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Queer Goggles

February 27, 2013

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I am writing about a friend. By all appearances, he is straight. However, on more than one occasion, he has gotten drunk and tried to hook up with a transvestite or a person who could have been one. In one instance, he went to a club and was approached by a really masculine-seeming girl who proceeded to give him head. My friend, in his drunken state, reached into her pants and felt for a pussy only after she started giving him head. On a trip to Las Vegas, he drunkenly picked up someone who I was told looked like "Kevin Garnett in a wig" and was very obviously a man. He tried to take this person back to his hotel, but friends put a stop to it. I just received a message from a friend who is with him on a trip to Europe, who said that he just tried the same thing again with yet another manly looking transvestite type. Again, my friend was stopped before he did anything he might regret. I can understand if these cases happened with transvestites who looked like real women. It's easy to fool someone when he's drunk. However, the situations I have seen personally and have heard about all seem to indicate he is seeking out transvestites. Could he be harboring some gay or bisexual tendencies? I've never seen him act this way when sober. Or could he just have the world's thickest pair of beer goggles?

Cautious Lad Observing Developments

When we speak of "beer goggles," CLOD, we refer to someone too drunk to realize that he/she has accidentally picked up—or fucked the shit out of—a type that he/she would not normally/soberly find attractive. But I don't think your friend is getting drunk again and again and going after this particular type again and again by accident. Once? Yes, that could be an accident. Twice? That could be a coincidence. But three times that you know of? Sorry, CLOD, your friend isn't going after these types because he's drunk. He's getting drunk so he can go after these types.

Before we go on, CLOD, a word about the particular term you use to describe your friend's type: transvestite. That word? I don't think it means what you think it means. A transgender woman is not a transvestite, and a transvestite is not a transgender woman. A trans woman is someone who was "coercively assigned male at birth," as they say on Tumblr, but who now identifies and lives as female. A transgender woman may or may not have had sex-reassignment surgery—which means, of course, that a transgender woman could have a dick or she could have a pussy. "Transvestite" is an archaic term for "crossdresser" that no one uses anymore.

Now, I don't know what your friend is looking for in a sex partner, CLOD, but considering his observed pickup history ("a really masculine- seeming girl," "Kevin Garnett in a wig," "another manly looking transvestite type"), it's possible that he's not interested in either trans women or crossdressers.

I did drag for nearly a decade, and there was a certain kind of guy who lurked around drag shows. By all appearances, these guys were straight. But they weren't interested in women, they weren't interested in boys who could pass, and they weren't interested in trans women. They were interested in "girls" who were obviously men in drag. They were interested in guys like me: six foot eight in heels, big tits, 26-inch waist (thank you, waist cincher!), and a latex minidress. I was pretty—I'll tweet out a few pictures to prove it—but I didn't look like a woman, cis or trans, I looked like a great big fuckin' drag queen. (My drag name? Helvetica Bold.)

The queens I ran with called the guys who wanted to fuck us "panty chasers." It was an odd choice, seeing as none of us actually wore panties. (Trans and cis women wear panties, CLOD; drag queens wear dance belts over tights.) I didn't know at the time that there was an actual $20 term for guys who were into us: gynandromorphophiles, aka "lovers of males in the shape of females." Some gynandromorphophiles are into crossdressers, some are into drag queens, and some are attracted to trans women. While some want partners who can pass, many gynandromorphophiles do not. They want the mix to be obvious. Give the kind of gynandromorphophile who chased after me and my friends in drag a choice between a "real woman"—cis or trans—and a guy who looks like "Kevin Garnett in a wig," and he'll choose Kevin Garnett every time.

So back to your panty-chasing friend, CLOD. I'm pretty sure the reason you've never seen him "act this way when sober" is because booze provides him with the courage he needs before he picks up "Kevin Garnett in a wig" and the alibi he needs after. My advice: Stop cock-in-frock-blocking your friend and let him know you accept him for who he is, and you may help him find the courage to accept himself before his liver gives out.

I'm a straight 18-year-old female, a senior in high school, and I'm still a virgin. I'm fine with this. I'm going to a university about 3,000 miles away next fall, and I am starting to wonder about going on some method of birth control. My degree is going to take me six years to complete, and I expect that within those six years I might want to have sex with someone. Would going to the doctor and having an implant or IUD inserted be dumb? (I might want a long-term method of birth control.) I trust the doctor I have here at home; the second I turned 14, he gave me tons of info on birth control and how I can get access to it. So I would be more than comfortable getting it through him. Please let me know if I'm overthinking all of this and whether or not I should cross birth control off of my pre-college to-do list.

Thinking I Might Encounter Love Yearning

"It is in no way 'dumb' to consider contraception as a virgin," says Dr. Unjali Malhotra, medical director for Options for Sexual Health British Columbia, aka the Planned Parenthood of British Columbia. "It is actually best to get on a method prior to ever having sex to ensure she is happy on her chosen option before acutely requiring it for birth control."

Dr. Malhotra also supports—acutely supports—your preference for a long-term method.

"Although oral contraceptives are popular," says Dr. Malhotra, "they have up to a 9 percent 'typical-use' failure rate." Pills can fail a woman who forgets to take them—which is all too common—but a woman can't forget to take her IUD or implant. Which is why progesterone-releasing IUDs have failure rates of 0.2 percent, copper IUDs have failure rates of 0.8 percent, and implants have failure rates of 0.05 percent. "TIMELY can choose between a nonhormonal copper IUD, a progesterone-releasing IUD, and a progesterone-releasing implant," says Dr. Malhotra. "Timing-wise, she has options of a three-year implant, five-year IUD, and 10-year IUD. There are advantages to each, which she can discuss with her physician. And, despite myths to the contrary, there are very few risks with an IUD, and she can remove it and get pregnant at any time if she wishes."

None of these options, however, will protect you from sexually transmitted infections, TIMELY, so use condoms regardless. For more info about birth control, sexual health, and STIs, go to

@fakedansavage on Twitter


Comments (235) RSS

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First comment!
Posted by Surlypants on February 26, 2013 at 5:43 PM · Report this
The "savage_response" tag didn't get properly set at the start of the response to the second question
Posted by tal on February 26, 2013 at 5:47 PM · Report this
3 Comment Pulled (Spam) Comment Policy
IUDs are awesome when they work for you, but it can be painful to have one inserted, especially for someone who hasn't previously given birth (whether you've had sex doesn't matter). I've had one pain-free insertion, a number of months after vaginal childbirth, and one fairly painful insertion many years later. I would look for someone who routinely numbs the cervix before insertion.
Posted by Eirene on February 26, 2013 at 6:13 PM · Report this
TIMELY=Amy from Big Bang Theory
Posted by Dr. M on February 26, 2013 at 6:27 PM · Report this
There are certain risks to going on progesterone. It's not extremely common, but they can have mood-altering effects. Occasionally these might actually be good, and decrease natural moodiness, but frequently they're not.
Before going on a 10-year dose of the stuff, I'd suggest a 1-month trial period. (Or a copper IUD, if you prefer.)
Posted by dale1 on February 26, 2013 at 6:41 PM · Report this
gueralinda 7
I used the Mirena low-dose progesterone IUD and never had trouble with it, even though I DID have terrible mood problems with progesterone pills and with Depo. The Mirena was far and away my favorite method of birth control ever, at least until my husband got a vasectomy (thanks, babe!). It can cause your periods to disappear or to be very light (not a problem for most ladies) and it can cause ovarian cysts, especially in the first year. I had mine placed after giving birth, so I imagine having it placed a virgin would be more painful. But it only takes a minute, and gives five years of fear-free fucking.
Posted by gueralinda on February 26, 2013 at 6:49 PM · Report this
Eva Hopkins 8
When I first got on the pill, I was miserable for months afterwards. It messed with my moods fiercely, water retention. Over time it was also bad for my circulation & natural hormone levels. They tried a buncha different formulations & percentages. If I'd educated myself better or gotten on B.C. *before* starting having sex, so its need wasn't immediate, I likely would have chosen a different form of B.C.

Want to repeat Dan's point about how TIMELY will still need condoms. Seen people act like anti-pregnancy B.C. have 'em a pass. All of my college era & immediately after homes had a candy dish w/ condoms in 'em.
Posted by Eva Hopkins on February 26, 2013 at 7:09 PM · Report this
Several of my friends experienced some serious cramping while adapting to their IUDs. I agree with commenter #6 that it would be helpful to try a birth control with hormones for a trial period before you decide which IUD to get. I don't like hormonal birth control because it decreases my sex drive (which, I guess, make it more effective, right?). Also, tell your doctor if you smoke cigarettes because of problems with some forms of birth control.

When I was in college, I got the birth control shot, which I liked at the time because I only had to get it four times a year. It turns out that it causes bone loss, though, if you are on it for too long. My doctor let me get the shot for two years and then take two years off and then get on it again.

The Planned Parenthood website has a lot of good information about the various forms of birth control:…

Some other bits of advice about virginity, sex and college:

1. If you haven't already, spend time finding out how to give yourself an orgasm.
2. Many young men in college have misconceptions about sex, and especially about sex with an actual living, breathing young woman with a brain and feelings and sexual preferences.
3. The better you know yourself sexually, the more you can help your sexual partner to please you.
4. Don't have sex with anyone who doesn't care about your pleasure, or who makes you feel inferior. Only have sex with people who make you feel good. Trust yourself, have fun and be safe.
Posted by LongtimeReader on February 26, 2013 at 7:16 PM · Report this
mydriasis 10
Condoms, homegirl.

Cheap, (probably free somewhere on your campus), ubiquitous, simple-to-use, hormone-free, and protect you from STIs such as HIV.

College-aged kids are notorious for serially monogamous, unprotected (STI-wise) sex. They date for a few months, never bother to get tested, and give up condom use wayyy before it's appropriate too, since they consider themselves "in a relationship".

Which is why walk-in clinics near college campuses get antibiotics shipped to them in bulk by public health departments.
Posted by mydriasis on February 26, 2013 at 7:35 PM · Report this
Gou Tongzhi 11

IUDs are painful to insert and sometimes can be felt by the male. And they do nothing to stop STDs.

Demand condoms, every time.
Posted by Gou Tongzhi on February 26, 2013 at 7:44 PM · Report this
I have a copper IUD and have become a complete evangelist for them. No hormones (after more than a decade of unpleasant side effects, I had dumped the pill and stuck to condoms before persuading my GYN to give me an IUD). Some GYNs are leery of giving IUDs to women without children for two reasons--the cervix of a nulliparous woman is smaller and makes insertion more painful, and also some doctors still have hangovers from the first generation IUDs (Google Dalkon shield, but only if you're brave) and the complications that they caused, often resulting in permanent infertility.

There's not much to be done about the cervix--yes, it'll hurt, you'll bleed like a mofo for a few days and spot for a few days after that, and your first six months of periods will be pretty ghastly as your body adapts. BUT! Hang in there, and they will normalize. I never feel mine; I never think about it except once a month when I check the string to make sure it's still in place; and it's good for 10 years. Set it and forget it!

And the problems with the Dalkon shield and its ilk have been resolved with technology--what happened was that the string attached to the old IUDs was made of cotton, which had a nasty habit of wicking vaginal bacteria up into the uterus. The new IUDs use strings made of nylon, which are not absorbent and do not do this. There are always risks to implanting anything in your body long term, but those risks are much, much smaller than they used to be.

TL;DR I wish I'd had an IUD in college and highly recommend it.
Posted by Elizeh on February 26, 2013 at 7:47 PM · Report this
Condoms are great, but as a woman, I'd get an IUD or long-term shot as a backup prevention for the most commonly sexually transmitted complication there is: pregnancy.
Posted by Gamebird on February 26, 2013 at 7:58 PM · Report this
@12 I too adored my copper IUD. I had it removed after a couple of years because the heavy, long periods and bad cramping never did improve. After I pop out a kid, I would definitely get another.

She should avoid depo provera (the shot) like the plague. Weight gain and depression are fairly common and really miserable. Also no sex drive, even relative to other hormonals.

The Nuva Ring is a good pick for not having to remember it every day.

Most women have to go through several types before they find one they can tolerate. She may as well start that process now.
Posted by wxPDX on February 26, 2013 at 8:07 PM · Report this
For TIMELY: I suggest condoms!

I have the Mirena IUD, and have no kids - insertion was very painful even with a prescribed Vicodin beforehand. Rough sex was a favorite pre-Mirena, and now it just hurts too bad to continue (the Mirena causes cramping, at least for me, from rough sex). Even soft sex can trigger the cramping.
To top it off the strings have also fallen out, and the IUD has risen up in my cervix out of sight, so they had to do an ultrasound to find it. My gyno explained that she uses a tool in these circumstances to fish it out, I have no idea what kind of painkillers they use for this, or if they will need to do surgery, but it's something I'm not looking forward to!
The plus sides: Your period disappears, or will almost disappear, which is really nice, and for me the mood swings are gone with it. It's also great not having to worry about taking a pill everyday, but the discomfort it has caused me is NOT worth it.
It sounds like others have better experiences with the IUD, but you're new to sex! Complications like these could make life complicated, especially since you wouldn't be able to gauge from experience if the sex is uncomfortable or if its the IUD. Use condoms, and when you get into a legit committed relationship check out the Nuva Ring, it's been my favorite so far.
Posted by Maren on February 26, 2013 at 8:23 PM · Report this
Waiting for those pictures, Dan!
Posted by 14thblackbird on February 26, 2013 at 9:08 PM · Report this
gueralinda 17
@15 -
sorry you've had issues with the Mirena. Before I got mine, I asked specifically about rough sex. Well, I asked "does having an IUD place any restrictions on your sex life?" and when the midwife said no (always use a midwife, ladies) I said "are you sure? I mean like ANY restrictions?" and she repeated NO. I can't say I ever noticed any difference, and our sex gets pretty rough sometimes.

However, I also had the "lost string" experience and an ultrasound to make sure it was still in the right place. Don't freak out about the "instrument." When it was time to get mine removed (thanks again for that vasectomy, babe!), it turned out she was able to locate the string within the cervical canal and remove it the same way she would have normally.

I know all this female anatomy is probably giving Dan the vapors, but the truth is that our junk is seriously tough. It's made to be; the survival of the human race depends on it. If you have basically healthy parts, and can "man up" (ha!) and endure five minutes of pretty bad pain, your girly bits will suffer zero lasting effects. Babies come out of there, IUDs are like an inch long.
Posted by gueralinda on February 26, 2013 at 9:18 PM · Report this
Helvetica Bold! So adorable!
Posted by ravished on February 26, 2013 at 9:26 PM · Report this
Everyone on here seems to be posting about IUDs. I don't know how much of an option that actually is for this girl. I know when I went in to the doctor and asked for an IUD, they told me they were not physically capable of inserting one because I'm naturally small and had never given birth. I used Depo-Provera for two years (had to stop because it decreases bone density) and LOVED it. I was a little moody for a couple days after each injection, but eight days a year vs. a week per month of moodiness was nothing to me. When I stopped the Depo, I got an Implanon implant inserted into my arm. I am about a year in and have no negative side effects other than increased sex drive (darn) and occasional spotting. Try one, if it doesn't work for you, don't be afraid to change it. Honestly, the Implanon has so far been the least painful, least side effects, and most effective for me. But everyone is different.
Posted by IronicallyEtsy on February 26, 2013 at 9:52 PM · Report this
queralinda - I'm glad you had such a positive IUD experience. I'm a health care provider and see TONS of people with serious side effects from both the copper and Mirena varieties; myself included. I cramp (severe, blacking out and screaming type cramps) 14 days out of my now-21-day cycle (thanks, IUD!) and after certain sexual positions... so now it's non-deep-penetrating positions only.

Still, I've kept it for 4 years and will probably keep it for the next 6 because it's hormone free and I won't get pregnant. And, it was so bloody painful to put it, I can't imagine taking it out until I have to. Hopefully by then I will be trying to get pregnant and won't need to worry about birth control.

It's a rough world for us ladies, the sole bearers of the birth control burden. Can't wait until VasoGel or something like it gets approved!!!
Posted by filosa on February 26, 2013 at 10:51 PM · Report this
I'm with @18: Helvetica Bold---I love it, Dan!!
I'd love to see the pics.

Great acronym, TIMELY, and all the best in your studies!
Definitely go with spermicidal condoms, but watch the BCPs--
the Pill, especially Ortho-Novum 777, can have nasty side effects!

Thanks again for spot on advice, Dan!
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 26, 2013 at 10:55 PM · Report this
Any doctor who would implant an IUD in a virgin is a sadist.
Posted by no catchy name on February 26, 2013 at 11:22 PM · Report this
Important to note that Planned Parenthood WON'T give you an IUD if you're not in a long term relationship. If you are planning on having multiple partners, or don't know yet, they don't give it to you because of the lack of STD protection.

Maybe ask your doctor also for resources you can consult once you've moved. I guarantee that sometime in the 6 years that you're in another state, you're going to need advice on birth control and you're original doctor won't be available. Planned Parenthood is usually amazing. Find out how the helpers at your college health center are. Make sure you know what your options are and find what you're comfortable with. Part of leaving for college is leaving your comfort zone and finding a new one somewhere else.

And as for the first letter, while I suppose it is generally wise to not hook up with strangers when you're super drunk, I got the distinct impression that had the people this guy's friend had been wanting to hook up with been bio women, there would've been significantly less cock-blocking. It's as if the friends were saying, "Omg he's drunk, he doesn't know what he's doing, get him away from the transvestite," rather than, "wow, they are really hitting it off. Let's make sure they are safe before we high five both of them." Not cool guys.
Posted by Kella on February 26, 2013 at 11:50 PM · Report this
You trust your doctor. Your doctor has offered you information on birth control years ago.
Why do you write to a sex advice columnist instead of discussing this with your doctor?
Your doctor is the one who will be able to tell you if you are in any risk group regarding the suitability of hormonal BC, or if your cervix is too small/ strangely formed/ whatever for an IUD.

But why is no-one commenting on that stupid LW who sounds slightly homophobic and does everything he can to keep his friend in whatever closet that friend is?
Posted by migrationist on February 27, 2013 at 2:19 AM · Report this
my 2 cents on IUDs: I have a Mirena IUD, and no problems whatsoever. Some very light cramps when setting it (without having given birth), and no issues after. Any and all kinds of sex still great.
Sure, with IUD you'll still need condoms, but last time I slept with an asshole, and turned out the condom broke, I didn't have to freak out all that much. I'm just saying: make sure you have extra precautions for the really important stuff like pregnancy-prevention!

@18&21: me too! Immediately checked my twitter and disappointed Dan didn't come through. We'd love to see those pics Dan!
Posted by DE on February 27, 2013 at 4:00 AM · Report this
mydriasis 26

Good point.

Probably because she wanted to write to Dan and as a virgin this was her only option for material?

Still though... good idea to go to health professionals for health advice.
Posted by mydriasis on February 27, 2013 at 5:04 AM · Report this
Speaking as someone who was a virgin when i got my mirena, i still thought it was a reasonable choice. Insertion was a wee bit uncomfortable but i saw a gyne who inserted iuds like 30x/day. Which i think is key. Also i took like 800mg of advil an hour prior to insertion (actually probably better than vicodan since it decreases cramping).

I found that i had random spotting for a few months - nothing i actually needed a pad for and since then only minimal periods.

Actually, perhaps half the female population of my medical class have mirena iuds. Its the cool thing to do. And here in canada, our mirenas last 7 years (american regulations say 5 for reasons i dont fully understand).

Obvious caveats: some things dont work for everybody and you have to be responsible about protecting yourself against STIs especially with a foreign body in your uterus.
Posted by aws on February 27, 2013 at 5:05 AM · Report this
mydriasis 28
"make sure you have extra precautions for the really important stuff like pregnancy-prevention!"

Okay, why am I repeatedly hearing the sentiment that pregnancy prevention is more important than STI prevention?
Posted by mydriasis on February 27, 2013 at 5:07 AM · Report this
Here's a Twitter pic Helvetica Bold posted in 2010:…

Also, I have a slightly unbelievable IUD story -- I had the Mirena inserted when I was in a prolonged period of single-dom (to decrease bleeding). Shortly after I started dating my fiance, 18 months later, the Mirena started coming out. My doctor said she had never seen such a thing (it had moved from being high up in the uterus to near the cervix, and the string was *long* outside the cervix), and I had to get it removed. My theory is that my orgasms were so incredible (seriously amazing, lifetime best, and I've had a few) that I was experiencing unusually strong uterine contractions, leading to expulsion. Just a theory, and one that I didn't share with my doctor ;-)

I second the caveat about hormonal BC affecting women with mood disorders, but from my experience, a 1-month trial of a BCP would have no bearing on what effects the 5-year Mirena would have on your mood -- I've had different impacts on my mood from various hormonal methods, at various times. I'm leery enough that I've stopped using hormonal BC, but TIMELY should experiment now to find out how her body interacts with these.

Also, @24, what else is there to say to CLOD beyond what Dan already said? Wouldn't any clear-thinking person have come to the interpretation that Dan offers without having to write to a sex columnist? CLOD, offer to go with your friend to a drag show -- that can be the first step to letting him know that you're done cock-blocking him.
Posted by ManxsomeFoe on February 27, 2013 at 5:09 AM · Report this
LOL at Helvetica Bold. That is all.

I am going to need pictures though.
Posted by daphne24 on February 27, 2013 at 5:17 AM · Report this
I LOVE my Paragard copper IUD. I'm on my 2nd one - got my first at 23 and had it in for 15 years (not recommended). Second one in for 8 years so far and since I'm approaching menopause that should be the last one. Yes, it made my menstrual cramps worse for the first year or 2 but it is soooooooo much better than hormonal birth control (makes me depressed, moody, and go from an A cup to a very painful C cup) or some other kind of barrier method (anyone remember diaphragms?) I love it. Recommend it to anyone who can find a doctor who will insert one.
Posted by science chick on February 27, 2013 at 5:34 AM · Report this
What #10 said. Convenient, functional contraception.

and, it has a useful side-effect: whilst the 18 yo virgin might just want a guy for a night, she gets to pretend that she does not have them,(at first) to see if he is the type who travels prepared.
Posted by barfuss on February 27, 2013 at 5:38 AM · Report this
TIMELY-- I recommend condoms. If your first experience with PIV sex is with someone you've known only briefly, you'll want them for the STD prevention. If your first experience is, as the "love yearning" in your sig suggests, with someone you know well enough to talk about love, pregnancy, and STDs with, then you'll have plenty of time to get a long term method of birth control when that happens.

It's great that you have a doctor you're comfortable with at home, but the experience of going to a doctor you don't know as well won't harm you. You have the information you need so you assertively walk into a recommended doctor's office or the campus health clinic, say what you want, and take it from there. Any problem is more likely to be with insurance and payment. Alternately, if I'm wrong about the out-of-town doctor, use condoms until you're home for a break, then see your regular doctor. A few months is a long time to wait for sex if that's what you want. It's not too long to wait for the perfect birth control method if you have condoms in the mean time.
Posted by Crinoline on February 27, 2013 at 5:44 AM · Report this
Just be aware that there are risks with having an IUD inserted. When my doctor put mine in, it perforated my uterus and ended up in my abdomen. I needed surgery to remove it. This is a rare complication (happens about once in every 1000 insertions), but it does happen. I desperately wanted the IUD to work out for me, since it seems like a fantastic method of birth control, but, alas, no such luck.
Posted by LanaO on February 27, 2013 at 5:49 AM · Report this
TIMELY: ignore the comments who say no to IUDs because they had problems and go with what Dan said: implant or IUD + condoms against STIs.

Listen to them when they say that things can go wrong, yes that's true. As you're going to college, great time to learn about statistics and that nothing in life is a sure bet.

While IUDs may have a 1 in 1000 complication rate + failure rate, condoms have a 150 in 1000 failure rate in typical usage (yes, 15%).

So that means many many more unwanted pregnancies across thousands of women who use condoms ONLY compared to condoms + another method.

And if some of those carry a pregnancy to term, there is *far* more than a 1 in 1000 chance of a life-threatening complication from the pregnancy itself. Even abortions, while almost always safe, can have complications. So the net IUD complication rate is far lower than any alternative.

Very sorry for those commenters who had problems with IUDs, and people should be aware anything can happen -- indeed, every day hundreds of people on the planet just drop for no apparent reason right in the middle of typing a sente
Posted by delta35 on February 27, 2013 at 6:25 AM · Report this
I don't have anything to add to everyone's excellent advice re: bc methods, but I am still stuck on the portion of CLOD's letter where he notes that his friend "reached into her pants and felt for a pussy only after she started giving him head." I regrettably never have given head to a stranger in a club, but is that a normal part of the ritual in any event? "Here comes some free cocksucking!" "HANG ON, MUST DO A QUICK VAGINA-CHECK."
Posted by lulubelle on February 27, 2013 at 6:53 AM · Report this
Of course he doesn't grab a presumably-a-girl's genitalia until something else is already going on! Pulling a Crocodile Dundee could get him an elbow to the face, arrested or preferably BOTH!

"Coercively assigned male at birth?" I call bull. We do not assign gender; we only recognize it. If a baby has a penis, it's okay to assume that that baby also has male brain anatomy or whatever else it is that makes a boy male on the inside. It's not coercion; it's not wickedness; it's just a mistake, and considering that most boys with penises and XY chromosomes actually are boys, it's not a remotely unreasonable one. A trans woman is someone who was raised male but discovered that she was really female, not someone who was coerced into being male by mean doctors.
Posted by DRF on February 27, 2013 at 7:03 AM · Report this
Of course he doesn't grab a presumably-a-girl's genitalia until something else is already going on! Pulling a Crocodile Dundee could get him an elbow to the face, arrested or preferably BOTH!

"Coercively assigned male at birth"? I call bull. We do not assign gender; we only recognize it. If a baby has a penis, it's okay to assume that that baby also has male brain anatomy or whatever else it is that makes a boy male on the inside. It's not coercion; it's not wickedness; it's just a mistake, and considering that most boys with penises and XY chromosomes actually are boys, it's not a remotely unreasonable one. A trans woman is someone who was raised male but discovered that she was really female, not someone who was coerced into being male by mean doctors.
Posted by DRF on February 27, 2013 at 7:04 AM · Report this
I'm glad Dan told the first letter writer to "stop cock & frock blocking" the guy because as I was reading the letter, I couldn't understand why so-called "friends" kept preventing the guy from moving forward w/his actions, as if he were going to "regret" it later. It wasn't their place to interfere w/his desires & decide for him what those desires should be!
Posted by wayne on February 27, 2013 at 7:04 AM · Report this
So how much of Dan's salary for this week's column goes to Unjali Malhotra for writing half of it?
Posted by wayne on February 27, 2013 at 7:07 AM · Report this
Aren't "beer goggles" generally just an excuse to go after the people you really like instead of the ones that you are supposed to like? "Oh, I got drunk and slept with a fattie," for example means, "I really like heavier women, but I am ashamed to admit it."
Posted by LML on February 27, 2013 at 7:18 AM · Report this
How about the Implanon? It's less invasive (and painful) than an IUD and lasts three years.
Posted by cmegli on February 27, 2013 at 7:18 AM · Report this
nocutename 43
@41: Not always, and not necessarily. People often look better as the night wears down and the level of alcohol in the bloodstream rises.
In the case of this letter, though, it seems like this poor guy has a lot of freaked-out and perhaps homophobic friends all trying to save him from himself. I'm wondering what kind of bars they are frequenting, and getting ready to comment that CLOD's attitude suggests that he (CLOD) has a drinking problem.
@29: thanks for posting the link. Dan, you make a hell of a foxy lady . . . or look somewhat like my aunt did as a young woman--yikes!
Posted by nocutename on February 27, 2013 at 7:30 AM · Report this
There are a few pics of Dan in drag in the SLOG archives:…
Posted by aw on February 27, 2013 at 7:44 AM · Report this
singing cynic 45
My mom took me to get the pill before I started college for this precise reason. (God bless her.) Orthotricyclen, used in tandem with condoms (EVERY TIME) is a good option for college women.
Posted by singing cynic on February 27, 2013 at 7:47 AM · Report this
@28: Because pregnancy is more common than STIs as a result of unprotected sex. Especially for people in their late teens/ early twenties. And because while many, many STIs respond to simple medical treatment if you pay enough attention to know you have them, pregnancy ends in miscarriage, abortion, or the birth of a child. Even among the strongly pro-choice, all of these are usually considered more emotionally weighty than a round of antibiotics for chlamydia. For a lot of people, the emotional weight would be greater than for even the untreatable or bad complications STIs. (And of course pregnancy can have its own serious complications.)

For the LW, I would incline to:
a) Talk to your own trusted doctor, since you're lucky enough to have one.
b) Use condoms for STIs and as one method of birth control.
c) Condoms plus something-different (i.e. not just spermicide applied with the condom, but a different method entirely), both used correctly, will get your risk of pregnancy very low. If you use two 90% effective methods the combined effect is about 99%. (10% of 10% for failure rate.) I would incline toward something easier to go on and off than an IUD as you see how you do with various types: as someone noted, you want to be able to tell what's the sex and what's the birth control method.
Posted by IPJ on February 27, 2013 at 7:56 AM · Report this
RTam 47
I have a Mirena IUD and yes it hurt getting it inserted (I've never had children), and the first three months were a constant cramp-fest. BUT two years later, I am thrilled with it. Almost no periods, no pregnancy worries and while condoms are a must, there's no additional concern about accidental breakage.

Why anyone would think that inserting one into a virgin is wrong or cruel is beyond me.

As for rough sex being a problem, it's not the sex, it's whether the penis is hitting the cervix that could be an issue. Frankly, that's pretty damn painful with or without an IUD and I can see it being more of an issue with one, but thankfully most men are not that big. Though if you find yourself enjoying cervix hitting sex, it is something to consider.
Posted by RTam on February 27, 2013 at 8:00 AM · Report this
AFinch 48
As a non-vagina owner, no opinion on the IUD, except to say; contraception and STI prevention are a good idea - ie, condoms in addition.

And yeah, like @16: still waiting on the pics!!!
Posted by AFinch on February 27, 2013 at 8:04 AM · Report this
Jeebus, I am amazed at the number of people being pro-IUDs, despite experiencing what sounds like horrendous insertion processes and side effects. Why would anyone put up with that unless they are in a long term relationship where condoms are not also needed?

Condoms (male and female) are great if you're not in a settled relationship, and how about not defaulting to PIV? Any kind of hormonal or inserted birth control has problems, and they need trying out to find which suits an individual. Committing to one which will last years before becoming sexually active sounds like taking on an extraordinary burden.

The morning after pill is available very easily where I am, and although it's not to be abused, on the rare occasions where condoms have come off it has been a simple and easy solution.

Posted by misspiggy on February 27, 2013 at 8:21 AM · Report this
Slate did an article in their "medical examiner" section on this topic. Their conclusion was that IUDs are generally a good birth control option even for young woman without children. The article is called "Why Have Teen Pregnancy Rates Dropped?"…
Posted by UrbanDuck on February 27, 2013 at 8:22 AM · Report this
Kevin_BGFH 51
I think Helvetica Bold is a fantastic drag name. So much better than Comic Sans. I definitely want to see those pics.

Also, my drag queen friends call those guys "clown fuckers."
Posted by Kevin_BGFH on February 27, 2013 at 8:26 AM · Report this
I'm on my second Implanon (upper arm implant). I've had them for a total of almost 5 years. It's fantastic - no side effects in my case and nothing to worry about for 3 years. Both insertion and removal are pretty easy with a local anesthetic.

I would have gotten an IUD after childbirth, but it wasn't an option due to a retroverted uterus. From what I've read, IUDs are now considered an option for most women even if they haven't given birth. Some discomfort on insertion seems like a small price to pay for 10 years of protection with a copper IUD.

And, yes, condoms, obviously. But not condoms alone if you're serious about preventing pregnancy.
Posted by Consider the implant on February 27, 2013 at 8:49 AM · Report this
Why didn't this doctor mention NUVARING? It solves a problem with 'typical-use' failure. That's why I never took pills, just seems too annoying.
But you insert it yourself, take it out for a week, then keep one in place for 2 weeks, and you dont have to go through painful installation of IUD.

Posted by crazyprotein on February 27, 2013 at 8:56 AM · Report this
to #49
"and how about not defaulting to PIV?"

PIV is great and avoiding it entirely so you don't have to bother about birth control is just sad
Posted by crazyprotein on February 27, 2013 at 8:58 AM · Report this
thecheesegirl 55
I just wanted to say that how much the IUD hurts to be inserted, in my experience, has less to do with being parous/nulliparous and more to do with the experience and skill of the practitioner. My first one, which I got before getting pregnant and which was inserted by an experienced OB/GYN, hurt hardly at all (although I did feel what pain there was for longer), whereas the one I got after having my kid hurt like a bitch because the NP who put it in had no idea what she was doing.

Also, Helvetica Bold is a *fantastic* drag name.
Posted by thecheesegirl on February 27, 2013 at 8:59 AM · Report this
thecheesegirl 56
And one more thought: I freaking LOVE my Mirena. Pills made me fat and moody, the Mirena does nothing to my mood but stop PMS in its tracks.
Posted by thecheesegirl on February 27, 2013 at 9:01 AM · Report this
Here's the way I interpret TIMELY's letter:

I am an 18 year old straight female woman who has never had PIV sex before going off to college. I have never had a long term boyfriend or even short term boyfriend at this point, and while I look forward to having sex some time in the future, I'm okay with the amount of sexual experience I've had at the moment. Should I be on some sort of long-term birth control in advance of a relationship in which I might need it, or should I wait for the relationship first and get the birth control second?

My answer is to wait. What if this young woman doesn't end up needing birth control for another few years? It's perfectly fine for her to wait. If she does find someone she wants to have sex with, they can use condoms until she gets a prescription. Given the (possible) side effects of hormonal birth control and IUDs, it doesn't make sense to me to be on them when they're not needed. Sure the benefits outweigh the risks when there's the possibility of pregnancy, but I'm not sure we can say the same thing when there's only a possible preliminary risk of pregnancy because the man involved is, at present, imaginary.

Of course, there is the 3000 miles away business, and for that, I think several packets of conventional birth control pills make a good answer. She goes off to college with them, but she doesn't take them. When she meets the right guy, they use condoms until her next period. Then she starts taking the Pill according to package instructions.

Posted by Crinoline on February 27, 2013 at 9:04 AM · Report this
Implant + Condoms

Do NOT get Mirena. IUDs carry a small risk of perforation of the uterus or the cervix. There is a pending class action lawsuit against Mirena because of this problem. If you're opting for hormone based contraception, Implanon is the safer option.

If you prefer a non-hormonal long term method, you're pretty much stuck with ParaGard. It can cause perforation, too, but there isn't an alternative long term hormone free method. (Make sure you're not allergic to copper, first, though!)
Posted by MiscKitty on February 27, 2013 at 9:07 AM · Report this
#36 LOL thanks for that comment!
Posted by crazyprotein on February 27, 2013 at 9:07 AM · Report this
Progesterone releasing iuds last 5 years, copper last 10 years @6. And I can say having experienced both, the copper one caused exessive bleeding and debilitating cramping while the progesterone releasing plastic one I have now caused my mothly period and accompanying pain to cease without putting me at risk for bloood clots or stroke like the other hormone birth control methods would have. I was happy with the Nuvaring for 6 years until I had a stroke at age 31 which may have been in part caused by the estrogen in that birth control option.
Posted by on February 27, 2013 at 9:08 AM · Report this
seandr 61
@39: I couldn't understand why so-called "friends" kept preventing the guy from moving forward w/his actions, as if he were going to "regret" it later.

True. 12 years ago I got plastered in a Greenwich Village bar and ended up making out with a drag queen. My friend (who's gay) didn't try to stop me - in fact, he egged me on. I'm as straight as they come, but whatever, the whole night was just crazy and fun.

If I have any regrets, it's that I didn't get a BJ out of the deal - would have been interesting to find out whether that would have worked for me.
Posted by seandr on February 27, 2013 at 9:16 AM · Report this
seandr 62
@57: I think several packets of conventional birth control pills make a good answer.

Birth control pills are fabulous if you're the sort that can remember to take them EVERY day (or have the discipline to stick with oral for the remainder of the month if you forget a day).

Otherwise, they are an unwanted pregnancy waiting to happen.
Posted by seandr on February 27, 2013 at 9:36 AM · Report this
Helix 63
"coercively assigned male at birth,"

This phrasing pisses me off so, so much (probably only because I'm a geneticist). Fuck you, you were not "assigned" shit and there's nothing "coercive" about it, an X or Y sperm happened to be the one to fertilize the egg and thence genetic gender was formed.

Certainly that can be different from the gender you truly feel you are, which is how trans* folk end up existing. But come on people. Coercively assigned? That only makes sense if you believe in god or some equally juvenile horseshit.

Although, Tumblr.
Posted by Helix on February 27, 2013 at 9:36 AM · Report this
The WHO no longer promotes the use of spermicidal condoms, and for good reason. They have a shorter shelf life than normal condoms, they've been linked to UTIs, and if you're already using a condom, they really don't reduce your pregnancy risk much. In addition, if you're allergic to them like I am, they can cause some serious burning and/or itching after use.

If you want to use condoms, I would recommend getting lubricated ones without spermicide. Of course, if it's a condom with spermicide or no condom at all, it's still better to go with a spermicidal condom.
Posted by HerOwnAntonia on February 27, 2013 at 9:46 AM · Report this
Everyone's so anti the pill these days! There are plenty of good reasons to be on birth control even if you're not planning on having sex - it can help with heavy or painful periods, unplanned sex can happen in many ways, and starting off on the right foot by taking responsibility for your body is a good thing.

If she's an 18 year old virgin thinking about birth control, she's probably responsible and would remember to take her pills. Not everyone has side effects from hormonal oral contraceptives. I've got a 28 day mini-pill - I don't get periods ever and I experience no side effects. It's all about finding the one that works for you, and sometimes that's the pill.
Posted by icantthinkofaname on February 27, 2013 at 10:24 AM · Report this
Registered European 66
"Helvetica Bold" looks pretty cute. I suppose I have gynandromorphophilic tendencies.
Posted by Registered European on February 27, 2013 at 10:42 AM · Report this
Corylea 67
LOVE your drag name, Dan. :-)

Posted by Corylea on February 27, 2013 at 10:49 AM · Report this
Sorry if this is already mentioned but how is she supposed to remain a virgin and get an IUD inserted? Wouldn't that procedure rip the hymen?
Posted by kirkland_nut on February 27, 2013 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Crinoline at 57 makes a good point: All of these have possible side effects and if she doesn't wind up needing birth control for a couple of years, why not be conservative on the stuff introduced into her body? (Plus it could help on the no, really, use a condom, even if you're in a relationship, even if you're both virgins front.)

I think waiting for a relationship is a really good idea for virgins, because guessing blind how sex is going to affect you emotionally isn't terribly smart--if you might be feeling wildly bonded the next day it's nice if it's with a person who likes you and wants to talk to you still.
Posted by IPJ on February 27, 2013 at 11:10 AM · Report this
Actually any girl who is morally opposed to abortion should be on birth control from the time she is able to get pregnant.
Posted by jeffy on February 27, 2013 at 11:12 AM · Report this
Re 49 defaulting to PIV: Because straight people have a pretty strong urge for PIV sex and saying "We'll do everything but that! And we totally won't get carried away in the heat of the moment!" isn't terribly smart.
Posted by IPJ on February 27, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
I have knocked an IUD out of alignment during rough sex. My friend bled significantly afterward and had to have the IUD realigned by her doctor. She said the doctor seemed to have seen the situation before.

That said, that friend has been very happy with her IUD overall, it never caused a problem during any of our other meetings over a few years, and it was nice knowing it was there in addition to the condoms we were using.
Posted by Alec on February 27, 2013 at 11:16 AM · Report this
@70: Special magical birth control with no side effects and a 100% effectiveness rate? I hope you share with the medical community this great discovery of yours.

And I'm mystified as to why you aren't promoting it for those who favor abortion, too: abortion has risks and complications, even if fewer than pregnancy, and is not viewed by most women as carrying the emotional weight and physical consequences of, say, sneezing. I feel pretty confident that the vast majority of women who have had abortions would much rather have had that magical perfect birth control instead.
Posted by IPJ on February 27, 2013 at 11:21 AM · Report this
I went on a 5 year implant when I was 19. Like TIMELY, I was nervous about forgetting to take my pill daily, so I went with Norplant. Mind you, this was in 1992, and I'm aware that medical advances have a tendency to occur over 20 years. However, after an armload of surgical scars, and an extra fifty pounds I couldn't shift until the removal of the implants (after which the weight practically fell off with no change in diet or lifestyle), I would caution TIMELY not to be too eager to use something that requires that much commitment and a surgical procedure to insert or remove. One of the benefits to oral contraceptive is that you can stop immediately if dire, or simply inconvenient, side effects present themselves. If TIMELY is concerned about starting a daily routine, I recommend she start practicing with the use of a daily multivitamin. If she can remember her vitamins, which she probably ought to be taking anyway, she can be confident that she won't forget the pill. And yes, absolutely, insisting on condoms every time and regular testing is still a must regardless of contraception.
Posted by secret libby on February 27, 2013 at 11:23 AM · Report this
Dear TIMELY virgin. I think the main thing that you need to worry about is not necessarily so much about getting pregnant but about avoiding STDs. Clearly neither an IUD nor a birth control pill will protect you from an STD. I thought that I needed to spell it out again, just in case. That being said, condoms are what you will need. And common sense in choosing a partner. But whether you are planning on having a monogamous relationship or recreational sex with multiple partners, you must stock up on condoms, condoms, and more condoms. Once you and your monogamous partner reach that level of trust where you definitely know that he does not have sex with other people and that he is free of STDs, then by all means consider other contraceptive devices, UIDs, pills, etc. From the health standpoint though, I'd stick with condoms. Why anyone wants to screw with their hormones is beyond me. I would like to avoid extra pounds and facial hair growth (which could happen when you are on birth control pills - I have known girls that experienced those unsightly side effects). Good luck with your studies!

Dan -- love the twitter pic!!
Posted by InYourShoes10YrsAgo on February 27, 2013 at 11:27 AM · Report this
BedlamBabe 76
UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should she begin with the depo shot, whatever choice she ends up making- I say this not because it's necessarily a poor choice- there's a few ladies already who've commented that they love it, but it's the single option mentioned that is entirely irrevocable and should our sensible young lady find that the hormones cause problems, the only answer is to be horribly miserable for months until it wears off.

Personally, I take a pill so I can skip periods. I have an alarm that goes off every single morning at the same time so I don't -forget- the pill, in fact, because otherwise it doesn't work very well. Nuvaring was lovely [though it can... come out at inopportune moments], but it's prohibitively expensive for a lot of people because of the tier drug it is and I had to switch off it.
Posted by BedlamBabe on February 27, 2013 at 11:30 AM · Report this
I went on a 5 year implant when I was 19. Like TIMELY, I was nervous about forgetting to take my pill daily, so I went with Norplant. Mind you, this was in 1992, and I'm aware that medical advances have a tendency to occur over 20 years. However, after an armload of surgical scars, and an extra fifty pounds I couldn't shift until the removal of the implants (after which the weight practically fell off with no change in diet or lifestyle), I would caution TIMELY not to be too eager to use something that requires that much commitment and a surgical procedure to insert or remove. One of the benefits to oral contraceptive is that you can stop immediately if dire, or simply inconvenient, side effects present themselves. If TIMELY is concerned about starting a daily routine, I recommend she start practicing with the use of a daily multivitamin. If she can remember her vitamins, which she probably ought to be taking anyway, she can be confident that she won't forget the pill. And yes, absolutely, insisting on condoms every time and regular testing is still a must regardless of contraception.
Posted by secretlibby on February 27, 2013 at 11:32 AM · Report this
HELVETICA BOLD! I haven't laughed this hard in weeks. Good one, Dan!
Posted by Sufficiency on February 27, 2013 at 11:32 AM · Report this
A lot of doctors won't insert a Mirena IUD in women who haven't had kids- just keep asking around until you find one who *does*. I had one put in at 21 (no kids) and it's fabulous! I had less cramping than before and I don't get a period at all.
Also, please only listen to your doctor about the objective statistics on all BC failure and risk rates. The internets are full of horror stories for every method, mainly because the many people who are quite happy with whatever they have don't feel the need to post rants about it on their blogs :)
And yes, always use condoms.
Posted by somanynights on February 27, 2013 at 11:36 AM · Report this
Oh, and if you do get an IUD- it will hurt, like really really bad cramps. Take two Robaxacets (muscle relaxants plus advil) and it'll be waaaaay better :) It stops the uterine muscles from clenching as much.
Posted by somanynights on February 27, 2013 at 11:38 AM · Report this
I was told by my GYN that IUDs carry an increased risk of STI transmission (due to pelvic inflammation?) so they weren't recommended outside of a committed monogamous relationship (though they would still give one to me if I wanted). Can't find any conclusions on that one way or the other online--thoughts?
Posted by hennybee on February 27, 2013 at 11:39 AM · Report this
Nice shout-out to the silly, silly culture of Tumblr.
Posted by Wayne Addams on February 27, 2013 at 11:44 AM · Report this
Helvetica Bold

Loved it!
Posted by Bloated Jesus is Bloated on February 27, 2013 at 11:45 AM · Report this
Luluisme 84
@37 @63 I think you might find the following helpful re: the word assignment, and its usage here…
Posted by Luluisme on February 27, 2013 at 11:56 AM · Report this
I happily had my copper IUD for 8 years, six of which were spent in a very sexually healthy relationship, until I got pregnant this past December. It was a terrible situation to be in considering where I am in my life. If that news wasn't bad enough, the pregnancy was ectopic. The ER removed my IUD and left me seriously wondering what a responsible girl, who absolutely doesn't want more children, should do to protect herself. After lengthy discussions with my ob, I have a brand new copper IUD.

Truth is, as long as you are fertile, nothing can completely protect you from an accidental pregnancy. You just have to evaluate your life, get to know your body, and make a decision with a doctor you trust.
Posted by Denver lady on February 27, 2013 at 12:13 PM · Report this
seandr 86
@11: Demand condoms, every time.

If your sex life consists of short term hookups, condoms make sense.

However, if LW expects to find herself in a long term monogamous relationship with no clear expiration date, then it might make sense to consider other methods.

Also, relationships generally work better when both parties treat birth control and other mutual issues as shared problems rather than decisions to be made unilaterally.
Posted by seandr on February 27, 2013 at 12:16 PM · Report this
Why hasn't anyone asked the most pressing question here: where in tarnation is this guy hanging out to meet drag queens seemingly anytime he goes anywhere?? I mean, Halloween, Mardi Gras, Gay Pride, certainly, but I don't find that many big girls just making the rounds on weekends. Kind of odd, no?
Posted by LizaMay on February 27, 2013 at 12:20 PM · Report this
Are you completely sure that Eddie Izzard doesn't refer to himself as a transvestite? Is he not allowed?
Posted by kc1253 on February 27, 2013 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Are you completely sure that Eddie Izzard doesn't still refer to himself as a transvestite? Is he not allowed?
Posted by kc1253 on February 27, 2013 at 12:36 PM · Report this
Get your BC in place beforehand!! I'm 32 and had PIV for the first time only last year. Completely unexpected, unprotected, and had to get emergency contraception in the form of a copper IUD because it was really close to ovulation day. The 'morning after' pill just delays ovulation, so if you've already ovulated it won't work, but a copper IUD will prevent implantation. (This is what they told me at the clinic; I am not a doctor). Thankfully I live in the UK where it was easy, no-fuss, and free. And no judgment either, even though it was probably the riskiest thing I'd ever done. And it didn't hurt that much - I was told to take a painkiller beforehand (I didn't) and it wasn't anything I couldn't breathe through ok.
Posted by ISIHAC on February 27, 2013 at 1:00 PM · Report this
@90, I hope your unexpected/unprotected PIV wasn't also unwanted :-(

Re emergency contraception, some of the pills also work to prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus. Not sure about the products available in the UK, though.
Posted by EricaP on February 27, 2013 at 1:15 PM · Report this
I have a Paraguard IUD and it's great. I have a long term partner who I have unprotected sex with; but for the times I sleep with other penis-having folks, I always use a condom. I suggest you do the same. Good luck!
Posted by Marwin on February 27, 2013 at 1:18 PM · Report this
Up until last week I would have been raving about my ParaGard, which I've had for 3 years (I'm 27 and nulliparous, very little pain with insertion). Before that I tried 3 types of BCP and NuvaRing, and the variety of not-great side effects convinced me to go hormone-free.

And then last week I had a miscarriage, and now I'm having to re-think the very lengthy thought process that led me to the ParaGard in the first place.

Some thoughts for the writer:
--I would try BCP, possibly multiple types, for at least 6 months to see how you tolerate them
--If they work for you, stick with them or another hormonal method
--If not, consider ParaGard, but keep in mind that (a) if you do get pregnant (let's say 1 in 300) you've got a higher chance of ectopic pregnancy (very bad) and miscarriage; (b) if you contract an STD, your risk of PID/infertility/etc. is increased (so use condoms!); (c) your periods will likely be more crampy/heavy, so if they're already the least bit bad you might want to rethink ParaGard
Posted by madses on February 27, 2013 at 1:24 PM · Report this
90-ISIHAC-- Are you saying you wish you'd been on some kind of birth control from the time you started ovulating in your teens until the time you had PIV sex for the first time when you were 31 all in the name of precaution? That would have been worth it to you in order to avoid needing emergency contraception, emergency contraception that you say was readily available? I'm trying to avoid judgment and second guessing, but if that really is your conclusion, I'll admit that it's hard. Being so turned on that you have consensual sex at the spur of the moment, now for that, I'm judgment free (go girl!). As far as I'm concerned, no problem with having fresh condoms in your purse all the time just in case. But having an IUD implanted when you're not sexually active and have no actual plan to become sexually active in the near future? I can't understand that-- if that is, indeed, what you're recommending.
Posted by Crinoline on February 27, 2013 at 1:25 PM · Report this
Fistique 95
The main message from this comment thread is that no birth control method works for everybody, you have to weigh up the risks and benefits of each for yourself, often after trying many.

Me, I'm childless and on my second Mirena, after wearing the first out with my now-husband. Some serious pain and spotty bleeding the first few months of the first one, but the second was inserted with no more pain than a pap smear. I was told by the doctor in the UK that a lot of US doctors cut the strings waaaay too short out of a feeling that American males could become distressed by palpable evidence that women have to take precautions against pregnancy and aren't instant porn fuckdolls.
Posted by Fistique on February 27, 2013 at 1:39 PM · Report this
TIMELY, use condoms.

Unwanted pregnancy can be dealt with, but STIs are for life. HPV, HIV, chlamydia can have life-altering consequences. Take the pill if you need it for non-contraceptive reasons, but otherwise you really do not want an excuse not to use condoms. If a condom breaks, then the morning-after pill is there for you. Ask your nice home doctor to give you a couple to keep in your bathroom cabinet.

If in the future you find yourself in a LTR in which STIs are no longer an issue, then you can reassess.

(Yada, yada, yada, on emotional issues around abortion, the sop to the anti-choice brigade. Fuck that! I’ve never been pregnant, but I'm pretty sure that while a minor medical procedure is never fun, it is much better than being told you have contracted a terminal disease/cancer/been rendered infertile..)
Posted by annnnnoonn on February 27, 2013 at 1:47 PM · Report this
@73, that magical stuff can be gotten from any of the "shops" you find in the larger new style mega churches. You can buy K-cups with jesus on them and lunch boxes, and hot romance books with no sex, and 100% birth control.

Dan, they may not use "transvestite" in Seattle, but it is preferred over "drag queen" in other places. Or do you prefer "cross-dresser?" Jeebus, how strange it is to hear declarative statements of that ilk from YOU!

PS why share photos only on twitter? Got something against The stranger?
Posted by brotherBob1 on February 27, 2013 at 2:01 PM · Report this
One more shout out for the copper IUD, after a decade on the pill, a significant increase in libido and 15 lbs that disappeared with out much effort on my part. Could be a coincidence, but it feels like going off the pill had something to do with it
Posted by Zbot on February 27, 2013 at 2:02 PM · Report this
I don't know that I can add much that other women haven't said, but I wanted to point out (in case it's not obvious from other comments) that birth control methods (and girl parts) have a lot of variables and different women can have wildly different experiences with the same method. The only way you are going to know is by trial-and-error, unfortunately. So I would recommend steering clear of anything really long-term (and probably expensive) like an IUD and go for the old stand-by of The Pill. You can experiment with different pills and see which hormones work best for you, and get in the habit of taking them at the same time every day (*very important*) before you are sexually active. They are also available free or cheap, unlike other methods, especially to college students. Do use condoms with new partners, and explore other BC options as you feel moved to, but I would start with the pill.
Posted by Christy O on February 27, 2013 at 2:03 PM · Report this
I had severe menstrual symptoms as a teenager that prevented me from playing sports, swimming, and made me leave school early in tears several times, and I was 18 before someone finally took me seriously and I got on BCP. I take them pretty much continuously and don't bother with their "fake period" phase and have never had PIV, so no, it's not silly to figure out your birth control/reproductive health options extremely early.

I set several alarms to ensure that I always take my BCP before I go to bed since I'll get bleeding if I miss a day.
Posted by UtterEast on February 27, 2013 at 2:40 PM · Report this
This doesn't have to do with birth control, but get the set of three Gardasil shots if you haven't already. Because FUCK getting cervical cancer.
Posted by oolert on February 27, 2013 at 2:59 PM · Report this
The "Panty chaser" may actually be transgender himself.

While it's not common, but I do know of a few transsexuals who engaged in similar behavior before finally coming to terms with themselves. For some it was a coping mechanism for them and for others it was a way to explore.
Posted by Leslie on February 27, 2013 at 3:14 PM · Report this

Don't go for chemicals or IUDs at this time. Just carry a couple rubbers around. Reasonable protection against pregnancy and STIs. Plus they're a good character check on a new guy.

Once you're in a relationship you can explore bareback BC methods.
Posted by Hunter78 on February 27, 2013 at 3:53 PM · Report this
I was a 17 year old college freshman virgin who didn't need birth control for 6 years. (I use condoms only.) Not every college student has sex... I like my high sex drive, and condoms are inexpensive and effective when used correctly.
Posted by DC270 on February 27, 2013 at 4:05 PM · Report this
For those that say one should wait until one is sexually active/nearly so before getting an IUD or pill, I would disagree, only because it takes a while for your body to get used to BC and to the routine, if you are taking the Pill. I have been taking BCP for years, and I have loved mine. Lighter cycles, no pregnancies (yay) and my acne cleared right up as a bonus.
I also say kudos to TIMELY for taking control of her sex life. Condoms are great for STD prevention, but ultimately you should also be on another method so that you have complete control of what goes in and what comes out.
Posted by RJred on February 27, 2013 at 4:07 PM · Report this
LW1 - all that really needed to said was:

My advice: Stop cock-in-frock-blocking your friend and let him know you accept him for who he is, and you may help him find the courage to accept himself before his liver gives out.
Posted by wolfhound on February 27, 2013 at 4:53 PM · Report this
To sum up, some people love and some people hate every form of birth control out there. Which reinforces Dan's point about the importance of taking time to try out different methods before the pressure is on.

As for me, I'm a Mirena girl. No problems with side effects, hasn't affected my ability to enjoy occasional rough sex. I adore not having a period.
Posted by Miss Mischief on February 27, 2013 at 5:04 PM · Report this
@70 jeffy: Could you please remind the lame-brained idiots running the Catholic Church and all other right-wing extremists that contraceptives actually PREVENT any need for abortions?
Posted by auntie grizelda on February 27, 2013 at 5:08 PM · Report this
Every girl's pre-university sexual shopping list:
1. IUD. Do it! getting one inserted feels a bit like going to the dentist (open wide and a bit of soreness) but the confidence of almost-zero risk of pregancy is worth it
2. Birthcontrol pills persciption, filled. IUDs often cause heavy/longer periods for the first few months. get some birthcontrol pills and practice using them to shorten/lighten or change the date of your period (ie not during that long weekend road trip)
3. Condoms. Every decent univeristy should be giving away LOTS and LOTS of condoms on welcome week. grab a handful, and put them in every bag you own (purse, laptop bag, gym bag, etc...) as well as besides the bed. Encourgae your school to prepare those little travel packs of 2 condoms and a ketchup-packet worth of lube, like my school did.
4. Vibrator/dildo or other sex toy. all you need is a pre-paid credit card for $20 and a mailing address. all stores ship in plain packaging. consider this a gift to yourself.
Posted by jjzazzy on February 27, 2013 at 5:13 PM · Report this
Every girl's pre-university sexual shopping list:
1. IUD. Do it! getting one inserted feels a bit like going to the dentist (open wide and a bit of soreness) but the confidence of almost-zero risk of pregancy is worth it
2. Birthcontrol pills persciption, filled. IUDs often cause heavy/longer periods for the first few months. get some birthcontrol pills and practice using them to shorten/lighten or change the date of your period (ie not during that long weekend road trip)
3. Condoms. Every decent univeristy should be giving away LOTS and LOTS of condoms on welcome week. grab a handful, and put them in every bag you own (purse, laptop bag, gym bag, etc...) as well as besides the bed. Encourgae your school to prepare those little travel packs of 2 condoms and a ketchup-packet worth of lube, like my school did.
4. Vibrator/dildo or other sex toy. all you need is a pre-paid credit card for $20 and a mailing address. all stores ship in plain packaging. consider this a gift to yourself.
Posted by jjzazzy on February 27, 2013 at 5:16 PM · Report this
I've been with my boyfriend for 5 years and we still use condoms. He's not happy about it, but the reality is that ALL BC methods for women involve some measure of risk to our health. Can't say that about condoms. He complains about loss of sensitivity but comes every time. Am I supposed to risk strokes, uterine damage, and other horrors just so he can get more sensation? I'm not buying it. Condoms are the healthiest option available at this time.
Posted by TaniaZ on February 27, 2013 at 5:35 PM · Report this
On reflection, CLOD's friend is odd in that he keeps getting drunk with wingmen along to stop him from following through. This seems to have more to do with some sort of exhibitionist thing, where what matters is that he have friends along who see him about to transgress some boundary and talk about it in shocked tones. I wonder how he'd react if his friends were like "Dude, we don't care. Everyone knows why you're here: just do it."

TIMELY, ignore 110. You definitely do not need to go on both the IUD and birth control pills at the same time without a medical professional telling you that it is advised in your case. Talk to your trusted family physician, and I think those suggesting that there are enough side effects of all the non-condom methods to be cautious about using them unnecessarily for years are onto something, if you don't have a medical condition (acne, bad periods) that might be helped with bcp.
Posted by IPJ on February 27, 2013 at 5:55 PM · Report this
Love my Mirena. Everywhere else in the world, it's certified for seven years. The manufacturer hasn't applied to the FDA for certification for seven years *here* because, well, they make more money if they tell women that it only works for five and needs to be changed after.

The first year or so on Mirena's rough. I'm at year five and basically forget that it's there. Cervical stimulation is no issue. Hubby is quite well-endowed, which is also no issue. Mirena + condoms = win
Posted by hurrdahurr on February 27, 2013 at 5:56 PM · Report this
Right on! My now-husband and I used condoms for seven years and they are awesome.

LW1 is a terrible friend on a group of terrible friends. Why would you follow your friend around, chasing away people he's picked up? Who does that?!?
Posted by MichelleZB on February 27, 2013 at 6:13 PM · Report this
Helvetica Bold is very cute. Some of the funniest drag names I've heard have had me in stitches.

I was very proud of a drag name in thought up for a Puerto Rican friend of mine -- "Bessie Mae Koolo".
Posted by Gay Movie Fan on February 27, 2013 at 7:04 PM · Report this
What about the Nuva ring? Leave em in a month at a time, so you can test it out to see how it affects you without too much bother. Also, you get a few at a time, so you can leave em in your drawer until you think you will need one. You seems reasonably level-headed, so the week you'd need to have it in place before actually having sex seems workable. I commend you for planning ahead! Not many like you out there...
Posted by portland scribe on February 27, 2013 at 7:14 PM · Report this
@81 That is bullshit. Find another GYN.

@15. Oh you poor thing. I wish you luck, so much luck, and a skilled GYN. My first insertion the strings were cut too short (Kaiser, obvs) and it took my new doc 15 minutes to dig that fucking thing out of me. It hurt so bad I nearly passed out and it took me a month to recover from constant cramping afterward. It fucking sucked. Take anything legal or non legal you can before going in there, and explain your situation first so they know what to expect. And DON'T LET THEM CUT THE STRINGS.
Posted by apples on February 27, 2013 at 7:25 PM · Report this
Tim Horton 118
@36 - Vag checks are a rookie move.

Much less intrusive to feel for an Adam's apple. Can also check for against-the-grain stubble on the cheeks.

Posted by Tim Horton on February 27, 2013 at 7:52 PM · Report this
@84 Yes, I've seen it. I'm well aware that social scientists like to use words like "assign" and "cultural construct" with respect to gender. However, those words imply that gender is chosen by humans or a product of human society, and neither of those things are true. Yes, many people use the word in this way. They are wrong to do so.
Posted by DRF on February 27, 2013 at 9:36 PM · Report this
@81 They debunked that a while ago.
Posted by gnot on February 27, 2013 at 9:42 PM · Report this
Interestingly, most of the women here re-enforce the notion that birth control is a decision made solely by the female.

I know there is more at stake for the woman but I agree with seandr @86:
"Also, relationships generally work better when both parties treat birth control and other mutual issues as shared problems rather than decisions to be made unilaterally."

and with Hunter @103:
"Don't go for chemicals or IUDs at this time. Just carry a couple rubbers around. Reasonable protection against pregnancy and STIs. Plus they're a good character check on a new guy."

It's sensible to get information now, and to know what kind of birth control you could imagine for yourself.

Once you are in a relationship, or if you realise you like to have ONS and random hook-ups, it is time to re-evaluate with your partner or alone in the latter case to see which BC is the best for your.
Posted by migrationist on February 27, 2013 at 10:10 PM · Report this
What you descibe is not BC as such.
It is a hormonal treatment of serious health issues with the (welcome) side-effect of reduced fertility.
Posted by migrationist on February 27, 2013 at 10:12 PM · Report this
sissoucat 123
Condoms have a failure rate of 15% in the US ? So once every seven PIVs I should have gotten a kid out of it ? How can that be ?!

In Europe condoms have a failure rate of 2% tops - same as the pill.
Posted by sissoucat on February 28, 2013 at 12:15 AM · Report this
Sandiai 124
@111. I'm in a long-term relationship as well and we alternate now among the Today Sponge (so he can go condomless sometimes) and regular condoms or female condoms.

I hated the pill so much, damn. It was like having a low-grade clinical depression where you also had no sex drive. But that's just me.
I feel strangely old-fashioned for recommending The Sponge. It's not difficult to get online, and not terribly expensive. When I first discovered the sponge I was pretty much delighted; it worked well and wasn't that intrusive. Female condoms are pretty good too. These are all non-hormonal BC alternatives in addition to conventional condoms. Try a lot of things; it can be very fun to experiment, really.
Posted by Sandiai on February 28, 2013 at 1:40 AM · Report this
I got my (copper) IUD when I was 21 before I ever had (but was already planning to have) PIV sex (I don't like or use the word "virgin"), and it was barely painful at all. I can't remember if I had followed the doctor's advice of taking ibuprofin beforehand. The insertion went very smoothly, probably because the gyn who did it was very experienced in inserting IUDs. So no, it's not necessarily painful, not even if you've never had PIV sex before.

Also, @52, I'm not sure why you were told you could not get one due to a retroverted uterus, since I also have a retroverted uterus and it was not an issue at all.

And for anyone wondering, I do still use condoms every single time (no exceptions), even though my only 2 partners have both been monogamous relationships.

Also, despite always using condoms and getting Gardasil before ever having sex, I did still wind up with HPV and precancerous cells on my cervix, so no matter what you should still always go in for a yearly gynecological exam.
Posted by lilith480 on February 28, 2013 at 1:42 AM · Report this
I got my (copper) IUD when I was 21 before I ever had (but was already planning to have) PIV sex (I don't like or use the word "virgin"), and it was barely painful at all. I can't remember if I had followed the doctor's advice of taking ibuprofin beforehand. The insertion went very smoothly, probably because the gyn who did it was very experienced in inserting IUDs. So no, it's not necessarily painful, not even if you've never had PIV sex before.

Also, @52, I'm not sure why you were told you could not get one due to a retroverted uterus, since I also have a retroverted uterus and it was not an issue at all.

And for anyone wondering, I do still use condoms every single time (no exceptions), even though my only 2 partners have both been monogamous relationships.

Also, despite always using condoms and getting Gardasil before ever having sex, I did still wind up with HPV and precancerous cells on my cervix, so no matter what you should still always go in for a yearly gynecological exam.
Posted by lilith480 on February 28, 2013 at 1:45 AM · Report this
Sandiai 127
@123, those numbers are based on improper use as well as proper use. Guess which measurement contributes the most to the error rate.
In other words, if you use a condom correctly the error rate is statistically insignificant.

PS, I hate that the religious right has manipulated those statistics to carelessly assert that condoms are scarily ineffective.
Posted by Sandiai on February 28, 2013 at 1:49 AM · Report this
sissoucat 128
@Sandiai : oh, OK.

The statistics that are taught to European junior highschoolers are : condoms are "98% effective when used properly", just like the pill.

We are not told statistics on how effective they are when used on the ear.

I'm not trying to mock you, but to mock the US "religious right", which would be called the "fascist right", if they were Europeans.

Mussolini was very big on religiosity too : not on really practicing himself, but on telling others what was religiously and patriotically moral to do. Having citizens make tons of kids, and putting women back in the home, in order to be available to make more kids, were one of his pet projects. He would have fought condoms like a Catholic Pope, if he had not been killed and hanged like a pig by Italians.
Posted by sissoucat on February 28, 2013 at 2:28 AM · Report this
Sandiai 129
@128, Word.
Posted by Sandiai on February 28, 2013 at 2:54 AM · Report this
mydriasis 130
The combination of viewing condoms as for "short term hookups" and wanting partners to "share the decision" is exactly the attitude that results in this scenario:

The split second a couple is "official" the man starts whining about condoms and insisting that they don't "need" them anymore since they're monogamous. I mean sure they've only been together for two weeks, and sure he has chlamydia which he never got tested for, but condoms are for hookups! Not for real relationships.

Not only do I see this personally all the time, but it's also a well-studied phenomenon. Short-term, serial monogamy combined with those attitudes is a documented risk-factor for STIs. And before you say "oh well I was talking about long term relationships", well sure, but you weren't talking about the middle ground, and most people in short term relationships don't know their relationship will be short-term and they identify more with LTRs than with single people, obviously. The LW is approaching college-age so I think it's important to address the extremely likely outcomes, one of which is short term relationships.

Ladies. It's your right to protect your sexual health for as long as you have to. Don't let anyone guilt you for doing so. One doctor I work with recommends at least a year or two into a relationship before taking condoms out of the equation. (I think he says it knowing that people are going to divide whatever number he gives). In other words, he advises female patients to "unilaterally demand" condoms.
Posted by mydriasis on February 28, 2013 at 5:27 AM · Report this
mydriasis 131

That is some rough luck - do you know if it was a different strain from the ones you were vaccinated? I'm assuming they'd never test for that but on the off chance.
Posted by mydriasis on February 28, 2013 at 5:30 AM · Report this
@123/128: The failure rate means how many women/couples, out of 100, will wind up with a pregnancy after one year. An effectiveness rate of 85% (true for a whole lot of methods in practice, if you look at PP's website) means that of 100 women (easy to imagine a school with 100 women using birth control form X) 15 of them will get pregnant after one year. It is not a measure of the likelihood of one specific sex act causing pregnancy: that is well under 50%.

(As I recall for the 20ish a year of unprotected sex has about a 66% failure rate in terms of there being a pregnancy. If you want a kid, that can be rather daunting: What do you mean I won't get pregnant the instant the condom comes off? If you don't want a kid, it's way too high. But the "fifteen of you will get pregnant" (85% effective) and "two of you will get pregnant" (98% effective) can also sound way too high if you're in a group of 100 women who DON'T want to get pregnant. It's one reason a lot of girls decide to wait until after high school: they don't have faith that of course they would be in the 98 and not 2, and they aren't ready to handle even a small risk of pregnancy when only 15 or 16.)

As a science person, the rate in practice is very important to me. Muttering "well this would be a GREAT medical treatment if people used it correctly, it's just that most people aren't able to follow the regimen" is kind of a big problem with a regimen. It's a good idea to talk to your health professional about what contributes to the difference between the theoretical and actual rates of a method and how likely you are to be in the Perfect User category.

For example, I suspect drunken teenagers are iffy at using condoms correctly. If you are going to be having sex sober, with someone you knew you were having sex with (no swept away fantasy), it's a lot more likely you will correctly get the condom on and not too late. (Withdrawal is actually a moderately reliable method with perfect use, the problem is achieving that perfect use. Teenage boys are bad candidates.)
Posted by IPJ on February 28, 2013 at 5:38 AM · Report this
Also, completely agree with mydriasis @130 Re these "You'll be in a relationship, so you guys won't need condoms!" suggestions. Use condoms. Statistically speaking, it's likely your first relationship won't be your only one: you might as well both apply good practices, including being practiced with sex with condoms on. It will be expected in your second relationship.

(You should also not be one of those annoying people who declare that only truckstop hookers have STIs, and that because their sex acts all took place in relationships--they even talked about a fond childhood memory first!!!--there's no way they could have an STI.)
Posted by IPJ on February 28, 2013 at 5:54 AM · Report this
I'll jump on the bandwagon with other posters about getting a prescription for HBC pills but not taking them until you are actually active unless there are other reasons (PMS, acne, etc). I'm 30 and have been on HBC mostly continuously since I was 16. It took a few tries but my doc and I found that I tolerate the triphasal kind fairly well, Depo not at all (I was a raving bitch the first week or two after each time and it depressed my drive), and my husband didn't care for the Nuvaring since he could feel it during sex and I could in some positions. I'm on the minipill right now since I'm still nursing, but it seems to be a LOT more sensitive to taking at the exact same time every day. We aren't ready for another kid yet, so even with the pill, we are using condoms to get that 99+% effectiveness!

I've got friends who have loved their IUDs, who have had no issues with Depo, or the implants have been fine.

Like many other people here, condoms no matter what, and I suggest starting with something you can easily switch if you react badly. Everybody and every body is different so be patient and enjoy!
Posted by ariane on February 28, 2013 at 6:02 AM · Report this
I got my implant a year and a half ago and I love it. My doctor actually recomended it over an IUD because I haven't given birth and he would otherwise have to dilate my cervix overnight and do a bunch of other fun stuff. The implant, he said, was much less of a hassle. When they installed it they numbed me up with local and injected it. I had the good sense not to watch and instead had my boyfriend play the Safety Dance video to distract me. The .04% failure rate is pretty nice too, I have a higher chance of dying in a car crash than getting pregnant.
Posted by Bobulesca on February 28, 2013 at 6:12 AM · Report this
@132 - IPJ I was getting ready to point that out too. Its the 1 year cumulative risk of getting pregnant with poor condom use that winds up with a 15% pregnancy rate. Obviously things like breakage contribute to that, but so does 1) starting to put it on inside out, then flipping it, 2) doing a few insertive strokes, then putting it on 3) waiting too long to pull out post male orgasm and not holding the condom on at the base.

With the pill, there are fewer failure modes, but depending on the dosage and her body mass, they can be SUPER sensitive to being taken at the same time every day. Most pills are tested in clinical trials for women up to about 180lbs, so for women heavier than that, you may also not get the blood concentrations you need and not all doctors are very good at discussing this (2 friends had this issue: one had an abortion, one had a baby).
Posted by ariane on February 28, 2013 at 6:26 AM · Report this
121- "Interesting most of the women here reinforce the notion that birth control is a decision made solely by the female."

Not really. Most of the women here (I haven't done a count in this thread) are insisting on condoms. We're also sharing our experiences, good and bad, with IUDs and hormonal birth control. There really isn't a method that involves both men and women equally, but condoms come closest. Other possibilities involve talking about birth control, going together to a clinic, talking about pros and cons of each method, talking about side effects, sharing the cost. All those take for granted an ongoing relationship with good communication.

I'm the consummate romantic. My initial impulse was to advise TIMELY to wait until she had a good deal of friendship, love and attraction with a guy before thinking about having sex with him. That's the way I did it, and my experience was good.

After a moment's reflection, however, I realized that I'd take a lot of flack for that. There are women who want hook-ups just as there are men who want hook-ups. Debating the pros and cons of that is a subject for another column. TIMELY didn't make it clear what she was after. It's likely that she doesn't know herself. (For that reason, the advice givers have to look for clues in the letter. I zeroed in on the "love yearning" in her sig.) Bottom line is that the advice had to encompass any number of possible scenarios, and condoms were the best fit.

In a perfect world, the man in question would be just as insistent on condoms. They'd both have them in their wallets just as a matter of course. His reasoning would be that he doesn't want to take the chance of getting her pregnant, and he doesn't want to take the chance of getting or giving a STD. Given that that perfect world isn't always the case, and given that he didn't write the letter, telling TIMELY to insist on condoms is the next best thing.
Posted by Crinoline on February 28, 2013 at 6:57 AM · Report this
lizdini 138
I don't have any experience with either IUD's or the implants, but from what I've heard I'd go with the implant. No risk of it getting lost or being noticed by a partner, and they seem to have the lowest "accident" risk.
Posted by lizdini on February 28, 2013 at 7:37 AM · Report this
sissoucat 139
@IPJ - Huh ? In France there is "sex ed", actually reproductive education, at age 12 in junior highschool, so that our young ones will predominantly NOT have sex before being of college age.

"easy to imagine a school with 100 women using birth control form X" : not for me. Unless by school you mean college.

Thanks for the info nonetheless.

Oh, and I use condoms, everytime. I've never had any break, but slip I've had 3 times. I took the morning after pill and no pregnancy happened (I was not mid-cycle, anyway), nor did STIs.

Do condoms really break, or is that a coded way to say they can slip ?
Posted by sissoucat on February 28, 2013 at 7:37 AM · Report this
*Think* about birth control while you're a virgin, and bring condoms to college with you, but don't start birth control before you absolutely have to. There are so many possible long term effects and likely short term effects, I can't imagine subjecting yourself to them without the benefit of sex.

It only takes a couple of weeks between starting the pill and full protection -- use that time to get to know your potential partner and have lots of fun, non-pregnancy causing sex before the pill kicks in. Then you can experiment with IUDs/shots/etc. and see what works best for you.
Posted by california reader on February 28, 2013 at 8:10 AM · Report this
@139: I mean both high school--in a school with 800 students I have no trouble believing 100 of them were having sex before graduation--and college. I am not going to defend American sex ed in toto, but many schools have comprehensive sex ed starting at age 10. Parents and some other institutions (liberal churches) also provide actual information. The presence of some stupid sex ed does not mean it's all bad. And the failure rate of condoms is not due to wearing them on the ear, but to the things Ariane listed.

And yes, they break. They are very thin pieces of silicone or lambskin or what not and occasionally they rip. It happens. I knew someone who had it happen on, literally, the night before her husband was going to have a vasectomy. (She got the morning after pill.) I know someone who had it happen the third time she had sex in a new relationship, so they got to go to the clinic together for morning after pill and deal with that worry when they were just starting out together. Condoms are not made of some incredible nano-armor.

Via a fast google:
Average age of first intercourse in the US is 18. In France 18.5. I am very, very doubtful that the French high school kids all wait until graduation, then hit the sheets like mad so they can squeeze everyone in over those summer months and hit the 18.5 average: kinda looks like many of them have sex in high school. (Sources vary: another I found put the US at about 17 and France at about 17.2.)
Posted by IPJ on February 28, 2013 at 8:25 AM · Report this
Godzilla1916 142
For God's Sake, save the livers Dan!!
Posted by Godzilla1916 on February 28, 2013 at 8:28 AM · Report this
Sissoucat: According to the French national demographic institute (assume this is like the Census Bureau in the US) age of sexual debut (typically defined as first PIV) in France is 17.6 for women and of 17.2 for men. This means that half of young people have started having sex before this age. I am not sure at what age students typically start university in France--in the US it is 18. If so then that means that a majority of French high school students are sexually active (or at least, have engaged in sex at some point). I don't doubt that sex education in France is superior to the average sex ed course in the US, but one should not assume that sex ed leads directly to an older age of sexual debut.
Posted by KN on February 28, 2013 at 8:46 AM · Report this
143- KN-- Statistics nerd here. What you described with half falling below and half above is the median, not the average. It doesn't follow that the majority of French high school students are sexually active-- though it's probably a close guess. The rest of your point about sex ed in the schools makes sense.
Posted by Crinoline on February 28, 2013 at 9:05 AM · Report this
@130 and 137:
Those female friends of mine who were on other kinds of birth control (IUD, BC pills) were more likely NOT to use condoms for random hook-ups and in short- and long-term relationships than those who weren't on any kind of birth control.

Also, the male friends of mine who started their sex life with female partners who were on the pill from the get-go were more likely not to use condoms.

So, getting on long-lasting birth control before being sexually active is good against pregnancies but problematic in respect to STI prevention- at least in my non-randomised, small, not representative sample.
Posted by migrationist on February 28, 2013 at 10:02 AM · Report this
Hi Crinoline,
The only use of the word "average" in my post was to describe sex education, not age of sexual debut. If you reread my post you will note that I wrote "age of sexual debut" rather than "average age of sexual debut." In demography "age of sexual debut" almost always means the median age. In the future I will specify.

I am actually starting to wonder whether French sex ed is really superior to American sex ed given that Sissoucat was not aware of the difference betweeen typical use and perfect use failure rates for contraceptives, and was apparently not aware that condoms can break. Condoms are a great tool for preventing pregnancy and many (but not all) STIs, but we should not oversell their effectiveness. Typical use is just that....what happens typically. Perfect use is pretty rare.
Posted by KN on February 28, 2013 at 10:09 AM · Report this
@145: Given the prevalence of the attitude "only skanky hos have STIs, not me or the sort of classy person I sleep with" even in some SLOG threads, I suspect that dynamic is very widespread. There seems to be a sincere belief that no one with a funny and humanizing story about their childhood can carry HPV.

@144: It's really hard to come up with an age distribution in which the mean and median would be so far off for this, though. You could have a big chunk of 12 year olds and everyone else waited until college, so "most" waited til 18 or 19 but the average was 17, but that seems unlikely. Roughly half of people 17.2/17.6 and under is probably a good estimate of the distribution.
Posted by IPJ on February 28, 2013 at 10:27 AM · Report this
Migrationist @145....I don't have time to do a lit serach but my understanding is that the scientific literature is consistent with your anecdotal experience. In other words, women using highly effective contraception (IUD, pill, shot, implant) are less likely to use condoms consistently than women who are using condoms for contraception as well as STI prevention. There is also good evidence to show that the way people start off their sex life is an important predictor of future behavior (people who use condoms from the beginning are more likely to be consistent condom users than people whose first sexual experience was without condoms).

My take is that every woman is different and needs to decide for herself what her priority is. For women who would have no problem getting an abortion (or having a kid) STI prevention might be a higher priority than pregnancy prevention and they might be comfortable using condoms alone. For some women however abortion (or carrying to term) might seem completely out of the question--these women may feel more comfortable using a highly effective method of contraception as a backup to condoms.

Even though no method is perfect, and we still lack highly effective reversable male birth control, we are pretty lucky to have as many options to prevent pregnancy as we do.

Posted by KN on February 28, 2013 at 10:46 AM · Report this
Guess I'm gonna have to be the one to say it: Yeah CLOD, you're worried about "your friend." "Your friend" reached down into someone's pants. Another "friend" told you stories about "your friend." It's Savage Love - come out of the damn drag-queen-lovin closet already.
Posted by skirtvonna-gut on February 28, 2013 at 10:51 AM · Report this
Did Dan misread the first letter? It doesn't sound to me as if the LW's friend is into cross dressers. It sounds to me as if he is into men. It also sounds to me as if the LW is a homophobe.
Posted by cockyballsup on February 28, 2013 at 10:52 AM · Report this
My take was that Dan tried to ease the homophobe into first accepting that his friend was into cross dressers. When that has settled the homophobe might be ready for accepting his friend being gay.
Posted by migrationist on February 28, 2013 at 11:07 AM · Report this
sissoucat 152
@146 I wouldn' know if French sex ed is superior to American sex ed - and I never claimed that.

What I've gathered from reading American sources though, is that American sex ed has recently been mainly "abstinence ed", which I wouldn't call proper sex ed, and that it failed to meet its goal of making the teenage pregnancy rate drop significally.

I'm not a statistics nerd, but my impression is that the teenage pregnancy rate in France is much lower than in the US (I'm a high school teacher and I've never seen a student get pregnant, ever, although I heard of some cases back in my youth, of overweight girls suddenly giving birth at school). From that, I just assumed that the age of first intercourse was much lower in the States - after all, you do need to have had sex in order to become pregnant. I stand corrected about that asumption.

As for highschool kids having sex - I maintain that the majority of them doesn't... but French highschool is not American highschool, only 1/3 of all kids go to highschool (= general highschool, the kind that leads to college). The other 2/3 of kids are in technical highschool and professional highschool. They must be more sexually precocious, if numbers are to be trusted... Only I don't have access to those kids, by my teaching in general highschool. My mistake, then.
Posted by sissoucat on February 28, 2013 at 1:02 PM · Report this
sissoucat 153
@KN "Sissoucat was not aware of the difference betweeen typical use and perfect use failure rates for contraceptives, and was apparently not aware that condoms can break."

Come on, I am not that dumb.

Why did I mentioned that I heard of condom breaking (but never experienced it) then ? Don't be patronizing, it poorly reflects on you, not on me.

As for typical failure rate - when I was young I didn't bother much for typical stuff since I was not typical myself. So 2% is the number that got stucked in my little head in the 80s.

I've checked on an official French site for you - it's actually 5% for proper use and 21% for typical use. Actually French people have less mastery of condoms that American people.

Happy now ?
Posted by sissoucat on February 28, 2013 at 1:19 PM · Report this
@152: The form of sex ed that is controversial and thus in the news is abstinence only sex ed. That does not mean it is the only kind, or predominant kind, just that it is the controversial and thus reported-on kind.

As for your version of "high school" only meaning 1/3 of the students... that's kind of a big difference when comparing groups. Kids in the US who see a solid future away from home if they don't screw up their life (i.e. college bound) are also more likely to delay sex until after high school. So group to group it's about the future you see and probably pretty comparable, since the age of losing virginity is comparable. Nothing about the sex ed.

But I strongly suspect that your observation that none of the high school students you know are having that sex stuff is both inaccurate and one that could be echoed by adults all across America. As for no one getting pregnant that you know of? That's very different than no one getting pregnant. There hasn't been a visible pregnancy at my daughter's high school that I know of, it's one that is very heavily college bound, my impression of her group of friends is that they all see the benefit of waiting until college... and yet I am quite confident that that does not mean that no one in the school is having sex.
Posted by IPJ on February 28, 2013 at 2:08 PM · Report this
Holmes 155
Lots of good advice for TIMELY. Based on the broad variation in opinions presented here, this is obviously something that one should consider carefully, consult a trusted physician and accept that there may be some trial and error.

Personal rant: I don't know what it is about people (not just 18 year old virgins) who can't sit down and logically think through/discuss the consequences, ground rules and boundaries surrounding an upcoming hookup. Yeah, sure. Spontaneous is fun, but it can be traumatic if things go awry. Good for TIMELY for thinking ahead.

Posted by Holmes on February 28, 2013 at 3:16 PM · Report this
I've had my Paragard copper IUD for over 5 years, and I love it! After the time it took my body to adjust, I've had no problems whatsoever. My periods are shorter and less painful than they were before, and I love the peace of mind that comes with having a highly reliable birth control device already implanted. No hormones, shots, patches, pills to remember to take, diaphragms that are impossible to insert, etc.

I also use condoms to prevent against STDs. Having the IUD inside me gives me more confidence than using just condoms alone. I've had one break on me (well, not "on" me; heh). The IUD gives me more peace of mind than just using condoms alone.

As for the pill: I had heard that birth control hormones in the water were doing weird things to wildlife. (It's one reason I went with a copper Paragard, which is not enhanced with hormones.) But now I see that the issue of birth control hormones in the water has been vastly overstated. Good to know!…

Posted by dianasquiver on February 28, 2013 at 4:12 PM · Report this
I suggest TIMELY reconsider getting an IUD. Many doctors won't even consider putting one in a woman who hasn't already given birth. My girlfriend tried having an IUD, the insertion was excruciatingly painful, and she suffered through over half a year of bi-monthly periods and nearly constant cramping. (The bi-monthly PMS was no treat for me either.) My sister also had a bad experience attempting to have an IUD.

Also, for the first couple of months, having sex with a woman with an IUD means getting poked in the end of your cock by what feels like fishing line. Ouch. Even when the strings eventually softened up, I could still notice them. I imagine TIMELY going to a party, flirting with a guy, going back to her place, starting to have sex, and he freaks out because it feels like he's sticking his dick in a twiggy bird's nest. How's that for a first sexual encounter? Anyway, I hope TIMELY chooses another option. My girlfriend and I have been using good ol' condoms, and they've been working great.

BTW, the sex with an IUD-wearing woman was with my girlfriend, not my sister. I did grow up in Kentucky, but I do draw the line somewhere. ;-)

Posted by PhilDK2010 on February 28, 2013 at 4:47 PM · Report this
I don't think the strings ever soften up (they feel just the same to me as the day I got it), but my husband's never noticed them.
Posted by Eirene on February 28, 2013 at 5:16 PM · Report this
Gynocilogical advice and dude my bro might be like queeeeeeeer what uuuuuuuup ! letters.... Damn, MTV has really got the hooks into ol' Dan. Sad. Well, at least the target market is happy.
Posted by Griselda on February 28, 2013 at 5:41 PM · Report this
@154- not really... 2% is an entirely made up number that you invented (or otherwise got "stucked" in your head) so it's not really a reliable statistic that one could use for comparing. And misspelling when you are trying to get snarky with someone is like trying to tell someone off and puking.
Posted by Rudy, the black market one, not the legit one. on February 28, 2013 at 5:51 PM · Report this
Surprised there hasn't been much mention of the implant. I just had my Implanon replaced with a second one after a perfect three years. I love being able to locate it in my arm as a "double check" but not worry about it "getting lost" in my uterus.
Posted by squirrely girl on February 28, 2013 at 5:52 PM · Report this
I'm on my second mirena. I had a day or so of cramping after a painful but not horrible insertion on each. I'm also 5 years without a period, pms, or monthly cramps.

I've tried every method there is, and used condoms with each type until I was in a long term relationship. Everyone has to find what works for them, though.
Posted by hawklight on February 28, 2013 at 7:20 PM · Report this
i am amazed dan didn't rip LW a new asshole. I was reading the letter and thinking the whole time who the fuck cares? WHY are you stopping him from having sex with anyone? would you do that for a straight friend sleeping with a girl you found less than ideal? i bet not.
Posted by gemmasangali on February 28, 2013 at 8:03 PM · Report this
@116 No, no, no that is not how NuvaRing works. You have to use them consistently, just like birth control. You can't put it in whenever you feel like. That's a diaphragm. And you have to keep NuvaRings in the fridge or they will go bad. They are a good option, though. I switched to them from the pill because I was tired of the spotting I had on the pill even when I took them at exactly the same time every day. For whatever reason, the NuvaRings eliminated that problem. So, Yahtzee. I recommend them. However, they don't come cheap.
Posted by nokidsandthreemoney on February 28, 2013 at 8:31 PM · Report this
From personal experience, here are some recommendations I have in regards to the copper IUD:
1. Make sure you take something for the pain before insertion because it won't "just slide right in". It fucking hurt worse than any pain I've ever had down there, resulting in me passing out in the clinic.
2. Make sure you have a few days of rest after insertion. Doing anything that involves extended periods of movement will be uncomfortable.
3. Be prepared for heavier periods with lots of cramping. Increase intake of calcium to help uterine muscle contraction and drink raspberry leaf tea for the two weeks before your period.
4. Tell your partner before you have sex that you might experience soreness or sharp pains during intercourse. Open the channels of communication so they understand when it's time to ease off.

I'm not trying to knock IUDs. I think they are a great method of hormone free birth control, however, they aren't perfect and it's better to know what could happen before it happens.
Posted by moonmoth on March 1, 2013 at 12:00 AM · Report this
The diaphragm has a bad rap, but it's actually worked pretty well for me and people who don't live in America. Negatives: you need to not be completely stupid to use it. Put it (a silicon cup) into your vagina and check that its secure, do the deed, and leave it in for 8 hours or so, til all the sperm dies. You don't even technically need to use spermicide, especially with a condom, although better safe than sorry. This only costs you $50 from PP and lasts for a few years. Which, is why it's not pushed. The pharmaceutical industry doesn't make money off of it.
Posted by Abby12345 on March 1, 2013 at 1:59 AM · Report this
Maybe late to the game, but chiming in here, in case TIMELY or another lady with the same question is still reading comments...

High-five to you for being proactive about your own health and sex life, seriously. That's awesome, responsible foresight. Encourage your friends to do the same!

All of my lady friends have had different experiences with different kinds of contraceptives, and it's sadly true that there's no way to know what will work for you until you've tried it. Personally, I did great on the Pill (tri-cyclin, and later, the seasonique brand that gives you 4 periods a year) ...I LOVED the Pill, but my doc said I couldn't take it anymore because my migraines put me at higher risk for stroke when taking oral contraceptives. I am now a few months into my first IUD, the Mirena, and I have to say... getting it inserted was pretty horrible. (I haven't ever had children, and I had to have a cervical polyp removed in order to do it, and it was the 2 most painful doctor's visits of my life.) I also had some cramping for the first month which was no joke. HOWEVER, after getting through that, things are actually pretty great - light/practically non-existent periods (looking forward to them getting more predictable as I adjust!), hardly any PMS at all, and no more stress about pregnancies. For at least 5 years. Without me having to do anything else. My doc even told me that for pregnancy prevention, the Mirena is statistically as effective (or more) than getting my tubes tied. And sex is still awesome. WIN. SO WORTH IT.

If you can get the pill, and you don't have any risk factors that make it a bad idea (classic migraines, smoking, etc, TALK HONESTLY TO A GOOD DOCTOR ABOUT THIS) it's really worth a try, and well worth trying out before you are sleeping with anyone. The basic low-dose stuff (like the Tri-Cyclen Lo) is pretty affordable and has the benefit of you being able to quit it at any time if it doesn't work for your body. Given that you've got the clarity and foresight to be thinking about this now, you're probably responsible enough to set a daily alert on your cell phone (or whatever) to remind you to take it on time every day. Try it out for a few months, see if you like it, switch your prescription if you want to, give it a shot. This also goes for the NuvaRing, which I've heard some people really like.

If the Pill doesn't work for you (and I have a few friends who it sucked for, it's not for everyone), an IUD is a totally legit option and is great for really long-term reliability. If you're going to get one and you haven't ever given birth, GET RECOMMENDATIONS/REFERRALS FOR A REALLY GOOD GYNO WHO HAS DONE A TON OF IUD INSERTIONS. Seriously. You want a seasoned pro for this. Take a max dose of ibuprofen ahead of time and plan to take that day and the next day off to chill on the couch with a heating pad and some bad tv. And give it a chance to get better. For most people it does get better, and winds up being worth it. :)

In any/all cases, USE CONDOMS if you and your partner haven't been tested!!! You can still use condoms with ANY of these other forms of birth control - pill, IUD, implant... Have them for a backup against pregnancy AND as much protection as you can reasonably get against STIs. It will give you confidence and peace of mind. Buy them for yourself and tell your partners to buy them too. Make condoms mandatory, because they shouldn't be a big deal - they should be the standard. Train those college boys well!
And have fun!
Posted by longlostfriend on March 1, 2013 at 3:05 AM · Report this
I'm wondering if I'm a female gynandromorphophile. I'm not attracted to drag queens, with the big exception of a local (to Boston) very hot drag queen called Frieda Fries. She doesn't even bother to shave her chest so in looks she fits someone who be a love object for a gynandromorphophile. But the thing that turns me on is she's all woman inside. Some drag queens, I'm assuming Dan was one of those, just do it for laughs. I'm not attracted to those; there has to be two spirits for me to be attracted. Likewise I'm not attracted to straight guys willing to put on stockings and garters just to humor me. I have to be with someone who NEEDS to dress.
Posted by Marrena on March 1, 2013 at 4:02 AM · Report this
Here she is:…

That saying my girlfriend/boyfriend is hotter (and even taller and more muscular), and thank goodness likes the ladies.
Posted by Marrena on March 1, 2013 at 4:09 AM · Report this
Back when I was heading for college 40 years ago, I had a friend who did what TIMELY is asking about. She was a virgin who started on birth control pills (no shots or patches available back then) when there was no boyfriend in sight. She had a fantasy in mind. She was going to meet the perfect guy and be swept off her feet and have sex with him without having to wait or have any encumbrances.

It didn't turn out as badly as I was predicting. She did go home with a man she barely knew after only a few weeks there, and it did turn into a relationship of sorts. When that man ditched her and she was heartbroken, she embarked on a string of relationships in which she expected each man to meet her, fall for her, sweep her off her feet, make mad passionate love to her, save her from the wrong guy she'd had sex with previously, and carry her off into the sunset on a big horse or whatever.

No communication about birth control required. To my surprise, none of that turned out as badly as I would have predicted either. She didn't get what she wanted, but she didn't die from the experiences. She kept running with the unrealistic expectations until she learned and got different expectations.

My idea was to make sure the guy was willing to talk to me about birth control first. I wanted him to be willing to help put my diaphragm in. I insisted on communication and friendship first. I never ran into a man who put up much resistance to my very reasonable demands. Here's the surprising life lesson. I thought then and still think now that my "method" was the superior one, but there are no guarantees. My early sexual experiences were no more perfect than hers were.

That's what I'm trying to keep in mind when advising TIMELY to have her own condoms and to wait with the long term birth control until she knows the man in question a little better. I'm trying to walk between the extremes.
Posted by Crinoline on March 1, 2013 at 4:57 AM · Report this
My apologies if someone has already mentioned this, but most doctors don't recommend an IUD for a woman who hasn't already given birth.
Posted by Lenore 75 on March 1, 2013 at 7:49 AM · Report this
@123,127,128: "correct" usage isn't as good a term as "ideal" usage.

Incorrect usage does not mean people putting condoms on their ears, it includes "in typical use". In the real world people are drunk / high, it's too dark, a condom might be old and someone forgot to check carefully. Oral contraceptives: lots of people are usually careful but life gets REALLY busy and they forget a day.

Nuva ring, diaphraghm, FC: same problem. Human error.

The reason IUDs and implants in actual usage are so close to their ideal rate (very low rates of pregnancy) is that they just work for 99.9% for an extended period of time. A professional sets it and forget it for years. They're not perfect but anything else is gonna have a much higher failure rate in practice no matter how careful a person is, people make errors. Of course, the failure rate of condoms is sufficiently low that, used carefully, they are quite good against the most serious STIs, so it's definitely worth using TWO methods for female bodied people of reproductive years.
Posted by delta35 on March 1, 2013 at 8:20 AM · Report this
I've had two Mirena IUDs over the last five years (had to get my first removed to donate eggs) and I love them. I've never been pregnant and I don't plan on having kids for the next decade or so. I haven't had a real period since 2008 and it's fucking awesome.

The first insertion was moderately painful (I'd say a 6 out of 10) and the second was way less, probably only about a 3 or a 4. No painkillers for either of these insertions and it was really no big deal. Yeah, it hurts a bit and things get a bit crampy. But you know what else hurts and feels crampy? Pushing a squalling infant out of your vagina. I visualized being a total badass for the next five years during each of the insertions and it was NBD.

I recommend the Mirena to everyone ever. Of course there's side effects and downsides-- everything in life has risks and benefits. For me the potential risks of the Mirena are FAR outweighed by the benefits and I couldn't be happier about it.

Thanks for talking up IUDs Dan!
Posted by cork118 on March 1, 2013 at 8:51 AM · Report this

False, women who haven't had kids can easily get IUDs (sometimes with a little perseverance).

There are two models of IUDs available in the US, the Paragard (nonhormonal) and the Mirena (hormonal). The Paragard is FDA approved for use in women who have never been pregnant while the Mirena is prescribed off-label for this purpose all the time. I should know, I've never been pregnant and I've had two Mirenas.

It's also a myth that male partners will always feel the strings on an IUD. None of my male partners have ever felt my strings, and we're talking about 5 years worth of sexual partners. The trick is to have the doctor keep the strings longer so that they can be tucked up and away. Sometimes women are misinformed and ask that the strings be cut very short, which means they're short and pokey and there's not a lot that can be done about that.

Not all women experience excruciating insertions or horrible side effects. In fact, 91% of women who get an IUD report being very satisfied with this chosen method of BC a year after starting to use it, which is a higher number than women who use oral BC, barrier methods, the ring, the patch, or the shot. I'm sorry your girlfriend had a bad experience but please don't turn other women away from one of the most effective and user-friendly forms of birth control available just because you didn't like it.

Ladies: Do some reading (check out the LiveJournal community "iud_divas" for great info), educate yourself, and find a knowledgeable practitioner to do your insertion. There's a 90% chance you'll love your IUD.
Posted by cork118 on March 1, 2013 at 9:00 AM · Report this
seandr 175
@mydriasis: Short-term, serial monogamy combined with those attitudes is a documented risk-factor for STIs.

Ok, we get it - your STD prevention strategy begins and ends with condoms. Good for you, and best luck with it! If you have a lot of different sexual partners, you'll certainly need luck, even if you use condoms.

Personally, I've used a more sophisticated strategy that has, statistically speaking, probably exposed me to less risk over the course of my life than you've exposed yourself to. Part of the strategy involves a strong preference for sex with women whom I know and like, as opposed to random hookups. The other part involves factoring in the specific sexual history of my partners, which is important information for determining the risk of any given encounter.

As an example, my risk of getting an STD from all the wonderful sex in my first two long term relationships was, statistically speaking, probably less than the risk you took with your last short term hookup. How so? Well, in the first relationship, we were both virgins. In the second, our prior sexual histories included one virgin each. In both cases, we agreed that condoms were an unnecessary nuisance, and we enjoyed hot, spontaneous, fully natural, condom-free sex, with the pill as our protection against pregnancy. If risk is foolishness (which I don't believe, btw), any one of your random hookups was far more foolish than these entire sex lives combined.

My 3rd long term relationship was with a woman with a longer sexual history and a standard (i.e., mild, rare outbreaks) case of herpes. After initially bumming out when she told me, I educated myself about the disease because I really liked her, we ended up getting together, we simply avoided sex during the outbreaks (exactly one during our time together), and I never caught it from her (confirmed with a test). There is plenty of research demonstrating the effectiveness of this strategy, BTW.

If/when I start a new relationship, and that relationship is working, there will come a point, likely within a month or two despite your doctor's recommendation, where we really open ourselves up to each other, emotionally and sexually. At that point, neither of us will be inclined to pretend that we might have diseases we don't in fact have.
Posted by seandr on March 1, 2013 at 9:08 AM · Report this
"My drag name? Helvetica Bold."

Worth the price of admission right there! LMAO!
Posted by Nunyab Izzynezz on March 1, 2013 at 11:33 AM · Report this
Dan - brilliant Princess Bride reference in your response to CLOD.
Posted by Polidori on March 1, 2013 at 11:58 AM · Report this
GQbd 178
This may have already been asked but if gynandromorphophiles are "lovers of males in the shape of females", what is the $20 word for "lovers of females in the shape of males"? As a hetero male my earliest heart throbs were tomboys and in adulthood my favorite lovers have been lesbians who aren't hung up on keeping their gold star untarnished. I often find myself scoping people I find attractive and wondering if they are a girl I might want to hit on or a guy who I would either embarrass or disappoint.
Posted by GQbd on March 1, 2013 at 2:09 PM · Report this
I absolutely hated my copper IUD: it made my periods go from being 3 days long and mostly painless, to being 10 days long, very heavy, and extremely painful. I had it for 2 years, and the situation never got better, it actually got worse. I had stabbing cramps and spotting all month long, my abdomen was bloated, I had weird, yellowish, globby discharge, and my junk smelled and tasted kind of "off". And I could actually feel the IUD inside my body.

My doctor checked the placement of the IUD using ultrasound (it was fine), she also tested me for diseases and other problems (there was nothing). I am 32 years old, no kids, daily exercise, normal weight, healthy lifestyle. All of the above problems were a direct result of the IUD. Within a week of removal, all of these problems disappeared, and I was back to normal. I just wish I had had it removed sooner!

tl;dr - Age 32, no kids, healthy, my IUD made my periods 10 days long, very painful, caused many other problems. Waited two years and it never got better. After removal, all problems disappeared. IUD users, if you still have problems after 6 months, get it taken out!
Posted by The copper IUD sucked for me on March 1, 2013 at 2:21 PM · Report this
mydriasis 180

Okay that is some willfull ignorance. None of what I said was specific to me, in fact what I said was based on observations of how other people work and operate. So how about you go ahead and retire from assuming about other people's sex lives. In the meantime I'll humour you:

1. The majority of all sex I've had in my life has been within the context of a small number of long term relationships.

2. My STD prevention does not "begin and end with condoms", it begins with condoms. I'm on Seasonale, actually, and love it quite a bit.

3. I've never had an STI of any kind, either, so guess what, I get to be 100% as smug as you!

I see people every day who decide after such a short period to "open up" to partners who assure them they don't have diseases. Heck, I've even seen patients who were virgins, and caught STIs from their first, long-term, monogamous partner (who then insist that they don't have the disease in question despite the obvious evidence). If you want to do that, fine.

But I would never advise that method to someone young and impressionable. It fails constantly.
Posted by mydriasis on March 1, 2013 at 4:08 PM · Report this
Be very careful with progesterone-only contraceptives. Depo-Provera might be awesome at getting rid of your period altogether, but within a month it may throw your blood sugar out of whack if you're diabetic or pre-diabetic, you may be annoyingly hungry all the time and gain weight, lose your sex-drive, and you may turn into an anxious, angry bitch who has no patience for anything or anyone (all of that was precisely my experience while on the injection which lasts 3 months but then also takes a while after stopping to clear your system).

TIMELY: You're going to have to use condoms anyway, but it is nice to have a back-up contraceptive that you control. Birth control pills have their failings, but they can also lighten your periods and make them less painful, clear up your skin if you'd got mild to moderate acne, and give you a predictable cycle. And if you'd like to not menstruate but don't want the drawbacks of Depo, ask your doctor to give you a BC pill that you can take continuously (most women will experience breakthrough bleeding after three or four months at which time you can take your week break and have a period, then start right back up again).
Posted by ignatz ratzkywatzky on March 1, 2013 at 4:20 PM · Report this
175-seandr-- There are 2 major problems with the logic that one can reduce risk of STDs by preferring sex with long term relationships in which both parties started as virgins or near virgins.

The first is with definitions. My experience has been rather like yours. As I've mentioned upthread, my sexual relationships have (mostly) been with men I've known for a long time, men I've shared friendship and trust with, men I've carefully vetted.

Let me use the first for an example. We'd known each other since junior high, hung out with the same group of friends, shared innermost secrets, and done quite a bit of necking and petting before deciding, together, to go with PIV sex. We knew that pregnancy was a possibility so precautions would have to be taken. We didn't consider STDs given that it was a first time for both of us. Turns out my experience was a good one. I've said I'd recommend that to an 18 year old based on my own good outcome.

But let's say for the sake of argument that my experience wasn't good. Let's say that despite my vetting, the guy in question turned out to be a rat. Let's say I thought he was a virgin but he was really have sex with, and getting STDs from, a dozen skanky whores. That would mean that the vet-the-virgin system had a dismally low actual success rate compared to the theoretical success rate which is quite high. Detractors would point out that that example didn't count because I didn't do a good enough job at vetting. It becomes a self-fulfilling illogical mess. We know that he wasn't vetted well enough because the outcome was that I got an STD, but if I didn't get an STD, my vetting would have been sufficient.

The 2nd reason it doesn't work is that the heart wants what the heart wants. By analogy, let's say it's 1985, and a gay young man comes out to his parents. Shocked, but not totally evil, they blurt out that there's an AIDS epidemic and they're worried about him. They tell their son that he'd be a lot safer if he were attracted to women. That's actually true. His chances of getting AIDS would be lower if he weren't gay. But that's also beside the point.

Your strong preference for sex with women you know and like as opposed to random hook-ups is not a strategy; it's a preference. Preferences are not strategies (no matter how preferable onlookers might think the preference).

Posted by Crinoline on March 1, 2013 at 9:42 PM · Report this
Great advice, as usual. You know, some people do still identify by the term "transvestite," even though we are in the minority and "crossdresser" has tended to become more and more ubiquitous. Even though "transvestite" sounds clinical, it is not perjorative and for some of us is still the preferred term for many different associations and reasons.
Posted by Nina Lowell on March 1, 2013 at 10:06 PM · Report this
seandr 184
@mydriasis: My apologies for getting your sex life wrong. Not sure where I got the impression you led a wilder life - apparently just my imagination.
Posted by seandr on March 1, 2013 at 10:26 PM · Report this
sissoucat 185
@154 You don't let go of a bone easily, do you.

"your observation that none of the high school students you know are having that sex stuff"

Now, where did I state that stupidity ? Oh, right, I didn't...
Posted by sissoucat on March 1, 2013 at 11:30 PM · Report this
@182 Your boyfriend wouldn't even have to be a rat. Some STIs can infect an infant before, during, or after birth, if the mother is infected, and symptoms can take a very long time to show up. And, of course, kids can be molested by infected people, and not want to admit to the abuse--much less the possibility of disease--when they get into relationships later.

It might not be romantic, but a joint trip to the doctor for across-the-board testing is never a bad idea before getting rid of condoms in your relationship.

(As for the other letter-writer, the homophobic piece of shit cockblocking his friend...well, dude, knock it off.)
Posted by glass on March 1, 2013 at 11:34 PM · Report this
@184 mydriasis: I'm still wondering about how you and I ended up having two separate conversations in last week's Wedding Party column.
So---are we okay, then? You're not going to come after me with an AK-47
just because I like Brad Pitt at his current age?
I think he's got a nice smile, and seandr--you nailed it---ooooooohhhh, those baby blues!!

Okay. Late back in this week's game. Of the relationships I've had, a couple of things:
Unwanted side effects from birth control pills sucked!
I agree: condoms should be readily available in hospitals, in junior and senior high schools, everywhere---along with helpful information about their uses.
George Carlin is so right on when he stated that those arguing so violently against abortion aren't people we'd want to fuck anyway.
Which was one of many reasons why I got divorced.
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 1, 2013 at 11:43 PM · Report this
sissoucat 188
@seandr - Like mydriasis and Crinoline, I'm a bit worried about your virgin/near virgin argument.

I have nothing against dropping the condom after a while in monogamous LTRs, if there's another contraceptive method in use - but a prerequisite would be to get both partners tested for all known STIs, regardless of claimed sexual histories, and to show each other the results.

I wouldn't give a pass out of testing to someone who'd say he's a virgin.

Would you agree on that ?
Posted by sissoucat on March 1, 2013 at 11:46 PM · Report this
@179: OUCH! That doesn't sound like any fun! I'm sorry you experienced something like that. Your testimony is one more valid reason NOT to have
an IUD. I'm glad things are better for you now.

I can certainly empathize with having horribly excruciating, prolonged periods! My problems were strictly poor diet-related, however (way too much junk food and sugar!).
Now that my health has changed for the better, so far I thankfully don't have any more bad periods, either.
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 2, 2013 at 12:50 AM · Report this
mydriasis 190
@auntie griz

I am honestly SO confused.

One second I was showing you a video of attractive men, you were making a joke about liking men your own age, commenting about Mrs. Robinson.

I made a joke that was intended to express solidarity while making a cheeky cultural reference like... "yeah, I also prefer to be with people my own age, we're alike in that way!"

And then suddenly I'm trolling you... or slapping you in the face... or shooting you?

For real, I have zero idea where you read hostility. Because I find current Brad Pitt 100% unappealing? I honestly can't figure it out.

Anyway, sorry for whatever I said that bothered you. :/
Posted by mydriasis on March 2, 2013 at 4:38 AM · Report this
mydriasis 191
@ seandr.

I've done both.

It is possible, you know. After all, when your searching for a heart of gold, you should consider what kind of girl is most famed for having one. :p

By the way, even in a relationship that's been going on for years, where both partners have been tested and condoms aren't mandatory, they still have their place. Sometimes having semen coming out of you for the rest of the day isn't something you want to deal with. It can be distracting in the middle of a presentation on novel cancer treatments that capitalize on drug-induced mutations.... for example.
Posted by mydriasis on March 2, 2013 at 4:44 AM · Report this

You've never been in an LTR.
Posted by Hunter78 on March 2, 2013 at 4:53 AM · Report this
I'm agreeing with Skirtvonna-- Clod is too much asking advice for a "friend".

I'm not sure where Dan is pulling the conclusion Clod's "friend" is attracted to transwomen, not cross-dressers. There's no textual evidence, but cross-dressers are much commoner than trannies.

And I don't get why Cocky is denying the "friend" is into cross-dressers. "Yet another manly looking transvestite type" is pretty clear.
Posted by Hunter78 on March 2, 2013 at 5:41 AM · Report this
mydriasis 194
World record for longest hallucination?
Time dilation as per special relativity?
That thing where the guy wakes up at the end of the movie and finds out the whole plot was a dream?
Ooh, ooh, ummm, fanciful definitions of "long" or "term" or "relationship" on the part of dirty old men on the internet?

Tell us the secret, oh archaic one!

Just kidding, don't talk. Ever.
Posted by mydriasis on March 2, 2013 at 6:14 AM · Report this
186-glass-- Would you name for me the STIs that infect an infant and take 18 years to become symptomatic? I want to do more research and don't know where to start.
Posted by Crinoline on March 2, 2013 at 7:09 AM · Report this
mydriasis 196

"At the opposite end of the spectrum are well-documented cases of persons who have been HIV-infected for greater than 20 years without any clinical symptoms or evidence of clinical progression."…
Posted by mydriasis on March 2, 2013 at 7:34 AM · Report this
Could some manufacturer work out a way of

1) making it easy to figure out which way the condom rolls? I can't count the number of times I or a partner has had to throw away a condom we started putting on the wrong way. I suspect I am in the minority and most guys just turn it around and use it anyway, defeating the purpose if it is avoiding STDs.

2) sealing condoms in a way that you can open the packaging with lube on your fingers?

Posted by cockyballsup on March 2, 2013 at 9:23 AM · Report this
mydriasis 198

The smart answer is to test which way it rolls before placing it on. I have seen a guy try to flip it around after putting it on the wrong way and I was mortified.

"Are you even serious?" Was my response.

As for the opening part, I don't use lube but I think a smart thing would be one of those pull tabs like that have on gum wrappers, you know? I don't know if that's possible while maintaining a seal but it'd be pretty rad.
Posted by mydriasis on March 2, 2013 at 9:50 AM · Report this
Maybe they could put a detachable tag on the side of the condom that should go on the outside. Instead of having to adhere to it, it could also be rolled into the condom so the last bit of it sticks out. Unrolling the condom would get rid of it.
Posted by cockyballsup on March 2, 2013 at 10:24 AM · Report this
@195 HPV would be the most common, but also syhpilis, and HIV as mydriasis said. On occasion, a case of herpes with mild and infrequent outbreaks can be missed, or at least mis-identified, especially by teenagers who may not be entirely knowledgable on STIs but at least know you have to have sex before having one.
Posted by glass on March 2, 2013 at 10:36 AM · Report this
seandr 201
@sissoucat: I wouldn't give a pass out of testing to someone who'd say he's a virgin.

Nothing unreasonable about that.

Personally, it's hard for me to imagine being one month into a serious relationship with a woman and not feeling like I could trust her, so I'd be inclined to give out free passes depending on circumstances. I'd probably feel differently if I was dating men, given that at least half of us are total shits.
Posted by seandr on March 2, 2013 at 11:06 AM · Report this
mydriasis 202


I actually know a girl who got herpes through oral sex.
Posted by mydriasis on March 2, 2013 at 3:29 PM · Report this
There's drug-resistant gonorrhea going around, too, and unfortunately some of it is showing up as pharyngeal gonorrhea.…
Posted by Eirene on March 2, 2013 at 3:59 PM · Report this
@190 mydriasis: And I'm sorry for whatever I said that might have rubbed the wrong way, too!
I may very likely have misinterpreted (I seem to be doing that a lot, lately)
one of your later posts from last week's Savage Love "Wedding Day" column.
No harm, no foul, no blood, and above all, no assault rifles, I swear.

I did enjoy Martina's song, and, however young for me, her guys were cute.
Thanks again for sharing, and god bless. -:)

Posted by auntie grizelda on March 2, 2013 at 7:07 PM · Report this
Latest Griz Watch: My current weight of 165 lbs. is fluctuating, but more importantly, extra unsightly inches are staying off. I'm going tankini shopping for spring and summer!
I'm going to have one hell of a surprise for my gynecologist at the Seattle VA!! HA! I'm packing my own lunch and snacks for the trip down, though. The Canteen needs to be offering healthier food! VA officials can't keep calling us fat when there's a McDonald's on every U.S. Navy base and Exchange complex, and the VAMC cafeteria only offers deep fried junk or foods high in carbohydrates, gluten and sugar!
Bless you, Dan, everybody posting, and all fellow veterans!!
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 2, 2013 at 7:17 PM · Report this

You keep wishing me away. You keep losing.

Posted by Hunter78 on March 3, 2013 at 7:29 AM · Report this
mydriasis 207
An experience shared by any woman who comes in contact with you, I'm sure.
Posted by mydriasis on March 3, 2013 at 10:50 AM · Report this
When I was in high school, I concluded that sterilization was my choice of birth control. In my early twenties I had the surgery and have never regretted it. I mention this because I woman who anticipates spending six years pursuing a degree may be anticipating a serious career. Do you really want to be encumbered by offspring?
Posted by Mermaid on March 3, 2013 at 11:40 AM · Report this
Dan, Dan. Helvetica? Really?? How embarassing for you.
Posted by GG1000 on March 3, 2013 at 1:18 PM · Report this
@208: Why yes, lots of them do. Men too!

She wrote in saying she intended to go to college. Not that she absolutely positively never wanted to have children, which is a totally different thing. I don't think the problem is that she got the two confused.
Posted by IPJ on March 3, 2013 at 1:22 PM · Report this
When I was in college, I used one of the insertable foams/gels from the drugstore and it is still my preferred method, with the Today sponge second. Anything hormonal is screwing with my entire body and the Pill has killed my libido every time, in every formulation;; localized barrier method is the lowest impact to the system. Yes, these mean your partner may not want to go down on you because of taste after they are inserted BUT having that conversation is a great litmus test for identifying men who should be avoided. Also, I heartily second the idea of getting yourself some sex toys and knowing how to pleasure yourself before involving another person.
Posted by JillInTheCity on March 3, 2013 at 3:45 PM · Report this
My partner's been with me since 1990. She counts herself happy.
Posted by Hunter78 on March 3, 2013 at 5:53 PM · Report this
mydriasis 213
Interesting word choice there. Kind of showing your hand.

Anyway, I'm sure your turtle is very nice.
Posted by mydriasis on March 3, 2013 at 6:59 PM · Report this
I'm exhausted by slogging through this whole thread, and yet NOBODY else awarded you the kudos for the Organic Chem references?? (three by my count) I'd have thought that your readers were more astute, adroit, and aware of chiral asymmetry.
Posted by GaucheG on March 4, 2013 at 12:55 AM · Report this
Helvetica Bold, Dan? Now I'm even more of a fan!
Posted by Michael63 on March 4, 2013 at 8:07 AM · Report this
mydriasis 216

Wait... do you actually think that Dan invented the application of "cis" and "trans" to sexuality? He didn't.

Besides, cis vs. trans molecules are classically diastereomers, not enantiomers, I mean, sure, a cis or trans molecule COULD be chiral as well (assuming there's at least one sp3 hybridized carbon as well as the two sp2 hybridized carbons that made up the cis or trans double bond), but cis or trans isn't referring to that property, dex/levo/R/S is.

Posted by mydriasis on March 4, 2013 at 8:58 AM · Report this
seandr 217
@mydriasis: Are you a chemical engineer? Premed?
Posted by seandr on March 4, 2013 at 9:37 AM · Report this
mydriasis 218

I minored in chemistry (and physiology) and majored in neuroscience. I'm taking some time out of school to work before going back again. :)
Posted by mydriasis on March 4, 2013 at 10:37 AM · Report this
The cis- and trans- prefixes are common in ordinary Latin as well -- as in Cisalpine and Transalpine Gaul.
Posted by Eirene on March 4, 2013 at 1:17 PM · Report this
The number of folks here trying to talk TIMELY out of birth control is appalling. Yes, condoms are a given... but suggesting a young woman forgo other methods of birth control is how young women end up pregnant.

If you're serious about pregnancy prevention, using two methods is highly promoted.

If TIMELY is reading this, please just go talk to your doc.
Posted by squirrely girl on March 4, 2013 at 2:12 PM · Report this
Another two cents to the IUD pile: I have one - copper - and I think it's fan-dab-tastic. It does, however, cause heavier periods and really wicked menstrual cramping. Things to be aware of: iron deficiency(!) and mefenamic acid. It's the wonder-pill which makes periods lighter and cramps just melt away. I do have to medicate a little for my IUD, but it's so so worth it to not have a bay just yet.
Posted by BeccaLiz on March 4, 2013 at 2:22 PM · Report this
@218 mydriasis: No wonder you're so good in chemistry--good for you!!
That was one academic science I avoided--because I was afraid of possibly blowing up the classroom.
As a humbling result, I continue to suck at other forms of...chemistry.
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 4, 2013 at 5:20 PM · Report this
mydriasis 223

As I mentioned earlier, there's a great deal of evidence suggesting that college aged people are less likely to consider condoms important if they're on the pill. Yeah, in a perfect world people would use both, but in the real world, people (at least in that demographic) typically don't. So that's why it makes sense to treat it as an either or situation, though it certainly doesn't have to me.


Thanks :)
Posted by mydriasis on March 4, 2013 at 5:58 PM · Report this
I was 19 when I first took the birth control pill. The first I was prescribed meant I bled all the time for the first month (the only month I took it), and it gave me a face like a lunar landscape. Perhaps the point was that nobody would want to have sex with me...?
The second one I took gave me three months of slightly less bad side effects, then settled down. But...
Years later, I stopped taking it, suspicious that it was dampening some of my emotional responses, including libido. I immediately felt much better, and, well, much better. My moods are mine, and I'm glad to have them back. There was no change to my cycle.
I would go with condoms. Only a barrier method is going to prevent against STDs, and there are plenty of people out there passing those around.
Posted by Kyarochan on March 4, 2013 at 6:53 PM · Report this
@178 Wouldn't that be "androgynomorphophiles"?
Posted by KittyWrangler on March 4, 2013 at 10:05 PM · Report this
TIMELY, you are so cool I can't even quantify it! I wish more young women would think about birth control options BEFORE their first time having intercourse, instead of after. I agree that condoms should be used as well in order to prevent STIs/STDs. It's the most sure-fire way to do so. As Dan's source said, it's great to figure out what birth control method works the best for your body and your lifestyle before you start having sex, so that you know you will use it consistently and correctly (thus decreasing its failure rate). Good luck, with both your birth control search and with college!
Posted by M1chelle on March 5, 2013 at 1:27 PM · Report this
@EricaP @Crinoline It's fine, my PIV was totally wanted ;-) I guess what I was trying to say that just because one isn't intending to have sex any time in the near future doesn't mean one won't. If you'd asked me the very day before my first PIV-sexing I would have replied that I of course had no need for BC because I wasn't intending to sex with anyone anytime soon.

And if I didn't already know that emergency contraception was easily available (and that I already had the next day off work to get it sorted) I wouldn't have had the sex. But the LW is in the US where I keep hearing that BC is sometimes harder to get hold of?

If we are playing the "should have" game then perhaps what I "should have" done was gone on BC two years ago when I started doing sexual but non-pregnancy-causing stuff.
Posted by ISIHAC on March 6, 2013 at 3:42 AM · Report this
Any drug, including any birth control, may have significant side effects. She may want to quit if the side effects are bad. Being 3000 miles away from the only doctor she knows will make it hard to quit an IUD or implant. I'd recommend a good conversation with the doctor she knows, then pills until she finds a doctor she trusts at school. She writes as if she expects this doctor to remain her primary care physician, on breaks maybe, and it's a blind spot in Dan's response not to make clear that she needs to find a doctor at school too. Once she finds a local doctor she trusts to do any immediate follow up care that might be necessary, it would be time to think about and IUD or implant.
Posted by local897 on March 6, 2013 at 11:25 PM · Report this
A women who is not in a committed, monogamous, disease-free relationship should NOT get an IUD without also using condoms 100% of the time. The IUD creates and open passage for bacteria and other microbes to enter the uterus and can endanger fertility. I am one such victim. I was not able to use the pill due to dramatic hormonal side effects. When I was dating my husband, we both got HIV screens before stopping condom use and I had an IUD implanted. We didn't know that one of us was chlamydia positive. Within a month of IUD placement I was entering surgery for ovarian abscess drainage. We were devastated to learn a few months ago, after a year of trying to get pregnant, that I'm now infertile. Condoms, condoms, condoms people.
Posted by Learn From My Mistake on March 10, 2013 at 7:15 AM · Report this
I'm still waiting to see the pictures of Helvetica Bold, Dan!
Have they been posted yet?
Posted by auntie grizelda on March 10, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Report this
best column ever
Posted by naked chilli on March 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM · Report this
I just want to add to the pro-IUD side. After an unintended pregnancy, I got an IUD and I love it. It's the copper IUD, I've had mine almost 10 years with no problems.

Regarding getting it inserted (installed, ha-ha): It was a little uncomfortable, but not bad at all. Several people are writing about painful insertion, but my insertion was really nothing notable. And my cramps haven't gotten worse since i had the IUD. I think it's the best form of birth control ever.
Posted by DanLOVE on March 15, 2013 at 12:18 AM · Report this
Dr. Malhotra was my OBGYN in Vancouver while I lived there, and she is the best OBGYN I've ever had. Though she works in one of the busiest OBGYN offices in downtown Vancity, I always felt she was fully present with me and all my concerns during my visits, and she never judged, and was always supportive!
Posted by Mary5757 on March 23, 2013 at 11:15 AM · Report this
I know about 6,000 commenters have already weighed in on the subject, but just wanted to share my experience in re: BCP, virginity, relationships, and Mirena. I was on various BCPs for about 7 years before becoming sexually active due to a medical problem easily solved by BCP. I had negative psychological reactions to a couple BCPs but eventually found one I loved and which had the benefit of stopping my period. This was great until I became sexually active and kind of wanted to have some reassurance of non-pregnancy! I switched to another pill that was not as great as the previous but with which I had good success. What I'm trying to say is that it is a bit trial-and-error.

About 6 months ago I decided to get Mirena and it is seriously the best birth control decision I have ever made. I'm nulliparious and according to my OBGYN have a small cervix, so she warned me before the procedure that she might not be able to get it in, in which case she wouldn't push it. If you're going to get one I strongly suggest "shopping around" and finding an OBGYN who has done a whole bunch of IUD procedures. Ask them what their success rates are, and if they have ever caused a perforation or had other complications. You might want to wait til you get to campus because chances are the women's health doctors have done quite a few insertions. No sugar coating, getting the IUD hurt like a bitch (I was flat out screaming in the exam room) but I went from having awful periods with terrible cramping every month to having almost nothing. To me, 5 minutes of intense pain and a day of discomfort has been worth it. Also there are fewer risks (of stroke, psychological problems, etc.) from Mirena than BCP because it is a localized dose of hormones, not systemic (it stays near your uterus instead of going through your whole body). Also also, my Mirena was completely paid for by my insurance so I'm saving an extra $5 / mo (not a lot but it's nice).

TIMELY seems like a smart cookie and I'm sure she realizes condoms ought to be mandatory for any casual encounters and are still a good idea even in long term relationships. Though I have Mirena my BF and I still use condoms because frankly neither of us can afford a kid at this point and he views it as his part of the bargain. (Sure, Plan B and abortion are solutions should anything happen, but it's much easier to just prevent it from becoming a problem in the first place.)

Anyway, hope you find the right solution for you, TIMELY :) There are upsides and downsides for every contraception option. I think using a hormonal method in combination with condoms is the best idea but it's best to discuss it with your medical professionals.
Posted by avengers_chick on July 7, 2013 at 8:45 AM · Report this
Dirtclustit 235
"....she can remove it and get pregnant at any time if she wishes."

sure you can removed and get impregnated at any time later, I wouldn't count on it being the baby you thinking about though. Sometimes the spirit of a child -- before conception -- sees how much of an asshole his would be parents are, and doesn't want anything to do with that
Posted by Dirtclustit on December 8, 2013 at 11:58 AM · Report this

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