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July 24, 2009


As a young woman myself -- I cannot imagine depending on condoms. To the younger generation they are touted as necessary, but never free-standing. Condoms break, slip, can be ill-fitting, can leak, and we have all heard 500 stories of "we used a condom and still got pregnant". Personally, and within all of my female friends, no one settles for less than the pill/another hormonal method, paired with a condom. This means your pregnancy chances drop to miniscule, and you feel safe from BOTH types of risk!

I think young people who are likely to dismiss a condom even with the pill, are not necessarily going to make a point of wearing a condom without the pill. I would also feel horrible if my teen daughter came home, after using condom's religiously, and still got pregnant due to a malfunction, production error, etc.

So many of my friends have babies who were conceived on the pill that I don't see it as the panacea of birth control, let alone anything else.

When my Em was in a relationship, even though they were aiming for abstinence, I still had the 'if it's not on it's not on' talk. Condoms are essential. The contraceptive pill in addition to that might also be a good idea, but condoms are a definite.

Oh, and my mum was also a registered nurse, and, ah, blushed at the thought of me having sex when I was married. Absolutely no teenage sex talk from her!!!

I would like both, because condoms break. Even using a good brand consistently, I have had two breakages in the twenty years I've been using them, it happens. So I think both is better. If they're sensible, as I'm sure they are, and they've been well-drilled on the dangers of unprotected sex, as I'm sure they have, they will use them.

I have to second the "both" comments.

Neither method is 100% effective - someone VERY close to me (but not me, really) knows that personally, as a pregnancy resulted even with condom use. And since either an STD or pregnancy has the potential to be such a life-altering issue/event, I'd recommend doubling-up with both pills (or other long-term and/or hormonal method) AND condoms.

Lyric: Having used condoms (with a spermicide) for years with no 'mistakes', I find it hard to give credit to the notion that they're as iffy as all that. However, your point about using both is well taken: then every possibility is covered.

Ali: And here we have the flip side - women who conceive while on the pill! The moral? No method is foolproof. I still see condoms (and spermicidal foam or gel), used consistently, as providing the greater protection against the greater risk, but I can certainly agree that two methods used simultaneously provide more pregnancy protection than just one.

Kittenpie: Two 'oops' moments in twenty years is about right, I'd say, given that they're supposed to be something like 98% effective, used properly.

Yes, my kids are well-drilled in these matters, but nothing is as unsettling to a parent as the ASTONISHINGLY poor judgment younger teens can exercise. (A psychologist friend of mine calls it "adolescent stupid".)

I still maintain that the pill could well give younger teens a false sense of security, so they can skip the condom "this once". (And, while I would far prefer they not start having sex until they're in their late teens at least, we all know they don't all wait that long.)

Still, you've all talked me around to the idea that both might be better. Another thing to talk about with the kids! Thank you.

Ms. Huis: You must've been writing your comment as I was writing mine, and so I didn't see it to respond to it.

In my post, I was comparing pregnancy (life-altering) and AIDS (potentially fatal), and, if a choice had to be made, preferring the former to the latter. Obviously, we'd really choose neither, which is why doubling up seems a good idea.

However, I still worry about that false sense of security, and though I'll be having the 'doubling-up' conversation with my kids as a result of the discussion here, I confess that it makes me nervous. Not so much for my kids, who I view as basically sensible (and they're all in their late teens and beyond now), but for others.

Still, I suppose that, realistically, pregnancy is the more immediate and likely threat anyway. Hmmm...

Still thinking...

I guess I want them on the pill, but as the backup. I've said "no condoms, no sex" to my sons and daughters for so long. I can only hope it sinks in. My son does buy them, usually when I'm around to pay. But they don't offer enough protection against unwanted pregnancy for me to feel comfortable saying that's enough.
Such a tough subject; kudos to you for bringing it up!

I'd say the most important part of it all, if you're looking to prevent HIV, is the use of a spermicide. Some condoms don't contain spermicide, and people can pick them up thinking they're the other kind. I'm in the "use at least 2 kinds of protection" camp, one of them being a condom. Just as a caution, however - people can have a bad physical reaction to spermicide, latex, or even the pill. I developed an allergy to spermicide in my 20's, and found out at the same time that the pill was causing me to have high blood pressure! Luckily for me, I was with the man who would eventually become my husband, so we switched to non-spermicide condoms plus stringent fertility monitoring and left it at that. But I don't know what I would have done if I were single - although I'm hoping that I would have been mature enough at 25 to consider abstinence the best method at that point.

I'm just now catching up here, but thought I'd throw in this thought.

If you're worried the kids will become lulled by a false sense of security, then that indicates you are worried the STD lesson hasn't sunk in completely. If that's the case, they might skip the condom anyway, without backup. If they are convince STD protectin is necessary, having birth control in the form of a pill shouldn't have any impact.

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