Sunday, January 17, 2010
Sunday Sex Ed Tips: Spermicide Test
We're starting a weekly feature with sex ed tips to keep you in the know. Check back every Sunday for a new Sex Ed tip!
Week 1: The Spermicide Test
Spermicide is a birth control method that immobilizes sperm. It comes in lots of different forms like creams, gels, and foams. There is also spermicidal lubricant and some condoms come with spermicidal lube. According to statistics by Planned Parenthood, if women always use spermicide as directed (this is just spermicide with no other BC method), 15 out of 100 will get pregnant in a year. If it's not used as directed, 29 out of 100 will get pregnant in a year. It's recommended that you use spermicide in conjunction with other barrier methods of contraception (i.e. condoms), especially because spermicide doesn't protect you from STIs. Some of the big pros for using spermicide: it doesn't mess with hormones like some contraceptives, it can be carried around in your bag or purse for use when needed, it doesn't require a prescription, and it's readily available in most drug stores, super markets, and all family planning centers. Spermicide is a pretty cool thing, and when used correctly and in conjunction with other methods it can be really effective at helping to prevent an unintended pregnancy.
The big downside of spermicides is that some people are allergic to them because they are made with chemicals. So, definitely use this tip before using spermicide in a sexual situation: Test spermicide on your arm! Yes, you might look a little bit silly rubbing spermicide on your arm, but it's much better than finding out that you have an allergy because of pain or a rash in other places. Seriously, allergies to spermicide can cause soreness, swelling, redness, and itching. And we all know that scratching your arm is less awkward than scratching your crotch...
If you are planning to use spermicide tonight, test it on your arm today. Give it about 20 minutes and see if there are any issues (rash, redness, swelling, burning, etc.). If you go out with someone and they only have condoms with spermicidal lube, test one on both of your arms and just make out for a while to make sure that you're not allergic (and throw that condom away--don't use it later!). Yeah, it's awkward, but your vagina/penis will thank you later!