Talking to your partner about birth control
No matter how old you are, talking to your partner about sex isn’t always easy. This isn’t a discussion you should be saving for a moment of passion. Having a discussion on birth control (contraception) and contraceptive methods is important whether you are in a new relationship or a long-term one. Remember, as your lives change, so too may your choice of contraceptive - you do not have to make a lifetime commitment to one method over another. Decide as a couple what’s easiest, most effective, and what level of unplanned pregnancy risk you are prepared to accept. Birth Control (Contraception) should be one of your primary health considerations, and it is important that you and your partner are equally comfortable with the choice.
If it’s your first time together, it’s a good way to get to know what you both expect, and if you have had sex before, you can talk about what you like and ways to make sex better. It might seem like a mood-killer, but nothing will ruin sex faster than spending the whole time worrying about pregnancy or picking up some disease. It may feel awkward to talk openly at first, but in the end you’ll both be glad that you did. And just think…wouldn’t you rather have a talk about using condoms than the “whoops, I’m pregnant” talk? Or worse…get the “sorry, but I might have given you HIV” talk? Remember, your safety and health come first…do what you need to to make sure you’re in control of it.
A good way to prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections and pregnancy is to use more than one type of contraception. No matter what contraceptive you use for pregnancy - you should probably still consider using condoms for STIs.
Girls, if you ever find yourself “rounding third base”, but you haven’t had the sex talk yet, it’s still not too late. A lot of the time, a simple “go get a condom…I want to have sex” will do the trick. And you might want to keep your own stockpile, just in case he doesn’t have one handy.
Because of the risks of pregnancy or disease, sex is a big responsibility. So, if you find that you’re way too uncomfortable to talk about these things with your partner, think about this: Maybe it’s a sign that you’re not totally ready to have sex with them yet.
Points of discussion:
Make sure that your discussion includes taking equal responsibility for contraception.
Make yourselves familiar with all of the contraceptive choices that are available
Seek out information on those methods you are not familiar with. For in-depth information on birth control methods, see the Birth Control section on this web site. For in-depth information on Sexually Transmitted Infections, see the STI-STD section on this web site.
Talk about your personal preferences
Be honest. If either of you aren’t comfortable using a barrier method like a diaphragm, say so.
Assess your personal needs
Are you looking for a short-term, long-term or permanent method of contraception?
Discuss with your partner any concerns he or she has with any of your preferred choices.