Don't get us wrong, we're all about the contraceptive pill. BIG UP THE PILL. It's a medical marvel that literally revolutionised life and freedom for women which is pretty cool, and for a hell of a lot of ladies, it totally does the job when it comes to providing reliable contraception.
But for a lot of female humans, the pill isn't always the best option and it can come with a few downsides. Obviously it does absolutely nada to protect you against STDs, it's been linked to a few health conditions, and it sometimes comes with pesky side effects like mood swings and weight gain.
Luckily, there's TONS of other methods to keep you protected and baby free which don't involve you lacing your insides with hormones, so here's everything you need to know about non-hormonal contraception if you're thinking of switching things up a bit.
Good points: If you want to keep things simple, then opting for your classic male condom is probably the best way to go. Despite shedloads options, it's is still most common form of contraception for men, women and basically just anyone who doesn't fancy contracting something gross.
Condoms are used for vaginal, oral and anal sex, come in all shapes, textures, flavours, types and sizes, and can be made out of latex or synthetic materials if you're allergic. There are no health risks and are super easy to get hold of, plus you can get them for free from the doctor or sexual health clinic.
Bad points: They can split, and some couples complain that they interrupt sex. Not as much as a baby does though, so whatever.
Success rate (if used correctly): 98%. Not bad eh?
Good points: Did you know that there's also a version of the ol' condom for girls to wear if you like to be in control of things? It's kind of a pouch type shape that's fitted (for up to eight hours) inside the vagina before sex, and prevents sperm from entering places where it ain't welcome. You just squeeze the smaller ring at the closed end of the condom and insert it into the vagina, while the large ring at the open end covers the area around the vaginal opening.
Bad points: Some gals do have trouble using it correctly because it is a bit triksy. It can also be pushed too far into the vagina (although you can easily remove it yourself), and just like the male version, splitting is a risk. Only for women who are comfortable touching their genital area, really.
Success rate (if used correctly): 95%. Pretty brill.
The coil / The IUD
Good points: Ahh the coil, you've probably heard about this one, and it's definitely not as scary or painful as it looks. Promise. The non-hormonal coil, or the IUD, is a small and plastic copper device fitted by a nurse or GP into the womb. It prevents sperm from meeting the egg and the main advantage is that once placed, it can stay there for up to ten years (but can be removed at any time).
Bad points: You need to arrange a proper nurse or GP appointment to sort it out, which is a teeny tiny bit of a faff. There are a few downsides once it's in: it doesn't protect against STIs, and periods may be heavier for the first few months..
Success rate (if used correctly): There are different types of IUD, some with more copper than others. IUDs with more copper are more than 99% effective. This means that fewer than one in 100 women who use an IUD will get pregnant in one year.
Good points: The sponge isn't a very common form of contraception in the UK, and tbh we'd never even heard of it until doing our research for this feature. As you can probably guess, it's a small round device containing spermicide (we'll get to that in a bit) that, when inserted into the vagina and placed over the cervix, kills sperm. It's basically just a badass roadblock that stops sperm in its tracks.
Bad points: It is slightly less effective than other methods, not so easy to get hold of, and can cause yeast infections.
Success rate (if used correctly): 89-91%
Good points: Another barrier option that sits inside your cervix is known as the silicone cap, that uses good ol' spermicide to prevent sperm from entering and creating babies. It's a pretty similar jobby to the sponge, but looks more like a tiny hat.
Bad points: Its effectiveness relies on whether women have had children or not, and when used in the wrong way, the failure rate of a cervical cap really rockets. Learning how to insert it correctly can take time and a proper chat with a medical expert, so it's not a last-minute option.
Success rate (if used correctly): 92-96%
Good points: Again, this one's very similar to a cervical cap in the way that it sits inside you and blocks sperm from doing what it's supposed to do when paired with spermicide. The diaphragm is bigger than the cervical cap, and can't be left in place for quite as long. All you do is cover the diaphragm in spermicide, squeeze it between your thumb and fingers, and slide the diaphragm into your vagina, upwards. You only have to think about it when you're having sex, which is a bonus, unlike the pill.
Bad points: It also does nothing to prevent STIs and is not suitable for women sensitive to chemicals, plus it is quite common to develop cysitits while using a diaphragm.
Success rate (if used correctly): 92-96%
Good points: Although it's usually used in conjunction with other forms of contraception (the cap, diaphragm and sponge, for example), spermicide chemicals can be used alone, too. It comes in all sorts of different forms like gel, foam, film, suppository or tablet, so the chances are there'll probably be one that fits into your sex life.
Bad points: It does not protect against STIs, and effectiveness can decrease after an hour so you'll have to make it a quickie, lolz.
Success rate (if used correctly): 70-80% when used alone, 97% when using with a condom.
NO BABIES HERE, THANKS.
What do you reckon to non-hormonal contraception? Any of these take your fancy? Or do you recommend something else? Let us know with a tweet to @Sugarscape.
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