Safer sex is about more than protecting yourself against STIs. It also means preventing unwanted pregnancy. Only condoms protect against STIs and pregnancy simultaneously. Other methods of contraception only protect against pregnancy.
Reliable methods of preventing pregnancy
The pill contains hormones which ensure that the egg cell is not released. As a result, the woman is not fertile. The pill is the most reliable way to prevent pregnancy. This also applies to contraceptive injection. You take the pill on a daily basis.
Contraceptive injection works like the pill. Once every three months your doctor injects you in the buttock or thigh. The advantage of contraceptive injection is that you do not have to remember to take the pill every day.
Like the pill, this patch releases hormones daily. The match should be replaced once a week. You can apply the patch anywhere on the body except the breasts or thighs. The contraceptive patch is not as reliable as the pill or contraceptive injection.
The contraceptive ring is a flexible plastic ring that is worn in the vagina for three weeks. After that you have a week without the ring. The ring releases hormones that protect you against pregnancy, even in the week without the ring when you have your period.
Implanon® contraceptive implant
This is a flexible plastic rod about the size of a match. A doctor inserts it under the skin on the inside of the upper arm. Every day it releases the hormone progestogen. It protects you against pregnancy for three years.
This is a small T-shaped device with a copper wire around it. The wire prevents the egg from implanting in the womb and staying alive. A doctor inserts the coil into the womb. It protects against pregnancy for five years. With frequently changing sexual partners, the chance of inflammation is higher. Another drawback is that menstruation can be heavier or more painful.
Mirena® hormonal coil
Like the pill, the hormonal coil works by releasing hormones into the body. A doctor inserts it into the womb. It protects against pregnancy for five years.
A diaphragm is made of thin rubber. It closes the entrance to the womb so that no sperm cells can enter. A diaphragm has to be inserted before sex. Before insertion it must be smeared on both sides with spermicidal cream. A diaphragm is relatively reliable if you use it in combination with a spermicide and you have the proper size. The size should be checked by a doctor every year.
Sterilization of a man or woman protects against pregnancy. In men both vas deferens are cut (vasectomy). A man can still come, but there are no longer any sperm cells in the semen. As result, fertilization cannot take place.
In a woman the fallopian tubes are cut or blocked so that an egg cannot implant itself in the womb. Sterilization is a permanent method of preventing pregnancy. Reversal operations are possible but the chances of subsequent pregnancy are very small.
Unreliable methods of preventing pregnancy:
Spermicidal creams, pills, gel and foam are inserted into the vagina. After sex, the sperm cells are destroyed after eight hours. But often this does not eliminate all the sperm cells. That’s why spermicidal agents are only reliable in combination with a condom or diaphragm.
A man withdraws his penis from the vagina just before ejaculation. This method is highly unreliable. You never know when someone is going to come. And pre-cum also contains sperm cells.
This method is used to calculate a woman’s fertile period. You keep track of menstruation using a calendar. You take your temperature every morning. This is higher when you are fertile. Except you never know exactly when you are fertile. It can vary constantly. As a result, this method is highly unreliable.