It’s no secret that when it comes to birth control, some methods are more effective than others. The reliability of a method of birth control depends on the product itself and on the consistency and appropriate use of it. Two of the most common forms of birth control are condoms and birth control pills. But, which one is most effective?
The only 100% full proof way of preventing pregnancy is to practice abstinence. However, couples who commit to abstinence often fall to temptation and are unprepared when that happens. For this reason, it’s important to have clear conversations and be prepared for sexual intercourse, even if the plan is to not partake in it.
The best way to be prepared is to know what safe and reliable form of protection to use and to have it on hand. So, which form is better? The pill or condoms?
The pill vs condoms – pros and cons
Both men and women must consider this question before actively engaging in a sexual relationship. Should a man wear a condom or should a woman be on the pill? There is no easy answer, but listing the pros and cons of each form of protection is a great way to start the conversation.
The Advantages of Taking a Birth Control Pills
· Birth control pills are safe
Birth control pills are safe to take by most healthy women. The pill was first approved for use in the 1960’s in since then it has become increasingly popular. With decades of use, the pill has a good track record in terms of safety.
· Birth control pills are convenient
Birth control pills are easy and convenient to use. They are taken regularly and can become part of your routine, without having to decide whether you will need it on a specific day or not.
· They are effective
When taken correctly, birth control pills have been proven to be 99.7% effective, which can go a long way to making women feel safe.
Disadvantages of Taking Birth Control Pills
· The pill requires consistency
In order for the pill to be fully effective, it must be taken correctly. This means that it must be taken every day at the same time of day to reach such a high level of effectiveness as 99.7%. So, if you are a forgetful person or one that does not adhere to routine, this can be very difficult to manage.
· Side Effects
Although the pill has a proven safety track record, it does not mean that some women don’t experience side effects, some of which can be dangerous. The pill interferes with hormonal activity and women can react differently to them. For some, side effects can be very mild and act only as a nuisance, but for others, they can be dangerous. Side effects can include weight gain and decreased libido, which can be mild, while others can include depression, blood clots and even stroke.
· Lack of Protection
Birth control pills offer great protection against pregnancy, but that is all. They do not offer any type of protection against sexually transmitted diseases or infections.
The Advantages of Using Condoms
· Condoms are extremely safe
There are very few risks involved with using a condom. They do not mess with hormones or your body in any kind of way. Unless there is an allergy, condoms are one of the safest method of contraception available.
· Condoms are Highly Effective
Condoms are extremely effective against pregnancy by up to 98% when used correctly.
· Condoms are Effective Against STD’s
Unlike the pill, the protection that the condom offers is two-fold. Condoms protect you from many sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV. For this reason, free condoms can often be found available at clinics and universities.
Disadvantages of Using Condoms
· Decreased sensitivity
Some men find that wearing a condom can hinder their ability to feel pleasure and can be uncomfortable. However, condoms come with different levels of sensitivity, thickness, colors, flavors and styles that can be conducive to more fun in the bedroom. It’s important for a couple to consider the options available to them.
· Condoms can be Inconvenient
Interrupting sexual activity to find and put on a condom can dampen the romantic fervor felt by a couple. This is especially true if a condom is not readily available. It’s important to plan ahead and have them conveniently by your side at times such as these.
· Not effective when not used properly
Condoms can be rendered ineffective when not used properly. If they are not the right size or they are put on incorrectly, they can rip or slip off.
How to properly use a male condom
- It’s important to store condoms in a cool, dry place that is away from sunlight.
- Always check the expiration date.
- The condom should be placed on the erect penis before contact is made with a partner’s genitals.
- Make sure the condom is rolled correctly and it’s not inside out. There should be a lip on the edge that you will roll down over the penis.
- Make sure the reservoir tip of the condom is pointing away from the direction in which the condom rolls.
- Pinch the reservoir of the condom shut and roll the rest of the condom down.
- If the condom is rolling in the wrong direction, throw it away and start over.
- Check for tears and replace if necessary
The Case for Using Condoms and the Pill
Whether you use birth control, make condoms, or even female condoms, the decision is up to you. However, many in the field will make the case for using two forms of protection, including condoms and pills. This will result in the lowest levels of sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy. As with other aspects of your health and sexual relationship, it’s important to discuss your choices with both your partner and your doctor.