Her boyfriend wants her on birth control – could oral sex and flavored condoms fix this jam?

My boyfriend has been bugging me about going on birth control so he can stop wearing condoms when we have sex. He says that every time he puts a condom on it turns him off.  I’ve been thinking about doing it, but I just can’t get past the fact that I’m putting chemicals in my body and risking weight gain and emotional roller coasters.  We’ve been trying just having sex until we absolutely have to put the condom on but that just feels unsafe.

We’ve been arguing a lot about this – He can’t understand why I won’t do it and I can’t understand why he doesn’t see it. Shouldn’t my body come before his sexual comfort level?

Before we even get into this issue, you need to know that waiting to put on a condom, or “pulling out,” is not a reliable method of pregnancy prevention – pulling out is not an alternative to oral contraceptives or any other form of birth control. Further, pulling out is absolutely not a form of prevention for STDs so you should ensure that you’ve both been tested.

There are a few reasons you can’t depend on pulling out to prevent pregnancy. One is that you can’t prevent pre-ejaculate fluid (“pre-cum”) and two, no matter how hard you work at it, it’s difficult to be consistent and it really only takes one time to slip up. Some studies have shown that there’s a 20% risk of pregnancy with this method, and, compared to oral contraceptives, which are generally around 99% effective and condoms, which are around 95% effective if used properly (a 1%-5% risk), a 20% risk is a fairly big one to take.

Getting back to the situation at hand, the bottom line is that him not getting off is not just his deal – its something that you two can fix together. Let your boyfriend know how much it would mean to you to try to make it work using condoms. There are several different types of super thin condoms from every brand from Trojan to Durex which will help improve sensitivity during sex.

If he’s alone, let him know he should practice by masturbating with a condom on.  It sounds silly but, it’ll work! Getting used to it will ensure that he’s still feeling it when it gets to the real thing. When you’re there, you can do your part in helping him get used to condoms by spicing things up. Pick up flavored condoms from Condom Revolution in Costa Mesa (or cheaper with less variety at drug stores and Target) and make condoms cool by offering him oral sex if he wears a flavored one.

In the way of birth control, it sounds like you two are completely missing each other. You’re going to have to spell out your concerns to him calmly. Yes, he should be concerned about the way birth control has the potential to affect your body but it’s your job to make those concerns known. For some women, the effects of oral contraceptives can certainly include decreased sex-drive, mood-swings and weight gain, though many women do not feel any side effects at all.

If you’re considering it and are concerned about the way oral contraceptives could affect your body, you should speak with your doctor about which type of birth control is right for you. Many women suffering side-effects can find a type of oral contraceptive with a different dosage of hormones that suits their body. Some women feel that birth control affects them positively by actually balancing hormones and improving their skin.

Oral contraceptives are not the only form of non-barrier birth control, though. There are also injections like Depo-Provera, a patch like Ortho Evra, a vaginal ring like Nuva Ring, and an Intrauterine Device (IUD).  Again, talk to your doctor about which method would work best for you and your lifestyle.

For now, make sure you’re getting in as many condom test drives as you can!

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