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Birth Control Basics

Are you concerned about birth control but unsure of your options? If you’re having vaginal sex and you don’t want to get pregnant, there are lots of ways you can prevent pregnancy. Vaginal sex is when something is put into a vagina*, usually a penis* or a sex toy. If you are having vaginal sex with a penis, there is a possibility of pregnancy.  For more information, check out the section How pregnancy happens.

You have the right to find, obtain and use the birth control method of your choice. It’s important to explore what kinds of birth control will work for you.

There are many different options for birth control. It’s not just about the pill and the condom anymore; you can also choose from the patch, ring, IUD, diaphragm, sponge and many others. In fact, there are so many different forms of birth control it can be hard to sort out what’s best for you.

Check out this section for information about different methods of birth control, how they work and where to get them.

Remember, every person is unique. What works for your friends may not work for you. You may need to try a few different types of birth control before you find out what works best for you.

What kind of birth control method should I choose?

Your choice will depend on a lot of factors. Here are some questions to ask yourself when you are thinking about what type of birth control to use:

  • How well does it need to work?  (Keep in mind that there is no method of birth control that works 100% of the time.)
  • Do I have any health issues?
  • How much money do I have? (If money is an issue check out Birth Control:  Finding the best fit for you)
  • Can I get to a clinic for a prescription?
  • Am I okay with having an internal examination by a doctor?
  • Am I okay with using hormonal forms of birth control?

For help answering these and other questions, check out Birth control: Finding the best fit for you as well as the other pages in this section.

If you have questions about this topic, feel free to contact one of our peer educators. [Link]

*We know that these aren’t the words everyone uses for their bodies (eg. trans folks), and support you using the language that feels best for you.

Last Edited: May 2020