming that you and your partner are both reasonably mature people who are capable of googling "how to put on a condom". I learned to do it in health class as a teenager (via a banana!). I've never been with a guy who didn't know how to do it. This is not really a thing unless you're Mary Kay LeTourneau.

I think that if you live in a part of the world where the morning after pill is available and abortion is legal in the case of a really bad emergency, this is a totally fine thing to do.

For what it's worth, my mom got pregnant while using an IUD. No birth control method is completely foolproof, and condoms are as reliable as most others as long as you actually use them.

I'm almost positive that the reason for that famous "2%" statistical gap is because a lot of people aren't really USING the condoms. A guy saying he'll put one on "when he gets close" is not using a condom. A guy saying "oh yeah I put it on" but not putting it on is not using a condom. Etc.
posted by Sara C. at 9:13 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Based on a 99% effectiveness rate, and assuming that you have sex (on average) once a day, you have a 97.5% chance of having a condom be ineffective by the end of the year. 1 - (.99^365) is the formula.

A stated effectiveness rate of 98% means that if 100 heterosexual couples have sex for a year and only use condoms to prevent pregnancy, two of them are expected to get pregnant during that year. You don't need to do a daily calculation - if you want to back-calculate how likely it is that someone is going to get pregnant using a condom once, it'll be less likely than 98%
posted by muddgirl at 9:16 AM on September 11, 2012 [9 favorites]


Here's another explanation of condom failure rates. And, yes, I agree with Sara C.'s small comment. There's condom failure and then there's failure to use a condom.

And here's my own small comment: if you ever find yourself pretty hot and heavy and in the moment thinking, Oh! This feels so good! I'll skip the condom tonight! You might be ovulating. And that would be a very bad time to forgo the condom. Heh. Our bodies want to make babies. So, this is why you and the guy need to be on board together and discuss what you'll do if you don't feel like using a condom. There are other fun things to do that don't involve PIV sex!
posted by amanda at 9:19 AM on September 11, 2012 [4 favorites]


(or rather, less likely than 2%, more unlikely than 98%)
posted by muddgirl at 9:24 AM on September 11, 2012


Based on a 99% effectiveness rate, and assuming that you have sex (on average) once a day, you have a 97.5% chance of having a condom be ineffective by the end of the year. 1 - (.99^365) is the formula.

As muddgirl mentioned above you're doing the wrong calculation. The chance of getting pregnant for a year has already been calculated for you -- which is 1 % (or somewhat more with improper condom use).
posted by peacheater at 9:27 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is it insane? No. I did this for many years before, during, after, in betwixt, other methods. There's no 100% foolproof contraceptive means except, you know, not doing it.

To your fears about the IUD, I had them too, and thus put off getting one for over a year and stayed on the Pill. fed up with the side effects from that, I got an IUD earlier this year and would be happy to talk to you (or anybody else) about my experience via meMail. In a nutshell, it was not the easiest process but I don't regret getting it. There are a lot of horror stories out there about IUD insertions and after effects but there is another side to it.
posted by sm1tten at 9:34 AM on September 11, 2012


Condoms work fantastic if you just use them every time (correctly). If you have regular menstrual cycles, you can also use one of the "Natural Family Planning" methods to keep track of your cycle and avoid PIV sex when you're most fertile.
The recommendation above for the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility is an excellent one, particularly if you want to have kids in the next few years -- learning how to chart your cycle to avoid getting pregnant will make getting pregnant a lot easier when you want to.

*please don't use spermicides with the condoms for extra protection. it causes a lot of miserable vaginal irritation and seriously ups your chances of vaginal infections.

another pedantic note - hair loss has to do with the kind of progesterone in your birth control (that includes Implanon). there is no one pill, there are (unfortunately or fortunately) a million formulations of the pill. absolutely choose what you feel most comfortable with, but if you ever were thinking about exploring the pill again, there's like a dozen different progestins (the progesterone part of the pill), all of them have differently "androgen" activity, aka, what's gonna kick off hair loss. if you ever try BC again, be crystal-clear with your provider about the side effect and which pill you were on, so that presumably they would pick one with another formulation.

it's okay to be anxious about an IUD. not all birth control methods are for everyone. I'm a healthcare provider who inserts them, they're a really popular choice with a lot of people, but they're not for everyone. the insertion process is pretty straightforward and very, very quick -- if you want to hear about the insertion process from someone who does it routinely, or have any questions about the process or potential complications, please feel free to memail me.
posted by circle_b at 10:16 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Not insane or immature. We've always used condoms and we are really good at making babies without them. They have never failed us and if they did I'd get an early abortion. It is a very valid way to plan your family.
posted by the young rope-rider at 10:16 AM on September 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


A stated effectiveness rate of 98% means that if 100 heterosexual couples have sex for a year and only use condoms to prevent pregnancy, two of them are expected to get pregnant during that year.

Really? I didn't know that - where are you getting that information from? If that's correct, then please disregard my statistical analysis, since it's based on faulty data.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:23 AM on September 11, 2012


Yeah, not insane in my eyes. My wife and I successfully used condoms only for about 8 years before we decided to have children. Never had one break or leak in that entire time.

That said, my wife was always extra careful, I had to have it on before I got it anywhere near her, etc., and when we did finally start trying to conceive, we were successful on the first or second try so she was right to be careful for all that time before.
posted by mathowie at 10:26 AM on September 11, 2012 [2 favorites]


Really? I didn't know that - where are you getting that information from?

It is the standard definition of contraceptive effectiveness - for example, it is described in the product information on my pack of BCP. Online, an explanation of contraceptive failure rates. Or this chart from planned parenthood which sets aside percentages and just says "pregnancy per 100 women in 1 year"
posted by muddgirl at 10:38 AM on September 11, 2012


(They don't actually force exactly 100 women to use one method of birth control for a year - the effectiveness is usually calculated from the Pearl Index, which standardizes the number of participants and the length of the study).
posted by muddgirl at 10:52 AM on September 11, 2012


Let's do the math correctly. Optimistic assumptions are not allowed: we're going to use the "real use" numbers, not the "ideal use" numbers.

Each group starts with 100 couples and have sex all year like normal couples do. At the end of the year, we count the number of babies:
Condoms: 18 pregnancies
Spermicide: 29 pregnancies
Withdrawal: 28 pregnancies
Fertility-monitoring method: 24 pregnancies.
We can convert these numbers into probabilities: 18%, 29%, 28% and 24% chance of getting a baby that year. You can better your odds by using all four non-hormonal contraception methods in concert:
0.18 x 0.29 x 0.28 X 0.24 = 0.0035
or a third of a percent chance, also known as 285-odds against (1/0.0035). So:
p-of-baby = 0.0035
p-of-not-baby = 1 - 0.0035 = 0.9964
Given that 61 year old is the upper bound for the arrival of menopause, if you are 15 years old and wish a lifetimes without accidental babies, you have to roll the dice 46 times in the worse case, and roll on "not baby" each time.
p-of-not-baby ^ 46 = 0.85
which means you lose with probability 1-0.85 = 0.15.

If you use condoms alone, the probability of losing at this game is 1-(1-0.18)^46 = 0.9998, aka a guaranteed loss.

which is why doctor try to move kids off of condoms to better contraception methods as fast as possible.

Your best case scenario for condoms alone is "ideal use" for 3 years, 1-(1-0.02)^3=0.07, or about the same odds as rolling a double-six in monopoly. That's not bad, but it's not great either.
posted by gmarceau at 11:30 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


I forgot diaphragms, which is actually the best of the non-hormonals (ignoring non-hormonal UID). Diaphragms score only 12 "real-use" pregnancies a year in a group of 100 couples. So, with all fives methods used at once:
0.18 x 0.29 x 0.28 X 0.24 x 0.12 = 0.00042
1-(1-0.00042)^46 = 0.02
Two percent chance of baby, not bad at all. About the same as dying in a car accident.

Best case scenario is condoms, spermicide, withdrawal, monitoring and diaphragms, all used together, every time, all the time, perfectly each time.
0.02 x 0.06 x 0.24 x 0.15 x 0.04 = 1.72x10-6
Do this for 46 years, and your probability of having an accidental baby is:
1-(1- 0.02 x 0.06 x 0.24 x 0.15 x 0.04)^46 = 8x10^-5
also known as 12581-odds against, or about the same as that of dying in a house fire.
posted by gmarceau at 11:53 AM on September 11, 2012


You've also forgotten abortion.
posted by muddgirl at 11:55 AM on September 11, 2012 [3 favorites]


Anecdata: I used condoms as sole birth control for probably 2-3 years before I started using the NuvaRing and eventually got a Mirena IUD. I never had one slip or break during that time. However, when I first started sleeping with the man I'm dating now, we had condoms break all the time. We tried a bunch of different brands to find one that was more reliable (I think it ended up being by Lifestyles but is made out of polyurethane, not latex). We also had some success with female condoms, though there were a few incidences of the condom getting pushed all the way up inside of me (and subsequently would have had some risk of pregnancy if not for my IUD), mostly when I was on top.

If you have a brand of condoms that has been successful in the past with your partner, stick with those. Lube helps prevent breakage too. I'd say that since you have access to plan B, safe abortion, and a supportive partner, you're probably going to be just fine with only condoms. Maybe add spermicidal lube (if it doesn't irritate you or him) just for another layer of protection?
posted by radioaction at 12:17 PM on September 11, 2012


Hi, I got pregnant when using a condom.

My partner and I had both used condoms successfully with other people and with each other before; and there was no slipping, breaking, or spilling, or any indication whatsoever that the condom had not worked (and so no morning after pill). Though I still think condoms work very well, and I think there's a pretty good chance you would never have a problem, I just wanted to put it out there that condom failure is not just a statistic - it happens. It sucked.
posted by ke rose ne at 12:19 PM on September 11, 2012


I've been relying on condoms only birth control for about 7 years, and haven't gotten pregnant yet. In fact, we rarely even bother with the condoms anymore, and rely more on withdrawal, which I'm sure is controversial, but it's worked for us and my gyno said it's actually quite effective. I also keep track of my cycle, so that probably helps, too. Good luck--it sounds like there are lots of different opinions on this one!
posted by lagreen at 12:22 PM on September 11, 2012


How about a cervical cap or a diaphragm along with a condom during your most fertile days?
posted by mareli at 12:24 PM on September 11, 2012


(And before you ask, yes I watched my partner remove and tie off the condom)
posted by ke rose ne at 12:24 PM on September 11, 2012


[Folks, OP said "don't go there" and they are not anon. You can send non-answers to this question to MeMail.]
posted by jessamyn at 1:58 PM on September 11, 2012


We've been using condoms solidly for three years now - before that we used them for a few months at the start. So far we've had one "um, there's a lot more slickage on the outside of the condom than usual, but I can't see a hole or rip" and no pregnancies. We're fertile together since we've been using them since I had our daughter.

And I do think the withdrawal/contamination rate with condoms does depend on your partner's ejaculation style, so to speak. Two of the men I have been with have leaked prodigious amounts of precome and when using condoms with them I was (am) religious about it being on prior to any sexual contact. And no playing with yourself prior!

I'm considering an IUD as well, but condoms are working out well for us.
posted by geek anachronism at 3:09 PM on September 11, 2012


I can't be on hormonal BC at all for mental health reasons (among other nasty side effects) and condoms have been my sole method for something like 6 years now. There are a couple of factors that make that feasible to me--one, my partner is really awesome about not trying to get out of wearing one or just withdrawing or whatnot, two, we found a condom brand we both love that never slips off and has never broken (Crown, for the curious), three, we ahem, engage in other sexual activity that can't get me pregnant on a regular basis. I think if we used condoms he hated or that slipped off a lot, or had a dynamic together where when super horny we were like "ah fuck it, I'll just pull out" last minute, or relied only on PIV sex to take the edge off every time (we both have pretty high libidos), it might be more problematic.

I would recommend you have a way to access Plan B immediately in case the condom breaks. And I have had pregnancy scares a couple times--they never panned out but I'm not sure what the deal was, and it was nervewracking. So I mean, if you REALLY cannot be pregnany, no way no how, you'll have to be willing to consider it's always a possibility (even with an IUD it's not 100%, though super close granted) and plan accordingly.
posted by ifjuly at 9:29 AM on September 12, 2012


Thanks so much for all the thoughtful responses. My biggest concerns about coming off HBC are that it's an immature decision, and I think I'm just going to have to come to terms with the fact that some people will think I'm reckless for not using an IUD or hormones. I've stopped taking the pill and have ordered a copy of 'Taking Charge of your Fertility'.

Thanks again!
posted by nerdfish at 6:23 AM on September 17, 2012


....What's "immature" about wanting to decide on the birth control method that is best for who you uniquely are?

Not a thing.

I think I'm just going to have to come to terms with the fact that some people will think I'm reckless for not using an IUD or hormones.

If it helps, you can tell anyone who thinks you're "reckless" for picking one particular method over another that I said to shut up. (They won't know who the hell I am and may not care, but you can still tell them.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:54 AM on September 17, 2012


Not to get too deraily here, but agreed. There is nothing immature about advocating for yourself and wrestling through figuring out the best birth control method for yourself instead of just accepting the first most mainstream option even if it's not the best fit.
posted by ifjuly at 1:03 PM on September 17, 2012


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