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Contraception options other than the pill

Contraception options other than the pill

Hi all,

My gf doesn’t want to go on the pill (she has been on it in the past but it is not an option anymore, her choice due to some health effects). I’m a big believer in using a condom + something else, since accidents do happen I want a little insurance. Even when she was on the pill I used a condom.

Currently we are using this little insert that turns into a contraceptive foam. Problem is 1. can’t do oral after insertion (well I suppose I could but I don’t want to lick spermicide), 2. have to wait 10 minutes after insertion, 3. kind of messy (okay, not a real problem)

Anyone out there have experience with the sponge? diaphragms? some other cool contraceptive device (non hormonal) that I am unaware of?


I don't know if I believe anything of what I just wrote but will pretend to for the sake of discussion.

Has she checked into the implants for birth control? I think they are called Norplants, but I won’t swear to it.

Thank you for being careful, even with birth control methods, accidents happen. But you are taking good precautions.

sunny A day without sunshine is like a day without laughter :sun:

My wife was on Depo Provera when we were dating. They give her a shot once every three months and it actually has a higher pregnancy prevention rate than the pill. It is a hormonal product but the only side effect my lady experienced were that her periods stopped.

You may want to have your girlfriend try a different type of pill. I used to sell them for a pharmaceutical company I worked for in the past. Some of the low-dose estrogen products are really good. Mircette, Desogen and a tri-phasic called Cyclessa are good as they have a progestin that seems to have better cycle control(less break-through bleeding, spotting), less androgenic side effects, and the low amount of synthetic estrogen does not seem to cause the side effects the older pills did. The progestin is called Desogestrel and it has a more favorable side effect profile than the others.

You can get the Depo shot either through her doctor or Planned Parenthood for a small charge. The shot is nice as you do not have to remember to take the pill and the lack of a period means fun all month long!

Apparently, the most potent contraceptive agent known to man is……………… cake!

The Symto-Thermo Method? They say the divorce rate for married couples is less than 5% using this method, and it has no unhealthy side effects.


Has she considered trying other versions of the pill, as Danay suggested? They really do vary in their side-effects, just like SSRIs for depression (Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, etc.).

But if she had side effects from the pill, she should probably stay away from Devo Provera or Norplant — both are higher dosage than most pills, and with the shot you’re stuck with any nasty side effects for 3 months or however long it remains in the system.

I’d suggest considering a cervical cap or diaphragm in combination with the condom. But frankly, if your condom were to break or slip and you came inside her, I bet you’d still be pretty nervous even knowing that one of those other barriers were in place (I know I would be!).

My own choice, when with a girl who isn’t on hormonal BC, is to combine a condom with withdrawal. Don’t try this, though, if you have *any* problems knowing exactly when your orgasm will begin, or you have any problems with the discipline to pull out in time (guys vary a lot in this respect). Contrary to popular belief, pre-cum contains no viable sperm (1, 2), so consistent withdrawal is an even better backup method to combine with condoms than a diaphragm or cap.

Another option is the IUD, but this generally is not recommended for women who haven’t had children yet and may want them later, if I recall correctly.

BiffyStiffy makes a good point — you may want to try to gauge which times of month she is most fertile and avoid those periods. This will give you some peace of mind, but I still imagine you’d be pretty nervous if your condom broke and you spilled semen inside her during a “less fertile” time of month.

Good stuff guys. I agree with bigpolish’s comments…. Being married for a while will kill even the most passionate relationship.

Originally Posted by Tube
Some illustrations for you.

No offense but that last picture is not a form of birth control. At least I don’t consider abortion as the best form of it but that’s me and I won’t get into all of that. Oh well that’s a different topic and I don’t feel like a debate. ;)

Anyway on to the original poster. Abstinence is the only 100% full proof method. :p

Wow, great responses! Didn’t expect this many. I’ll reply to each in turn.

Sunshinekid - I don’t believe she has checked into the birth control implants. You were right, it is called Norplant. Very interesting! Quite a commitment though, not to mention a surgery. Good to know though.
Yeah we are serious about not getting pregnant. But part of me wonders, if we are really serious, shouldn’t she be on the pill? But, she’s the one who has to take it and deal with the effects, not me! Still it’s worth discussing again, at some point. I don’t know all the particulars of her objections to it. She was on it for a time, then decided to go off, and my response was, “Ok, your call”. I know part of it was weight gain but I think there were other reasons as well.

danay69 - The “shot” sounds intriguing but kind of too powerful. Yeah three months is a long test period. Thanks for listing a few other options as well, that’s a great list and it’s nice that you drew on your experience in the industry to help me out! It definitely sounds possible that some of the ones you mentioned would not have that side effect. More and more I realize how important it is for patients to do some of their own research at some point. This gives me a good starting place.

bigpolish - Gah! I think marriage is a good ways off… But then again, hopefully by that time I will be able to hit the CDS to provide some antidote for the wedding cake!

biffystiffy - I haven’t heard specifically of the Sympto-Thermo method but I am intrigued. I also trust that you meant the pregnancy rate and no the “divorce rate”. If it is really 5% failure than that seems similar to the 6% failure rate for spermicidal foam inserts alone (which is our backup). I am pretty uncertain about trusting any kind of rhythm or timing method, but I’ll give it some more thought.

Para-Goomba - Yeah I was thinking of a cervical cap or diaphragm or something similar when I was making this post. Any physical/chemical barrier, which is what we are using now in conjunction with condoms. I don’t believe the chances to be that bad. My rough estimate of the risk is, if anyone cares to know, (taking numbers from this site , Table 2)
I recognize this isn’t an authoritative site or an unbiased one, but for the purposes of this discussion I grabbed it out of convenience.

Condoms - 97% success rate in preventing pregnancy. 3% failure rate.
Spermicidal foam - 94% success rate, 6% failure rate.

For both to fail -.03*.06 = .0018 = .18%, which is decent, I can live with that.. I think! If I ensure proper condom use the chances for pregnancy are probably a bit lower, so that’s okay.

Of course if I went with a progestin only pill it would be more like
.03*.005 = .00015 = .015%, significantly lower. This would be my preference if the side effects could be minimized.

You mentioned Withdrawal alone being better than a cap or a diaphragm alone (assuming perfect control). Yeah, I don’t have that, yet. Thanks for the links you posted regarding precum, they are quite interesting, although I can’t say they are definitive.
Regardless, if combining a condom with withdrawal precum becomes a non issue, unless slippage/breakage occurs. Hmmmmmmm. Well, if one day I have the control to try this out I might consider it. Thanks!


Very nice pictures. You know, the spermicidal insert picture makes me wonder why I don’t incorporate a little fingering in with inserting the foam tab. She always does it herself but maybe that is a missed opportunity!

Re: the last pic, eheh, I won’t go there, except to say, some of the less bright members might decide the way to end a pregnancy is with a hoover :(

Good point, and I appreciate the suggestion. BUT!
I would agree if you amend that to say:
100% abstinence is the only 100% full-proof method
Abstinence is 100% effective… up until the time you have sex!

But assuming you were making a serious point - I did consider abstinence (until marriage) for a time but decided it wasn’t for me.


Whew! I’ve now spent a good hour thinking about all this stuff. Ultimately it’s her body, though. If there was a good male contraceptive out there I would probably take it and be done with it. Castration is not an option! Now, maybe if I was 9 and castrati were in high demand, or if there was a court I wanted to eunuch at….

I don't know if I believe anything of what I just wrote but will pretend to for the sake of discussion.

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