Birth Control


We want to talk about birth control, but we don’t know how. How can we discuss it and not feel awkward? 

It may feel awkward at first, but talking to your partner about birth control can make your sex life safer and more fun. Look at your birth control options and talk about which ones might work best for you as a couple. Just knowing you’re both protected can make sex between you more relaxed and enjoyable.

As a bonus, learning to communicate more openly about sex with your partner can help you strengthen your relationship in other ways.

Talk to your partner.


I’m already a dad and don’t want any more babies right now.

Talk to your partner about birth control options, and make sure she finds and uses one that’s right for her. Also, wear a condom every time you have sex to make sure you’re doing what you can to prevent future, unplanned pregnancies.

If you’re feeling pressured to make a baby, the relationship just might not be right for you.


What’s so terrible about getting pregnant? My mom was a teen mom, and I turned out just fine.


Getting pregnant is a great thing…when you’re ready for it, planning on it and can accept the responsibility of having a child. It’s awesome that you respect what your mom did for you—remember to honor what a badass she is on Mother’s Day!

The truth is, being a parent is really tough, especially when you’re young. You lose a lot of control over your future when you become a parent. It’s a whole lot easier and more enjoyable to be a parent if you get pregnant when you’re able to support yourself and your baby.


What is the right age to start having sex?

The decision to have sex is a personal one and can depend on how ready you feel to accept everything that comes along with it. That everything is a lot: risks of pregnancy and/or STIs and the emotional work you need to do to protect yourself and understand the ways your relationship might change.

It’s normal to wonder whether or not you should have sex. The questions below can help you navigate your feelings.

  • Is this what you want to do?
  • Is your partner pressuring you? Do you feel like you can safely make the decision for yourself?
  • Can you communicate clearly with your partner about what you want, what you consent to and how you’ll both protect yourselves from pregnancy and STIs?
  • Have you talked to a health care provider about getting effective birth control?
  • Do you have condoms?

The right time to become sexually active is different for everyone, and it might even take time to decide what’s right for you. No matter when that time comes, it is important to be prepared and safe.

Whatever you decide—if it’s to have sex or to keep waiting—it’s still totally normal. Just remember to do what’s right for you and be safe.


Things got a little too hot too fast and we didn’t use birth control. Should I be worried?

It’s okay to be worried when things go too fast; sometimes we just get lost in the moment. To be on the safe side, you should take emergency contraception to reduce your chance of pregnancy. The sooner you take it, the more effective it is. You may also want to consider STI testing if you don’t know your partner’s status.

Now, a word about NEXT time: Although the morning after pill can be effective, there are better forms of regular birth control. If you plan to keep having sex, learn more about the birth control options you can use after you’ve worked out this emergency.

Learn how emergency contraception works and where to get it.


The other night I was dancing with a guy at Club Pure and he wanted me to go home with him.

Getting into bed with someone you don’t know can be unsafe.  What if he has an STI or you’re not on the same page about condoms and birth control?

So you went home with him, what can you do now? First things first, if you didn’t use any protection at all, meaning no condom and you’re not on birth control, check out emergency contraception immediately. It can prevent pregnancy if you use it within five days. Then talk to your medical provider about STIs and get a plan to get tested.

Now let’s get to the longer-term solutions: Choose a birth control method that fits your life. Always carry condoms. Know your STI status and practice asking about your partners about theirs.


The condom broke! I don’t want to get pregnant. What should I do?

Don’t panic! Emergency contraception can help! Even though some people call it the “morning after pill,” you can use it for up to five days after you’ve had sex.

So how does it work? Emergency contraception keeps you from ovulating, which means an egg and a sperm can’t meet to make a baby. It’s not an abortion pill.

If you’re 17 or older, you can buy emergency contraception over the counter at a drug store. If you’re under 17, visit a health center closest to you for a prescription.

Remember, although the morning after pill is very effective, it should not be used as a regular form of birth control. After you’ve worked out this emergency, learn more about good, routine, birth control options.

Learn how emergency contraception works and where to get it.


My partner and I are ready to have sex, but he doesn’t want to use a condom.


Having unprotected sex is risky business. If your partner doesn’t feel comfortable using a condom, there are many other birth control options – like the pillthe shot or the ring – that you can use to prevent pregnancy.

But not all birth control protects you from STIs. So if you have sex without a condom, make sure you and your partner get tested first at a health center and are free of STIs.

And always remember—It’s never cool for your partner to pressure you into something you’re uncomfortable with. If you don’t feel comfortable having sex without a condom, you have to stand up for yourself and put on the brakes.


Is pulling out a way not to get pregnant? My partner says it works.

Pulling out can be really dangerous! First, guys can ejaculate a little bit inside you without realizing it. Or they can get totally lost in the moment and forget to pull out. Second, new research shows that some guys have sperm in their pre-ejaculate, meaning you could get pregnant or an STI even if he does a perfect pullout. Here’s a full medical rundown on the withdrawal method.

To stay safe and reduce the risk of an unplanned pregnancy, there are many more effective birth control methods you can use.

Find out just how effective different birth control methods can be.


If a guy cums near my vajayjay but not inside me, can I still get pregnant?

Crazier things have happened! Although it is unlikely, it’s still possible.

If any of your guy’s cum—aka, his ejaculate—gets in your vagina, it’s possible to get pregnant. Therefore, any contact that could allow semen to get into your vagina carries some risk of pregnancy.

The best way to reduce this risk is by using birth control. If used correctly, you won’t have to worry about an unplanned pregnancy.


I’m on birth control. Does my partner still need to wear a condom?

It’s great that you’re taking steps to have safer sex. But it’s not just your responsibility; it’s his, too. Birth control prevents pregnancy but not the transmission of STIs. Has he been tested for STIs? If not, ask him to be! And even if your birth control is used properly, there is a chance it can fail. Condoms can provide a back-up way to make sure you don’t get pregnant and to prevent the transmission of STIs.

To get tested, make an appointment at a health center.

Learn about all the birth control methods through the Playbook.


I think I may be a lesbian. Do I still need to worry about birth control?

No matter how you identify, you should use birth control if and when you have male partners. You’re right that birth control isn’t necessary when you’re with another girl. You can still get STIs, though.

Herpes and HPV are transmitted primarily through skin-to-skin contact and can affect everyone. There is a vaccination that can protect you against HPV, so talk to your health care provider if you haven’t had it already. It’s also possible to spread other STIs between girls. The best way to check if either you or your partner has an STI is to go to a clinic and get tested.


I want to start using birth control. But I don’t want my parents to know I’m having sex.

This may be surprising, but many parents are willing to talk about sex and birth control. It may be super awkward, but try talking to them first.

If that’s impossible, or you need to get birth control on your own, there are still ways to get it. Anybody can get a confidential prescription for birth control from a health center without a parent’s permission. And you can get condoms at any grocery store or drug store no matter how old you are.

Find out where to get a prescriptioncondoms or learn more about your legal rights as a teenager.


I trust him and I want to have sex with him someday, but things are moving way too fast!


If you’re worried things are moving too fast, speak up! Your partner may or may not already know you feel this way. Sometimes when things move too fast early on in a relationship, they can snowball very quickly. Have a conversation sooner rather than later about slowing things down to a pace you can handle. Open and honest communication with one another is the key to a healthy relationship.

Talking with your partner about something like this can be uncomfortable at first, but it can help bring you closer together. If your partner ignores or disrespects your decision to slow things down, it may be a sign you want different things out of a relationship.


I heard that some other girls go on birth control for reasons other than not having a baby.

There are many other reasons to use birth control besides pregnancy prevention. Some girls use birth control to regulate and decrease the pain associated with their periods. Other girls take it to help stop migraines or get rid of acne. In fact, more than 30% of girls who take birth control start taking it for some reason other than to prevent pregnancy.

If you think you need birth control for some reason other than birth control, visit a health center.


I grew up in a house where talking about sex was off-limits. But I don’t see it that way.

Part of becoming a healthy adult is figuring out how to talk about your needs, your health and your boundaries—even when it comes to sex. Open and honest communication is the key to any healthy relationship. If you grew up in a home where sex was a taboo subject, take some time to learn about how to talk about “it” and about your birth control options.

If your parents are opposed to you having sex, try to understand why. Are they worried about your safety? Is it against their values? Are they trying to protect you?

Ultimately, you’ll have to decide for yourself what your values are and what role they’ll play in your life. They’ll probably align with your parents’ ideas in lots of ways, but may be different in others. The important thing is that if you choose to be sexually active, you protect yourself properly.

There’s also the possibility that sex isn’t really an off-limits topic. Parents can find it really awkward to talk about sex, too. If you’d like to talk to your parents about sex, here are some ways to get started.


I already have a baby and don’t want to get pregnant again right now.

Congrats! Spacing your pregnancies—that means waiting a while between kids—is important for women of all ages. It’s healthy for you and for your kids.

Check out your birth control options to choose a method that works for you. Methods like IUDs or the implant can be especially appealing to young parents since they’re so low maintenance. Certain IUDs can also be a great option if you’re currently breastfeeding.


Does emergency contraception protect me from STIs or HIV/AIDS?

No. Emergency contraception keeps an egg and sperm from ever meeting and can only protect against unplanned pregnancy. The best way to protect yourself from STIs and HIV/AIDS is by using a condom every time you have sex and for you both to get tested regularly.

You can get condoms pretty much anywhere on the cheap. To get tested, make an appointment at a health center.