With or without condoms

We've been using condoms for a few years and they've worked better for us compared to birth control pills.

Feel like a change now because we want to get into erotic massage with oil and the two don't exactly mix! Not sure if silicon based lube is going to give that mega oily look and feel. And would be nice to have just a little over of spontaneity.

What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of condom usage (apart from STD and pregnancy protection)? Sorry if this topic has been done to death. My alternative contraception method is the non hormonal copper IUD should I get on with it once fitted.

I have a IUD (that is hormonal) and I really like it. my body had trouble getting used to it though (but probably because of the hormones so you may not have that problem). An other downside is that you have to find a doctor to fix it and it hurts (I never had children before that so I had never experience such contractions but they only lasted a few hours). Once it's installed it can be wore for a really long while (3 or 5 years depending on the kind)

So yeah a IUD is a great contraception method. I wouldn't suggest it without a condom if you're not in a steady relationship because if you catch a STD it can be complicated in severe health problems (you have to get tested before having it installed but if you catch one while wearing it there are still risks). I also suggest your partner gets tested at the same time (it sounds obvious but it's not to everyone)

For the silicone lube, I use this one: http://www.lovehoney.co.uk/product.cfm?p=362 and it can be used for massages and it does a great job at both sex and massages. I simply love it.

Goot luck finding what suits you best! If you have any question on contraception methods i'm not an expert but I know them and their actions/fonctions and pro/cons

I have a copper IUD and we don't use condoms anymore (we both got tested for STDs before stopping of course, and I second what Mamz said in the post just above about complications).

It's been 2 years since I got it fitted, so far, we've had no problem.

IUDs are not for everyone, though, some women get on with this method very well, other have various problems, you can't know if it's for you until you try it really!

Prior to trying to conceive we used fertility awareness as our chosen method of contraception for over a year, although instead of abstaining during the fertile period we used condoms. Once the baby is born we've decided to use condoms full time as my cycles will be all over the place, especially whilst breastfeeding. In my opinion, they have their downfalls, but it's a much better option for us than using hormonal contraception, which has always affected me badly.

Obviously, condoms can be messy sometimes, it can interrupt the moment while you put them on, if you're over 25 then they won't be free to use like other methods (still can't get my head around this as they're the only method that prevents STDs!), and they're not as reliable as some methods of hormonal contraception (especially when combined with user failure). However, they do protect you from STDs, they provide a good level of protection if you use them properly, and they don't have any nasty or long lasting side effects like hormones do. My partner is happy to wear them to spare me the misery of hormones!

With the IUD, I can say I've only ever used the mirena, but I would never ever do it again. Aside from hormonal issues, mine never settled even after 7 months, I could still feel it inside me and had strong cramping all the time, plus sex was painful. I chose to have it removed despite a scan showing it was placed properly and working, because it just wasn't right for me. However, I know other people who have used the mirena or copper coil and had a brilliant time with it, so it's such an individual thing. If you do go with this method, I think the advice was to use condoms for the first week or so (that needs double checking), but otherwise you're good to go and it can last you up to 10 years, which saves a lot of hassle!

I hope you find something that works for you, sorry I couldn't be more helpful! Xx

With a settled loyal partner condoms for STD protection isn't probably necessary.

My wife went onto the pil after about 3 years together and we dropped the use of condoms for penatrative sex . Ironically for some of the reasons you are looking at ie massage .

Becasue of her age the dosage of the pil has been going down and now she doesn't take the pil at all. After her last visit last year our GP suggested that the pil wasn't necessary as the chances of getting pregnant was very slim. I was quite surprised at that being honest bu,t she is nearly at pre menopausal stage with eratic monthlies of varying intensity .

So I am not sure if our situation would help you in your decision

No need, I had a hysterectomy at 27. I hate them things any ways....

mamz, I might have some questions for you, so I'll be back later when I have more time. Thanks!

I tried the pill, ended up in hospital with suspected bloodclot in my chest. Tried the low dose, worked as long as i took it dead on 24 hours apart, an hour or two more and i'd bleed til i stopped and had a week off, and did nothing to touch the heavy bleeding or cramps. Got the nexplanon implant, and it changed my life. I will have occasional spotting but a year and a half in no full periods and no cramps. It's a far cry from being housebound and sofa bound having to sit on a pile of old towels hoping for no coughs or sneezes and no sleep for a week from the pain.

Thanks for the responses everyone, helpful as always.

When I was on the pill, it was great for my acne but found sex hurt all the time (of course at the time I didn't know any better). It wasn't until I came off the pill, sex felt good. Even more now that I've healed from the birth, only took a year, eh?

I have thought about Implanon but again it's the hormonal part I'm not sure about. Mamz, any thoughts? My main concerns with anything hormonal is low sex drive and weight gain. But it would probably be my second choice should the IUD not work out. Patch being the 3rd. Not thinking about another baby (not until another 4 or 5 years anyway!) so anything I can put in and forget about is great. I have an appointment tomorrow at the sexual health clinic so they'll test me for infections and see if I'm right for the IUD. I'm guessing they have more experience in fitting these in compared to at my doctors surgery. Something I'll need to find out when I get there.

There is many different hormonal methods that all pretty much have the same effect on you're body but they are still different. There is two type of hormones used in these, and some can use only one of them, or both at different dosage. So if you were on the pill for exemple that contained and estrogen and progesteron at a relatively high dose, it may not have the same effet than a IUD containing only progesteron at a lighter dose (because it acts directly at it's site of action and is constantly liberating hormones so there is no need for a bigger dose).

All hormonal methods have pretty much the same risks though (thrombus for example) so I wouldn't suggest it if you are highly at risk (like if you are a smoker, if you have high bood pressure, if you have a past history of thrombus, etc). If you are not at risk, you can try some of them to see if they suit you or not. The patch is also an hormonal method btw.

What is great about cupper IUD is that it's not hormonal and cupper acts like a spermicide but you don't have to deal with application like with the sponge or diaphragm.

A IUD can be installed by a gynecologist of generalist there is no problem with that.

I'm a pretty au naturale kind of person, since my upbringing as a child, and even when taking that out of the equation, I've always thought messing with hormones isn't the greatest of ideas.

But I still went on the pill for 5-6 years. My then-partner and I hated condoms (plus he'd had one fail before, so didn't trust them as a contraceptive). And the benefits sounded good; i.e. less acne, shorter, lighter periods. But they really screwed me up. They didn't lower my sex drive or make me hurt, but they did drive me insane. I started getting unnatural and violent mood swings, especially when I'd had alcohol, to the point where I'd even have black outs. I switched to a low oestrogen pill and, on advice from a GP, started taking the packs straight through (not coming off every month, but roughly every three months, then moved on to roughly six months between). That solved the mood swings and my occasional periods were very light. But I still didn't feel like myself, and I'd been steadily gaining weight, retaining water, and finding it almost impossible to lose it despite regular exercise.

I had heard of different shots, arm implants, patches, rings, and IUDs before; but I thought they were all hormonal, so it seemed futile to try them.

Then, finally, during a routine check-up and prescription renewal, the GP I saw discussed other longer-term methods with me and gave me a print-out. That was how I discovered the non-hormonal copper coil. I got one fitted over a year ago and couldn't be happier with it.

It only hurt like a bad cramp for a few seconds when being fitted- but I'm not pain-sensitive, so results may vary. Other women have found it to be very traumatic. For me it was a breeze. I did have heavier periods for about six months, which I was prepared for, but they have since settled (and become almost regular, which is something that I never had before going on the pill) and I rarely if ever experienced the worse cramping that they also warn about. The temporary heavier bleeding and the 'normal' bleeding I now experience didn't/doesn't bother me much because the periods are also usually shorter.

I have since felt better, more like myself again. I also feel more natural, not just because of the copper method, but because I also switched to reusable monthly products at the same time (a menstrual cup, cloth pads, and crochet tampons). I don't retain water like a sponge anymore, and was able to lose weight much more quickly after ditching the pill. And since I am in a stable relationship (albeit a different one) I still don't need to use condoms. They do also warn about increased likelihood of thrush, which again, seemed to happen more at first but is settling down again.

Another benefit to the copper IUD is that they are good for 5-10 years, longer than the hormonal plastic ones. I have a 10 year one. (Although if you're thinking of having a kid in 5-ish years, it doesn't matter so much for you.)

I hope everything goes well for you!

It's really good to read honest IUD experiences, thanks everyone. I'll let you know how I get on with the tests tomorrow. I've never liked speculums but with the amount of people that have poked and prodded me since I gave birth, don't think another time will hurt.

My smear was long overdue (ripped the reminder up a year ago as I couldn't bear the thought of anyone else going near my ripped up bits after the birth of my son). Didn't hurt that much this time so I'm hoping when they put the IUD in once tests are back and I'm back on my period again, it won't hurt too much. They can use a anaesthetic gel and recommend taking ibuprofen before the fitting. I'll just have to be brave. Got a dozen free flavoured condoms on the way out 😊😊😊

You can't get a IUD installed if you just gave bitrh, you have to wait a little.

I found that taking ibuprofen didn't help for me. It helped control the paina fter but it still hurt. And yes you can get anaesthesics but it's up to the doctor, some do and some don't. Usually when you have had children they don't (even if I never had a child and they still didn't do for me). If you really want it i'm sure you can ask for it though, it's great if this can help you feel braver too :)

good luck with that!

Thanks mamz. I went to the sexual health clinic to get my tests done and the nurse was really lovely. Asked me questions etc to check suitability for the copper coil. She did warn that I may feel unwell after the fitting so will need to ideally find someone to accompany me that day.

Apparently some women get the coil put in within 48 hours of giving birth but usually it is 6 weeks. Don't think I was thinking about sex until nearly a year later ha!

Don't be afraid, pain really depends on the person. My mother had it installed and didn't experience pain. My sister had a local anaesthesics and didn't feel pain, only mild pain a few hours later. When I had mine intalled I found it really painfull and wasn't able to keep my normal activity for at least three and a half hours. Some friends of mine told me they experienced a lot of pain, and some told me they didn't. conclusion: it really depends on the person.

My guess is because you have given birth in the past, your uterus is like "used to it" and had already being streched so it's less difficult to insert something through the cervix. Also, the best is to have in installed at the end of your menstruations so the cervix is a little bit more open (I had mine before so maybe it's that).

It it not supposed to be that bad. there is three contractions happening during the instaltion. The first occures when they put measure your uterus by inserting a small ruler, the second occures when they put something on your servix to open it (was the worst for me) and the third when they insert the IUD itself. After that, there may be additionnal contractions varying in strenght. Ibuprofen (I would suggest taking it all day) may be enough to alter the pain in many cases.

You shouldn't worry that much about the installation :)

Thanks for starting this thread. I've been thinking a lot about contraception methods recently so hearing other people's opinions is helpful.

Pros of of condom use for me:

-For the past few years I have generally had multiple partners who have multiple partners. That's a receipt for disaster without a barrier contraceptive.

-No hormones

Negatives of condom use for me:

-I miss skin on skin contact

-I miss feeling a guy come inside me

-They be quite drying and irritating

I've been on various hormonal contraceptive over the years (pills and implants) but I find the side effects of the ones I have tried unbreable. Low-dose leads to breakthrough bleeding and progestogen only pills and implants alternated between no periods for months and bleeding non stop for a month. Many contraceptives killed my sex drive or lead to dryness. In ghe end I decided it just wasn't worth it. I'm now considering the copper coil too but worried about how much it will hurt.

I have the implant in my arm. I was on the pill was was terrible for remembering to take it 😕 We still use condoms occasionally depending on what kind of mood we're in

The implant works really well for me period has pretty much stopped and am not a hormonal monster any more :)

rainbowbaby wrote:

What are your thoughts on the pros and cons of condom usage (apart from STD and pregnancy protection)?

I HATE condoms and ditched them years ago, I kept breaking them mid-use and the ones we had to use (non latex) smelled awful!

There are no pros to condom use :D

Same here Friday13, miss the skin to skin contact. We used delay condoms for obvious reasons which were ok but we've sorted things out by other means so there's no use for condoms now. I stopped using the pill partly because I wanted my fertility to go back to the way it was and I was convinced that over-use of the same type of pill caused me delayed periods/PCOS. It's good to see everyone's experiences with different types of contraception. I think there's a big misconception about IUD/IUS thanks to sex education at school. I spoke to my friend and she was under the impression that you HAVE to leave a coil in for 5 or 10 years. I used to think that too, it's strange the way it was sold to us, or we just wernt listening properly! It's only recently I've found out that you don't have to give birth to have the coil fitted in. Another friend had the Mirena (hormonal) coil fitted in but her body rejected it. She was adamant that there wasn't a non-hormone coil even though I explained the copper one doesn't contain hormones.

If anyone is thinking about getting the coil, I would go to GUM clinic or equivalent. You're put at ease and I believe they have more experience fitting the things in so hopefully less chance of bodge ups. Of course I'll keep you updated when I get mine fitted (most likely middle of March).