Condom (Ifritah)

The Withdrawal Method

Okay, I lied. This is the last week of birth control methods! It's been rather busy in ifritah's life, but I assure you that I'm doing my very best to get at least one post in a week.

So! Withdrawal method! As promised (though just a smidge late).

Sounding like exactly what it is, the withdrawal method is when a man pulls his penis out of a woman's vagina just before ejaculation. The thought behind this method is, if the sperm are not able to enter inside the vagina, then the woman cannot get pregnant.

Problem is, it's not that simple.

For one thing, 'pulling out' is not as easy as it sounds. It takes quite a bit of power over the body to be able to not only know the exact moment when one should pull out, but also, to have the ability to do so when one's on the brink of orgasm.

Another important sidenote deals with those pesky sperm. Approximately 300 million sperm accompany a single ejaculation. Obviously, the withdrawal method (with perfect us) works well to take out a large chunk of the pregnancy risk. Unfortunately, ejaculation isn't the only time sperm come into play.

The Cowper's Gland produces fluid to neutralize the acidity caused by the urethra's (tube that the bladder empties urine outside the body, and also the exit of ejaculate) transport of urine. It also has a couple thousand sperm in it. When a man becomes erect (or sometime afterward, it's not on a clock of any sort), often times tiny droplets expel from the tip of the urethra, onto the glans (head of the penis). This is referred to as Cowper's Fluid or "pre-cum". In other words, even if a man pulls out before ejaculation, sperm (albeit a whole lot less) still infiltrate the vagina.

Effectiveness: With perfect use - 96%. Including user error - 81%
Pro sex

Periodic Abstinence

I apologize for the delay, but here it is: The last week on birth control methods!

As I've said before, there were four basic types of birth control methods. The fourth being periodic abstinence. Before I get into that, I want to point out that, yes, I do realize that I haven't discussed the withdrawal method. And since I really don't think it goes well with today's topic, I'm going to save that for another time this week. Two short entries instead of one lengthy one might be good for this journal!

Okay, on to today's subject!

Periodic abstinence is when a woman abstains from sex while she is fertile. A woman ovulates (discharges an egg from her ovary) fourteen days before her menstrual cycle. Because sperm can live in a woman's body for two to five days, most find it safe to say a woman should abstain for a week - a few days before day 14, day 14, and a couple days after.

Note: Not every woman ovulates on day fourteen. This is just an average. Unless a woman knows her body really well, this method can be more than a little risky.

Don't have a regular menstrual cycle? Trust me, you're not alone. Luckily, there's other ways to find out whether you're ovulating.

Mittelschmerz occurs when a woman feels the sensation of ovulation. The sensation is a slight pain in the lower abdomen on either the left or right side. Not all women can recognize this, either because they're not tracking their cycle and so don't expect it, or because it's too subtle for them to note.

A more easily noticeable way to discover when a woman is ovulating is to take her temperature. A woman's temperature will rise slightly (somewhere between .4 and .8 degrees) when she ovulates. This requires using a high-resolution thermometer every morning at the same time. It's really important to stay on a schedule because after ovulation occurs, for eleven to sixteen days afterward, the temperature remains at the risen temperature, dropping at the time of menstruation. This method is more often used for women attempting to get pregnant than for those trying to avoid it, but hey, whatever works.

A last way to tell if a woman is ovulating is by her cervical mucus. Not exactly the most glamorous way to go about it, but if a woman were to check her cervical mucus daily, she'd find that during ovulation the mucus thins (to allow sperm through). When a woman is not fertile, cervical mucus becomes thick and hostile to sperm.

For more information on cervical mucus and how to correctly observe it:

Some down sides to these methods to discover ovulation:

* A woman's temperature can change due to outside sources that have nothing to do with ovulation. Illness, sleep deprivation, etc.
* A vaginal infection can change the consistency of cervical mucus, while certain medications can dry it up

Effectiveness of periodic abstinence: Theoretically, 91-99%. Typical use, 75%
Pro sex


For the third installment of the four-week discussion of birth control methods, I'm going to talk to you about sterilization.

Before I get started, I want to make a quick note about the difference between methods of birth control for causing infertility and operations for medical purposes. A hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) is not a form of birth control. Although it is 100% effective in regards to preventing pregnancy, women have the operation to correct a medical problem.

And with no further ado...

VasectomyCollapse )
Tubal LigationCollapse )
Pro sex

Margaret Sanger

When I was an intern at Planned Parenthood, I learned of the amazing woman who is very possibly the main reason we have birth control today - Margaret Sanger. Before then, I'd never even heard of her. And because of that, I believe there's a good possibility some of you haven't either.

Margaret Sanger retired as a nurse to stand up against the Comstock Act of 1873 (forbade the knowledge, use, and distribution of birth control) in 1912. She wrote articles, smuggled the diaphragm into the United States from Holland, opened up the first family planning clinic, emphasized in helping the African-American community, and a whole lot more. She was arrested several times for her "crimes", but she never gave up on what she thought was an important right for women.

Some great sites to learn more about Margaret Sanger's life and her contributions for women's rights to birth control are:

Planned Parenthood (I highly recommend the read, especially since it discusses published statements about Margaret Sanger that misquote or attempt to distort her image.) (A short, but sweet summary) (There's a quoted portion from Margaret Sanger's autobiography here)
Pro sex

Egyptian contraception.

To get an idea of how far we've come since ancient times, here's a little fun trivia for you:

Egyptians buried more than scrolls with the Book of the Dead written on them with their deceased. Women's bodies also had recipes buried with them that had methods of birth control described so they wouldn't become pregnant in the afterlife.

Starting back as far as 1850 B.C., Egyptians used many different ingredients as spermicides (kills sperm). Some examples are: carbonate of soda, honey, and crocodile dung.

By 1550 B.C., they turned away from dung and started using cotton-lint tampons soaked in fermented acacia plants instead.
Pro sex

Birth Control Methods, Part One

This being the first entry in the community, I considered a few different ways to start things off. I finally decided to go with a topic that seemed to be getting brought up left and right around me at the moment - contraception.

Considering that discussing birth control in one big entry would take a long time (not to mention be a huge bit of text), I thought breaking the topic up into it's four subcategories would be more appropriate. And how handy is it that there are four Thursdays this month? Quite handy, I'd say. So, every Thursday, I'll go into a new subcategory.

But let's not beat around the bush, shall we? The four subcategories of birth control are:

* Hormonal Methods
* Barrier Methods
* Sterilization
* Periodic Abstinence

Today, I'm going to talk about hormonal methods. That would be any method of birth control that prevents pregnancy through increasing hormones in a woman's body. Now, let me tell you, there's a LOT of information on this topic alone. Talking about it in detail would kill my typing fingers (and likely put you to sleep). So, I'm going to briefly touch on each type. If you have any questions on something I didn't cover, please email me at Every Sunday I'll post answers to questions (anonymously) about whatever you want to know.

Okay, let's get to it!

The pillCollapse )
The shotCollapse )
The ringCollapse )
The IUDCollapse )
NorplantCollapse )
Emergency ContraceptionCollapse )

A couple of sites that I've found to have excellent information on these topics are:

Planned Parenthood
Contraceptive Information Source