vaginal ring 2.jpg
credit: medscape.com

I have had various problems finding the right contraception.

Condoms are the only type which can protect you from STIs, so you should be using them anyway if you aren’t in a regular sexual relationship with someone.

It really amazes me how some of my friends (particularly male friends) say that they don’t use condoms on a one-night stand.

‘erm WHAT?!’ I said, bewildered as my mate Tom said he had never once used a condom.

‘Well, I don’t sleep with the kind of girls who would have anything’

‘Come again?’ I wrinkled my nose in disbelief.

‘You know, I just wouldn’t sleep with a girl if she didn’t seem clean.’

Holy Christ, he wasn’t joking. He actually had the audacity to believe (and say outload) that he was somehow protected from sexually transmitted infections because he had some kind of internal chlamydia radar. It’s a view that a lot of young people share. We probably don’t really believe it, but we want to have sex with the interruption of a condom so a lot of people comfort themselves by thinking that STIs are for a ‘dirty’ part of society that they don’t belong to.

Well, tell that to the 13% of men and 12% of women under 25 that have chlamydia.( BBC )

Look around in a lecture and about 10 people (or more) have probably got an STI and have absolutely no idea. Please think about that next time you go back home with someone.

I personally have regular STI tests, before I ever have a new sexual partner without using a condom, and it means you can protect both yourself and your partner from potentially life changing complications. Chlamydia is common and symptomless, and can leave women unable to have children. For the sake of 15 mins in a clinic for a free test, there really isn’t an excuse.

Now I’ve got that rant out of my sweet little lungs let’s move on to the main event: the vaginal ring.

What is it?

Well, it’s a small piece of silicon that you place into your vagina once a month. After 3 weeks, you can take it out yourself and chuck it in a bin. You leave one week without it so that you have your period (just like a pill break) and then on day one you pop another one in.

It doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t interrupt sex. It’s good for people who have trouble remembering to take the pill and for people who find the pill/implant can affect their emotions.

I became up and down when I had the implant and this is because it releases hormones into your whole blood stream to prevent you becoming pregnant. With the ring, because you place it in the vagina it only releases a tiny amount and the hormones stay in that area, and don’t circulate your whole body. Because of that it has less physiological effects.

The Marina Coil works in the same way but the difference with the ring is you feel absolutely 0 pain and unlike having it administered for 5 years, you change it every month in a jiffy.

I LOVE the ring, but I only heard of it when I did my year abroad in Spain. Here it is the most widely used and women rave about it. It is extremely effective. So why haven’t any of my English friends even heard of it?

Weird no? I don’t know why but I highly recommend you get to your GP and request it because contraception is free for all women in the UK through the NHS.

Any down sides?

Nothing serious but if somebody is touching you in bed (I think that’s the most delicate way to express what I’m trying to say) they can feel the ring with their fingers. However, it doesn’t hurt them they can just tell it’s there. During sex it is barely noticeable, and isn’t in anyway unpleasant.

The second point is that because you can’t feel it at all I forget that it’s there. That’s fine normally but it’s important to make a note of when you need to take it out and put it back in.

Also, make sure you store it in the fridge because it reacts to your body heat and starts releasing hormones when it’s warm. Therefore, you want to keep it cool until you’re ready to put it in.

For more information about the ring, check out the NHS info here.

If you find this article interesting perhaps you could check out my other article:

Hormonal firecrackers: is contraception playing with our heads?

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