10 Things You Should Know About Condoms for #NationalCondomMonth

10 Things You Should Know About Condoms for #NationalCondomMonth

The American Sexual Health Association (ASHA) recognizes February as National Condom Month. For my part in helping to increase awareness of and education about condoms, I’ve put together the following set of 10 interesting facts and statistics. To learn more about National Condom Month, check out this page created by the ASHA. 

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10 Things To Know About Condoms for #NationalCondomMonth

10 Things To Know About Condoms for #NationalCondomMonth

February has been declared National Condom Month by the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA). For my part in helping to increase awareness and education about condoms this February, I’ve complied the following list of facts and statistics. To learn more about National Condom Month, check out this page by the ASHA. 

1.) With perfect use, condoms are 98% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, perfect use is rarely achieved in the real world due to human error. When we instead consider typical use (or what happens in reality), the effectiveness rate drops to 82%. What this means is that, in practice, 18 out of 100 women who use condoms regularly over the course of a year will end up becoming pregnant.

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Progress in the Search for a Male Version of the Birth Control Pill

Progress in the Search for a Male Version of the Birth Control Pill

Scientists have been hard at work for decades trying to develop a safe, highly effective, and reversible contraceptive for men—something akin to the birth control pill that has been available to American women since 1960. Thus far, nothing they’ve tested has been remotely ready for prime time. However, a new study just published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism suggests that they may be nearing a breakthrough.

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10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Contraception

10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Contraception

Did you know that Lysol and Coca-Cola used to be used as contraceptives? Or that female strippers who are taking birth control pills receive dramatically different tips than strippers who aren't on hormonal contraceptives? Read on to learn more about these and other surprising things sex researchers have discovered about contraception. 

1. Before birth control pills became widely available, women sometimes turned to rather unconventional methods for preventing unwanted pregnancies.

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How Birth Control Pills Change Which Men Women Are Attracted To

How Birth Control Pills Change Which Men Women Are Attracted To

Women’s behavior changes in several ways when they reach the most fertile part of their menstrual cycle--that is, when they ovulate. Among other things, research has found that ovulating women fantasize about sex more often and are more likely to wear red or pink clothing. Interestingly, ovulation also appears to change which kinds of men heterosexual women find most sexually attractive, such that they tend to be drawn to “manlier” men during peak fertility.

So what happens when women take birth control pills or other hormonal contraceptives that prevent ovulation?

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How Close Are We To The Male Birth Control Pill?

How Close Are We To The Male Birth Control Pill?

When it comes to birth control, women have a lot of choices, including (but not limited to) pills, patches, shots, implants, IUDs, and vaginal rings. By contrast, men currently have just two options--condoms and vasectomies--both of which are far from perfect. However, scientists around the world are hard at work trying to change this.

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The Fascinating Story Behind The Birth Of The Pill

The Fascinating Story Behind The Birth Of The Pill

The birth control pill is something that a lot of us take for granted today. It has never been more widely available or easier to access (in fact, more than 10 million women in the US are currently using it). It has never been more versatile either--dozens of different formulations of the pill have been created, thereby allowing it to meet the needs of a wide range of women. Those needs include pregnancy control and prevention, menstrual cycle regulation, and (for some) acne control. Have you ever stopped to wonder where this miracle of modern medicine came from, though?

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Sex Question Friday: Is The “Galactic Cap” The Condom Of The Future?

Sex Question Friday: Is The “Galactic Cap” The Condom Of The Future?

A reader submitted the following question:

“I saw the Galactic Cap on a YouTube video, and really wanted to know your thoughts. It seems dangerous and ridiculous to me, but I don't have a degree in sexology or epidemiology or biology. I'd like to hear your thoughts on it!”

Thanks for this question! For those of you who aren’t familiar with the “Galactic Cap,” it’s basically a mini-condom that only covers the tip of the penis, as opposed to a traditional condom that covers the entire head and shaft. If you need a visual image, some have described it as a “shower cap” for your penis, which I think sums it up pretty well. So how does it stay in place, you ask? Easy. You glue it to your penis. Yes, you read that right.

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Infographic: The Future Of Contraception

Infographic: The Future Of Contraception

Contraception is not a recent invention--in fact, birth control has been around since the time of the ancient Egyptians. However, the nature of contraception has changed dramatically over the years, and it's something that continues to evolve. Check out the infographic below for a look at some of the major changes in birth control that have occurred during the last few centuries, as well as a peek into the future. For more information about the latest developments in contraception, see here and here.

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10 Surprising Facts About Birth Control

10 Surprising Facts About Birth Control

Did you know that Lysol and Coca-Cola used to be used as contraceptives? Or that usage of birth control pills is related not only to what women pay attention to when watching pornography, but also to the amount of money that a female stripper makes in tips? Read on to learn more about these and other surprising facts about the past, present, and future of birth control.

1. In the not-too-distant past, some women used to flush out their vaginas with Coca-Cola after sex in an attempt to prevent pregnancy. Believe it or not, there was even a paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1985 claiming that this technique actually worked (and not only that, but it also claimed that Diet Coke worked better than regular Coke!) [1]. However, subsequent research found that soda isn’t all that effective as a contraceptive and can potentially lead to vaginal infections [2].

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6 Facts About The Past, Present, And Future Of Condoms

6 Facts About The Past, Present, And Future Of Condoms

Believe it or not, human beings have been making and using condoms for thousands of years. Despite how long they’ve been around, condoms remain imperfect and continue to be misused. Below, we will take a look at what condoms used to be like, how they are viewed and utilized today, and where condoms are headed in the future.

1.) In the not-too-distant past, animal intestines were the most popular material used for making condoms. Some condoms are still made from this today (e.g., Naturalamb), but they have largely fallen out of favor because they are costlier to produce than contemporary materials, such as latex, which is what most condoms today are made from. Also, while they may be effective at preventing pregnancy, animal membranes are too porous to serve as an effective barrier to most sexually transmitted infections. Learn more about the fascinating history of condoms by watching this video.

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An Injectable Male Contraceptive May Be On The Market By 2017

An Injectable Male Contraceptive May Be On The Market By 2017

When it comes to selecting contraceptives, women have a lot more options than men. Women can choose from pills, patches, vaginal rings, IUDs, diaphragms, hormone injections, tubal ligations, and much more. In contrast, men pretty much only have two choices: condoms or vasectomies. However, a lot of guys aren’t in love with either of these options. Condoms have long been maligned for reducing sexual pleasure, and vasectomies are really only viable for men who are certain that they do not want future children, given that this procedure cannot always be reversed. Fortunately, men may soon have another choice: Vasalgel.

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Can Changing Your Birth Control Routine Affect The Quality Of Your Sex Life?

Can Changing Your Birth Control Routine Affect The Quality Of Your Sex Life?

A growing amount of research suggests that what heterosexual women find attractive in men changes across the menstrual cycle. Specifically, women tend to report greater attraction to masculine-looking and -acting guys when they’re ovulating, supposedly because these traits are signs of better genes and, therefore, a greater chance of fathering babies who will survive. Because these ovulatory shifts in mating preferences are wiped out when women take hormonal contraceptives, scientists have begun to wonder what implications this might have for women’s sex lives and relationships. In particular, what happens if a woman starts a relationship with a guy she met while she was on the pill and later decides to go off the pill? Are the subsequent hormonal changes she experiences linked to any changes in her relationship? According to a new study published in Psychological Science, the answer appears to be yes.

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Free Birth Control Doesn’t Make Women Promiscuous

Free Birth Control Doesn’t Make Women Promiscuous

For years, we have heard claims on many political talk and news shows that reducing birth control costs and/or making contraception more widely available will increase female promiscuity. For example, remember when Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a “slut” after Fluke testified in a Congressional hearing about why we need to increase contraceptive access for women? Or how about the parade of horribles we’ve heard time and again from “experts” on Fox News about what will happen if birth control becomes more freely available? Case in point, consider this quote by Sandy Rios, Vice President of the Family PAC Federal, during a 2011 interview:

“Why in the world would you encourage your daughters, and your granddaughters, and whoever else comes behind you to have unrestricted, unlimited sex anytime, anywhere and that, somehow if you prevent pregnancy, that somehow you’ve helped them. I would submit to you that uncontrolled sexual behavior is what is harming our girls, not our lack of birth control.”

So is there any truth to what has been said? Will increasing access to contraception actually "encourage" women to have "unlimited" sexual partners and/or engage in riskier sexual behavior? According to a new study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, the answer is a resounding no.

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Sex Question Friday: How Much Can I Count On The Withdrawal Method?

Sex Question Friday: How Much Can I Count On The Withdrawal Method?

Every Friday on the blog, I answer people’s questions about sex, love, and relationships. This week’s question comes from a reader who wants to know more about the withdrawal method of birth control.

When we don’t have condoms around, I don’t let my boyfriend ejaculate inside of me because I don’t want to get pregnant. We’ve done this several times and I have never gotten pregnant from it, but I always worry about it afterwards. I guess what I want to know is how worried I should be.

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Why “Safe Sex” Isn’t Quite As Safe As You Think

Why “Safe Sex” Isn’t Quite As Safe As You Think

Although “safe sex” means different things to different people, the most common thing people associate with this term is the male condom. We have been told time and again by sexual health educators and condom manufacturers alike that condoms can be highly effective at preventing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs)—and there is no disputing that. However, research has found that people tend to overestimate how effective condoms are in practice [1] and for that reason, it is important to step back and look at what condoms do and don’t do, and reconsider our usage of the term “safe sex.”

 

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Women Reach For Red And Pink Clothes During Ovulation

Women Reach For Red And Pink Clothes During Ovulation

Research has found that women attempt to enhance their attractiveness when they are ovulating, a finding that many scientists have argued is an evolved mechanism designed to increase their odds of conception. For example, not only do ovulating women choose to wear more fashionable outfits than women at other stages of the menstrual cycle [1], but ovulating women also experience changes in the pitch of their voice and their body movements that make them more desirable to men [2,3]. A new study published in Psychological Science adds to this growing body of research by suggesting that ovulating women may also choose to adorn themselves with sexier colors as another potential means of enhancing their attractiveness [4].

 

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Americans’ Views On Sexual Morality Are Changing

Gallup recently conducted their annual Values and Beliefs survey and discovered that Americans’ views on sexual morality have shifted significantly in the last dozen years, with particularly notable changes in the perceived acceptability of homosexuality, sex before marriage, and having children outside of marriage. At the same time, however, attitudes toward issues such as abortion and pornography have remained largely the same. Check out the table below for details on the specific changes in moral attitudes that have taken place since 2001.
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The Science Behind ‘Plan B’ (VIDEO)

Despite the fact that birth control has become widespread over the past few decades, many controversies and misunderstandings persist. One area where much confusion remains is the topic of emergency contraception, sold in pharmacies under the name “Plan B.” In particular, many people mistakenly think that Plan B is a form of abortion. So, to clear things up once and for all, check out the video below by ASAP Science that explains exactly what Plan B does and does not do inside the female body.

 

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One Reason To Sell Plan B Over The Counter: Many Pharmacists Won't Provide It To Teen Girls

Just last month, the United States Food and Drug Administration announced that Plan B One-Step (a form of emergency contraception) had been approved for sale over the counter to women and girls age 15 and over. Prior to that, the only way to get the drug was to ask a pharmacist. In addition, women under age 17 could not get it without a doctor's prescription. The FDA's recent decision has been met with controversy, particularly the lowering of the age limit. However, taking control of the drug away from pharmacists is a positive development because research reveals that a shockingly high number of teen  girls of legal age are being incorrectly told by their pharmacists that they cannot  purchase the medication, even in pharmacies where the drug is in stock.
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