Straight Talk: Does college couple need pill and condom both?By: Lauren Forcella
Dear Straight Talk: My boyfriend is 22 and I'm almost 20. We're in college and unsure about our long-term future, so we just call ourselves friends. However, our relationship has been monogamous and steady for almost a year and we trust each other completely. We normally have sex with a condom. He recently has been wanting to have sex without one. I'm on the pill (which I take every day at the same time), which is why he sees it being okay. Is this a good idea? ~ "Sue"
Justin, 25, Redding: If I'm in a monogamous relationship and my partner is using reliable birth control, the condoms are dropped. But if the relationship isn't monogamous, it's condoms, always condoms. You both need to test clean for STIs first.
Brandon, 20, Mapleton, Maine: Just calling yourselves "friends" raises a red flag. If he has commitment issues about calling himself your boyfriend, why wouldn't he have commitment issues if he finds himself a dad? Worst-case scenarios: You get a STI that costs you your life, an abortion that costs you your life savings or a baby that costs you both. The pill is only 99 percent effective when circumstances are perfect. If you were using an IUD which is always 99 percent effective, that's a better risk. But there are still the diseases. Only you know how much you trust this guy. The hard truth is, many girls who stop using a condom with guys who "just want to be friends," end up in the single-mother pile. Be smart!
Nicole, 22, Santa Rosa.: If you are monogamous and using the pill as directed, you do not need condoms. However, if either of you begins seeing other people, you must start using them again to protect against STIs.
Christina, 19, Marysville: It's up to you. But due to your choice of words describing your relationship, I wouldn't recommend it. Sex is a deep-relationship connector and if, after having sex for a year, you guys are still just considering the other a friend, maybe rethink whether you should be having sex at all.
Elise, 21, Rexburg, Idaho: Better safe than sorry. If you get pregnant, be prepared to accept the responsibility.
Colin, 19, Los Angeles: Discuss this with a doctor! Talking about intimate issues face to face can be difficult. But it's easier than living with an STI.
Dear Sue: This is a matter of personal risk assessment. Some people will take the risk (Justin and Nicole), others won't (Elise, Brandon, Christina) and the politico in the room (Colin) wisely defers to a doctor.
Monogamous relationships are appropriate and healthy at your age, and you are in a steady one. Most college students who claim to know their long-term future, in fact, don't, so I'm not bothered by your honesty on that point. Regarding odds, millions of married couples drop the condom (no longer needing a barrier from STIs) and successfully use the pill for birth control. However, in the rare event of pregnancy, they are well, married.
Only you can answer your question. More information will help. Step 1. Ask your boyfriend, "If we accidentally got pregnant and I had the baby, would you willingly pay child support for the next 18 years?" If he doesn't hyperventilate and change his mind — and his answer speaks well of his character – proceed to Step 2: Together you go to the student health center and get tested for STIs. (If he won't go, scratch the whole deal on the spot.) If you both test clean, Step 3: Get the doctor's opinion! Ongoing: Soul search. Caveat should you proceed: Relationship needs to remain exclusive and trustworthy and you retain power to reverse your decision for any or no reason. ~ Lauren
To contact us or donate, visit www.straighttalktnt.com or write P.O. Box 1974, Sebastopol, CA 95473.
More from Lauren Forcella:
Something fishy about the pill: For women, the smell of a man is the main attractor in intimacy. And the men who smell best to a particular woman make the healthiest babies. Sweaty-T-shirt-sniffing experiments show that women naturally sniff out men who are good genetic matches. But on birth control pills, they actually sniff out the "wrong" men. What happens is that birth control pills simulate pregnancy which attracts women to the smell of men with similar genetic properties (more like family). Once she's off the pill, she goes back to her natural attraction to men with genetic properties different than hers.
In other words, being on the pill is not a good way to meet the guy you will be attracted to for the long haul. Marriage counselors say that the top complaint by women no longer sexually interested in their husbands is that they can no longer stand his smell. How many young women are on the pill when they meet the guy they end up marrying or having children with? Millions.
Another good reason to use an IUD instead of the pill. The IUD is the most effective birth control available, it does not involve constant flooding of your system with synthetic hormones, you do not have to remember to take it, it is inexpensive, and best of all, you are more likely to end up with Mr. Right. Mr. Right not only keeps smelling attractive to you throughout life, but he and you will make healthier babies.
The book, "Scent of Desire," by Rachel Herz, PhD, is full of this and other astounding information about our sense of smell.