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The Dos and Don'ts of Contraception

If you don't know the importance of having protected sex by now, you have probably been living under a rock.

Society has repeatedly driven home the magnitude of safe sex. The message is simple -- if you don't want to end up pregnant or with a sexually transmitted disease, cover up during your intimate encounters. The most effective way to prevent pregnancy or an infection from an STD is abstinence. While refusing sexual contact does eliminate the risks of pregnancy and potential illness, it can also limit the development of a loving relationship.

If you choose to add a sexual component to your life, make sure to examine the wide selection of birth control methods at your disposal. Just as having sexual intercourse involves personal preference, so does picking a contraceptive. Not all types of birth control fit every person's needs. Luckily, there are a number of alternatives out there.

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Contraception for Women

To avoid pregnancy, some women find the birth control pill to be best. There are 2 different types: combined oral contraceptive pills and progestin-only pills.

Each kind of pill operates differently, so it's important to understand how they work. Then you can decide which one suits your lifestyle.


The combined oral contraceptive pill includes two hormones -- estrogen and progestin. These hormones work together to stop ovulation, or the release of an egg, and limit the sperm's movement. Although this pill is a good way to prevent pregnancy, it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV. It is recommended that condoms be used in conjunction with these pills.

When prescribed and taken properly, this kind of birth control pill has many benefits; among them are decreasing a woman's risk for ovarian cancer and reducing the chance of benign breast masses. The pill can clear acne and make premenstrual cramps more bearable.

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But with these attractive features come some issues as well. One of the biggest problems with the pill is remembering to take it at the same time each day. If you ingest it a few hours later than your normal schedule, you could be unprotected. This means you run the risk of ovulating and potentially becoming pregnant.

Additionally, the combined birth control pill can cause:

  • nausea;
  • spotting;
  • headaches; and
  • depression.

Blood clots are also a risk that can occur from taking this pill, though it is rare. Smokers are 1 risk group who should not take the pill.


The other type of birth control pill is the progestin-only variety. Its greatest advantage is that it does not contain estrogen, so women don't have to worry about suffering from the side effects associated with this hormone. Also, the amount of progestin is less than in the combined version. Therefore, the overall hormone intake is reduced in this form of contraception.

Like the combined pill, the progestin-only type of birth control reduces:

  • menstrual cramps;
  • headaches; and
  • mood swings.

However, an irregular menstrual cycle is a reported problem with this kind of pill. Women also have complained about weight gain or bloating because of regular use of this contraceptive. A healthy diet and exercise can make these side effects much more manageable.

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If possible side effects and the burden of remembering to take a pill every day don't sound very appealing, another option is the cervical cap. Spermicide is placed inside this latex device before it fits into a woman's vagina and onto her cervix. It's designed so that the suction prevents sperm from entering the uterus.

Women who choose this form of contraception should make sure to get a new cap on a yearly basis through a doctor or nurse. This is not an over-the-counter purchase. Besides this, it does offer a lot of flexibility to the user.


Not only is it small and easy to transport, but it also can be inserted up to one hour before sexual intercourse. Also, at the time of its placement, it works continuously for 48 hours straight.

A couple can have sex multiple times, and the cervical cap will still be effective as long as it's left in at least six to eight hours after the last interlude. Although it's constantly at work blocking sperm from entering the uterus, it does not interfere with the pleasure of having sex. In fact, a woman's partner won't know it's there unless he's told.

There are risks, however, to using this kind of contraception. The cap can cause inflammation on the surface of the cervix. If a woman is allergic to latex, irritation could result. But the greatest danger of all is a serious infection called toxic shock syndrome. This can happen if the cervical cap is kept on for more than 48 hours.

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So if you choose this birth control method, be very aware of how long the cap has been in place and make sure to remove it after a suitable amount of time has passed.

A diaphragm is another way a woman can block her cervix from any sperm. Like the cervical cap, it is fitted by a physician and can be inserted several hours in advance without causing any hormonal side effects.


However, this birth control tool does have several risks. Not only is toxic shock syndrome an issue if the diaphragm is left in for too long, but it's been known to cause urinary tract infections.

There is also the chance it could move around during sex, so women who use it should consider sexual positions carefully and check to make sure the diaphragm is still in place.

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Contraception for Men

Women are not the only ones who are responsible for making thoughtful contraception choices. Men also have a role in this process. The most common form of birth control for men is the condom. They're made of polyurethane and are designed to prevent bodily fluids from mixing during sexual intercourse.

In addition to protecting against most STDs and the transmission of HIV, they stop sperm from entering a woman's uterus to block pregnancy. This form of birth control is the best way to prevent any kind of sex-related infection, too.


However, not all STDs are preventable with the use of a condom. Genital herpes and syphilis, for example, are immune to condom use because they can be passed from one person to another through infected skin surfaces. Also, condoms can be ripped or torn by fingers, jewelry or anything sharp, so great care needs to be taken when putting on this product.

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No matter what form of contraception you choose, be sure to understand the risks and benefits before engaging in any sexual activity


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Sex for Dummies: Who Can Help You Get Your Groove On

Feel like you're fumbling in the bedroom? Everyone deserves a happy, healthy and fulfilling sex life but inexperience, social stigmas or self-esteem can all keep you from reaching your sexual potential. You might feel like you'll be stuck as a 40-year-old virgin or an awkward one-night stand forever, but there is hope. Check out these resources, people and places that can help you get your mojo back.{relatedarticles}

A Sex Therapist - Okay, okay you're probably having flashbacks of Dr. Ruth or your mother's old dog-eared copy of "The Joy of Sex" but modern sex therapy is a whole new game. While visiting a sex therapist may not be up there on your list of "fun things to do" it can be quite beneficial.

A professional sexual counselor can help you work through your issues in a private and neutral environment. Whether it is shyness, inability to reach orgasm or a health disorder - you can work to improve it through mind and body exercises.

Sex School - These classes go beyond what you learned in sex ed. Popping up all over the country in erotic stores and natural health clinics are sensuality workshops that teach men and women new sexual techniques that can improve your performance and make you more comfortable experimenting in the bedroom. Topics can range anywhere from massage to mastering the art of dirty talk. Go on, make him hot for teacher.


Pole Dancing Classes - Feel like your moves could use a little updating? Trying to build up your sexual bravado? Pole dancing classes could give you the confidence boost you've been looking for.{relatedarticles}

Not only will you learn new steps to get your man's heart pumping, you'll get a workout and start feeling better about your body image. Typically most classes are made of all women so there's no need to feel self-conscious when learning how to shake it.

Pull Out an Anatomy Book - Sexual anxiety may stem from the fact that you aren't sure what you're looking at down there and how it works. Obviously a penis and a vagina are no-brainers but what about the clitoris or prostate?

Take time to explore yourself with a hand mirror and see if you can pick out your hot spots. Knowing what parts are what and how they are stimulated may ease some of your worry and make you a better lover.

Watch Porn - No, really, it might seem silly or make you blush but exposing yourself to sexual activity in the privacy of your own home can allow you the ability to become more comfortable with the idea of sex.


You can pick up tips on positions and familiarize yourself with the sights and sounds you may experience. The more you can watch the more relaxed and prepared you will feel when it's time to hit the sheets. If you're worried about looking like a perv to the neighbors, don't fret - online ordering can keep you conspicuous.

Take a Trip to Nevada - Places like the Moonlite Bunny Ranch or the Kit Kat Club in Carson City, Nevada, are legally licensed to offer sexual services for patrons. It can be pretty pricey though, so make sure this is the way you want to go. It can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,400 for a full-on sexual experience with one of the brothel workers.{relatedarticles}

If you've got the cash to make a trip you can have a professional teach you the ropes without the emotional investment and embarrassment that can come along with trying to figure out a sexual relationship on your own.

Your Primary Care Physician - Many sexual problems stem from health problems that you may not be aware of. Issues like high blood pressure, diabetes, depression and side effects from certain medications can all kill your libido. A quick visit to the doctor could save your sex life and keep you from a major health scare in the process.

Change Your Mindset - Start to think of your sexual inexperience as a good thing. In relationships, some partners may actually prefer someone who is willing to learn how to satisfy them and who does not already have certain habits or techniques. Embrace your level of experience and let your partner show you the ropes.


Join a Support Group - After life-changing events like a rape, cancer or death of a close loved one, sexual issues can arise. You may not feel emotionally ready or you could be experiencing physical issues such as dryness and pain.

There are on and offline support groups for women suffering from sexual issues because of health or psychological causes. A quick Internet search can provide you with a listing of groups in your area or online that can offer you a resource for getting over your sexual situation.{relatedarticles}

A Personal Trainer - Maybe the reason you're falling flat in the bedroom is that extra flab. Invest in the services of a personal trainer who can get you looking and feeling your best, which will result in boosting your confidence when the lights go down and the clothes come off. With your newfound fitness you may also feel more comfortable slipping into lingerie or a sexy swimsuit. Who knows, you might meet your next tryst at kickboxing class or running on the track.

Remember that there is nothing wrong or uncommon about being sexually shy or inexperienced. Societal pressures, media, and the Internet have sent mixed messages about sexual norms.


Either you're a bad and naughty girl for thinking about sex or you're an uptight loser for lack of promiscuity. However, it's up to you to overcome awkwardness or inadequacy by finding the methods that work for you and make you feel comfortable.{relatedarticles}

No matter what method, or combination of methods, you choose to unlock your sexuality it won't work if it's a way that makes you uncomfortable or feels fake, go at your own pace and you'll be in the groove in no time!


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How to Make Bad Sex Better

Who says there's no such thing as bad sex?

While most men might argue that bad sex is better than no sex or that beggars can't be choosers, that's honestly far from the truth. Sometimes sex just isn't memorable. The good news is that if you've found someone you really love (or like), it's possible to improve bedroom behavior.

Women's Complex Bodies and Men's Anxiety

Women's bodies are all so different. One woman isn't aroused in nearly the same way as another woman. This can cause a guy to feel inadequate in a new relationship because he has no idea what to do to please you.

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It's highly likely that your guy is using techniques that he successfully tried on other women. The problem is that it doesn't work on you.

If you're unsure on how to move forward without leaving your relationship in the dust, start by communicating with him. You don't want to make him feel awful by saying something like, "I really don't like what you do down there." Instead, try something like, "I would love to show you what gets me going if you want to watch."


Your guy will not object to this if he really wants to please you. He may even be thankful that you're finally giving him a clue about what he needs to do.

If you don't feel comfortable masturbating in front of him, then simply tell him what to do. Having better communication during sex can improve your overall sex life.

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Here's an example:

You guys are getting hot and heavy with some kissing, and his hand starts to creep down to your crotch. You immediately think the worst, because you know it's not going to be a good time with his rough hands that seem to have no control.

Instead of dreading what he is about to do, lay your hand on his and move it the way you like it and want it. Let go at times to see if he gets the hint, if he doesn't, lay your hands on his again to show him what to do again. You can even whisper, "I like it like this...more like this."


When His Penis Is Too Small

Unfortunately, not all men are as well-endowed as you want them to be. For this reason, you need to adjust the sex according to his size.

The best way to accommodate a smaller penis is to lie on your back in missionary position and bring your legs up as close to you as possible. This will help him penetrate deeply, increasing your sensation.

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If you can't bring your legs close enough to you, try to lie on your back or stomach and keep your legs together. When he penetrates you that way, it causes you to be tighter so you'll feel more of him.

When His Penis Is Too Large

Bigger isn't always better. This is especially true when you have a large guy with a petite woman.

To accommodate his large size, make sure you are lubricated enough from foreplay before penetration. Stay on top during intercourse. That way, you can control how deep his penis penetrates.


If he insists on being on top, communicate how far he can go so he doesn't hurt you. You can make him feel a lot better about himself by acknowledging that it's because of him being so large.

Spice It Up to Make Bad Sex Better

People in long-term relationships often think they can't have wild sex. They think because they have been with the person for a while that it's not supposed to be exciting anymore.

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This is simply not true and the reason why so many long-term couples have issues in the bedroom. You can always have wild sex, as long as you make it that way.

Try to bring in different sex toys, so you both can have fun trying them out. It's a perfect way to find out what each of you likes and increase sexual communication.

If you see something on television or a movie you want to try out, watch it with your partner to show him what you would like to do with him. He'll get excited seeing someone else in the moment and then want replicate it with you.


Everyone has fantasies, but not too many people share them, especially with their sex partners. Sharing your fantasies with your partner is one way to make bad sex better.

Scared that he'll think you are too much of a freak? Start with a fantasy that isn't too shocking first to see how he handles it. If he isn't too surprised by it, share a little more as you gain confidence in his reactions. Soon, you'll likely be able to spill out all the parts of your fantasies with the objective of making them come true.

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When Bad Sex Is a Symptom

Many people focus too much on a symptom of a problem, such as bad sex, rather than trying to identify the cause. Many times, the real issue is the relationship and not the sex.

When people are upset, resentful or not emotionally connected to their partners, sex will suffer. They won't feel like doing anything to increase sexual pleasure because they aren't interested in receiving pleasure from it.

To make bad sex better when there are relationship problems, you need to attack the problems outside of the bedroom first. When you develop a stronger bond in your relationship, your sex life naturally will improve.


It Takes Two to Have Better Sex

Making bad sex better involves getting your partner involved. If he is not willing to change because he's not interested in pleasing you as much as you want to please him, you may want to think about your relationship with him.

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Selfishness in the bedroom can sometimes overlap into the relationship, which can cause serious problems. Identifying the reasons why he doesn't want to please you will help you decide if you should move on to someone who is much more attentive to your needs and wants.


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