Birth Control

Birth Control is your choice because you and often, your partner, will have to live with the consequences of a pregnancy, a birth, or, sometimes, an abortion or still born baby. Not every instance of sex results in pregnancy but many might, so, throughout human history, we have been trying to keep that pleasure of sex and minimize the sometime consequences of sexual intercourse.

These attempts have had many versions. Crocodile or elephant dung. Chastity belts. Drinking poisonous compounds; as recently as WW2, some women wanted to work with lead in the hopes that it would make them infertile. That didn't work but lead can result in multiple organ failure as a start. Condoms? Some form of those have been around as far back as 3000 B.C.- things like goat or fish bladders, sheep intestines, linen have been documented. How about a little magic, using mule's earwax and weasel testicle? Want more taste of bizarre attempts to control human reproduction on a personal level? These examples and more  were found at WebMd.

Fortunately we now know more about human reproduction and what is likely to work as "contraception", (against conception). Contraception today consists of many hormonal treatments to fool a female body into not releasing an egg, as well as "barrier methods" like the popular and easy to find condom, that attempt to place a barrier between sperm and an egg. Almost none of these is 100% effective and some do nothing or little to prevent transmitting certain infections in, in the case of pubic lice, infestations. But having sex, how much to have and what you are OK with doing must be your personal choice. And if you have a partner for it, they must be OK with it all too. So, choice of birth control is also personal and should be OK with partners.

Information in this section is very general; often you will be best off to ask a medical person, especially if you are female; age, diet, medical conditions may all have an effect on your menstrual cycle, affecting fertility.

Click here or on the Birth Control tab.

ABSTINENCE: Forget what Nike says, don't just do it.

Cost: $0.00

Effectiveness: 100% ... if you can manage it!

100% protection against  sexually transmitted infections (STD/STIs) if there is no sexual activity at all.

Maybe the least popular, but certainly always effective. Just don't "do it"!

For this method, you don't use a pill, a condom or anything but your brains. Think, and take control of your life. It's funny but at certain ages, we really want control over our own lives, especially freedom from our parents. But we seem to be slaves to our very own hormones, our emotions and fantasies of the life we want. And of course there is peer pressure...what other people tell us we should be doing!

Think about what pregnancy would mean at this point in your life. Finishing school will be hard, or impossible, depending on which school district you live in. You won't be going to college or university any time soon because you'll be changing diapers and working at the coffee shop while you trade babysitting hours with your Mom. This can, of course, affect your career (or lack of it) and therefore the money you could be making over your lifetime. Of course, adoption is always an option. So is abortion, for some girls. Both of these have incredible emotional "weight" to them. Try to imagine carrying a baby for nine months, going through birth and then...giving it up. It's a great, noble thing to do in many cases, but it's going to tear your heart up some. Abortion, always a hot topic depending on your views, is a serious medical procedure as well, which sometimes carries both medical and emotional risks that last a lifetime.

And of course a pregnancy is also going to twist your freedom into knots and probably seriously affect your relationship with your parents and maybe friends. And definitely with your girlfriend or boyfriend. I don't want to tell you it is all a dark situation; some girls and young women adapt and their lives simply change. But think of where you want to go in life and ask yourself, honestly, "what will a pregnancy do to my life?"

There is another thing to consider when thinking about having sex. An STD , a sexually transmitted disease, can make you sick, can be painful, embarrassing. Some can be cured with antibiotics (which do not work on viruses) and some can need lifelong treatments; a few can shorten your life.

Does abstinence mean you can't do anything sexual? Not necessarily. But remember that once you get into a sexual situation it may be nearly impossible to not go just that little bit further...."But I'll only put it in for a few seconds"..or maybe you've heard this one..."But I won't come inside you". There are a lot of babies whose first name should be "But-I".

If you and your mate do decide, at some point in your relationship, to do some sexual things for your enjoyment, you should do what may seem like the hardest thing in the world at the time.Talk to the other person about what you feel comfortable doing and what you will not do. Have this talk in a completely non-sexual situation. At your Grandma's birthday party....no, no, I'm kidding! But the time not to have that conversation is when you are both turned on and horny. And remember that you are trusting this other person  not only with your heart but also your health, and that he or she must respect your wishes. Don't let other people, including your girlfriend/boyfriend...or magazines... or TV....you get my drift...pressure you on what happens to you.

You can have fairly risk-free sex - lots of it! -later on, when you are emotionally and financially prepared. Does that sound corny and unrealistic? Maybe. But if you are young now, avoiding pregnancy and STDs helps to keep your life from getting sidetracked onto a path you didn't choose.

So the advantages of abstinence are that it protects your health and keeps your future much more in your control, not to mention that you don't have to put up with sneers from your peers, or rude comments from old ladies at the mall as they mutter something about "babies having babies"!

The disadvantage to this method? You are going to get turned on and want sex. That's normal. However, contrary to a popular joke, the penis does not drain all the blood from the guy's brain and a girl can always say "no". So can a guy of course. Got your hormones all worked up with no place to go? There are always cold showers (I don't think most people actually do that but you never know) or masturbation. Or go for a walk-anything non-sex related. And by the way, contrary to what some guys might like to tell you, "Blue Balls" is not fatal! This link takes you to a Men's Health website. BTW, femaies can get the equivalent feeling, when aroused too.