This is a question many women and couples must consider in their relationship. Should the man wear a condom or should the woman take the pill. It’s certainly a question that has no easy answer, so let’s go over the pros and cons of each and you can decide for yourself.
The birth control pill has many aspects that you need to research before deciding to take it.
Advantages of the Pill
Safety – For most healthy women, it’s a safe choice, especially in lower doses. The pill was first approved for use in the United States in 1960, and with each successive decade has grown more popular. The pill has been taken by millions of women and has a good safety track record overall.
Convenience – The convenience of simply popping a pill each day cannot be underestimated.
Effectiveness – The pill is proven to be very effective in preventing pregnancy, as high as 99.7% effective when taken as directed.
Disadvantages of the Pill
Convenience – On the flip side, birth control pills must be used properly to be effective. They must be taken at the exact intervals described or they simply won’t work. Many women find that taking the pill every day is quite difficult, whether they forget or they simply find it annoying.
Safety – While it may be quite safe overall, it is certainly not 100% safe and without side effects. Since birth control pills interfere with hormonal activity, the risks of side effects range from very serious to minor, the most serious of which include the increased risk of stroke or blood clots. The risk of cancer with the pill is less clear, but some studies have suggested there is an increased risk of certain types of cancer.
However, other more recent studies showed a decreased cancer risk, so this is an area where more studies are needed. Some women experience may also experience weight gain and decreased libido while on the pill, among many other minor side effects.
Protection – The pill is for decreasing the risk of pregnancy only, it does not protect you from the many sexually transmitted diseases.
Advantages of Condoms
Safety – Condoms are overall very safe. There are few risks involved with using a condom.
Effective against STD’s – The major advantage of condoms is that they can protect you from the many sexually transmitted diseases out there, including HIV. The pill protects neither partner from any of these diseases.
Disadvantages of Condoms
Decreased Sensitivity – For the man wearing the condom, this can be a big negative. Some men simply find the condom material to be either uncomfortable or a hindrance to their pleasure. If the decreased sensitivity is a problem, the couple might consider using specialty condoms which are extremely thin and specifically made for extra sensitivity. In addition, specialty condoms are available in fun and interesting colors, flavors and styles, all of which can make the sexual experience better. For any male who is worried about the sensitivity issue with condoms, it’s important to try them first, and try different condoms to see which ones work best for you.
Effectiveness – Quite simply, condoms are not 100% effective in protecting from pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. This is because condoms can break during intercourse, or they can be used incorrectly, rendering them ineffective.
The Case for Using Both
In some countries, doctors actively promote the use of both condoms and the pill to couples in sexual relationships and to sexually active single women. In Scandinavian countries, for example, the widespread use of condoms and the pill has resulted in some of the lowest unwanted pregnancy rates in the world. When you use both, you get excellent protection for both pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.
As always, it is absolutely critical that you discuss all of these pros and cons with your doctor and he or she will be able to make a recommendation for you. Since only your doctor knows your medical history, including any diseases or conditions you have, any health risks, your overall physical health and any medications you are taking, they are in the best position to make the best recommendation for you and your partner’s safety and pleasure.