Back Up Your Birth Control has a new campaign called “Don’t Drop the Ball,” out there to educate women about Emergency Contraception, aka Plan B or “the morning after pill.” I think their Grandma video is particularly cute.
What’s missing from this campaign, however, is good information on how to avoid needing EC in the first place. They warn: “Condoms break. Pills can be forgotten.” These are both true, but there are other ways to deal with those potential accidents BEFORE the fact, so that EC won’t be necessary.
I certainly don’t have anything against EC. It’s a wonderful and necessary thing because, let’s face it, shit happens. It is especially great in the case of sexual assault, not to mention it’s relative simplicity, affordability, accessibility, privacy, and safety compared to an abortion (or not) later in the game. But still, EC does cost money (around $50 over the counter), and teens under 17 still need their doctor’s prescription. And while it is safe, EC is still a large dose of hormones and it’s unclear what the effects of taking it frequently might be over time.
So here are three simple strategies you can use to (hopefully) avoid needing EC on New Year’s Eve, or any other night you plan to have some fun.
- If birth control (pill, ring, shot, etc) is your primary form of protection, also use a CONDOM! Condoms are the best back-up method because in addition to preventing pregnancy, they also protect you from STDs.
- If condoms are your primary form of protection, use an additional contraceptive like spermicide. You might try VCF dissolving strips (the link has a free sample coupon), also available at your local drugstore.
And since both of these strategies involve condoms, it’s important to understand why condoms sometimes break.
- Condoms break because of friction. Lube is the best way to cut down on friction. If things are nice and slippery, the condom will be much more effective. This is true across the board, whether you’re using latex or condoms made from other materials. (Water-based lubes like Astroglide, KY, Liquid Silk, and WET, are safe for all condoms.) Pick up a small bottle or packet at the drug store, campus provider, or sex shop, and slip it into your bag ahead of time. Lube is a great pleasure enhancer, but it is also an important part of safe condom usage.
Plan ahead of time, and have a great New Year’s!