This one almost didn’t make it into the paper because i forgot to warn my editor that it was going to be late – but she’s lovely and crammed it in anyway!
I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine who works at the Wellness Centre on campus and she recommended that I do a sort of “Sex 101″ issue of my column because some of the questions she gets asked on the job are just outrageous! So, hopefully this will be both entertaining, for those of you that know this already, and informative for those of you who are less experienced. (These are all real questions folks!)
Is it true that if I have sex standing up or in water I won’t get pregnant?
Sex while standing up or in water can be pretty fun to try once in a while, but nothing will stop you from getting pregnant unless you are using a good form of birth control properly. (AND sure won’t protect you from STI’s!!) I can only guess that the curiosity about standing up has to do with gravity. Unfortunately gravity just isn’t an effective way to get sperm out of a vagina. The penis is very good at delivering sperm right to the cervix and the vagina even forms a little reservoir to keep it there. Similarly, sex in the water doesn’t wash away the sperm (douching after sex doesn’t quite do it either). A sperm is a tiny little cell and it usually manages to find a way to stay in the body and hunt down that egg.
Withdrawal works right?
Gah! No! Pulling out (or withdrawing) just before ejaculation is NOT a reliable form of birth control. There is the risk that the male might not pull out in time or that he could forget to pull out. AND pre-cum, which is excreted by the penis when it gets excited, can contain active sperm which can be on their way to their goal (i.e. the egg) before you even think about pulling out. Withdrawal also won’t protect you from possible STI infection. Condoms are cheap AND you can get them for free from the Wellness Centre, Student Health Services, or your RA – so stay safe and get yourself some free rubbers.
Can I get Pregnant at any time?
Yes. Technically, you can calculate your “danger days” which fall about halfway through your cycle (if you have a “normal” 28 day cycle, that’s ~ 14 days after your period), but I wouldn’t rely on this. You are most likely to get pregnant during the five days before ovulation, (especially) the day of ovulation, and two days after ovulation. But, again, don’t rely on this. Women can and have gotten pregnant at many different times of the month, even during their period; you really have no way of knowing for sure if you’ve got an active egg inside you (that’s why it’s called “cryptic ovulation”). Better safe than sorry – use a condom or other reliable form of birth control.
How should I store/carry around my condoms?
1. Not in your pants pocket.
2. Not at the bottom of your purse.
These are both places where your precious condoms are in danger of being bent, poked, or otherwise damaged. Ideally, the best place to store your condoms is safe and dry in their box on a shelf or in a drawer. However, it is always a good idea to have a condom on your person, because you never know what might happen (especially on bar night!). You can safely carry condoms in a smaller reinforced section of a bag or purse (just don’t leave your change in there with them) or in a jacket lining pocket. You could also check out getting some of those condoms that come in travel safe containers.
Remember to check your condoms every once in a while to make sure the package is intact and that it hasn’t expired. Always throw out condoms, regardless of expiration date, if they seem dry, brittle, discolored, or smell funny (or at least funnier than usual). Also, never use condoms with petroleum based lubricants (like Vaseline or baby oil) because these will cause the latex condom to rot.