Growing up in a Catholic school the sex-ed I got can be summed up with this: “Do not have sex or else you will die.” As we all know, that is a lie. I had to enter the world of sex BLIND. Google is a girl’s best friend when it comes to these taboo topics. BUTTTT look for an OB-Gyn you vibe with, there is no replacement for a professional to consult contraceptives with. I’m glad I’ve met a lot of OB-Gyn…s who are amazing women and approach the topic in a fun and scientific way.
I have been using Diane 35 (contraceptive pills) for over 2 years now. I initially wanted to have an IUD by my OB-Gyn at the time didn’t recommend it because not a lot of people use it in the Philippines and she told me that it would be safer to go for the pill. So far so good with the pill from my end. I haven’t died. haven’t gotten pregnant, and I’m GLAD.
I think it’s so taboo to talk about this topic in the Philippines and it shouldn’t be! Women should be able to decide what happens to their bodies! There’s so much science and research that backs up how safe these products are (unlike that exaggerated slideshow I saw in high school filled with nothing but the extreme negative scenarios).
What contraceptives are out there?
You’ll be surprised on how many contraceptives there are in the world. Each has its pros and cons, it’s all about finding one that suits you! BUT, don’t do this alone! Always consult with an OB-Gyn to recommend a contraceptive that will work for you. The calendar method and staying chaste is also a form of contraception, a more natural one at that. Here’s a couple of options you can consider.
What is the best long term contraceptive?
When I talked to my OB-Gyn on the best long term choice (for the Philippines, especially based on availability) is oral pills. It’s also one of the most generally used. Just make sure to get your annual pap-smear to make sure you’re free from any bad stuff down there, which you will be prone to if you use pills. As you can see, this is why it matters to have a good relationship with your OB-Gyn!
HOT TAKE: If you’re single and you have no man/partner and you want to stay a virgin/~untouched~ consider exploring yourself instead to release all the sexual tension!
Is it expensive?
The pills I use are around P700/month but there are other cheaper pill options out there, the generic version of Diane35 is around P500. You can also approach your local barangay/local health center for free pills and condoms… If you’re super strapped for cash.
Should I still be on the pill if my partner and I use condoms?
There’s nothing wrong with being suuuuper sure. Don’t be afraid to be on the pill and still use condoms, especially if you’re not in a monogamous/serious relationship. Condoms are your best bet from STDs. Unlike pills, injectables, and IUDs (all of which have zero protection from STDs), condoms are highly recommended for those casual times. Plus, they’re super accessible/affordable.
What are the side effects?
This will depend on the contraceptive you’re using. For pills, I can attest that headaches, mood swings, weigh gain, and nausea are common. IUDs can make your cramps worse and can sometimes stick to the tissues down there (yikes). The injectable has to be administered by a health professional + you might get an allergic reaction to it. Again, there’s no one-size-fits-all in this scenario, depending on your body/lifestyle/genetics, these contraceptives can affect you differently. Even with pills, not all pills are made the same. A pill might suit me but it won’t suit you simply because of how our bodies are different.
For pills, generic or branded?
I personally wanted to switch to a generic pill to save some $$$ (LOL). However, being used to Diane 35, I thought of sticking to what my body is already used to. My OB-Gyn agrees with sticking to something branded if you can easily afford it.
Are there contraceptives for men?
I WISH THERE WAS. IT’S 2020 AND WE SHOULD HAVE CONTRACEPTIVES FOR MEN THAT AREN’T JUST CONDOMS/PULLING OUT. There are some under ongoing research on the male pill and injectables but a lot of the men complain about it because they get nausea and mood swings, things women have been dealing with for decades now with usual contraception. You have to watch Netflix’s Explained: Birth Control.
I think there’s a whole lot more conversation that needs to happen around this. It’s surprising that still, to this day, most contraceptives are designed to control a woman’s body and not a man’s. I guess it has something to do with the usual macho-psyche, which has to go.
Header image from Unsplash via the Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition