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How do I know what method is right for me?

Deciding which method of birth control to use is a very personal decision. Birth control and sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention is the responsibility of both partners, regardless of their sex. Most of the birth control methods are used in the girl’s body, but this is only because it’s much easier to control one egg a month than it is to control hundreds of millions of sperm every day. Another way to think about this responsibility is that guys are always fertile (able to contribute to creating a pregnancy), but girls are only fertile when they have an egg that can be fertilized.

Latex, polyisoprene or polyurethane condoms are the only methods of birth control that protect against pregnancy and STDs. We recommend people who are heterosexual use a condom and another form of birth control to get added protection against unplanned pregnancies and STDs.

Here are some things to consider when deciding which method is right for you:

  • Do you want a method that you take every day, regardless of how often you have sex, a method you only take now and then or a method that is only required when you actually have sex?
  • Hormonal birth control provides the most effective prevention of pregnancy, but some people don’t like the idea of taking hormones. Is a hormonal method right for you?
  • Are you good at attending to details, such as taking a pill every day at the same time every day?
  • Would you rather use a hormonal method like the Patch that you only have to think about once a week, or the Shot, Depo-Provera, that you would only have to get once every three months?
  • Perhaps you only want to think about birth control when you are actually going to be having sex. Then maybe you want to use a diaphragm or sponge.
  • Do you want your birth control to do double duty? Then male or female condoms, which prevent pregnancy and STDs, might be the choice for you.
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