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July 21, 2014 | by  | in Opinion The Bone Zone |
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Cupie Hoodwink’s Guide to Birth Control

If you haven’t gathered already, unless you’re 100 per cent sure that you and your boo are clean, then you can’t look past a condom or dental dam as the hottest accessory for your sexy time. That being said, if you’re in a committed, (hetero)sexual relationship, and not looking to make a mini-you anytime soon, then it pays to shop around to find the birth control method that best suits you. As an added bonus to this week’s sass on safe sex, here is Cupie Hoodwink’s Guide to Birth Control.

The Pill
When Mum first sat me down to tell me about periods I was so excited that I ran to the toilet the next morning and was bitterly disappointed to discover that it hadn’t arrived overnight. A period, I reasoned, was an indelible mark of womanhood; a secret that I really wanted to be a part of. When I first got my period a few years later, I soon realised how silly I’d been. Periods were inconvenient, painful, and the only indelible mark of womanhood they left was a stain on my undies.

Reality hit me just as hard when it came to taking the pill. Before taking the pill, I was gleeful about the prospect of doing so. The pill would cure my irregular periods, which would stop me from spending so much on unnecessary pregnancy tests, and it made me feel grown up and responsible — I even set a daily alarm on my Nokia 2280 to remind myself to take it. My then-boyfriend would shake the sheet of pink and yellow pills lovingly, saying “The pitter patter of tiny pills stops the pitter patter of tiny feet.”

Sadly, the pill just wasn’t for me. A month in and I was crying at the drop of a hat, gagging at the taste of toothpaste, and had complications so unpleasant that one doctor was convinced I had every STI under the sun. I tried several different brands over the years but each brought with it an equally bizarre side effect. That being said, the pill works brilliantly for many women, and is by far the most painless of all the birth control methods. Don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor if you’d like to try a different type of pill, or are concerned about some of its side effects. And remember, if the pill doesn’t work for you, there’s always other options…

Depo Provera
If you’re worried about remembering to take a pill everyday, depo provera can be a great option. Like the pill, depo provera is a hormonal contraceptive, but instead of taking a little everyday, you get the whole lot in one go — injected into your booty once every three months.

Most women who get depo also find that their periods become much less regular, or stop completely, so if you’ve had it up to here with Aunty Flo, depo could be just the ticket. On the flip side, you don’t get the monthly reminder from your uterus that it’s still baby free, so if you’re like me and worry that you’re pregnant if you feel a little queasy one morning, then it may not be your best bet.

Implant
with Salient’s former-sex columnist, Lux Lisbon
I was unsure about the Jadelle implant because I had friends who were in both camps—those who hated it and those who swore by it. I had spent five years getting the depo provera injection which had worked a treat for me, but after five years you are at a much higher risk of developing osteoporosis so my doctor advised me to try something new. The implant is a similar hormone makeup to the injection so I figured my body wouldn’t mind it too much.

I had tried the pill but my lifestyle lacks routine and I was always forgetting to take it and I needed something reliable. I had it fitted at the Family Planning Clinic and the only expense was the cost of the anaesthetic (less than $50). You are given an injection on the inside of your arm near your bicep to numb your skin, and then a small incision is made and two sticks about the size of a matchstick are inserted underneath the surface of your skin. I didn’t feel a thing but experienced a bit of a dull ache in my arm for the remainder of the day.The two little rods kind of feel like fish bones under the surface of your skin, which can make for a fun party trick and people tend to find it quite fascinating.

I hoped I would stop getting my period after having the Jadelle implant, which was the case when I received the depo provera injection, but I was not so lucky. It has taken about 18 months for my period to become regular, if this worries you there is an option to take hormonal birth control pills simultaneously to regulate your cycle.

The implant lasts for five years, and then I will have to have it removed from my arm, which I don’t imagine will be much fun but if it’s the price I am paying for sex without babies, I’m all for it.

Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)
When we first learned about the birds and the bees in high school, the IUD, which resembles a tiny grappling hook—like the ones Batman uses to swing around Gotham City—was the one form of contraception I swore I would never use. Ten years later, and I’m the proud owner of a copper IUD, which is nestled in my uterus and doing a fantastic job keeping it baby-free as we speak.

The main benefits of the IUD are that it’s non-hormonal (although there’s a hormonal version, too) and it lasts for five years—once it’s in you don’t have to think about it again for a very long time. The caveat there, of course, being once it’s in.

Because the IUD works its mysterious magic from within your uterus, it needs to be inserted through your cervix in order to get there in the first place. In the lead-up to my appointment, this was an absolutely terrifying prospect, and I certainly do not recommend Googling just how small your cervix is prior to getting you IUD in. That being said, perhaps it was just how much I’d over-thought it beforehand, or maybe just the bevvy of painkillers I’d taken, but getting my IUD in really was a walk in the park (if you were to take such a walk on a day when you were suffering from moderate-to-bad period cramps). The procedure involves having your cervix clamped open (a weird, but not unbearable, pinching sensation) and then various implements being inserted and removed (akin to bad, but not horrendous, period pain). It was all over faster than I could say “Overshare”, and it made for a great excuse to spend the rest of the day watching rom-coms and compulsively eating Cadbury Creme Eggs.

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  1. Gen says:

    Great guide but be careful to mention that everyone has different experiences. I had the depo for years and then experienced breakthrough bleeding nonstop for a year. Still loved it back in the day though and don’t regret it. I now have the mirena iud and I am so so happy with it since I’m alergic to synthetic estrogen (I can have a stroke if I take it). However as I hadn’t had kids it was one of the worst and most painful experiences I’ve ever had (and I’ve had two back surgeries, gallstones, a burst cyst on my ovary and many other painful health issues). In saying this, everyone will experience it differently but it was certainly not a “walk in the park” for me. Love it so much though as it means I don’t have to deal with the worry of getting preggers. Not looking forward to having it removed in five years though. :/

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