Ask us anything. No judgments.

Does pulling out work better or worse than using condoms?

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Someone asked us:

How effective is pulling out compared to using a condom and not pulling out?

We get these kinds of questions all the time, and the reality is they’re very difficult to answer because the effectiveness of birth control has a lot to do with how well people use it  a method doesn’t work as well if you mess it up (putting the condom on incorrectly or not pulling out before ejaculation, for example). And “messing it up” is the number one reason birth control fails.

But let’s get down to the nitty gritty and talk numbers (remember, these numbers aren’t exact and vary depending on how well you use your method):

For every 100 people who use withdrawal (pulling the penis out and ejaculating away from your partner’s vulva/vagina), 27 will become pregnant each year if they don’t always do it correctly. With perfect use, that number drops to 4 out of 100, but withdrawal is a VERY difficult method of birth control to use perfectly. The ejaculator needs to know their body, have lots of self-control, and be able and willing to pull out in time, every time. And while pre-ejaculate (pre-cum) does not usually contain sperm, sometimes it actually does — and it only takes one little sperm to cause a pregnancy. Long story short: withdrawal leaves a lot up to chance, but it’s more effective than many realize if used correctly.

For every 100 people who use condoms, 18 will become pregnant if they don’t always use them correctly. 2 out of 100 will get pregnant even with perfect use. Making sure you use condoms correctly  storing them in a cool, dry place, checking the expiration date, rolling them on the right way, adding water-based or silicone lubricant, etc.  will increase their effectiveness. 

Again, it’s impossible to predict exactly how effective each method will be for each person, but condoms come out the overall winner here. And condoms are the ONLY method of birth control that also prevents STDs, including HIV. Regardless of your pregnancy risk and/or whether or not you’re using another method of contraception, condoms are always a good idea. 

If you’re totally set on using withdrawal or condoms for pregnancy prevention, the safest way to go would be to use them together (wear a condom and also pull out before ejaculation). Ejaculating outside of your partner always reduces the chances of pregnancy, and condoms protect you against STDs and act as a backup in case pulling out doesn’t go as planned.

-Kendall at Planned Parenthood

Twas once a young lad named Pete,

who fancied the girl down the street.

And though he was shy,

he did catch her eye. 

Oh! how life can be sweet.

"But wait," the lady suggested.

"Although I am surely tempted;

before we undress,

I think it’d be best 

if you and I go get tested.”

And being a respectful lad,

Pete held out his hand.

And together they walked

to visit the Doc, 

for the lady had taken a stand. 

And once the results were in,

the couple began to grin.

And just as they’d prayed,

safe, sweet love was made

between Pete and Lady Lynn.

Heed the moral of my tale,

and forever more without fail:

Get tested with your lover

and you shall discover,

your sex life will smoothly sail.

- ezrazankenstein

THIS^

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Pete and Lynn forever <3

You can still submit your poem to us and we’ll keep posting our favs. And be sure to give your local Planned Parenthood health center a call and make an appointment to get yourself tested. 

Having sex can be quite fun
two or more are joined as one
But don‘t be silly, 
wrap your willie. 
Use a glove,
to protect your love. 
to heighten your joys,
always wash your toys. 
And if of germs you are suspected, 
for your own sake, please get tested!
If an illness then is spotted, feel no shame, 
it happens to most players of the game. 
keep your health and you will see
it‘s easy to hand in a cup of pee. 

- mangocatcactus

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Nailed it!

Submit your STD testing poem! We’ll keep posting our favs. And be sure to call your local Planned Parenthood health center and make an appointment to get yourself tested.

Is there a “morning-after pill” that prevents HIV?

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Someone asked us:

Is there a morning after pill for HIV?

This is a great question! The short answer is “kinda but not really.”

There are medicines that help prevent HIV after someone has been exposed, called Post-exposure Prophylaxis, or PEP. Sometimes people think of PEP as “morning-after pills for HIV,” because it can be started up to three days after being exposed to HIV – but that’s where most of the similarities end. 

So how is PEP different from the morning-after pill (aka Plan B or emergency contraception)?

Unlike emergency contraception (which is just one or two pills taken over the course of one day), PEP consists of 2-3 different drugs that must be taken for 28 days.

Even after completing the treatment, you would need to be regularly tested for HIV for about 6 months after exposure.

The tricky part about all this is that many people don’t know if or when they’ve been exposed to the virus. According to the CDC, 1 in 6 people with HIV don’t even realize they’re infected.  PEP is a pretty involved medical process that you really need a doctor to help monitor. It’s not something everyone can pick up at the drugstore and take after unprotected sex, “just in case.” 

And remember: if you’re sexually active, always use condoms, get tested regularly, and encourage partners to do the same. If you or your partner is living with HIV/AIDS, ask your doctor how you can manage the risk of exposure in your relationship and reduce the chances of spreading the infection. 

-Mylanie at Planned Parenthood

Should I go on birth control even if I’m not having sex?

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Someone asked us:

Is it okay to go on birth control even if you aren’t going to be sexually active right away?

Yes indeedio! In fact, I recommend it. It’s a good idea to be on birth control if there’s ANY chance you may be having sex that can result in pregnancy (namely, penis-in-vagina) in the near-ish future. 

Birth control can have non-contraceptive benefits as well, so plenty of people use it regardless of their level of sexual activity or pregnancy risk. For example, my dermatologist prescribed birth control pills when I was a teenager to help clear up my torturous pizza face – the pregnancy prevention part was a total bonus when I became sexually active later.

Other methods, like the hormonal IUD, can reduce and sometimes even stop menstrual bleeding and/or cramps, a side effect that lots of folks appreciate.

If you’re interested in exploring your birth control options, Planned Parenthood has a fun little quiz that can help you figure out what methods are best for you and your personal situation.

And remember, condoms are always available for cheap, effective pregnancy prevention if the moment unexpectedly arises – and they’re the only method of birth control that ALSO prevents STDs (including HIV).

-Kendall at Planned Parenthood

Ready for a change?

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