If you are having unprotected sex, you not only run the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease putting your health at risk, as a woman you are also likely to get pregnant. Many young people starting out on their life as sexual beings ask themselves how to make love without getting pregnant. The answer is simple: use contraception!
There are quite a few methods of contraception. However, condoms are the only reliable method that helps to protect women against an unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections passed on by a careless partner. There is never a “safe” time to have unprotected sex – you are always going to run the risk of either getting pregnant or catching a sexually transmitted disease – or worse, you might get pregnant and ill at the same time.
A woman’s ovulation can be difficult to determine, so it is not a safe method to count days between start and end of a woman’s period. The menstrual cycle changes with age – sometimes the periods will be shorter, sometimes longer. Remember, sneaky sperm can hang around in a woman’s body for seven days after she has had sex, since sperm sits in wait of an egg to be released for fertilisation.
Although some woman use fertility awareness, that means they are trying to work out the exact time when an egg is released to avoid getting pregnant, this is such an unpredictable method of birth control and can only be taught by an expert in the field.
A woman needs to take her temperature every day, needs to monitor her vaginal secretions and keep a strict record of her menstrual cycle to assist her with determining when ovulation will occur. Be out by just one of those factors and pregnancy might happen.
Long Term Contraception
Still the most effective methods – apart from using condoms – is taking the pill, having an injection or implants.
There are a number of emergency measures which can be taken if a woman has had unprotected sex or if her contraception method has failed for some reason.
A woman has a choice of two types of emergency contraception available to avoid unplanned pregnancy:
She can take an emergency contraceptive pill; this is sometimes referred to as the morning-after pill. A woman needs to take this pill within 72 hours after having had unprotected sex. The other option is an IUD or intrauterine device and this can be used up to five days after having had unprotected sex, or up to five days after the earliest time a woman could have ovulated. Remember, neither of these two methods will protect you from a sexually transmitted disease and when having sex you should always think “safety first”!
Where can I get the Emergency Contraception
You can get either one of the above emergency contraceptives from your GP‘s surgery, if you are a UK citizen, or a contraception clinic, a young person’s clinic or some pharmacies and from most NHS walk-in centres. If you’re too late with emergency contraception and you think you might be pregnant, take a pregnancy test, so you can determine the next step. There’s no point in prolonging the agony and the not knowing. You can buy a pregnancy test kit in your local pharmacy.
Often young people feel pressurised into having sex, when they’d much rather have a cuddle and a kiss. Don’t let anyone tell you when you are supposed to be ready for this important step. You’ll know when you’re ready. Never let anyone persuade or even force you – when they do, they do this out of selfishness, not because they love you or are your friend.
Not all sex has to involve penetration. You can have a wonderful time exploring and getting to know the other person’s body, as well as discovering a lot about your own body’s pleasure centres. Having a bath or shower together or giving and receiving a massage are ways to enhance intimacy and to stimulate your imaginations. Having sex without getting pregnant doesn’t mean you have to remain a wallflower and say NO to all advances. It just means being more responsible. Talking sexy can have a wonderful effect on your love life. If you thought telephone sex was for sad old losers, think again – talking sexy to your loved one, finding out what they like and telling them what you like are wonderful ways of spicing up a relationship without anyone getting pregnant or getting ill.
The more people communicate about their likes and dislikes, what they consider to be fun and where they draw the line, the more pleasurable their actual sexual encounter is going to be when it happens – with the appropriate contraception, of course!