Your boyfriends role in contraception by Nurse Angela

There’s a saying that says, “it takes two to tango”. Truly, it does take two people to get pregnant. It is very important for partners to discuss and decide when they are ready to engage in a sexual relationship and the precautions to take.  

Who should carry the responsibility

The short answer on who is responsible for preventing pregnancy, is – both of you. You and your partner should be making active decisions to prevent pregnancy AND sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV. Sex is a healthy part of relationships and there shouldn’t be shame or judgment associated with carrying protection.

When to have the talk

The best time to discuss contraception is actually before engaging in any sexual intercourse. To make good choices, it’s important to consider the features of each method, such as, ‘does this method make me feel sick’, ‘do I often forget to take my medication on time’, ‘is my partner comfortable with this method, if not why’.

Remember that choosing abstinence does not mean you will never have sex. It means that you are choosing not to have sex now and are waiting until you are ready to discuss contraception methods.

Discussions about contraception invariably include discussions about negotiating safer sex to prevent STIs transmission, and unplanned pregnancy, the effects of unplanned or early teen pregnancy for you and your partner. Bearing in mind that the girl is usually the one who suffers the consequences of unplanned pregnancies, young women should really take the lead in these discussions to minimise the risk of being the victim of early teen or unplanned pregnancy.

Tips when picking a contraceptive method

  • Learn about the different types of contraceptive methods (e.g., effectiveness of chosen method, how to use the chosen contraceptive and where to obtain the chosen method).
  • Discuss the risks associated with teen/early pregnancy.
  • Discuss the important features in the chosen contraceptive method i.e., safety, effectiveness and user friendliness.

Contraception methods options available

  • Abstinence
  • Condoms (male and female)
  • Contraceptive Pill
  • Injectable Hormonal Contraceptives
  • Implants
  • Copper Intrauterine Device
  • Emergency Contraception (should ONLY be used in emergency situations)
  • Sterilisation

The advantages and disadvantages of each method should be discussed thoroughly to reach a mutual decision on the chosen method.

Ineffective contraception methods

It is crucial and critical that you’re aware of some of the ineffective methods/myths that have landed many young women in difficult positions of unplanned and early teen pregnancy. The following are ineffective methods of contraception:

  • Withdrawal (when penis is taken out of the vagina right before ejaculation).
  • Spermicides (a special substance inserted into the vagina prior to sex).
  • Standing up while having sex.
  • Putting things into the vagina after having sex, e.g., rinsing with water, coke or asprin mixtures.
  • Taking a hot bath after sex.
  • Using a plastic (Gladwrap) instead of a condom.
  • Not getting pregnant the first-time having sex. You can get pregnant the first time you have sex.
  • One does not need to get an orgasm (climax, “come”) to get pregnant.

To prevent exposure to HIV and STIs, a condom paired with another birth control method/contraception is always recommended for safe, healthy sex.

If you have any questions for Nurse Angela, or need a list of youth friendly facilities in or near your community, send me a private message.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send a Facebook message or a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).