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Protect Yourself in the Bedroom

Rubber up for safetyBy: Marcial Robiou

You and your date are in the living room watching TV. The house is empty. The two of you are all alone. You think, ‘all right, now’s the time.’ You turn the TV off and start to initiate the plan you drew up in your mind. So she asks, “Are You wearing one?” Sweat beads form on your brow. Realizing you don’t have one, you say, “No, but how about I pull out before I finish?” She counters with a slap to the face resulting in “blue balls.”

Even though we are bombarded with messages every day about using birth control, situations like the one above still happen. Worse, some people actually use the ‘pull-out’ method, which mostly winds up in unwanted pregnancies, STD’s, and if the parents find out, a whole lot of ass-whooping. The truth of the matter is, no one should be doing this, everyone should have easy access to a contraceptive. But which one? It depends on your health, lifestyle, personal preferences, and other factors. Listed below are a couple with their benefits and disadvantages,

CONDOM
The most popular contraceptive for guys is the male condom, a sheath that covers the penis, (just like a sock does your foot). Condoms have around a 99% STD and Pregnancy prevention rate; but sometimes you may wind up in a shotgun wedding. To prevent that from happening, use a spermicide (it may give some additional contraceptive protection). But read up on it before you start pumping away. And please, practice putting it on correctly before you do it (experts suggest you try slipping it on a banana).

BIRTH CONTROL PILLS
Almost every woman starts taking these little fellows when they reach adolescence. The most common pill contains both estrogen and progestin, which prevents ovulation. The other kind simply has progestin, which swats sperm like houseflies from reaching the precious egg. Before women can start popping these pills like candy, they must consult a health physician as the pills may have major side effects: like blood clotting, which can result in heart attacks, and minor side effects like breast swelling, nausea, and depression. Other medications like allergy medicine and barbiturates (drugs) may also hinder their effectiveness. Bottom line, talk to your doctor before making a decision.

SPONGE
Taken off the market by the FDA a few years ago, it is starting to come back after many scientists in Europe found out it still works. Shaped like a doughnut, it contains nonoxynol-9 and is inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix.. The sponge offers an immediate and continuous presence of spermicide throughout a 24-hour period, allowing for as many acts of intercourse as desired within that period. It should be removed within 24 hours from the time it was first inserted. The failure rate is around 10-15 %. Reason why it was taken off the market in the first place: a rare but not so welcome side effect, TSS (toxic shock syndrome) a potentially fatal infection caused by Staphylococcus aureus (a strain of bacterium) commonly associated with tampons.

SPERMICIDES
These icky sticky bad boys come in many forms – gels, foams, jellies and (dear God no) suppositories, and work by forming a physical and chemical barrier to sperm. The bad part: this has to be inserted into the vagina an HOUR BEFORE sex, which means you better know damn well you are going to do it. If you’re going to go for a two-fer, you have to apply more of the stuff in your happy place. That failure rate for spermicides in preventing pregnancy when used alone is a whopping 20-30 % (but it does not protect against STD’s). They are available without a prescription, and if burning or irritation occurs, you should stop using them immediately. Unless you like that sort of thing.

Listed above are four of the most popular contraceptives. Of course, there are a myriad of others including the diaphragm, female condoms, which don’t have a high rate of prevention anyway, and still require a male condom. Many people (known in the medical field as ‘morons’) use what is called the ‘pull-out method’, in which people have intercourse for a while and the guy pulls out before his volcanic eruption. Doctors strongly recommend against it, saying that sperm still ejaculates during the act, and with no protection, you could wind up holding Junior in nine months, or wind up with an STD. It seems like there is no sure-fire contraceptive, but there is. It is the least fun, yet is practiced around the world by people with incredibly strong will power: abstinence.

For more info, visit webmd.com or ask your doctor to see which contraceptive is best for you.


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0 0 180 09 June, 2003 Health, News June 9, 2003

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