When it comes to preventing pregnancy, you really want to get your facts straight. It's not an area where you want to slip up. So, it's unfortunate that there are still lots of myths about pregnancy floating around.
But before we get to the myths, let's get the facts straight. The good news is, there are several different options for preventing pregnancy these days. The most effective way of preventing pregnancy is avoiding penis-in-vagina sex, which doesn't mean you have to avoid sex altogether. There are plenty of other options like oral sex, manual sex, and cyber sex. Next comes (in order) implants, male sterilization, hormonal IUDs, female sterilization, copper IUDs, the birth control shot, the Pill, the patch, the ring, the diaphragm, the male condom, the female condom, withdrawal, the rhythm method, and spermicide, according to Health.com. Told you there were lots of options.
However, these methods won't be as effective as they can be without the right information. And when you grow up learning that babies come from a stork, you're not exactly off to a great start in that arena. Hopefully, we're over that misconception. But here are some other myths about pregnancy prevention that we need to debunk once and for all.
The withdrawal method may be increasing in popularity, but 22 percent of those who use it alone will get pregnant within a year, according to the CDC. That's partially because it's difficult to time, the research team behind the period-tracking app Clue tells Bustle. But even if you do time it right, it may not work because you can get pregnant from precum.
If you have sex during your period, you're unlikely to get pregnant right away, Clue's team says. However, sperm can live in the body for up to five days, and that could get you pregnant once your period is over. That's why 24 percent of those who rely on fertility awareness alone get pregnant within a year, according to the CDC.
Douching used to be marketed as a form of birth control, but now it's understood that it doesn't work that way. Douching does not kill sperm, Clue's team says. But it can kill the healthy bacteria needed to maintain your vagina's pH balance.
Unfortunately, all a second condom will do is rub against the first one, potentially leading it to break, according to Clue's research team. If you want an extra layer of birth control on top of a condom (figuratively, not literally), try hormonal birth control, a diaphragm, or spermicide.
"Gravity is not a form of birth control," says Clue's research team. If someone ejaculates into your vagina, the sperm will be propelled up more than enough to reach the egg, according to Planned Parenthood.
A 2016 study in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology found that after putting a sperm-like substance into their vaginas and masturbating, women who orgasmed retained 4.1 mL on average and those who didn't retained 3.3 mL. This could mean that if you orgasm after your partner ejaculates inside you, you may be a little more likely to get pregnant. But the effect is so small, refraining from orgasming is by no means an effective way of preventing pregnancy. Not to mention, it's not as much fun.
What this all boils down to is, there's really no way around using some form of birth control. So be safe and don't fool yourself into thinking there's a shortcut.