Let’s talk about sex—and male and female birth control - Ep. 26

October 25, 2021
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Let’s talk about sex and birth control! Seemingly when used together, these words are opposites. But the reality is you can’t have one without another. Since the dawn of humanity, not only has sex been an important part of life and reproduction, it’s a pleasurable activity that can help cement the bond between two people.

Having sex is essential to life. Most adults know their options when it comes to contraception, male and female. Some (birth control pills), of course, are more effective than others (withdrawal).

But conception and the misinformation swirling around it can be somewhat mysterious. Can you get pregnant, for instance, if you’re breastfeeding? What if the woman doesn’t have an orgasm? Can condoms cause erectile dysfunction?

One thing’s for certain: We’ve come a long way from the days of animal bladders, crocodile dung and sponges made of plants/grass/moss/bamboo for contraception.

In episode 26, host Mark Gomez, MD, and his guests, Kyle Kiriluk, MD, and Emilie McLain, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, lay out the facts about sex, conception and the latest information about birth control.


Myths vs. Facts

“A single injection that ensures a man cannot cause a pregnancy for years and is completely reversible exists.” – Myth
There is no simplified injection in the skin or long-lasting contraceptive shot for men.

“To be effective, birth control pills must be taken as directed.” – Fact
If you’re not taking your pill every day at the same time, the effectiveness goes down to 90 or 93 percent, where if you take it as directed it’s 99 percent effective.

“I’m breastfeeding so I can’t get pregnant.” - Myth
MYTH.  However, if you’re within 6 months postpartum and exclusively breastfeeding, that should stop your body from ovulating. It is 97 to 99 percent effective.

“Plastic wrap and balloons are not effective substitutes for condoms.” - Fact
You need to have good barrier protection that’s not going to fall off or break.

“A biodegradable implant injected just below the skin’s surface that can deliver a male contraceptive over a sustained period is under research.” – Fact
Hormonal medications are being studied.

“Washing or urinating after sex will not stop semen and sperm that have already entered the uterus through the cervix.” - Fact
Sperm can swim very fast. By the time you’re washing or urinating it can already be where it needs to be.

“You can’t get pregnant if the woman doesn’t have an orgasm.” - Myth
It doesn’t matter if the woman has an orgasm. It only matters if the man does.

“Researchers are striving to develop next generation methods for both male and female contraception.” - Fact
Research is underway to find new contraceptive methods, including non-hormonal, reversible male contraception.

“Douching is not an effective method of contraception.” - Fact
Douching can push the sperm farther up inside a woman’s body.

“Using condoms can cause erectile dysfunction.” - Myth
There’s no physical issue and no long-term problems that come from condom usage.

“Positions during sex have nothing to do with whether fertilization occurs.” - Fact
The position does not matter at all. In any position, pregnancy is possible.

“I won’t get pregnant if my partner pulls out before he ejaculates.” - Myth
The withdrawal method is only about 78 percent effective.


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