I am new to the college experience, in high school I was always taught abstinence. I didn’t get to learn much about condoms, let alone different types of contraception. Are condoms the best route to go?

Contraception and birth control are the perfect subject to begin with. There is a slight difference between the two.
While both prevent pregnancy, birth control is not always contraception (like a square is a rectangle, but a rectangle isn’t a square.) Birth control prevents the beginning of pregnancy when the fertilized egg attaches to the wall of the uterus. Contraception prevents the meeting of the sperm and egg altogether.
The most effective method is, of course, abstinence. Again, this is not always the common practice. Even if abstinence until marriage was something that everyone practiced, what about after the wedding?
I know I mentioned this last time, but not everyone wants children right away. More and more couples are choosing to have babies later in life. Some couples don’t want children at all. And some people don’t even want to get married. What then?
The most popular contraception — which I hope everyone knows about — is the condom. They represent 18 percent (one third) of the contraception used in the United States today. Male condoms are 98 percent effective and female condoms are 95
percent effective only when used properly. In reality, they are 85 percent and 79 percent, respectively, as a result of error in usage.
Follow the directions, ask a friend or look up diagrams (no, seriously) to make sure you are using condoms
properly. And put them on before intercourse, not after. When the condom is too loose, use a smaller one. If it is loose because of post-sex flaccidity, semen can still spill out, so lingering is not the best idea. These are some ways of not using them effectively.
While hormonalbirth control has its advantages, condoms are probably the best for college students or anyone who isn’t in a
monogamous relationship. They are provided for free inside the health services center in Walker Hall. Who could pass that up?
Condoms not only prevent conception, but they prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infection
and STDs. So think about that when choosing a method. Of course, they can always be combined with hormonal birth control.
There are tons of options in terms of condoms. There are lubricated and non-lubricated, flavored, glow-in-the-
dark, textured, fire and ice, female and male, etc. There are condoms with spermicide in them, but these are no more effective than regular condoms. In fact, they may be worse for preventing the spread of STIs.
Keep in mind that not everything is 100 percent. People have still become pregnant using birth control or condoms. Be sure you know what your risks are, and be prepared. Communicate with your partner. Birth control is most effective when there is open communication about its use, no matter what type is chosen. While some people are aware of this information, others may not be. Awareness and safety is the key.
Send in any questions to linfieldreviewbailey@gmail.com or to Dear Bailey at #A115.
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