#Adulting Even in the Bedroom: Female Contraceptives 101

#Adulting Even in the Bedroom: Female Contraceptives 101

Here are your options and where to get 'em, for when we can all get back to action. Female contraceptives 101.



Here’s a fun fact we might forget about #Adulting and female contraceptives: it applies to all things adult, too.


Just like choosing a safe partner, getting regularly tested and wincing through the occasional pap smear, adulting also means taking up the responsibility of considering a contraceptive if you’re sexually active. And let’s face it: passion can still get the best of all of us—especially when we’re reunited with another warm body after this limbo of isolation we’re in now. We can easily get swept up in the heat of the moment, only to endure cold sweats while anxiously waiting for the monthly indication that no—you, in fact, aren’t pregnant. But it doesn’t have to be like that.


When it comes to sex, safe is your new sexy. So until you and your partner are ready to turn recreation into procreation, here’s a list of female contraceptives we Pinays can put to merry use today.




1. Birth Control Pills

How often: Once a day
How effective: 99% with regular use
Where to buy: Pharmacies, public health centers
Avoid if: You recently gave birth or are currently breastfeeding


For the woman with an internal alarm clock.


The birth control pill is a modern-day miracle. When it was first invented in 1956, the birth control pill put the power back in the hands of women. For the first time, women had a sure hold on their fertility. We were free to explore our sexuality to our heart’s (or libido’s) content.


The science behind the pill is relatively simple. Release enough progestin and estrogen and your system will signal your ovaries to stop making eggs. Because of this method, the pill needs to be taken religiously—the same time each day, give or take a few hours. If you miss taking the pill more than 3 days in a row, the cycle goes out of whack. You’ll need to start all over again.


The pill also affects different women in different ways. Some experience weight gain, increased or even decreased acne. Make sure to consult with your doctor if you’re planning to make these female contraceptives a regular part of your day.


2. Contraceptive Injections

How often: Once every three months by trained personnel only
How effective: 99% with regular use
Where to buy: Private practices, public health centers
Avoid if: You’re low on bone density, currently breastfeeding, have hypertension, or are a stroke survivor


For the woman who isn’t afraid of a little prick.


Clinically known as depot medroxyprogesterone acetate, the contraceptive injectable is also called the Depo Shot, Depo-Provera, or DMPA. Injectables are so effective, the longer you use them, the more time it’ll take for your body to be fertile again once you stop getting the shot.


Watch out though: one side-effect is a decrease in bone mineral density, similar to what women experience during breastfeeding. Studies show that once you stop using DMPAs, your bones will start to heal and gain mass again.


3. Contraceptive Implants

How often: Once every three years
How effective: 99% with regular use
Where to buy: Private practices, public health centers, and health organizations
Avoid if: You have pulmonary tuberculosis or are living with HIV


For the woman sticking to her three-year plan.


As the name implies, the contraceptive implant is inserted directly into your arm by trained personnel. A slim little thing the size of a toothpick, the implant slowly releases progestogen over three years, preventing ovulation and barring the sperm from reaching the egg. This method is gaining popularity in the Philippines. After all, what’s not to love with its three-year lifespan, affordability, and easy installation. Just one, quick procedure and you’re good to go!


If you ever change your mind about having kids, removing the implant is simple. Your body will be ovulating in one to three months’ time after the implant is removed.


4. Contraceptive Patches

How often: Once a week
How effective: 99% with regular use
Where to buy: By prescription only
Avoid if: You are currently breastfeeding, have high blood pressure, heart problems, or in some cases, have diabetes


For the woman who likes to patch things up.


Like a nicotine patch, the contraceptive patch is applied directly onto the skin. Still relatively new in the Philippines, the patch can only be prescribed by doctors. It keeps your body from making eggs and it also blocks up the cervix with thicker mucus. This prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg.


Meant to weather any activity, the patch can stay on while you shower, exercise and even swim. But keep it safe! If it slips off, the patch isn’t as effective anymore.


RELATED: This Store is Destroying the Sex Toy Stigma (It’s About Time!)


5. Intrauterine Devices (IUD)

How often: Once every 10 to 12 years
How effective: 99% with regular use
Where to buy: Pharmacies, public health centers
Avoid if: You are currently breastfeeding, have high blood pressure, heart problems, or in some cases, have diabetes


For the woman who takes her sweet time.


Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are T-shaped plastic tubes that are inserted in the uterus. There are two different types of IUDs: hormonal and copper. The hormonal IUD works like an implant, releasing preventative hormones into your body over five years. The copper type has a thin copper wire embedded in the plastic. This acts as a spermicide, preventing any meet-cutes between his sperm and your egg.


An IUD must be inserted by trained personnel only. If you change your mind, it’s easy to remove. But before getting the T, get your doctor to spill the T about the risks and benefits to your health.


6. Natural Family Planning

How often: Every menstrual cycle
How effective: 75 to 80%


For the woman who likes to keep it au naturel.


Despite its low effectivity rate, natural family planning is still preferred by some women. Now, if you and your significant other want to spice things up with an element of risk, natural family planning might just be for you. Just keep in mind, the keywords here are “family” and “planning.” So if having a family is already part of the big picture, at least a surprise pregnancy won’t be too surprising!


Besides abstinence on non-safe days (calendar method), safe days can also be calculated via temperature method or cervical mucus method. They all require strict monitoring of one’s menstrual cycle, assuming it works like clockwork.


7. Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs)

When: Between 0 to 5 days after unprotected sex
How effective: The sooner you take it, the higher your chances of not getting pregnant
Where to buy: By prescription only


For the woman in a pinch.


Emergency contraceptive pills are available in the Philippines, but can only be prescribed by doctors. ECPs can use progestin (Plan B), levonorgestrel (Nordette), or ulipristal acetate (Ella) to delay ovulation, preventing fertilization. Taking one doesn’t give you a free pass to continue having unprotected sex. ECPs cannot replace regular birth control, so be safe!


Last and most effective?


8. Sterilization

For the woman who knows exactly what she wants.


If kids sound more nope than dope to you, you could opt for the most effective of birth control methods: sterilization. There are both surgical and non-surgical options you can explore, such as tubal ligation (a.k.a. tying your tubes). There is a very small chance of being able to reverse sterilization. Make sure you have a good, long chat with a doctor you trust beforehand!


RELATED: The V Word: Everything You Need to Know About Virginity Before You Lose It



While a number of female contraceptives can be secured by getting a prescription and buying directly from hospitals, pharmacies or public health centers, we recently caught wind of a convenient alternative—and yes, it's safe and licensed by the FDA.


female contraceptives

Enter: Dima, an online safe space for all things reproductive health.


Dima is revolutionizing sexual health as we know it. Allowing us to sidestep the appointment schedules and the long hospital lines and the judgment, the website brings together physician consultations, prescription requests and door-to-door birth control delivery to make sex safe, easy, shameless. In addition to condoms, viagra and pregnancy tests, Dima carries the generic version of oral contraceptives. For a better, more informative look at the brands they carry, click here. And yes, if you're having an especially lusty lockdown experience, they can still deliver right to your doorstep.


One last thing to remember: female contraceptives don’t prevent sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STIs/STDs). Only condoms and #Adulting in the bedroom can do that. Play safe and have fun!



Words Sara Dumaup

Additional Text Cessi Treñas

Art Alexandra Lara


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