Sex Panther: Emergency Contraception

By SEX PANTHER

I loooove talking during sex. Moans and groans? Sexy as hell. Affirmations of consent? Even sexier. Making jokes to lighten the mood? Dirty talk? Yes and yes. I’ll take it all, please and thank you.

But there is one thing I never, never want to hear during sex. “I think the condom just broke.” That one’s a real mood-killer.

If you’re like me and you’ve been on the receiving end of a broken condom, you know that stomach-dropping, panicky feeling that comes with it. Sex can be scary — why are there so many risks associated with something so fun??? — but a broken condom doesn’t mean the world is ending. If STD transmission is the paramount concern, I recommend talking to your partner about their and your sexual health and getting tested immediately. But if you’re like me, a pregnancy-paranoid, uterus-havin’ humyn who’s not on another form of birth control and is trying to keep her eggs unfertilized, it’s time to take the handy dandy morning-after pill.

The pill, colloquially known as Plan B, is an emergency contraceptive that delays ovulation so you can remain your un-pregnant self. The most popular and widely-available brand of the pill is Plan B One Step, which uses the synthetic hormone levonorgestrel (which is a lot like the natural hormone progesterone) to delay the release of the egg from the ovary. The science jargon makes that all sound more intense than it actually is – Plan B is basically just a single-use, higher-dose birth control pill. The levonorgestrel Plan B pills are especially great because you can get them over the counter; another variety of emergency contraception, called ella, is more effective but requires a prescription. None of the Plan B options prevent contraction of STDs.

A broken condom isn’t the only reason for enlisting the help of my girl Plan B. You might have forgotten to put the condom on, or haven’t been taking your regular birth control, or maybe your partner didn’t pull out in time (a separate column on pulling out to come – pre-cum, beware!). In any case, you shouldn’t use Plan B as regular birth control — other forms of contraception, like birth control pills and IUDs, are more consistently effective and less expensive — but there is no limit to the amount of times you can take it. She really is a life-saver.

This magical little pill does come at a price, about $50 at most drug stores. But GREAT news: You can buy Plan B at Parton for only $18, which is the per-unit cost for the pill when the health center buys it in bulk. AND if you need financial assistance for Plan B (or other sexual health services), Parton will hook you the f*ck up for even cheaper. I don’t think that many people know this — the health center said it receives between zero and six Plan B visits per month — but I am telling you now: if you have a sex-mergency, get your ass to Parton! And get it there within 72 hours – the pill is most effective within three days of a slip up, though it is technically good for an additional two days after that. But the sooner you take it, before the pregnancy has implanted in the uterus, the better it will work.

The health center also offers STI screenings and treatment, contraception counseling and UTI exams and treatment, among a bevy of other sexual health services. And the health center won’t tell your parents, or alert them of your Plan B purchase, if you’re worried about them finding out. Though I can’t relate. In high school, I asked my mom to drive me to CVS to get Plan B when the condom broke with my high school beau, so we’re past that point and comfortably living in the TMI zone.

The pill is also available at Planned Parenthood clinics, most drug stores and online. There is no age minimum or any health requirements precluding purchase. You can also find rebates and coupons on the Plan B website to avoid that daunting $50 price tag.

I will warn you that Plan B can come with some gnarly side effects. More often than not, it messes with your period and causes some nausea (though there have been instances after which I’ve been completely symptom-free). But you know what else has those effects? Pregnancy. And I’ll take mild nausea and cramps if it means my uterus can remain baby-less any day, please and thank you.

Plan B is great, but even better is avoiding the need to take it altogether. A preventative, pre-penetration precaution I recommend is to keep your condoms safety stored so that they won’t rip or wear too thin before the sexy times even happen. Condom carrying cases, for example, will keep your rubbers from rubbing against the other shit in your bag and will keep them away from sharp objects. Plus, if you’re like me and you store your condoms in the school supplies compartment of your backpack, it makes opening your bag to grab a pen in front of your professor a little less risky.

During sex, use lots o’ water-based lubrication to decrease chances of tearing from friction. Invest in good, lubed-up condoms, too — I like Skyn and Trojans the best — and don’t use a condom if it’s expired – this means the material has worn thin and there is an increased chance of breakage. Some positions also might be more friction-inducing than others; for example, most breakages I’ve had have been in doggy position. But that shouldn’t stop you from getting creative with how you get down. So make sure those condoms are nice and lubed up, or find another birth control method that works for you.

Condom breakages and pregnancy scares can be terrifying, my sexy readers. And it is frustrating that the onus falls entirely on women to deal with these matters — male birth control, WYA?!! — but it doesn’t need to be as scary as it often feels. Plan B is your friend and she’ll always be there for you, even when your condom isn’t. 

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