Safe Sex: Why You’re Never Too Old For Contraception

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Having safe sex may not sound like the sexiest thing in the world, but you can make it sexier.

By getting the condom or dam ready before making out and making love, your hands will be free to undress and caress your partner while giving them compliments about how sexy they look and erotically talking about how turned on you are.

When you take precautions and familiarize yourself with safer sex practices, you can take care of your own sexual health and wellness. It’s an act of self-love that also boosts your confidence in the bedroom.

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Safe sex practices are for anyone who's sexually active — not just youngsters.

One salient aspect of safer sex is the prevention of unwanted pregnancies, especially if you’re dating multiple people or have a number of sexual partners.

However, this is still very helpful information for those in committed relationships.

Investing in birth control may sound like a concern only for horny teenagers, but this actually helps adults too!

As long as you know what you want at this point in your life and sexual journey, starting birth control is always an option that’s open to you.

What are contraceptives?

More commonly referred to as "birth control," contraceptives are safe sex products designed to prevent pregnancy.

There are four different types of birth control, and they all work in very different ways. Some use a combination of two or more methods and some only use one.

What kind of contraceptive you use depends on what works best for you, your body, and your lifestyle. The "best" birth control method for you can even change over time.

No matter what you end up deciding on, it’s always a good idea to consult a clinical physician to figure out what’s best for you.

Planned Parenthood also has a comprehensive learning module on all the different types of contraception, taking into account cost, maintenance, and effectiveness.

Here are 2 types of short-acting safe sex methods.

1. Hormonal birth control.

This method focuses on regulating ovulation, the part of the reproductive cycle where the ovaries release an egg.

By introducing hormones into the body, specifically progestin or a combination of progestin and synthetic estrogen, this biological process is inhibited, making fertilization (the first step of pregnancy) impossible.

The most common type of hormonal birth control is the oral contraceptive or birth control pills.

However, there are various ways to introduce hormones: injections, implants, transdermal gels, and vaginal rings. The morning-after pill is also considered to be a hormonal method.

Be sure to do your research to find out the risks and side effects of any method, especially when it deals with the body’s physiological processes.

It’s also important to note that each hormonal method also has differing effectivity rates, depending on how well you can stick to a schedule of maintenance. For example, hormonal pills are to be taken daily and religiously.

If you're interested in trying out hormonal birth control, consult a medical doctor to get a referral to a gynecologist who can prescribe them for you, especially if you feel that you’re too young or nearing menopause.

2. Barrier method.

Products that use this method are designed to prevent sperm from entering the uterus, particularly through the use of physical barriers — condoms, diaphragms, caps, or a combination of spermicide and a vaginal sponge.

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These are the go-to methods for preventing the spread of sexually transmitted infections or STIs, save for the spermicide.

However, they generally have a lower effectivity rate compared to other methods, averaging at 70 to 80 percent. They can also cost you more money over time since they’re one-time use only.

There aren’t many health risks to using these as long as they're used correctly, but allergic reactions are possible, so it’s best to do a skin patch test before using them so your sexy safer sex won’t get any unfortunate interruptions.

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For more long-acting methods of safe sex, there are 3 types.

1. Intrauterine contraceptives. 

This method is also known as the IUD or the intrauterine device. It’s a small T-shaped device that’s inserted into the vagina, around the cervix.

This is one of the few methods that will require the assistance of a healthcare professional, as they will be the ones to insert the device and help you monitor any changes to it.

There are two types of IUDs based on how they work: hormonal and the copper IUD.

Both have similar effectivity rates (around 98 to 99 percent), but have different side effects depending on the user. These can include irregular periods, spotting, and cramps.

The hormonal IUD also has the same possible side effects as the short-acting hormonal methods.

An IUD is effective for up to 10 years, depending on the type, and can be used even until menopause occurs.

2. Implants.

These are small, match-stick sized rods that are inserted into your arm. It releases hormones similar to the short-acting methods, but in short bursts over time.

This is recommended for those who have trouble sticking to a schedule with birth control, since it also lasts for up to five years.

The risks and side effects are the same as well, so it’s important to consult with a health professional before you get one to ensure your safety and wellness.

3. Sterilization.

This is the only permanent method of contraception and usually involves surgical procedures. This is a less common choice since it’s non-reversible, but around 20 percent of people with vaginas and seven percent of people with penises rely on it.

It prevents the release of sperm cells and egg cells by blocking the pathways in the reproductive system. This is why it’s sometimes referred to as "getting your tubes tied."

Through cutting, tying, or sealing the tubes where reproductive cells (eggs and sperm) are inhibited from leaving the ovaries or the testicles.

There are non-surgical options available as well that use varying methods, such as no-scalpel vasectomies and non-surgical tubal ligation.

With these safe sex practices, you can enjoy the eroticism of sex and still be safe.

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