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Which Birth Control Option Is Best For You?

Oh no, I forgot to take my pill today!

What? We used the last one last night?

I don't have time to run to the pharmacy today!

I have to wait how long before I can try to get pregnant?

If lately you have found yourself uttering these words and stressing out about your birth control, then perhaps you are overdue for a birth control check-up. If you have never used birth control before, then you definitely want to have all the facts before making such an important decision to avoid these situations in the future.

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Today, women have more choices than ever when it comes to birth control and everyday more contraceptive options are approved by the FDA. Of course, with more birth control options come more choices and the most important question, "Which birth control option is best for me?" Before investing in a birth control method, start by taking an assessment of your needs, desires, health and lifestyle.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding which birth control option is best for you:

  • Are you 35 years of age or older?
  • Is your overall health good or do you have specific health issues such as diabetes, obesity or high blood pressure?
  • Do you smoke?
  • How often do you have sex, and how many partners do you have?
  • Do you want to have children in the future, and if so, how soon? and
  • Do you have a health care provider and health insurance?

Types of Birth Control

Barrier methods include:

  • devices (diaphragms, cervical caps, sponges);
  • sheaths (male and female condoms); and
  • spermicide (in the form of gels, foams, creams and tablets), which block or stop sperm from traveling to the egg.

Some of these products are for one-time use (male and female condoms, sponges and spermicide), while others may be reused (diaphragms and cervical caps).

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Hormonal methods work by preventing pregnancy by interfering with ovulation, fertilization and/or implantation of the fertilized egg using female hormones (estrogen and progestin). Hormones may be administered orally by ingesting a combination pill (estrogen and progestin) or the mini pill (progestin only).

This happens on a monthly or quarterly cycle, or applied internally through a vaginal ring or externally through a patch or an injection. The time interval between hormone dosages is one of the most important distinctions between the different hormonal options.

Implants are devices inserted into the body that can be kept in place for a few years. The primary device, known as an intrauterine device (IUD), affects the way sperm move and stops it from traveling to the egg. It also changes the lining of the uterus, making it harder for an egg to attach.


The Good, The Bad and The Bottom Line

One-Time Use Barriers: Condoms (Male and Female), Sponge and Spermicide Alone

What you will love: you can buy them over the counter without a prescription. For condom users, you will get the highest level of protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), except for abstinence. There are no hormonal side effects, and there is no wait if you want to get pregnant tomorrow.

What you will hate: the loss of spontaneity, especially when the moment arrives, and the nightstand is bare. The irritation and rash if you are allergic to latex or spermicide. The mess and keeping track of how long to leave in the sponge and spermicide to be effective without the risk of developing toxic shock syndrome. For the environmentalist, the thought of cluttering landfills with these disposables.

Bottom line: if you are primarily concerned about safety and are actively searching for Mr. Right or dating a lot just for fun, the latex condom provides the maximum protection against sexually transmitted infections. Condoms and sponges are also the most accessible form of birth control.

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Muti-Use Barriers: Diaphragm and Cervical Cap with Spermicide

What you will love: the cost savings and eco-friendliness of these multi-use devices. No hormonal sides effects. No wait if you want to get pregnant tomorrow.

What you will hate: the visit to the doctor's office to have the diaphragm fitted or to get a prescription for the cervical cap. For busy women or preoccupied minds, remembering to take out the device within the window period. The mess and possible side effects from irritation, potential allergic reactions and urinary tract infections.


Bottom line: if you are concerned about costs and are comfortable using insertable birth control then the diaphragm will give you the most bang for the buck as the cheapest birth control.

The Oral Pill

What you will love: the 95% effectiveness rating, shorter, lighter and more predictable periods, and the return of spontaneity in the bedroom and elsewhere. For extended pill users, you have the bonus of having only 4 scheduled periods a year.

What you will hate: for the forgetful -- remembering to take your pill every day. The potential sides effects include headaches, nausea/vomiting, changes in your period/spotting or bleeding between periods, breast tenderness, changes in mood, and weight gain. The increased health risks for women over 35 and smokers.

Bottom line: if you are stickler for routine and are in good health, younger than 35 years of age and a non-smoker, the pill is a highly effective method of contraception at a reasonable cost.

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Hormonal Applicants: Patch, Vaginal Ring and Injection

What you will love: the 99% effectiveness rating, shorter, lighter and more predictable periods, and more spontaneous sex. Saving your memory cells for something else because you only have to remember to change the patches or vaginal ring (NuvaRing) every 3 weeks, or visit your health care provider every 3 months for a shot (Depo-Provera).


What you will hate: the exposure to higher-than-average levels of estrogen than most oral contraceptives. Waiting a few months to get pregnant once the biological clock has rung. Putting up with the same side effects as taking an oral pill plus the risk of increased vaginal discharge, swelling and irritation. For injection users, there is also an increased risk for bone loss if you get the shot for more than 2 years.

Bottom line: if you are somewhat forgetful or have a busy lifestyle, are in good health and don't mind the wait to try to get pregnant after stopping your contraception, then an alternative hormonal application offers a few more conveniences that the traditional pill.

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Implanted Devices (Copper IUD, IUD and Progestin, and Rod and Progestin).

What you will love: a long-term contraception solution with a 99% effectiveness rating. The rod can stay in place for 3 years; the IUD with progestin for 5 years; and the copper IUD for 12 years. You will also be hormone-free with the copper IUD. The rod is implanted in a less intrusive area under the skin in your arm.

What you will hate: upfront costs which can range from $500 to $1,000. There are common side effects, which can include cramps and irregular bleeding and uncommon side effects, which could include pelvic inflammatory disease and infertility. Overweight women will also be disappointed with the rod's reduced effectiveness for them.

Bottom line: if you can't envision the pitter-patter of little feet on the horizon, then an implanted device offers a long-term birth control investment.


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Secrets To A Club-Worthy Striptease

If you and your partner are getting a little bored in the bedroom, you can learn a lot from strip clubs. But don't turn your nose up - after all, there has to be a reason they're so popular, right? Here are some tips on how to give a home striptease worthy of the club. Best of all, if you get down and dirty after the tease it'll be, you know, legal.

For Women

The most important thing to remember about a home striptease is that you are catering to a very specific audience: your man. This gives you a distinct advantage over your average club stripper. Before you even get started, you already know if your man is a boob guy or a butt guy. This inside information will help you choose a sexy ensemble that is right for your home striptease. Most of your routine is focused on the slow, sexy dance that reveals your curves.

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When it comes to choosing an eye-popping outfit, it doesn't matter whether you go for the innocent school girl look, a sexy maid, or a latex-suit-wearing dominatrix; just pick something that you know will turn him on. A garter belt that hugs your hips is always a hit, so always keep a pair of thigh highs on hand.

There's a lot to be said for the element of surpise. Don't let your guy in on your dirty little secret until you make your debut. Just be sure to choose a number that is sure to resonate with him. Be sure to go for his soft spots.


Once you choose a sexy ensemble, it's time to practice the actual moves that will drive him wild. This, again, comes back to what your partner likes. If you know he'll go for the breast laid plans, then rock a push-up bra and keep your barely covered chest in his face while you roll your pelvis in a circle over his lap.

If you know for a fact that he stares at your derriere every time you exit a room, then practice a wiggle move that starts at your chest, moves through your hips and ends with a fluid backside bounce.

The delicate balance between trashy and classy is key to any home striptease. The idea is to rile him up and put you in control. Done well, your striptease will probably segue into sex, but the tease part of this should include a lot of, well, teasing. Choosing a sexy ensemble and getting into the groove are just half the battle. Think about how you can build him up until you are ready to break him down.

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Paying attention to his body language or just asking outright what he wants goes a long way here. It's much easier to choose a sexy ensemble or practice dance moves for a home striptease when you know exactly what he likes.

For Men

Like wearing a pink shirt, stripping takes a real man who cares about what his girl likes. Why do we break out the pink button up on date night? Basically, if she loves it, we'll do it - both for brownie points, and because we actually really care, contrary to popular belief.


Nevertheless, the idea of doing our best impersonation of Magic Mike is enough to make even the bravest among us puke. The way we see it, there are two ways your average male home strip show can go without being terrible: funny or romantically sexy.

Unless you look like a movie star (or your girl seems to be under the impression that you do) or are actually a professional male stripper, you probably shouldn't go for the over-the-top sexy thing.

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Most guys actually end up feeling pretty comfortable with the romantically sexy approach. The trick is to not make the whole affair seem staged or awkward. Let it be a natural part of foreplay. You've put some music on before going to town before, right? This is no different. Time is on your side so take plenty of it. Nothing turns a girl on more than romance, and if you want the hottest sex of your life, you've got to pay your dues and restrain yourself for a while.

Do the opposite of what you normally do -- wait it out. Instead of preparing to pounce, put on some music, undress slowly, move with the music (but don't hurt yourself), spend a lot of time touching and kissing her body, and then cap it off by nibbling her earlobe and whispering the most romantic thing you can come up with.


That's a romantic striptease. You can even retain your man card.

If you're a naturally funny guy and you and your partner seem to segue from laughing together to banging each other with ease, you might want to give a funny striptease a try.

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And not just fun because it feels really good, but actually fun - like as much fun as anything you did when you were a kid. In fact, sex really is like a playground for adults, but many of us just don't know it.

If your relationship isn't there yet, don't try to force humor into the bedroom. But if you and your partner get how crazy sexy casual sex is, then give a pre-game show a shot. Download the worst club song you can find, dance like the uncoordinated man that you are, and make her laugh.

Women love a man who can make them laugh; it makes them feel confident about themselves for picking a guy who makes them feel so good. If you can make sex fun for her, she'll see you in a whole new light.
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8 Sex Toys Every Woman Should Own

Sex can be exciting with your new guy for a while, but then it starts to get boring. Same position, same location, same time. What can you do to spice things up? Add some sex toys to the mix. Sure, the thought of sex toys can make even the naughtiest girl blush, but they can help you achieve pleasure like you've never felt before.

If you're looking to improve your sex life and give it that boost it needs, try out these 8 sex toys that every woman should own.

The Vibrator

The most common sex toy, the vibrator, is one that every women wants in her pleasure chest. Sure, it's basic, but it's a good toy to start out with, especially if you're experimenting with sex toys for the first time. There are many types of vibrators, and they come in many sizes. When choosing a product, look for one that is fairly quiet and effective in stimulating the clitoris area.

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You should also look at features such as the ability to adjust the intensity and speed. Many women hop all over The Rabbit vibrator because it creates sensation in the vagina as well as the clitoris. You can even buy a waterproof Rabbit, so it can be used anywhere you feel the urge.


The Couple's Vibrator

A couples' vibrator is a good choice if you have trouble experiencing orgasm during intercourse. A couple's vibrator is smaller than a regular vibrator and allows you just enough extra penetration to get the job done, so to speak. Its smaller size doesn't interfere with your partner's rhythm, and its vibrations may even enhance your partner's experience, guaranteeing a good time for both of you.

The G-Spot Wand

A G-spot wand is essential if you are looking for something like a vibrator but without the vibrating. A G-spot wand is made of heavy-duty stainless steel (used for hip replacements) and is curved for your added pleasure. It's perfect if you enjoy ample penetration. The NJOY Pure wand comes highly recommended on many websites. According to many users, the name says it all.

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The Silver Bullet

If you are more into clitoral stimulation, a silver bullet may be just what you need. A silver bullet is an egg-shaped metal device that is basic and cheap but definitely hits the spot. You use it directly on your clitoris and can adjust the pressure by using the attached remote. Definitely a hands-down favorite for many women!


The Cock Ring

How about a toy for your man? Aptly called the Big O Vibrating Ring, this device can help both of you experience greater sexual pleasure. Placed on the base of the man's penis before it becomes erect, a cock ring allows blood to flow into the penis but not outward.

This vibrating ring helps the penis sustain a harder erection and stimulates the clitoris during intercourse. Most are made of rubber or steel. Keep in mind that a cock ring must be sized carefully, or they can result in a too-erect penis, which can be painful and embarrassing, requiring a trip to the doctor. However, for those who use this toy properly, it is a fun way to enhance any sexual relationship.

Anal Beads

For those looking to experiment with anal sex, start with anal beads. Made of silicone, the beads come in various sizes, so beginners as well as pros can experiment with them. Just add some lubrication, and they can be used for both men and women.

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Lubricants

A little lubrication can definitely go a long way. Whether you're feeling dry as the desert down there or looking to experiment with anal sex, a lubricant is effective in increasing pleasure. Lubricant is a jelly used to replace or supplement a woman's vaginal lubrication.

In the past, oil-based lubricants were in demand. However, they created bacteria inside a woman's vagina. They also destroyed latex, making them impossible to use with condoms. Therefore, it is recommended to use water-based lubricants only. When used inside a condom, lubricants can make sensations even stronger for the man.


Interesting note: although most people use regular KY Jelly for sexual intercourse, KY Jelly is actually made for the medical environment and is not long-lasting. Therefore, you should choose another brand, one made specifically for sex, such as Astroglide or Aqualube.

The Blindfold

How about using something in the bedroom that's as simple and easily available as a blindfold? Probably not the kinkiest type of sex toy available, but a blindfold creates an element of surprise, which can be incredibly sexy. Imagine the excitement you will feel by not being able to see what your partner will do next. Blindfolds, especially silk ones, can make bedtime much more exciting and allow your imagination to run wild.

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One of the hurdles you may face when using sex toys is that your partner may disapprove of them. He may feel embarrassed or upset that he cannot satisfy you fully. He may view sex toys as a replacement for him. Therefore, it's important to let him know the benefits of you using sex toys. By using them, you are finding out what turns you on, where you like being touched and the intensity at which you enjoy it.

Sex toys can help you become more familiar with your body. If you can't pleasure yourself, then how can you expect your man to? You need to convince your guy that using sex toys will make your sex life better in the long run. They can spark your imagination and make sex much more fun and exciting every time.


Let's face it; achieving an orgasm makes a woman feel sexier, happier and more feminine. And what could be wrong with that? When you learn how to pleasure yourself, you're helping your partner in the process.

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You can show him where to touch you. It's OK to use objects other than your body parts to give you pleasure, so don't feel embarrassed or ashamed about using sex toys. Your sex life is private, and nobody needs to know what you do behind closed doors, except for you and your significat other.


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