If you’re thinking about becoming involved in a sexual relationship, making healthy sexual decisions is extremely important, because they involve your body, your mind, and the well-being of another person. If you do decide to have sex, it’s important to learn about how to protect yourself and your partner from getting an STI, and how to prevent pregnancy if you’re having sex with a female.
There are many different types of birth control (also called contraception). They vary in how well they prevent pregnancy, how much they cost, how easy they are to use, and whether they protect against STIs. Birth control options also vary depending on whether they’re used by girls, guys, or both. There are some methods of birth control that are specifically for guys, some that are specifically for girls, and abstinence (not having sex), which anyone can practice.
If you do have sex, you’re at risk for STIs and causing pregnancy. However, if you practice safe sex with only one partner (who isn’t infected and has no other sexual partners) and you make good decisions about birth control, you can greatly lower these risks.
The most effective birth control for males are condoms. Condoms are worn over the penis during sex with a male or female partner. They prevent pregnancy by acting as a barrier, preventing semen from entering the vagina so the sperm can’t reach a female’s “egg.” Condoms also lessen the chances of getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) by acting as a barrier, preventing STIs from passing from one partner to another. Using condoms allows guys to have an active part in preventing pregnancy! You can learn more about how to use condoms by reading our condom health guide.
As a young man, you might not be familiar with all of the types of birth control that are available for women. Check out the guides below to learn more about the different birth control options available for males and for females: