Friday 15 August 2014

Are you doing your fair share? How to divide contraceptive responsibility in a relationship

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If more babies aren't on your agenda, you should be thinking seriously about contraception in your relationship. When engaging in a sexual relationship and thinking about contraception, the well-known saying ‘it takes two to tango’ is more than appropriate. Although most contraceptives are designed for women, both you and your partner are responsible for practising safe sex and preventing unwanted pregnancies.

Many women will feel that they need to take sole responsibility for contraception, as they are the ones who will be most affected by it. However, contraception works to allow both men and women to enjoy a comfortable and relaxed sex life; surely then, it makes sense for the both men and women to play a part? By spreading the responsibility more evenly, you can increase the chance that you are using your chosen methods properly - and the more peace of mind, the more enjoyable the sex.

Talk about it openly

Many women may feel nervous about approaching the subject of sharing contraception responsibility, when in reality, your partner is likely to be happy to help. Talking honestly with each other about what methods you feel will suit you and negotiating as a couple can help to enhance the intimacy of your relationship by making you both feel more relaxed when communicating with each other. Encouraging each other to ask questions and share any concerns you may have about certain contraceptives will not only improve your knowledge, but can help you reach a mutual decision.

Having a conversation about contraception from the outset can enhance spontaneity later and reduce any fear of ‘spoiling the moment’. Talking about the pros and cons of different birth control methods can also lead to other conversations, such as preferred sexual activities and preventing STIs.

Contraception to suit you both

When thinking about what contraception you and your partner can use, it is important that both your needs are taken into account. More often than not, women will end up choosing a contraceptive without conferring with their partners.

Deciding which birth control methods will suit you as a couple can be tricky and you may want to consider factors such as frequency of intercourse, your lifestyle, health history and personal values. For example, if you both lead busy or unpredictable lifestyles, long-term contraceptive options such as the implant may be more suitable. After all, combined contraceptive pills must be taken each day and, if you forget, your risk of accidental pregnancy increases. Meanwhile, if you rely on condoms, you have to make sure you always have a supply of these to hand whenever you have sex.

A helping hand

If you do opt to take contraceptive pills, there are techniques you can employ to help you remember. For example, setting a daily alarm or agreeing on a significant time of day to take the pill can work.

Both you and your partner can carry methods of contraception if you anticipate that sexual activity is likely. For example, if you’re going on holiday, one of you can carry condoms whilst the other can take the pill. Contraceptive pills, such as Cerazette, can be ordered in advance from so you don’t have to worry about running out. Splitting the cost of contraception is also a good way to share the responsibility.

If you are going to your GP to discuss your contraceptive options, having your partner go with you will ensure that you are both content with your chosen methods. Likewise, visiting reputable healthcare sites together such as the NHS can provide you with reliable advice regarding contraception.

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