This article is a part of the “I Heart My Birth Control” series that describes personal accounts of women and their birth control methods. These wonderful sheroes share their journey to finding the best option for their unique lives. If you’d like to contribute a piece, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
My favorite birth control is non-hormonal, can cost less than 30 cents per use, and doesn’t change my menstrual cycle at all: I’m all about the male condom. Condoms, while typically seen as a man’s responsibility, are my favorite birth control for a ton of reasons, but here are my top three.
1. The upfront price is less than other birth control options.
I’m an uninsured college student, so one of my first concerns about birth control (after efficacy, of course) is price. Can I afford it? If you buy smart, a condom can cost less than 30 cents. Don’t go to the local convenience store for their three-condoms-for-five-dollars special, go to a bulk retailer like condomdepot.com and buy a hundred for $30.
2. Condoms don’t mess with my hormones.
I’m one of an unlucky subset of women who really, really can’t do hormones in their birth control. Nuva Ring, for one, gave me suicidal thoughts. Before that, Depo Provera made me really hormonal. These are extreme side effects, but they’re what I had to deal with when it came to hormones – and now that I know condoms are 98% effective when used properly, I have no reason to deploy hormones into my body that I know are going to change how I act.
3. They also don’t mess with my menstrual cycle.
In addition, I like having a period. It’s a nice, visible reminder that I’m probably not pregnant that doesn’t cost any money or time, and it’s an opportunity to learn even more about my body. Condoms don’t change my body’s natural rhythm – it has no effect on my hormonal makeup, so my body is free to regulate itself.
So long as you know how to use them properly, condoms can be as effective as most other methods of birth control. Plus, you can get them over-the-counter at tons of stores, online for cheap, or even for free at many Planned Parenthood centers and other health clinics.
I didn’t even begin to touch on one of the most popular reasons for using condoms because I’m monogamous, but condoms (both male and female) are also the only contraceptive that help protect against STDs. I prefer male condoms for their accessibility and ease of use, but female condoms are a viable option with all the benefits listed here.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Don’t they make sex feel different?” Of course. But “different” doesn’t mean “bad.” There is such a wide range of condoms, from studded to ultra-thin, that you can find the right one for you with ease, especially if you buy a sampler pack.
Male condoms aren’t just the responsibility of a partner with a penis. Having a stash on hand, regardless of genital makeup, can help keep you using them consistently, which is the main reason condoms fail – not using them correctly every single time. Keep them near your bed so you never have an excuse not to use them, use them properly each time, and you’ll enjoy all the benefits (cost-effectiveness, self-regulated body makeup, STD protection) with no drawbacks.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.