Who knew there were so many birth control options? We all know about the pill, condoms, and pulling out. There are enough apps to download that will tell you when you’re ovulating (aka those magical three days during your cycle in which you can get pregnant), so you’re careful about having sex when you’re especially prone to conceiving a baby. Then, there’s pulling out for you risk takers, and abstinence – which is the only real way to 100 percent prevent pregnancy, if we’re being honest.
I don’t know about you, but I have a hard time putting my trust in a flimsy piece of latex. I’ve heard too many horror stories about condoms getting stuck or breaking. Then, there are the hormones involved with taking the pill. I can’t be held accountable for taking a pill every day at the exact same time until I want to become a mom – that’s part of why I’m not ready to be a mom in the first place!
While doing some research on the Internet about awesome birth control options, I found some I’ve never even heard of. Awesome ones for forgetful girls who don’t want to mess with their hormones, too (aggressively points to herself)! Some of these options do involve hormones: some of us are on birth control to regulate hormones to begin with. So, I made a top 10. Here are 10 real birth control methods you haven’t thought about trying. If you’re still unclear after reading this, hop on over to Bedsider, where you can watch different girls’ video testimonials about what it’s like to use these methods of birth control.
The Female CondomGirls can wear condoms, too! You can find these condoms at the drug store, just like male condoms. Except for the fact that they're 40% stronger than male condoms, you can use any lube with them (water-based AND oil-based), they protect your vulva during sex - not just your vagina, and get this! Some girls even find that the outside ring of the female condom stimulates their clit during penetrative sex. They're more expensive and larger (up to $5 each; think they're carrying them around with you), so this seems like a great at-home option. Source: iStock
The ShotTechnically called Depo-Privera, most call the shot Depo. You only have to remember to get a shot once every three months. I know some of you are afraid of needles, but if you compare a needle with the pain of child birth or imagine having a c-section, the choice becomes clear. The shot makes your body respond much like other hormone-based contraceptives, but I love that you don't have to think about taking a pill, changing gear, or bringing birth control items to parties. Still, this is one of those methods that's great at preventing pregnancies, but not protecting you against STIs. Source: iStock
Vaginal Contraceptive FilmThe VCF is a thin, dissolvable square that can be inserted in the vagina, near the cervix, between 15 minutes and an hour before sex. Use one each time before you have sex. It's made of spermicide, but if you're risk averse to the goop of the spermicide itself, you can use the VCF since it starts as a solid, anyway. The remainder of the VCF, once you're done with sex, is washed away with natural vaginal fluids, like any ordinary day. Risk for irritation with spermicide is always present, so be on the look out for infection, redness, or if it burns when you pee. Source: iStock
The SpongeNot a dish sponge, the foam sponge covered in spermicide can be inserted in the vagina up to 6 hours before you have sex. Keep it in there for 6-8 hours after you have sex to make sure all of the sperm are dead, toss it in the trash, and move on with your life. Of course, using two kinds of contraception are gonna be extra safe, so maybe use a male condom with this, too. It's hormone free and won't protect you against HIV and other STIs, but it should be noted that if you have a history with TSS, this probably isn't the birth control for you. Source: iStock
The Cervical CapIt looks like a little sailor hat made of silicone. There's a loop on the bottom which aids in it's removal, but it should be noted you can leave it in your vagina for up to 48 hours. Since it's made of silicone, it's great for girls who are allergic to latex. The cap can't be felt by either partner and is most effective when used in combination with spermicide. Don't put the cap in when you have your period, though! That's not the time you want to be blocking your cervix. It's reusable, so wash it after use. You can get packs of two from your gyno or local clinic. Source: iStock
The DiaphragmI feel like I only see these in pre-2000's television. Diaphragms must be fitted to you by your gyno and are made of latex. The bottom is coated in spermicide to kill the sperm and the diaphragm literally sits in front of your cervix and blocks the sperm from getting in to your uterus. Leave it in for 6 hours after sex just to be sure. Like anything you put in your vagina for a long period of time, if you have a history with TSS, it's best you don't use the diaphragm. It can slip out of place, so be careful when you change positions. Source: iStock
The ImplantIf you're really into not having babies for a while, you can get a small rod implanted in to your upper arm that releases hormones that prevent ovulation, much like the pill. Side effects are similar to the pill as well, like most other hormone based methods of birth control. Your doctor or clinician will numb the area before placing the implant in your arm. Afterwards, you don't walk around with a big line in your arm or anything - people can barely see it. It doesn't really kick in to effect until after 5 days of being in your arm, so use a back up. This method could be expensive if you don't have insurance, but may be covered under your medical plan. Source: iStock
SpermicideThe what? Spermicide kills sperm. Put some inside the vagina (awesome how-to here) to form a protective barrier between you and your partner's penis. Possible side effects include a bad taste if oral sex is performed after applying the lube, but spermicide is available at drug stores and is cost effective. Careful, though - some girls can be allergic to different kinds of spermicide, so note any unusual skin irritation, etc. Source: iStock
The PatchLike an anti-smoking patch, the birth control patch gets placed on your body and replaced every week, except for the week where you have your period. Like most hormone-based birth control, the patch makes the uterine line thinner to make it harder for embryos to implant, thickens cervical mucus, and stops ovulation. You don't have to take a time-out during sex to use it AND you don't have to set your phone to go off to remind you to use it. This method is super effective at preventing pregnancies, but not protecting against STIs. Source: iStock
The IUDIUD is short for Intrauterine Device and it's the most effective form of birth control *drops the mic*. It looks like a little T with strings poking out the bottom. The T is placed in your uterus by your doctor and can contain hormones, or not, some of them are made of copper - not all IUDs are alike, so do your research before requesting one from your doctor. It must also be removed by your doctor. The strings are there for you to check and make sure that it's still in there. The most notable side effect is that it may increase your period flow and severity of cramps. Source: iStock
Which of these options would you be interested in trying? What birth control do you use? What did we forget to include? Tell us in the comments.
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.