I’m taking it upon myself to be your thoughtful Aunty who talks about choices and methods of birth control. That’s right. I figure, chances are, if you grew up desi, you may not be well versed in contraceptives because our community’s goals, it seems, is to never talk about sex, never have sex until you’re married, and then and only then, you boink like jackrabbits until you pop out a bunch of kids to propagate your species.

But many of us aren’t, GASP!, looking to have kids either now or ever, whether we’re married or not.

Yeah, that’s right. I wrote it. So what are one’s options if you want safe recreational sex that doesn’t result in offspring? I got your list of options here, ladies and gentlemen.

By no means does this list exhaust all things an individual should consider before committing to a method. Talk to your gynecologist or visit your local family planning center and thoroughly discuss which route to go. Be sure to ask questions of the effectiveness of each method, reversibility (does it impede your ability to have children forever?), and be sure to discuss your own health and how certain methods may interact with it, your lifestyle, and what are possible side effects to each method.

This list gives an overview of popular methods for both women and men.

Spoiler alert: this is NOT an effective method.

Birth Control for Women

Your doctor can provide you with a longer list of different birth controls, and hopefully one without GIFS. Hey, we’re not pretending to be experts so continue knowing there are some questionable, not necessarily helpful, but funny graphics ahead.

Birth Control Pill

The pill is one of the most common methods of birth control. It’s prescribed to women to take every day at the same time. Missing even one pill can cause them to become less effective so if you’re considering this method, make sure you will remember to consume daily else it’s not going to work.

However, if you get your shit together and set a daily reminder, the pill has a 91% effectiveness rate. However, as with any method, you should understand exactly how this effects your body. Birth control pills are pumped with hormones that prevent pregnancy which is great, right? But because it effects your hormones, many women experience side effects. Also, if you’re taking medication for health problems, the effectiveness of the pill is at risk. Be sure to tell your doctor aboutf all your health problems or medications you’re on so you’re put on the right pill.

Birth Control Implant

In the heat of the moment, you may say something like “stick your rod deep inside me.” Well, that’s pretty much what the implant does, thought its a small rod. That’s right, a birth control implant actually is a tiny rod that’s inserted under the skin of your arm. Not quite the deep rod you want inside you, huh? Well it may be your rod of choice when you learn it has a 99% rate of effectiveness. Once properly inserted, it prevents pregnancy for up to four years and isn’t permanent. Once its removed, you can become pregnant if you want.

Unlike birth control pills, there’s nothing you have to do daily. There’s nothing you have to remember to do nor is there a chance you’re using it incorrectly.

This is not an actual simulation of the rod at work, but it is how I imagine it working its magic.

Birth Control Patch

The patch is wearable contraceptive. It can be worn on the arm, the butt, your back, or even your belly. You wear three patches a month replacing it weekly until the fourth week when you don’t wear a patch at all. The hormones in the patch prevent sperm in your body from being able to access a woman’s eggs. It works 91% of the time.

Birth Control Shot

This is one of the most popular forms of female birth control. It works 94% of the time by preventing women from ovulating. If you do not ovulate, you cannot become pregnant. But here’s the thing with the shot, you have to get one every 12 to 13 months. Like the pill, this is something you have to remember to do for it to remain effective.

Birth Control Sponge

The sponge is just that - a sponge you insert deep inside your vagina before sex. It is positioned to block entrance to the uterus so sperm cannot get in, and it releases spermicide to kill them off before they have a chance. However, it’s only effective 76-88% of the time. In fact, many doctors suggest using the sponge along with another birth control method.

Birth Control Ring

Not effective use of a ring for birth control.

In actuality the ring is a small and flexible ring that is placed in your vagina. It releases hormones estrogen and progestin and stops the fertilization of eggs.  The way the hormones work is that they stop ovulation. For it to be effective though, you must remember to put a new one in monthly. If used properly, it is 90% effective.

Birth Control Cervical Cap

So caps are pretty great in the sense that they work right away and if you want to get eventually get pregnant, you can as soon as you stop using it. You insert the cervical cap before sex and you can’t feel it during intercourse. Also important to note, this is a safe form of non-hormonal birth control. With proper care, you only need to be replaced yearly. For it to be effective, you must put it in before you have sex every time. Something else to consider though is that people have felt challenged to use it correctly and it takes time to become comfortable with insertion. But again, like many methods, comfort level is a case by case basis. All things considered, this method is about 71% effective.

Diaphragm

Much like the cap, the diaphragm is inserted into the vagina to stop sperm from reaching the eggs. It’s only effective when women remember to insert it prior to engaging in intercourse, and then it works 88% of the time.

Spermicide

Spermicide a chemical women use to put inside their vagina prior to intercourse to kill sperm. Dead sperm cannot swim and fertilize any eggs. It’s only 71% effective, however.

 IUD

IUDS appear to be the mothership of effective birth control. This is one of the most effective forms with a 99% effectiveness rate. It’s medically inserted into your uterus and used as a long-term form of birth control. It’s got a “T” shape, and it works to prevent pregnancy by preventing sperm from reaching an egg.

It can remain effective for up to 12 years but is reversible as well if you wish to have kids. There are two types of IUD: hormonal and copper, both effective, but the debate comes in as to which is better suited to your lifestyle. Side effects for some women are 3 to 6 months of cramping, pain, or bleeding post insertion as your body gets use to have a device in the uterus. As with other methods of birth control, side effects vary from woman to woman and experiences vary.

Personality

Haha, no, just kidding. If only it were THAT easy.

Men’s Birth Control

If you’re not aware this is possible, there are a few ways men can prevent pregnancy using their own forms of birth control aside from wearing a condom. Some are effective, and some are less effective than traditional methods of birth control.

 Vasectomy

This is very effective with 99% effectiveness preventing pregnancy. It’s a medical procedure that stops men from being able to release sperm during intercourse.

There are some male birth control methods taking effect in laboratories in the US right now, but not all of them are ready for mass production. In the meantime, men and women are encouraged to practice safe sex and use birth control if they are not willing to have a baby. It’s also important to remember condoms are the safest way to go as they are the only method of birth control able to prevent sexually transmitted disease.

What Now?

To get an in depth look into different contraceptives and the pro and cons of each, visit Planned Parenthood.