No series about sex would be complete without talking about STI’s (Sexually Transmitted Infections) and birth control. I’ve written about this before (here), but I think the information bears repeating. I won’t restate the staggering facts. They’re in aforementioned article. However, the number of young people not using protection scares me. I bought my children condoms when they reached 8th grade. They didn’t use them until much later. I know because they told me. The idea that giving children condoms makes them run out and have sex is a fallacy. In fact, under-education and teaching abstinence increases the number of teen pregnancies.
A good rule of thumb for using condoms: If you’re not prepared to take care of a baby, use them. If you’re not prepared to contract HIV or Herpes, use them. Condoms, when used properly are 99.8% effective and the most effective way to prevent the passing of disease and pregnancy. Don’t let your guy tell you fill-in-the-excuse. Yes, I get it, they’re tight, but that’s for a reason. A baby or disease is going to cramp your lifestyle a whole lot more than 10 (20?30?) minutes with a condom. If you are single and dating or in an open relationship, I recommend getting tested every 3 months. As the saying goes, you are having sex not only with your partner, but their partners and their partner’s partners. Even if you trust your partner, do you trust all those other people? Adds up quickly, doesn’t it?
If you are in a monogamous relationship, disease isn’t as big of an issue, but I would recommend getting one final bill of health before ditching the love gloves. As far as birth control, your option are more varied. Birth control pills, IUDs (intrauterine devices), and Depo-shots are all choices for committed relationships. Don’t give up if the first method you try isn’t right for you. The “Rhythm Method,” periods of abstinence during ovulation is unreliable because sperm can live for 48 hours eagerly waiting for an egg to join them. Neither is “pulling out” as there can be sperm in pre-ejaculate as well. Bottom line to remember about the almighty love glove?
It’s not just birth control, dummy! 🙂