First time sex can be nerve wracking, even if you’re taking precautions. There are plenty of things to worry about when it comes to first time sex, such as pain, sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. Safe sex is always important, but is using a condom all you need to do?
Question: My boyfriend and I are planning on having our first time soon, and we both said condoms are a must, I’m very pleased with that, but I’m still afraid it will break or rip or leak and I will become pregnant. So I’m trying to find out what the best brand is. Thickest perhaps? We want a latex condom for sure though. Is there any way to help settle my nerves so I can enjoy our first time?
Is A Condom Enough?
If you want to practice safer sex, using a condom during intercourse is an absolute must. But is using a condom all you need to do? Planned Parenthood says that each year, 2 out of every 100 women who always use condoms correctly will become pregnant. They go on to say that each year, 15 out of 100 women who use condoms incorrectly will become pregnant. So what does it mean to use a condom correctly? Surprisingly, it takes a lot to put on a condom “correctly,” including washing your hands before, leaving enough space for the semen at the tip and taking it off correctly. Many people fail to do this when they’re passionate and in the heat of the moment. Condoms are a must, but they really aren’t enough – they are, however, a great first layer of defense.
Hormonal Birth Control
Many people choose to use hormonal birth control in addition to using condoms, especially for first time sex. There are many forms of birth control including the popular pill, the ring, the patch, injections and even implants that last for five years! There are lots of options, so be sure to talk with your doctor about the right options for you. Hormonal birth control does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, so it’s important to continue using condoms if you’re with a partner who has not been tested or if you are not monogamous. Birth control will, however, significantly reduce your risk of an unplanned pregnancy, even more so if you use birth control and condoms together.
Barrier methods of birth control are often overlooked, simply because hormonal contraceptives are so popular. Some women can’t use hormonal birth control, so a barrier method is a great choice. You can use a barrier method in addition to condoms if you are unable to use birth control, or you can use a barrier method as yet another layer of defense against unplanned pregnancy. However, keep in mind that condoms are the only thing that help reduce your risk of contracting STD’s. Barrier methods include spermicide (available in gel, foam, suppository or a small, thin film that you can fold and place inside your vagina), as well as cervical caps and diaphragms which are usually available at your doctor’s office but may have to be specially made to fit you.
There Is Always A Small Chance
The only 100% effective form of birth control and STD prevention is abstinence. If you want to be absolutely, positively sure that you won’t get pregnant, consider abstinence. No method of birth control including condoms and barrier methods are 100% effective. Yes, they greatly reduce your risk of STD’s and pregnancy, but even with a double or triple layer defense, there is still a very tiny, very small chance that you could become pregnant or contract an STD.
Don’t assume that you are completely safe and fail to make plans if you should become pregnant. Have the conversation with yourself and your partner about what would happen if you did become pregnant. What would you do? How would you handle it? If you’re not ready to have this conversation in the event that your birth control fails, then you’re definitely not yet ready for first time sex. Dealing with the hard questions up front not only shows maturity, it also makes things easier for you later if something does actually happen – that way, you’re not completely unprepared. Recognizing the risk but taking as many precautions as possible and practicing safe sex is the best thing you can do if you want to make sex safer and reduce the risk of STD’s and unplanned pregnancy as much as you can.