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2 May 2015
From doing it standing to bathing after sex, there are some optimistic – and outright bizarre – fallacies surrounding effective contraception. Here, we debunk and discredit 12 of the most common myths about contraception to help you avoid raising a litter before you’re thoroughly ready to do so.
I won’t get pregnant if my partner pulls out before ejaculating
Contrary to the belief of condom-less men across the land, pulling out pre-ejaculation by no means offers comprehensive protection against pregnancy. Fluid released from the penis during intercourse can contain enough sperm to deliver the gift of life – rendering a hurried pull out utterly pointless.
You can’t get pregnant if the woman’s on top
Couples – rely on gravity at your peril. Sperm will do anything to reach their destination, including flout the laws of physics. Whichever position you and your partner choose to get it on, there’s no escaping a band of sperm hell-bent on finding a fertile egg.
Cling film or a balloon can be used as a condom
We did say some of these myths were optimistic, but this one takes the biscuit. Balloons and cling film are not suitable alternatives to a condom. For starters, they aren’t nearly strong enough – nor will they provide a good fit. Buy a pack of condoms and save the balloons and cling film for parties and food preservation.
The pill starts working as soon as you begin taking it
In some cases, it takes a complete menstrual cycle for a contraceptive pill to take effect – so it’s important to continue using other forms of contraception until you’re confident your body’s natural hormones will prevent ovulation. Most doctors recommend using a condom or other method of birth control for at least a month after taking your first pill.
Women are only fertile once a month
Wrong – although pregnancy only occurs when a woman’s hormones are in perfect unison, outside factors such as weight, stress and medication can cause a chemical imbalance, causing ovulation to occur outside the peak fertility period. This means, finding a "safe zone” is extremely difficult – albeit impossible.
Douching after sex stops you getting pregnant
Douching, washing or bathing immediately after sex won’t prevent pregnancy. By the time you’ve reached the bathroom and flushed the vagina, the sperm will already have reached the cervix – making it impossible to remove.
Women can’t get pregnant the first time they have sex
One of the most common misconceptions about sex is that women can’t get pregnant the first time they have sex. This is, as you might have guessed, entirely untrue. In fact, women can get pregnant whenever ovulation occurs – a process that begins when women go through puberty in their teens.
If a woman doesn’t orgasm during sex, she doesn’t get pregnant
Regardless of whether a woman orgasms or not during intercourse, they may still get pregnant. Female orgasms are brought on by separate bodily functions, and ovulation (the monthly process of releasing an egg from the ovaries) will happen regardless of if a woman has sex or not.
Contraception makes you gain weight
There are no modern studies to support the myth that some contraceptives – such as the pill and the contraceptive injection – make women gain weight. Yet, this remains one of the primary reasons why women are reluctant to take some methods of contraception. Anyone concerned about the side effects of certain contraceptives should talk to their doctor.
A woman can’t get pregnant if she has sex during her period
On paper, getting pregnant during a period sounds relatively impossible. However, as sperm are known to live inside a woman’s cervix for up to seven days after intercourse waiting to fertilise an egg, it’s possible for pregnancy to occur as soon as ovulation occurs again.
Tighter condoms provide better protection
Tighter condoms are often considered a better fit than looser ones – making it less likely for sperm to escape. Though a condom should fit close to the skin, over-tightness increases the chance of breakages during intercourse. In short – buy condoms that fit.
There are only two types of contraception available
After condoms and the morning after pill, many young people are unaware of the other forms of contraceptive available. There are actually fifteen different contraceptives for women and two for men – all of which are available for free on the NHS.
If you’ve been educated on appropriate methods of contraception, visit the Freedoms Shop where you can stock up on all manner of suitable contraceptives. Alternatively, speak to our friendly team by calling 020 7685 5977.