Rhythm Method: Can I Ever Time Unprotected Sex & Not Get Pregnant?

Avoid post-sex stress by using a condom. | Source: ShutterStock

Can I time when I have unprotected sex around my cycle to avoid pregnancy?

ChickRx expert Dr. Mandi Beman, Ob/Gyn says:

The birth control method of timing sex around your ovulation cycle to avoid pregnancy is often called the rhythm method.

And theoretically, yes, you can time unprotected sex around your cycle to avoid pregnancy. In reality, if you are truly trying to prevent pregnancy I would NOT use the rhythm method.

Of every 100 women who use this type of birth control method, up to 24 will become pregnant in first year, according to Planned Parenthood! That’s so, so many and a huge risk to take.

There are a few reasons that the rhythm method just doesn’t work as effective birth control. Most women’s fertile time varies month to month. So, even if you’re keeping super careful track of your ovulation cycle, you could have it totally wrong just because you’re having an off month. It’s really difficult to know when to time intercourse.

Also, sperm can live in the vagina for as many as 5 days after intercourse. Even if you timed the sex right, sperm could be making their way to your eggs five days after your non-fertile time…when you’re very, very fertile.

I’d suggest talking to your doctor about other birth control methods that are more effective, like the pill. If you have unprotected sex, you can also get emergency contraception, like Plan B (the morning after pill).

Also, you girls are smart enough to know this and I probably don’t have to remind you, but birth control methods like the pill or rhythm method (even when it works) don’t protect against any STDs. You should wear a condom any and every time you have sex.

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