Dear Madame Lestrange,
I’m sexually active and scared of getting pregnant. Condoms are uncomfortable, so I really want to get on birth control. I know barely anything about my options, even though I’ve done some research online. It all was so overwhelming and stressed me out.I’m sexually active and scared of getting pregnant. Click To Tweet
I don’t know who to ask for more information and I don’t know how to do anything without my parents finding out. My friends don’t get it because they don’t share my background. I’m in college and I don’t think my mom would find out unless she went with me to a doctor or something.
What are my options? How do I keep this from my parents?
No Babies Please
Dear No Babies Please,
Wowwww, you sound like me when I was in college. Actually, I don’t find that super surprising. This is what happens when sex is considered taboo, inappropriate, and shameful. We end up having little to no knowledge about sexual health and safety, we feel guilty for having sex, end up terrified to talk to anyone for fear of judgment… just everything.
For years, I kept my sexual activity a secret from my parents: I was on the pill secretly, got an IUD without telling my mom, and had safe sex whenever and however I wanted. I didn’t want to disappoint my parents and I was afraid of what they would do or say if they knew. I knew what I was doing wasn’t wrong. So I kept it all from them. I get what you’re going through.
And I know it’s hard.
You’re trying to be a safe, smart sexual woman and you know if your mom knew, she’d be disappointed. You should be proud of yourself for taking the steps to keep yourself safe.Wowwww, you sound like me when I was in college. Click To Tweet
There are SO MANY options for female contraceptives.
I’ll first talk about the two that I have the most experience with and then provide you with some sources.
The Pill: take it every day, incredibly effective (when used correctly) at keeping you from getting pregnant. Does not keep you safe from contracting any diseases. The pill can help regulate your period, decrease acne, and minimize PMS symptoms. I had a horrible time remembering to take mine every day. Women also respond to different pills in different ways, so sometimes it can take you and your doctor a while to find the best fit. Lots of pros and cons with the pill, and I definitely recommend starting here. If you’re on your school’s insurance, the pill should cost you nothing each month.
So, how does it work? Your birth control pills will come in one-month supplies, with either 21 or 28 pills (depending on the type). You take a pill each day, every month, forever until you want off. The hormones in the pills are responsible for keeping the egg and sperm from joining (therefore, preventing pregnancy) by keeping the egg in the ovaries and increasing cervical mucus.
IUD: since I couldn’t remember to take my pill on time, I realized I needed another option. I got my IUD last year. It’s a device that gets inserted into your uterus. There is a hormonal option and a non-hormonal option, both of which have slightly different side effects. Both are the some of the MOST effective forms of birth control, they’re long lasting (3-12 years, depending on the type), and you don’t have to remember to take anything! Check with your insurance on the costs (mine was completely covered—cost me $0). You can get it removed at any time if you decide you want to have kids, though.
So, how does it work? Again, IUDs get inserted into your uterus (IUD = intrauterine device). In the hormonal form, the IUD releases a hormone, which increases cervical mucus and keeping the sperm from reaching an egg. In the copper form, the IUD essentially destroys sperm before it can join with an egg.
These are only 2 of the many, many options you have. I would suggest going to a comprehensive website, like Planned Parenthood, to explore your other options. They do a great job of outlining pretty much anything you might be wondering. They are an amazing resource for sexual health and they aren’t overwhelming like some sites can be.
If you are not on your own insurance and rely on your parents’, this could be a problem.
They would know if you were using their insurance for the pill or an IUD or anything else (the shot, implant, etc). If this is the case, I definitely suggest you talk to your school’s health services and your local Planned Parenthood (or the like).
Even though, yes, condoms can be a bit uncomfortable – if they’re your only option, USE THEM.
I highly suggest not relying on pulling out or other methods. Additionally, don’t forget that condoms protect against sexually transmitted infections. If you’re having sex with new or multiple people, men or women, it’s important to be safe beyond just pregnancy concerns. So even if you use another form of contraception, be considerate of STIs.
If you have any more questions about this, get back to me!
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