One of the common situations new users to Scarleteen come in with of late is having had penis-in-vagina intercourse using only a condom, worrying about possible pregnancy, and then asking about Plan B.
When condoms are used properly, they are highly effective: around 98% in one year of perfect use. And it’s certainly fine to follow up with Plan B, even with perfect use, if that’s what you want to do, however, it’s not likely the Plan B will have anything to do, since a condom used properly from start to finish, and that doesn’t slip off or break, will have kept semen inside it, leaving no sperm cells available to fertilize an egg in the first place. But, as a habit, using Plan B after condom use as a backup can make you broke mighty fast, and Plan B also isn’t as effective as any other method of hormonal contraception.
Not only are condoms not always used properly — and sometimes, people aren’t sure since they used them before getting any education or information about proper condom use — something that seems to keep happening is folks using only a condom who, after the fact (or maybe even during?) clearly don’t feel safe enough using condoms alone. In other words, the condom didn’t fail, and half the time they don’t think it did either, but they find they just don’t feel secure enough with condoms alone.
Here’s our suggestion: well before engaging in intercourse only using a condom a) think about if you’re really comfortable just using a condom, rather than a condom paired with another method, and/or b) have a talk with the person you’re going to have intercourse with to find out their comfort level. And that’s even when the other person has a penis and can’t themselves become pregnant. We hear nearly as many users freaking out about possible pregnancy — and often driving their partners up a tree in the process — when only having used a condom who were the person wearing the condom.
Talking about sex, including about contraception and other ways of reducing the risks involved in sex truly doesn’t take the magic out of sex that was going to have any kind of magic in the first place, we promise. And even sex that was awesome at the time is rarely worth anyone being scared for weeks afterwards, especially when it was totally avoidable.
Same goes for putting certain kinds of sex on the table while you or a partner take whatever time they need to access the things they need in order for feel comfortable having that sex. Intercourse not only can wait until everyone involved feels as protected as they need to from pregnancy or anything else, it’s usually going to be a lot better for everyone when it does wait until folks have what they need in that regard. :)
Some extra info for you at Scarleteen (apparently brought to you by the letter B!):