When you are deciding which contraception method to use, the first thing you should do is establish a relationship with a Campus Health Services (CHS) provider, explore methods on BEDSIDER, or check out the Planned Parenthood resource called My Method to figure out which birth control method is perfect for you and your lifestyle needs. Here are some other things to consider:
- Your overall general health
- How often you have sex
- The number of sexual partners you have
- If you ever want to have children
- The effectiveness of each method
- Side effects of each method
- Your comfort level when using the method
What is the Difference Between a Barrier Method and a Hormonal Method?
Barrier Methods: Barrier methods, typically made of latex, polyurethane, or nitrile are an effective means of protecting against pregnancy and the transmission of STIs/HIV because they prevent contact with sexual fluids. These methods are very effective when used correctly. The main types of barrier methods are the condom (traditional), the internal condom (FC2 or female), dental dams, and surgical gloves.
Hormonal Methods: There are many methods of hormonal contraception, the most popular of which is the combination birth control pill that changes a woman's hormonal cycle to prevent ovulation. Other types include implants, patches, and rings you insert vaginally. These do not protect against STIs.
Low-No Hormonal Methods: There are a few different types of inter-uterine devices (IUDs) that are inserted by a medical professional into the cervix, and remain there for 3-12 years, depending on the type. Some have a low amount of progestin, and one is 100% hormone-free. These do not protect against STIs.
Rhythm Method: This method is based on the woman’s menstrual cycle. This can be ineffective if there are any fluctuations in her monthly cycle.
Withdrawal: Withdrawing the penis just prior to ejaculation is also not very effective. Timing withdrawal is difficult, and there can be up to half a million sperm in the drop of fluid at the tip of the penis. Also, concentrating on timing the withdrawal may interfere with the person's ability to relax and enjoy sex.