We need to talk...about birth control

A guide to figuring out the best birth control for you and your partner

So you’ve had the talk, and you’re officially in a relationship. Congrats! We hope they’re super nice to you and make you feel like rainbows are exploding in your brain or whatever. Now, you may have been having sex for a while already or you may be working up to getting down. Either way, it’s never too late or too early to talk about birth control.

Why involve anyone else?

Of course, birth control can be totally up to you if you want it to be. (That is, unless you’re using a method that relies on your partner to take some action, like condoms or withdrawal.) If you want it to be your business and your business only, that’s totally cool, and you’ve got plenty of birth control options that are easy to keep to yourself, including the IUD, the implant, and the shot.

On the other hand, some people do want their partner to take part in the decision since it affects both of them. And some people want their partner’s support in using their method consistently. After all, it can’t hurt to have them as a backup.

Never say never

We can’t even tell you how many people think if their partner doesn’t like condoms and they don’t want to use hormones, they’re out of luck. Not so, fam! Here are just some of the non-condom, non-hormonal options out there: the copper IUD, the diaphragm, the cervical cap, and the internal condom, and there are more!

With a little communication and a little help from your friends here at Bedsider, we think you’ll find a method (or maybe more than one) that works for both of you.

What matters most to you

Picking the right method is all about figuring out what matters most to you and then finding the method or methods that will best meet that need. For example, if the most important thing to you is that you don’t get pregnant, you may want to consider the IUD or implant. If STI prevention is at the top of your list, condoms or internal condoms are going to be your best bet (and you can combine condoms with another method).

Figuring out what works for both you and your partner involves the same process, just taking your partner’s priorities into account as well. And having this honest conversation about what works and doesn’t work for each of you up front, when you’re not in the heat of the moment, will set you up for success.

Take our quiz

Jk it’s not really a quiz—there are no right or wrong answers! These questions are designed to get you and your partner thinking, separately, about what matters most to each of you. Spend 5-10 minutes answering these questions by yourselves, and then discuss.

  • What methods have you tried in the past, and what did you like and dislike about them?
  • How important to you is preventing pregnancy right now?
  • How important is it for your birth control to prevent STIs?
  • How do you feel about hormonal birth control?
  • How important is it to have a method that doesn’t interrupt things when you’re about to have sex?
  • How important is it to have a method that can be kept private (like, for example, if you don’t want your parents to find out that you’re using birth control)?
  • How do you feel about birth control that a provider places in your body (or your partner’s body), like the implant or the IUD?
  • How do you feel about needing to remember to take a pill every day?
  • How important is it to you to be able to have total control over stopping your method at any time? (For example, you can stop taking the pill all by yourself, but you need a provider to take the implant out of your arm.)
  • Do you want a method that you have the option to use for a long time? (For example, you can use an IUD for up to several years.)
  • Are you looking for any other benefits from a method (like to have a lighter period, for example)?
  • How important is it to you to get a low-cost method?

Once you’ve answered these questions, share your answers with your partner, and listen to their answers. Think about which things are definite priorities and which would just be nice to have. Then use our method explorer and comparison tool to see what methods will give you both what you’re looking for.

Written by Lauren Kernan, MA

Lauren Kernan is the Director of Content and UX Strategy for Bedsider and Abortion Finder. In her spare time, she can be found sewing or starting and giving up on various other crafts.