Birth Control Methods

Birth Control Implant

Adapted from Planned Parenthood

The birth control implant is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. It’s also called Nexplanon and there’s a slightly older version called Implanon. A doctor inserts the implant under the skin of your upper arm. It releases the hormone progestin to stop you from getting pregnant. If used correctly, the birth control implant is over 99% effective at keeping you from getting pregnant.

The hormones in the birth control implant prevent pregnancy in two ways:

  • Progestin thickens the mucus on your cervix, which stops sperm from swimming through to your egg. When sperm can’t meet up with an egg, pregnancy can’t happen.
  • Progestin can also stop eggs from leaving your ovaries (called ovulation), so there’s no egg to fertilize. When eggs aren’t released, you can’t get pregnant.

One of the awesome things about the implant is that it lasts for a long time — up to 4 years — but it’s not permanent. If you decide you want to get pregnant or you just don’t want to have your implant anymore, your doctor can take it out. You’re able to get pregnant quickly after the implant is removed.

Once a nurse or doctor inserts the birth control implant into your arm, it’s almost mistake-proof, making the birth control implant one of the safest, most effective, and convenient methods available.

You can find more information about the birth control implant here, here, and here.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

Adapted from Planned Parenthood

IUD stands for Intrauterine Device (basically: a device inside your uterus). It’s a small piece of flexible plastic shaped like a T. Sometimes it’s called an IUC — intrauterine contraception. If used correctly, the IUD is over 99% effective at keeping you from getting pregnant.

What are the types of IUDs?

There are 5 different brands of IUDs that are FDA approved for use in the United States: ParaGard, Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta.

These IUDs are divided into 2 types:  Copper IUDs (ParaGard) and Hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta).

The ParaGard IUD doesn’t have hormones. It’s wrapped in a tiny bit of copper, and it protects you from pregnancy for up to 12 years.

The Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta IUDs use the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. Progestin is very similar to the hormone progesterone that our bodies make naturally. Mirena works for up to 6 years. Kyleena works for up to 5 years. Skyla and Liletta work for up to 3 years.

How do they work?

Both copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy by changing the way sperm cells move so they can’t get to an egg. If sperm can’t make it to an egg, pregnancy can’t happen.

The ParaGard IUD uses copper to prevent pregnancy. Sperm doesn’t like copper, so the ParaGard IUD makes it almost impossible for sperm to get to that egg.

The hormones in the Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta IUDs prevent pregnancy in two ways: 1) they thicken the mucus that lives on the cervix, which blocks and traps the sperm, and 2) the hormones also sometimes stop eggs from leaving your ovaries (called ovulation), which means there’s no egg for a sperm to fertilize. No egg, no pregnancy.

One of the awesome things about IUDs is that they last for years — but they’re not permanent. If you decide to get pregnant or you just don’t want to have your IUD anymore, your nurse or doctor can quickly and easily take it out. You’re able to get pregnant right after the IUD is removed. Getting your IUD taken out is pretty quick and simple. Your health care provider gently pulls on the string, and the IUD’s arms fold up and it slips out. You may feel cramping for a minute as it comes out.

There’s a small chance that your IUD won’t come out easily. If this happens, your nurse or doctor may use special instruments to remove it. Very rarely, surgery may be needed.

Does the IUD protect me against STDs?

No. The IUD is really good at preventing pregnancy, but it won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex really lowers the chance of getting or spreading STDs, as well as preventing you from getting pregnant.

You can find more information about intrauterine devices (IUDs) here,  here, and here.

https://youtu.be/eXdNHlWkleAhttp://

Birth Control Shot

Adapted from Planned Parenthood

The depo shot (AKA Depo-Provera) is an injection you get from a nurse or doctor once every 3 months. It’s a safe, convenient, and private birth control method that works really well if you always get it on time. If used correctly, the shot is 94% effective at preventing you from getting pregnant.

How does the birth control shot work?

The birth control shot (sometimes called Depo-Provera, the Depo shot, or DMPA) contains the hormone progestin.  Progestin stops you from getting pregnant by preventing ovulation.  When there’s no egg in the tube, pregnancy can’t happen. It also works by making cervical mucus thicker. When the mucus on the cervix is thicker, the sperm can’t get through. And when the sperm and the egg can’t get together, pregnancy can’t happen.

Does the shot protect me against STDs?

No. The shot is really good at preventing pregnancy, but it won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex really lowers the chance of getting or spreading STDs, as well as preventing you from getting pregnant.

You can find more information about the birth control shot here,  here, and here.

Birth Control Patch

Adapted from Planned Parenthood

The transdermal contraceptive patch is a safe, simple, and affordable birth control method that you wear on the skin of your belly, upper arm, butt, or back. Put a new patch on every week for 3 weeks, and it releases hormones that prevent pregnancy. Then you get a week off before you repeat the cycle. If used correctly, the birth control patch is 91% effective at keeping you from getting pregnant.

How does it work?

The birth control patch prevents pregnancy by stopping sperm from meeting an egg (which is called fertilization). Like most birth control pills, the patch contains the hormones estrogen and progestin, which are similar to hormones our bodies make naturally. You wear the patch on certain parts of your body, and the hormones are absorbed through your skin.

The patch stops your ovaries from releasing eggs (called ovulation). No ovulation means there’s no egg hanging around for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy can’t happen.

The patch’s hormones also thicken the mucus on your cervix. Thicker cervical mucus makes it hard for sperm to swim to an egg — kind of like a sticky security guard.

Does the patch protect me against STDs?

Nope. While the patch is really good at preventing pregnancy, it won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex really lowers your chances of getting or spreading STDs.

You can find more information about the birth control patch here, here, and here.

Birth Control Pill

Adapted from Planned Parenthood

Birth control pills are a kind of medicine with hormones that you take every day to prevent pregnancy. There are many different brands of pills. The pill is safe, affordable, and effective if you always take it on time. Besides preventing pregnancy, the pill has lots of other health benefits, too. If used correctly, the birth control pill is 91% effective at keeping you from getting pregnant.

How do birth control pills prevent pregnancy?

The birth control pill works by stopping sperm from meeting an egg (which is called fertilization). The hormones in the pill stop ovulation. No ovulation means there’s no egg hanging around for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy can’t happen. The pill’s hormones also thicken the mucus on the cervix. Thicker cervical mucus makes it hard for the sperm to swim to an egg — kind of like a sticky security guard.

Does the birth control pill protect me against STDs?

Nope. While the pill is really good at preventing pregnancy, it won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex really lowers your chance of getting or spreading STDs, as well as lowers your chances of getting pregnant.

You can find more information about the birth control pill here, here, and here.

Birth Control Vaginal Ring

Adapted from Planned Parenthood

The birth control ring (AKA NuvaRing) is a safe, simple, and affordable birth control method that you wear inside your vagina. The small, flexible ring prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones into your body. The ring is really effective if you always use it the right way. If used correctly, the birth control vaginal ring is 91% effective at keeping you from getting pregnant.

How does the birth control vaginal ring work?

The NuvaRing works by stopping sperm from meeting an egg (which is called fertilization). Like most birth control pills, the ring contains the hormones estrogen and progestin, which are similar to hormones our bodies make naturally. You wear the ring inside your vagina, where your vaginal lining absorbs the hormones. NuvaRing’s hormones stop ovulation. No ovulation means there’s no egg hanging around for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy can’t happen.

The ring’s hormones also thicken the mucus that lives on the cervix. Thicker cervical mucus makes it hard for the sperm to swim to an egg — kind of like a sticky security guard.

Does the birth control vaginal ring protect me against STDs?

Nope. While NuvaRing is really good at preventing pregnancy, it won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex really lowers the chance of getting or spreading STDs.

You can find more information about the birth control vaginal ring here, here, and here.

Condoms

Adapted from Planned Parenthood

Condoms are thin, stretchy pouches that you wear on your penis during sex. Condoms provide great protection from both pregnancy and STDs. They’re easy to use and easy to get. If used correctly, condoms are 82% effective at preventing you from getting pregnant.

How do condoms work?

Condoms are small, thin pouches made of latex (rubber), plastic (polyurethane, nitrile, or polyisoprene) or lambskin, that cover your penis during sex and collect semen (cum). Condoms stop sperm from getting into the vagina, so sperm can’t meet up with an egg and cause pregnancy.

Condoms also prevent STDs by covering the penis, which prevents contact with semen and vaginal fluids, and limits skin-to-skin contact that can spread sexually transmitted infections.

Lambskin condoms do not protect against STDs. Only latex and plastic condoms do.

Do condoms help protect me against STDs?

Yes! Using condoms every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex is the best way to reduce your chances of getting or spreading sexually transmitted infections. Condoms protect you and your partners from STDs by preventing contact with bodily fluids (like semen and vaginal fluids) that can carry infections. And because condoms cover your penis, they help protect against certain STDs like herpes and genital warts that are spread through skin-to-skin contact (but they’re somewhat less effective with these because they don’t cover all your skin).

Pro-tip: if you cut a condom up the side, you can open it out and put it over the vulva for safer oral sex there. Condoms are helpful for everyone!

Condoms are one of the only types of birth control that also help protect against STDs. So even if you’re using another form of birth control (like the pill), it’s a good idea to also use condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Keep in mind that condoms made of lambskin or other animal membranes DO NOT protect against STDs — they only prevent pregnancy. Only synthetic condoms (latex or plastic) prevent the spread of STDs.

You can find more information about condoms here, here, and here.

For more information about where to find condoms in your neighborhood, click here.

Internal Condoms

Adapted from Planned Parenthood

Internal condoms are an alternative to regular condoms. They provide pretty much the same great protection from pregnancy and STDs. What’s different about them? Instead of going on the penis, female condoms go inside your vagina for pregnancy prevention or into the vagina or anus for protection from STDs. They’re sometimes called female condoms. If used correctly, internal condoms are 79% effective at keeping you from getting pregnant.

How do internal condoms work?

Internal condoms are little nitrile (soft plastic) pouches that you put inside your vagina. They cover the inside of your vagina, creating a barrier that stops sperm from reaching an egg. If sperm can’t get to an egg, you can’t get pregnant. The female condom also helps prevent sexually transmitted infections.

Do internal condoms protect me against STDs?

Yes! Internal condoms aren’t just for birth control — they also reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections.

Internal condoms help prevent STDs by covering the inside of your anus, vagina, and some parts of your vulva. This decreases your chance of coming in contact with semen (cum), pre-cum, or skin that can spread STDs. Since all the other condoms out there are worn on a penis, many female condom fans love that there’s a condom they can control. Female condoms let you take charge of your sexual health. Even if your partner doesn’t want to wear a condom, you can still protect yourself.

You can find more information about internal condoms here, here, and here.

Abstinence

Adapted from Planned Parenthood

People are abstinent for lots of different reasons. Sometimes people use abstinence as birth control to prevent pregnancy. Abstinence can mean different things depending on who you ask. Many people say abstinence is not doing ANY kind of sexual stuff with another person, including vaginal, oral, and anal sex — that’s what we’re calling abstinence here. Abstinence is the only birth control method that is 100% effective at keeping you from becoming pregnant.

Abstinence prevents pregnancy by keeping semen away from the vagina, so the sperm cells in semen can’t get to an egg and cause pregnancy. If you’re abstinent 100% of the time, pregnancy can’t happen.

Anybody can be abstinent, no matter your age, gender, sexuality, or the sexual experiences you’ve had before. People are abstinent off and on for reasons that may change over time, and a few are abstinent their whole lives. You can choose to be abstinent whenever you want, even if you’ve had sex before.

For some people, abstinence means not having any kind of sex. For other people, abstinence only means not having vaginal sex, but other sexual activities are allowed. When it comes to preventing pregnancy, all the sexy stuff besides vaginal sex is called “outercourse.”

You can find more information about abstinence and “outercourse” here, here, and here.

For more information about talking to your partner about being abstinent, click here

Withdrawl Method

Adapted from Planned Parenthood

Pulling out (also known as withdrawal) is a way to prevent pregnancy by keeping semen away from the vagina. Withdrawal works best when you use another birth control method with it, like a condom.

What is it?

Pulling out is exactly what it sounds like: pulling the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation (aka cumming). If semen (cum) gets in your vagina, you can get pregnant. So ejaculating away from a vulva or vagina prevents pregnancy. But you have to be sure to pull out before any semen comes out, every single time you have vaginal sex, in order for it to work.

Does pulling out protect me against STDs?

No. While withdrawal can prevent pregnancy, it doesn’t protect you against STDs. Some STDs, like genital warts and herpes, are spread through skin-to-skin contact. And STDs like chlamydia, syphilis, or gonorrhea can be carried in pre-cum. So if you’re going to have sex, the best way to prevent STDs is by using condoms.

You can find more information about the withdrawal method here and here.

Birth Control Methods

Birth Control Implant

The birth control implant is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. It’s also called Nexplanon and there’s a slightly older version called Implanon. A doctor inserts the implant under the skin of your upper arm. It releases the hormone progestin to stop you from getting pregnant. If used correctly, the birth control implant is over 99% effective at keeping you from getting pregnant. The hormones in the birth control implant prevent pregnancy in two ways:

  • Progestin thickens the mucus on your cervix, which stops sperm from swimming through to your egg. When sperm can’t meet up with an egg, pregnancy can’t happen.
  • Progestin can also stop eggs from leaving your ovaries (called ovulation), so there’s no egg to fertilize. When eggs aren’t released, you can’t get pregnant.

One of the awesome things about the implant is that it lasts for a long time — up to 4 years — but it’s not permanent. If you decide you want to get pregnant or you just don’t want to have your implant anymore, your doctor can take it out. You’re able to get pregnant quickly after the implant is removed. Once a nurse or doctor inserts the birth control implant into your arm, it’s almost mistake-proof, making the birth control implant one of the safest, most effective, and convenient methods available. You can find more information about the birth control implant here, here, and here.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

IUD stands for Intrauterine Device (basically: a device inside your uterus). It’s a small piece of flexible plastic shaped like a T. Sometimes it’s called an IUC — intrauterine contraception. If used correctly, the IUD is over 99% effective at keeping you from getting pregnant. What are the types of IUDs? There are 5 different brands of IUDs that are FDA approved for use in the United States: ParaGard, Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta. These IUDs are divided into 2 types:  Copper IUDs (ParaGard) and Hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta). The ParaGard IUD doesn’t have hormones. It’s wrapped in a tiny bit of copper, and it protects you from pregnancy for up to 12 years. The Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta IUDs use the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. Progestin is very similar to the hormone progesterone that our bodies make naturally. Mirena works for up to 6 years. Kyleena works for up to 5 years. Skyla and Liletta work for up to 3 years. How do they work? Both copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy by changing the way sperm cells move so they can’t get to an egg. If sperm can’t make it to an egg, pregnancy can’t happen. The ParaGard IUD uses copper to prevent pregnancy. Sperm doesn’t like copper, so the ParaGard IUD makes it almost impossible for sperm to get to that egg. The hormones in the Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta IUDs prevent pregnancy in two ways: 1) they thicken the mucus that lives on the cervix, which blocks and traps the sperm, and 2) the hormones also sometimes stop eggs from leaving your ovaries (called ovulation), which means there’s no egg for a sperm to fertilize. No egg, no pregnancy. One of the awesome things about IUDs is that they last for years — but they’re not permanent. If you decide to get pregnant or you just don’t want to have your IUD anymore, your nurse or doctor can quickly and easily take it out. You’re able to get pregnant right after the IUD is removed. Getting your IUD taken out is pretty quick and simple. Your health care provider gently pulls on the string, and the IUD’s arms fold up and it slips out. You may feel cramping for a minute as it comes out. There’s a small chance that your IUD won’t come out easily. If this happens, your nurse or doctor may use special instruments to remove it. Very rarely, surgery may be needed. Does the IUD protect me against STDs? No. The IUD is really good at preventing pregnancy, but it won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex really lowers the chance of getting or spreading STDs, as well as preventing you from getting pregnant. You can find more information about intrauterine devices (IUDs) here,  here, and here.

Birth Control Shot

The depo shot (AKA Depo-Provera) is an injection you get from a nurse or doctor once every 3 months. It’s a safe, convenient, and private birth control method that works really well if you always get it on time. If used correctly, the shot is 94% effective at preventing you from getting pregnant. How does the birth control shot work? The birth control shot (sometimes called Depo-Provera, the Depo shot, or DMPA) contains the hormone progestin.  Progestin stops you from getting pregnant by preventing ovulation.  When there’s no egg in the tube, pregnancy can’t happen. It also works by making cervical mucus thicker. When the mucus on the cervix is thicker, the sperm can’t get through. And when the sperm and the egg can’t get together, pregnancy can’t happen. Does the shot protect me against STDs? No. The shot is really good at preventing pregnancy, but it won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex really lowers the chance of getting or spreading STDs, as well as preventing you from getting pregnant. You can find more information about the birth control shot here,  here, and here.

Birth Control Patch

The transdermal contraceptive patch is a safe, simple, and affordable birth control method that you wear on the skin of your belly, upper arm, butt, or back. Put a new patch on every week for 3 weeks, and it releases hormones that prevent pregnancy. Then you get a week off before you repeat the cycle. If used correctly, the birth control patch is 91% effective at keeping you from getting pregnant. How does it work? The birth control patch prevents pregnancy by stopping sperm from meeting an egg (which is called fertilization). Like most birth control pills, the patch contains the hormones estrogen and progestin, which are similar to hormones our bodies make naturally. You wear the patch on certain parts of your body, and the hormones are absorbed through your skin. The patch stops your ovaries from releasing eggs (called ovulation). No ovulation means there’s no egg hanging around for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy can’t happen. The patch’s hormones also thicken the mucus on your cervix. Thicker cervical mucus makes it hard for sperm to swim to an egg — kind of like a sticky security guard. Does the patch protect me against STDs? Nope. While the patch is really good at preventing pregnancy, it won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex really lowers your chances of getting or spreading STDs. You can find more information about the birth control patch here, here, and here.

Birth Control Pill

Birth control pills are a kind of medicine with hormones that you take every day to prevent pregnancy. There are many different brands of pills. The pill is safe, affordable, and effective if you always take it on time. Besides preventing pregnancy, the pill has lots of other health benefits, too. If used correctly, the birth control pill is 91% effective at keeping you from getting pregnant. How do birth control pills prevent pregnancy? The birth control pill works by stopping sperm from meeting an egg (which is called fertilization). The hormones in the pill stop ovulation. No ovulation means there’s no egg hanging around for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy can’t happen. The pill’s hormones also thicken the mucus on the cervix. Thicker cervical mucus makes it hard for the sperm to swim to an egg — kind of like a sticky security guard. Does the birth control pill protect me against STDs? Nope. While the pill is really good at preventing pregnancy, it won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex really lowers your chance of getting or spreading STDs, as well as lowers your chances of getting pregnant. You can find more information about the birth control pill here, here, and here.

Birth Control Vaginal Ring

The birth control ring (AKA NuvaRing) is a safe, simple, and affordable birth control method that you wear inside your vagina. The small, flexible ring prevents pregnancy by releasing hormones into your body. The ring is really effective if you always use it the right way. If used correctly, the birth control vaginal ring is 91% effective at keeping you from getting pregnant. How does the birth control vaginal ring work? The NuvaRing works by stopping sperm from meeting an egg (which is called fertilization). Like most birth control pills, the ring contains the hormones estrogen and progestin, which are similar to hormones our bodies make naturally. You wear the ring inside your vagina, where your vaginal lining absorbs the hormones. NuvaRing’s hormones stop ovulation. No ovulation means there’s no egg hanging around for sperm to fertilize, so pregnancy can’t happen. The ring’s hormones also thicken the mucus that lives on the cervix. Thicker cervical mucus makes it hard for the sperm to swim to an egg — kind of like a sticky security guard. Does the birth control vaginal ring protect me against STDs? Nope. While NuvaRing is really good at preventing pregnancy, it won’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex really lowers the chance of getting or spreading STDs. You can find more information about the birth control vaginal ring here, here, and here.

Condom

Condoms are thin, stretchy pouches that you wear on your penis during sex. Condoms provide great protection from both pregnancy and STDs. They’re easy to use and easy to get. If used correctly, condoms are 82% effective at preventing you from getting pregnant. How do condoms work? Condoms are small, thin pouches made of latex (rubber), plastic (polyurethane, nitrile, or polyisoprene) or lambskin, that cover your penis during sex and collect semen (cum). Condoms stop sperm from getting into the vagina, so sperm can’t meet up with an egg and cause pregnancy. Condoms also prevent STDs by covering the penis, which prevents contact with semen and vaginal fluids, and limits skin-to-skin contact that can spread sexually transmitted infections. Lambskin condoms do not protect against STDs. Only latex and plastic condoms do. Do condoms help protect me against STDs? Yes! Using condoms every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex is the best way to reduce your chances of getting or spreading sexually transmitted infections. Condoms protect you and your partners from STDs by preventing contact with bodily fluids (like semen and vaginal fluids) that can carry infections. And because condoms cover your penis, they help protect against certain STDs like herpes and genital warts that are spread through skin-to-skin contact (but they’re somewhat less effective with these because they don’t cover all your skin). Pro-tip: if you cut a condom up the side, you can open it out and put it over the vulva for safer oral sex there. Condoms are helpful for everyone! Condoms are one of the only types of birth control that also help protect against STDs. So even if you’re using another form of birth control (like the pill), it’s a good idea to also use condoms to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections. Keep in mind that condoms made of lambskin or other animal membranes DO NOT protect against STDs — they only prevent pregnancy. Only synthetic condoms (latex or plastic) prevent the spread of STDs. You can find more information about condoms here, here, and here. For more information about where to find condoms in your neighborhood, click here.

Internal Condoms

Internal condoms are an alternative to regular condoms. They provide pretty much the same great protection from pregnancy and STDs. What’s different about them? Instead of going on the penis, female condoms go inside your vagina for pregnancy prevention or into the vagina or anus for protection from STDs. They’re sometimes called female condoms. If used correctly, internal condoms are 79% effective at keeping you from getting pregnant. How do internal condoms work? Internal condoms are little nitrile (soft plastic) pouches that you put inside your vagina. They cover the inside of your vagina, creating a barrier that stops sperm from reaching an egg. If sperm can’t get to an egg, you can’t get pregnant. The female condom also helps prevent sexually transmitted infections. Do internal condoms protect me against STDs? Yes! Internal condoms aren’t just for birth control — they also reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections. Internal condoms help prevent STDs by covering the inside of your anus, vagina, and some parts of your vulva. This decreases your chance of coming in contact with semen (cum), pre-cum, or skin that can spread STDs. Since all the other condoms out there are worn on a penis, many female condom fans love that there’s a condom they can control. Female condoms let you take charge of your sexual health. Even if your partner doesn’t want to wear a condom, you can still protect yourself. You can find more information about internal condoms here, here, and here.

Abstinence

People are abstinent for lots of different reasons. Sometimes people use abstinence as birth control to prevent pregnancy. Abstinence can mean different things depending on who you ask. Many people say abstinence is not doing ANY kind of sexual stuff with another person, including vaginal, oral, and anal sex — that’s what we’re calling abstinence here. Abstinence is the only birth control method that is 100% effective at keeping you from becoming pregnant. Abstinence prevents pregnancy by keeping semen away from the vagina, so the sperm cells in semen can’t get to an egg and cause pregnancy. If you’re abstinent 100% of the time, pregnancy can’t happen. Anybody can be abstinent, no matter your age, gender, sexuality, or the sexual experiences you’ve had before. People are abstinent off and on for reasons that may change over time, and a few are abstinent their whole lives. You can choose to be abstinent whenever you want, even if you’ve had sex before. For some people, abstinence means not having any kind of sex. For other people, abstinence only means not having vaginal sex, but other sexual activities are allowed. When it comes to preventing pregnancy, all the sexy stuff besides vaginal sex is called “outercourse.” You can find more information about abstinence and “outercourse” here, here, and here. For more information about talking to your partner about being abstinent, click here

Abstinence

Pulling out (also known as withdrawal) is a way to prevent pregnancy by keeping semen away from the vagina. Withdrawal works best when you use another birth control method with it, like a condom. What is it? Pulling out is exactly what it sounds like: pulling the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation (aka cumming). If semen (cum) gets in your vagina, you can get pregnant. So ejaculating away from a vulva or vagina prevents pregnancy. But you have to be sure to pull out before any semen comes out, every single time you have vaginal sex, in order for it to work. Does pulling out protect me against STDs? No. While withdrawal can prevent pregnancy, it doesn’t protect you against STDs. Some STDs, like genital warts and herpes, are spread through skin-to-skin contact. And STDs like chlamydia, syphilis, or gonorrhea can be carried in pre-cum. So if you’re going to have sex, the best way to prevent STDs is by using condoms. You can find more information about the withdrawal method here and here.