Safer Sex: Contraceptives and Consent
How do you make sex safer? It means to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections and, if you’re able to get pregnant, reducing the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.
We’d also add safer sex includes talking about consent too. Especially as it relates to contraceptives. In particular, to prevent a form of sexual violence known a contraceptive sabotage.
In this post we’ll talk about:
- 3 myths surrounding safer sex
- 2 common forms of contraception (the pill and condom)
- Consent and contraceptives:
Getting on the same page about Safer Sex
To set the record straight, let’s clear up some myths that are out there about safer sex.
Here’s what we need to know:
Pulling out is not an effective form of birth control
Some say there no need for condoms, or any form of contraceptives, because a woman can’t get pregnant if a man pulls out before he ejaculates. This isn’t exactly accurate.
In reality, some ejaculate may be released before a man actually begins to climax or pulls out. This means women can get pregnant before climax. A study by
Planned Parenthood tells us that “about 22 out of 100 women who use withdrawal get pregnant every year”. That’s nearly 1 out of 5 women.
You can get pregnant if you have sex on your period
If you’re a person that menstruates, there is a myth is that you can’t get pregnant if you have sex during your period.
In reality, even though you are less fertile during this window of time, it’s still possible to get pregnant while you’re on your period. Pregnancy is actually possible at any stage within a menstrual cycle. There are just certain times that you are more fertile than others.
Contraceptives protect you from more than just unwanted pregnancy
Some believe that protection is solely used to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
However, using condoms reduce your risk of transmitting or receiving sexually transmitted infections (STIs). So, even if it’s not possible for you to get pregnant you should still consider a contraceptive that helps reduce your risk of sex transmitted infections. More on this in a second.
And, birth control, such as the pill, is not always just used for preventing pregnancy. But also to help people regulate their menstrual cycles.
Why you should use protection
Okay, now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s look at the benefits of using contraceptives, the two most common form of protection—condoms and the pill— and where you can buy them in Bangkok.
Control over family planning
Contraceptives will lower your risk of pregnancy. The option to use contraceptives means you can take control of your lifestyle and future plans.
Protection from STIs
There are a range of sexually transmitted infections from mild to more severe. To reduce the risk of receiving or giving an STI use protection. Condoms help during intercourse and dental dams can help with oral sex.
Also, just a note, it’s also good to get tested regularly if you’re sexually active. It’s the only way to know for sure if you have an STI or not.
A brief introduction: common types of contraception
There are a number of contraceptives available to you: the pill, implants, IUD, female fertilization, patches, shots, and condoms.
In this post, we’ll introduce you to two of the most accessible types of contraceptives available in Thailand. Both are available over-the-counter at pharmacies or convenience stores throughout Bangkok.
The pill is an oral medicine that usually comes in the form of a tablet or pill (hence the name). It’s a form hormonal medicine that is taken daily. When taken correctly, this form of birth control is 99% effective.
As a contraceptive, it works by stopping the ovulation process. It stops the egg from being released into the uterus, therefore sperm can’t reach it.
For some, the pill is used to help you regulate your period. So you won’t have to guess when your next period will start, but instead, you’ll be on a schedule.
If you decide to go with this form of contraceptive, it’s important to consult with a doctor first. There are many brands to consider, pills with different hormones, and some side effects to discuss. Only a professional can help you determine what is best for your body.
FYI: The pill as described here isn’t the same as the “morning after pill” or “day-after emergency pill”.
Condoms act as a barrier to prevent pregnancy or STIs. They are one-time use only. Condoms are available at most 7/11s, pharmacies and supermarkets. They come in a range of sizes, flavors, shapes, textures, and materials. So, there is lots to choose from. It’s good to do your research and see what will work best for you. Especially making sure it fits properly so that it is effective protection during sex.
The most commonly available condoms are usually made of latex. Some don’t find this material comfortable or are allergic to latex. There are non-latex condoms that you can look for as well.
Now, here’s the piece that often goes missing from the conversation about contraceptives.
Consent and contraceptives
It’s easy to overlook that the decision to use contraceptives is related to consent. We need to get comfortable discussing what forms of protection we want to use with our partners. And, respecting everyone’s decisions when it comes to them.
If we go against what we agree on with our partners there is a chance we are violating consent. And when that happens, it can be a form of intimate partner violence.
Intimate Partner Violence as it relates to contraceptive use
There are three, unfortunately common, forms of violence that occurs when it comes to using protection:
Reproductive coercion is linked to birth control sabotage and stealthing (we’ll explain below). The term means forcing someone to get pregnant (or not) by messing with their birth control.
Some studies have found some people have thrown away their partners birth control without telling them or poked holes in condoms in order to get them pregnant.
One survey found that of 164 survivors of intimate partner violence, 40% of the respondents shared that one or more of their partners has tried to get them pregnant when they didn’t want to be or tried to stop them from using birth control.
Also known as covert condom removal. Stealthing happens someone removes or damages a condom on purpose without their sexual partner knowing about it.
For example, poking a hole in a condom (which make the condom ineffective as a form of protection as it allows fluid to pass through). Or removing a condom during sex, after agreeing to use one. Stealthing is considered a form of sexual assault.
When you agree to have sex with someone using a condom—that’s the sexual act that you’ve both agreed to. If you remove a condom during sex without letting your partner know or damage it, then it becomes non-consensual sex. Because you’re having sex in a way that both of you didn’t agree to.
Stealthing isn’t just wrong, it’s also dangerous. As we covered about above, people often chose to use condoms to prevent pregnancy or STIs. Removal of a condom opens you and your partner up to the risk of both. And, if it results in either of those outcomes, it can be harmful health and wellbeing to the person who was aware that the condom they were using was damaged or removed during sex.
If you prefer not to use condoms in favor of a different form of protection, that’s a conversation you should have before having sex. The bottom line is that everyone involved has to be aware and agree on what you decide to do.
Contraceptive Sabotage or Birth Control Sabotage
Birth control sabotage or contraceptive sabotage occurs when someone interferes with the use of birth control pills. Such as throwing them away or making it hard for someone to use birth control.
Sabotaging any form of contraception is often done to control or exert power over another person, just like other types of abuse.
Ultimately, it’s important to be honest about using birth control with your sexual partners. Whether you want to use it or not.
We’re lucky to have to contraceptives available to us in order to allow for safer sex and better family planning. This means we also have to be able to have conversations about what we want to do in our relationships.
If you have any question or want to learn more about this topic, feel free to send us a message!
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