Why I did more than just put a ring in it

By Rocio, TeenSource Contributor

When I was fifteen years old, I had my first love and began to understand what a healthy relationship is.  This relationship did not revolve around sex, but it was a component. I personally believe that sex, and having that level of intimacy, can deepen your connection with your partner. (But remember, not everyone is ready for sex and that is ok!)  At that age, I pretty much saw birth control pills and condoms as my only options to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

Then I got invited by a friend from school to go to a Planned Parenthood workshop. It was then that I began to learn about the different types of birth control methods. I realized there were so many options! Once I began to expose myself to alternatives, I took it up a notch and got involved with teensource.org as a digital peer educator.

This eventually empowered me to try a hormonal birth control method, which was the NuvaRing (a ring you place into your vagina, remove after three weeks, get your period during the week you don't have the ring in, and then place a new one back in at the fourth week). This ring allows you to have sex with your partner and prevent unintended pregnancies, but does not protect you from STI’s.  The only side effects for me was a discharge of vaginal fluids, but it was not very heavy. I was consistent with it for three months, but decided to not continue. After my breakup, I wanted to remain abstinent until I felt ready to be with another partner again.

A year later, I decided to start dating again.  Now while I am in college, I want to date lots of different people so I can continue to learn the characteristics and traits that I'm looking for in a relationship. This was what recently got me rethinking my birth control method and got me interested in getting an IUD, a type of long-acting birth control. There are both hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs. The great thing abot IUDs is that, depending on which type you get, they can provide up to 12 years of no-maintenance birth control! They don't, however, protect you from STI’s, and must be inserted and removed by a clinician. I will learn how the IUD will impact my body over the next couple of months, maybe years, but I’m excited to have an effective and safe way to prevent pregnancy!

Ultimately, it is up to you to figure out which LARC is best for you if you want to express yourself sexually and prevent unintended pregnancies.