Guest written by Jasmine Raymour
Let's face it: vasectomy is such an attractive option for men because it completely eliminates the hassle involved with contraceptives.
But considering the consequences involved with getting a vasectomy, many are driven to ask the question: Are there other male birth control methods out there besides vasectomies and condoms?
Research is ongoing, but presently, there are no real legitimate alternatives.
Thus, many couples depend on female birth control methods. Unfortunately, most involve reliance on chemical prescription drugs that alter the natural hormonal balance of the female body.
Female sterilization is another option, but it may actually cause even more complications. It's also a lot more expensive and the surgery itself is invasive and complicated.
One often overlooked method of birth control is called Natural Family Planning, also known as the Rhythm Method. People have been using this method for centuries with over a 90% success rate.
Combine it with barriers like condoms or diaphragms when necessary and that rate shoots up to 98%.
Admittedly, it requires a bit more effort and planning, particularly for the female partner. It's not a “set it and forget it” method like getting a vasectomy.
But if you feel it's important to avoid risky surgical procedures and chemical prescription drugs, this method is definitely worth learning.
Basically, Natural Family Planning involves becoming familiar with a woman's monthly cycle in order to avoid having unprotected sex on her most fertile days (or the opposite if your goal is to get pregnant).
To monitor changes in the cycle, a woman checks her cervical mucus and/or basal temperature.
During ovulation, the mucus will be clear and stretchy like uncooked egg whites, and her temperature will rise slightly, about .9 degrees. Changes are recorded on a chart.
Using this method, even women with irregular cycles can easily detect when they are at their most fertile stage.
It may sound complicated at first glance, but it's actually quite simple. Within a couple months, you and your partner will become quite familiar with her natural cycle. At that point it's only a matter of using protection when she's most fertile (roughly 9 days out of the month).
Not only is this a clean, healthy method of birth control, but it also allows both partners to become more intimately acquainted with the female body.
Instead of unnaturally altering our reproductive systems through chemical or surgical means, Natural Family Planning allows us to work WITH the body, rather than against it.