How to NOT Get Pregnant: Contraception 101

I cannot stress enough how important it is to be safe and responsible when it comes to having sex. Unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection will have serious consequences in your life. That's why I'm writing up this long ass post. People don't like to talk about sex, but this is too important to dismiss.

I would also like to remind you that no contraceptive method other than abstinence is 100% effective. I'm not going to promote abstinence. As long as you use contraceptives properly, the chances of unintended pregnancy is very low. But it's still a possibility, no matter how improbable it is, and you should keep that in mind.


"Cap it before you tap it," they said.

Condom is probably the most easily accessible, usable form of contraceptive. You can easily buy condoms from supermarkets, convenience stores, and you can sometimes get them for free at health centers and such. You can just put one on right before you have sex, no preparation necessary. Not only does a condom prevent pregnancy, it decreases the risk of STI(note that condoms won't prevent STIs perfectly). I think condoms should be used unless the partner is guaranteed to be STI-free, even when you are using other form of contraceptive, just to avoid STIs.

Condoms are quite effective (98%) when used correctly, but condoms are often used incorrectly and that lowers the efficacy to 85%.

Here are some things you should know about in order to use condoms more effectively.

  • Check expiration dates. Yes, they do expire and it is unsafe to use expired condoms.
  • Be careful when you take it out of the packaging. Fingernail and teeth can cause your condom to break.
  • Do not use oily lubricant, it will cause the condom to degrade. Use water-based lubricant if you need to.
  • Only use 1 condom at a time. Using multiple condoms does not make it safer. In fact, it makes them more likely to break as there is more friction.
  • Do not reuse condoms(eww).
  • Twist the tip to remove air from reservoir tip. If there's air bubble it might cause the condom to break.
If you are in South Korea and need condoms consider Eve Condoms. They are eco-friendly, free of nitrosamine, paraben, fragrance, colorants, certified vegan, and they use a portion of their profit to provide sex education for at-risk youth.

Emergency Contraceptive Pill

also known as: post-coital contraceptive pill, morning-after pill (a misnomer), Plan B

This is technically a hormonal form of birth control, but I'll treat this as a separate category as its use is quite different from regular birth control methods. There is a reason why it's called an "emergency" contraceptive pill. It is less effective than most other forms of primary birth control. Taking ECP is generally safe, but the risk of adverse effects such as vomiting is greater. There is not much data yet about using ECP repeatedly, so it is safer to use other forms of birth control as your main contraceptive measure.

You should only use ECP if your primary birth control failed (e. g. if a condom breaks) or if you were raped. ECP should be taken as soon as possible after the intercourse, as the effectiveness decreases as time lapses.

I won't get to the medical side of the ECP as I am no expert, but for more information about ECP I recommend this website.

Hormonal Birth Controls

There are many different types of hormonal birth controls, but basically the hormones prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation.

Oral contraceptive (birth control pill)

This is probably one of the most popular methods along with condoms. For pills to have maximum effect, they should be taken around the same time every day(i. e. if you take your pill at 7am you should take your pill at 7am every day). If you are on certain medication or have any other health issues, it may be less effective. Like any medicine there are side effects. One of the more dangerous side effect is having strokes. While the possibility is rather low, the risks are higher if you are over 35 years of age, have familial history of cardiovascular conditions, or smoke cigarettes. Whether BC pills require prescription or not depends on the region, but even if you can get the pills over-the-counter, it is best to consult an OBGYN. There are so many types of BC pills, and the doctor can help you decide which one is best for you, or if you should use pills as your contraceptive method at all.


Implants are convenient as you don't have to take pills every day for 3 years.

IUD with Hormones

I will cover this in the IUD part.

Other forms of hormonal birth control include vaginal rings, injections, and hormone patches.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

An IUD can be used as a post-coital contraceptive when placed immediately after sex. However it is usually used as a primary birth control method. It is highly effective, and it is very convenient as you can get one inserted and then you don't have to do anything for a while.

Copper IUD

Copper IUD is the most cost-effective and convenient method long term as it is inexpensive and can be left in the uterus for years. It's effective, too. It is recommended that you get ultrasound every year to make sure it's in place.

Hormonal IUD

As you can guess, this is the most effective form of contraceptive as it prevents ovulation with hormones, thickens the uterine lining to prevent eggs from implanting.
For more information, visit Mayo Clinic page for Mirena (hormonal IUD).

Overall, there are so many ways you can avoid pregnancy. Condoms are best for irregular sex as they don't require planning or doctor's visit, and provide protection from STIs. For exclusive long-term relationships, I think IUD is the most convenient and cost-effective. But to make educated decisions that's perfect for your own situation, consult a professional.

This is a general advice I would give to everyone. "Use condoms, use sunscreen. Protect yo self."

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