So you're sexually active and having vaginal intercourse and you're interested in preventing pregnancy. It's 2009 and that means there are a lot of methods of birth control to choose from. Depending on a range of factors, it's important to find a birth control that fits for you. You wouldn't just throw on a sweater at the store without trying it on, right? Why would you blindly choose a birth control method without knowing all the facts? In a two-part series, I've compiled the basic pros and cons of many birth control options that are available in the United States.
Note that I have focused on common birth control methods that are meant to prevent pregnancy for a consistent period of time (not emergency contraception, for example) and are methods for people who are having vaginal intercourse (not abstinence, for example).
The Deal: Used correctly, these plastic or latex covers for a penis help prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
The Pros: They prevent against STDs! They're widely available and some college campuses or health clinics have them available for free; It puts some of the physical duties and responsibility of preventing pregnancy on male partners; They're non-hormonal; When used correctly, condoms are 98% effective
The Cons: Some women are allergic to latex condoms (but there are plastic condoms and female condoms available); Maybe your partner refuses to wear condoms or has trouble maintaining an erection with them on - assuming your partner cares about your sexual health (and his!) female condoms are also available and effective in preventing pregnancy; Condoms are less effective if used incorrectly
The Deal: It's a latex cup that is inserted into the vagina to cover the cervix. It blocks access to the uterus and, when used with spermicide, stops sperm from moving.