So, you wanna have sex.
With over 45,000 students attending Michigan State University this year, the chances of you getting lucky and hooking up with one of them are pretty high. But every college student knows, or should know, that no cap, no tap.
“If you really love her, wear a rubber.” “Wrap your stump before you hump.” “Don’t be silly, cover your willy.” “The right selection is to use protection,” and a thousand other raunchy safe sex-isms to remind us to use some form of contraception.
So when the heat is on, and that time comes, what are you going to reach for? A condom? A pill? A ring? What’s available at your fingertips on and around campus? The answer: Plenty. Almost every form of contraception out there is readily available here in East Lansing. The easiest form of contraception to get anywhere is the male condom.
Condoms are thin sheaths that are made of latex, polyurethane, or even animal tissue and worn over the penis during sex, ready to stop all the semen that is ejaculated from reaching the vagina, according to Olin Health Center’s gynecology clinic. Latex male condoms are the only contraception that is 99 percent effective and protect against STDs like HIV and AIDS.
[condom] So, where can you get them? All the local pharmacies, drug stores, grocery stores, and convenience stores carry packs of condoms, which can cost upwards from 99 cents, depending on what type you decide to try. Or, if you live in the residence halls, most hall mentors have condoms that you can get for free. Another option is to you can buy them from Olin Health Center at the low price of 10 for $1.20 Some websites will even send you some for free.
Next on the list of available contraceptives is The Pill. According to Kathleen Braunlich, communications and planning director for Olin, this is the most widely distributed form of contraceptives on campus. The pill works by releasing a synthetic hormone that keeps the ovaries from ovulating, and is 99 percent effective against pregnancy if taken correctly; however, it does not protect against any type of STD. This non-invasive method of birth control is only most effective when taken at the same time everyday. While women will need a doctor’s prescription and a medical exam to get the pill, almost all local pharmacies can fill the prescription. Depending on your health insurance, Braunlich said the pill can cost anywhere from nothing to $70 for some brands.
For a medical exam to obtain a prescription, students can go to Olin where their first three visits as a student are free. Planned Parenthood, which is located on Grand River right above Steve and Barry’s, next to Splash of Color Tattoo, is another option.
Companies have started producing new products that are made especially to remind girls to take their pill, such as packs that have huge days and times written across them, or a pendant that vibrates at the same time daily. One pill pack even has an alarm clock attached.
For those who don’t want to remember to take a pill every day, there are new forms of hormonal contraceptives that have recently hit the market. One of those is the patch, which has to only be changed once per week. Just like those made for people to help them quit smoking, the patch is small, square, and worn directly on the skin. Instead of releasing nicotine, it releases hormones. When used correctly, which means applying it at the same time every week, the patch works just as well as the pill. Like the pill, it doesn’t protect against disease, and it can only be obtained through a doctor’s prescription.
Other hormonal contraceptives include injections, like Depo-Provera, given once every three months, and a vaginal ring that is inserted once a month and produces a slow release of hormones to stop ovulation. Both of these prevent pregnancy if taken properly, but like the other forms, they do not protect against STDs. Both are available at Olin.
The only other over-the-counter contraceptive method that is practically 100 percent effective against pregnancies is spermicides. Spermicides are jelly creams or foams that are inserted into the vagina more than an hour before sex to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. These are available at any local pharmacy, drug store or grocery store.
There is also a female condom available on the market, called the FC Female condom, which is only 95 percent effective in preventing pregnancies. Unless it tears or slips out, it does protect against most STDs. Essentially a barrier to the cervix, it is worn inside the woman’s vagina and can be inserted up to eight hours before sex, eliminating heat-of-the-moment embarrassment.
If you are looking for a more permanent form of contraception, you could consider the Norplant device or surgical sterilization. The Norplant is six small capsules that are inserted under a woman’s skin in her upper arm that slowly releases hormones over the course of five years. Surgical sterilization is just what it sounds: a surgery to make either a female or male infertile.
Over the last 50 years, contraceptives have come a long way, but now they are about to go even further. According to malecontraceptives.org, science is closing in on producing the male contraceptive pill. A hormonal pill of progestin, in combination with testosterone injections that will have long term contraceptive effects for men, is currently being developed and researched. The male pill will reportedly reduce sperm count in semen, to the point where pregnancy is highly unlikely.
Other forms of male contraception that are currently being researched, according to the site, are chemical injections, battery-powered implants that would emit low-level electric currents that immobilize sperm, and silicone plugs inserted into the vas deferens. These new methods are still in the research stage and have yet to hit the market.
For more information on contraceptives and where to obtain them, visit www.olin.msu.edu, or call Olin Health Center at (517) 355-4510.

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