The MTV Shuga Guide to Contraception
Everyone seems to be doing it…
Bongi & Coalstove have been doing it…
Zamo’s been doing it…
Sheila’s coming to Jozi so you know her and Femi are going to be doing it…
That’s all well and good, but what’s the one thing they all have in common?! They’re PACKING!
Most people think that there are only two options available when it comes to sex: using a condom and being on the pill. Shugafam, the list does not stop there! Girls, take note; there’s a whole range of options available when it comes to contraception…
REMEMBER: You still need to use a condom. Using these types of contraception will NOT protect you from HIV and other STIs. So, what are the different forms of contraception that girls can use? The Shugacrew are here to run you through some of the options…
Emergency Contraception (Morning After Pill)
Whilst forward planning is the best option, the ‘morning after pill’ can be an effective way of preventing pregnancy. If having unprotected sex, taking emergency contraception as soon as possible can prevent girls from becoming pregnant, but should be used as a last resort. Don’t forget, the IUD can also be used as emergency contraception within five days of you and your partner getting down.
IUDs & IUSs
The Intrauterine Device and Intrauterine System, or more simply put: an IUD and IUS (commonly known as the coil or its brand name Mirena™), are an amazing form of contraception. A small T-shaped device is placed in a girl’s uterus, helping to prevent pregnancy. Sound weird? It shouldn’t, especially when you consider it’s there instead of a baby that you may not be ready for. Depending on the type you get, this could last anywhere between five to ten years!! (And you can take it out whenever you want and ‘ta-da’ – you’re all set to get pregnant again). ALSO, the IUD can act as a type of emergency contraception for up to 5 days after having sex.
Ever dreamed of having something alien inserted under your skin? No, me neither. However, don’t let that put you off this magical device. The implant is a small tube-like device that is inserted under the skin of your upper arm. Once in, the implant can last for three years and you don’t have to remember a thing!
For the non-squeamish, a contraceptive injection may be the perfect choice for you! By injecting a particular hormone in girls (progestogen), this kind of injection is ideal for those who may find taking a pill every day tough, and usually lasts 2-3 months. Downside? Women gain an average of 1-2kg per year when using this method, so if you’re watching you weight, you may want to look at other options.
One of the most common types of female contraception, the pill is a good way of managing birth control. The pill needs to be taken every day at the same time in order to work. Potential downside? It needs to be taken every day at the same time in order to work. For those absent-minded folk out there, this may not be the best option for you.
Accessories are a key element to any outfit. Now, they can be a key element to your sex life too. Similar to a nicotine patch, the contraceptive patch sends hormones into your body through your skin, and lasts for a whole week before needing to be changed.
All of these options are good ways for girls to take charge of their reproductive health and have the power to decide their future. HOWEVER, none of the methods mentioned above can in anyway prevent the spread of STIs. They should be used in tandem with condoms, not instead of them. So, can female contraception only prevent pregnancy? Do men still have ultimate power over your sexual health?
The female condom is not only a good way of preventing pregnancies, it also prevents the spread of STIs. A female condom can be inserted up to eight hours before having sex, so there’s no need to worry about your partner removing their condom during sex or trying to put it in place in front of your significant other. Result.
Where can you get these magical devices?
All of these methods are available from your local doctor, a public clinic or a private health centre (at a cost), but it’s worth noting that some of these places will have some methods and not others. Seeing a professional is a good way to receive more advice and get the tools you need to take control of your sex life. In South Africa, you can access contraception from the age of 12. That means that as soon as you hit your 12th birthday, you can head to your clinic and access all of the sexual and reproductive health services the country has to offer!
Want some guidance on which one to choose? Try this app to help you match methods with your personal preferences, alongside some more top tips.
You don’t need to rely on anyone for your sexual health. Take charge of your own bodies and lives by becoming informed and equipped with the tools to plan your life the way you want to. The more protection you use the safer you are.
So if you are having sex, tell the guy to wear a condom regardless of what precaution you’ve taken. If they say no, then maybe you should say no to them too.
You are in control, no one else!
For more information, check out the Marie Stopes website or call 0860 995 085 (SA only)…