Sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies can be greatly reduced by practicing safe sex. Even thought no method of safe sex is 100% effective, it is still much better than not using any protection. The methods of protection, while not foolproof, still greatly reduce the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or an unwanted pregnancy.
So, if you choose to engage in sexually activity, it’s always important to use some form of protection. The following will outline some of the options available including abstinence and monogamy, both male and female condoms, and oral contraception.
Abstinence is still the best and safest method of preventing both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It is 100% effective. Although it is the only foolproof method, it is not the most popular choice. The next best option if you are unwilling to practice abstinence, is to engage in sexual activities with only one person, in a monogamous relationship.
A monogamous relationship means that both you and your partner engage in sexual activity with no one but each other. While monogamy is not an effective method of birth control, it does minimize the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. As long as both you and your partner are free of diseases and remain committed to each other, you will remain free of diseases. Abstinence and monogamy are both highly effective safe sex methods. Abstinence is effective at preventing both pregnancy and diseases while monogamy helps to prevent diseases only.
The condom is one of the better methods available for avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. When they’re properly used they are also 97%-98% effective in preventing pregnancy. Male condoms are easily accessible in drug stores, grocery stores, and even vending machines. They are also inexpensive. There are male and female versions of the condom available. Male condoms are more popular. The male condom is a thin sheath, usually made of latex that fits over the penis and acts as a barrier to the exchange of bodily fluids during intercourse. Even if they aren’t used correctly, they are still very effective in preventing pregnancy (88%-90% effective). So even though they are effective, they are still not 100% reliable. The risk still exists, however small, of getting pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.
The female condom is a polyurethane sheath that lines the entire vagina. The closed end is inserted into the vagina and the open end remains outside the body. It’s been available only since the 1990’s and is not as readily available at the male condom. If you can find it, you will also pay more for it, since it costs more than a male condom. It is however, just as effective as the male condom in preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
There are oral contraceptives available as well that are very effective in preventing pregnancy. These however, do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. An oral contraceptive is a pill that is taken daily which uses hormones to prevent pregnancy. If used correctly, the pill is 97-99% effective.
As with any drug, there are side effects that come along with pill usage. Most of these side effects are mild. Some side effects include weight changes, nausea, irritability and breast tenderness. Even though these aren’t severe, they can be avoided altogether. Today there are numerous varieties of pills on the market. Talk to your doctor and find out which is best for you. Again, while oral contraceptives are effective against preventing pregnancy, they do not work against contracting sexually transmitted diseases. If you are not sure that your partner is free of disease, you should consider using another form of safe sex method as a back up to prevent these diseases.
If you want to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, it is best to take all the measure you can to practice safe sex. So while abstinence is the only 100% effective method against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, there are other options out there to explore that offer good benefits. Monogamy is effective in protection against sexually transmitted diseases, while condoms and birth control pills are effective against unwanted pregnancies.