“No babies, no babies, no babies.”
Tory Ruohonen, a marketing and advertising senior, pulled her shirt to the side, revealing her birth control patch. “I just don’t trust guys. I take the responsibility into my own hands.”
With thousands of sexually active MSU students out on any given night, the million dollar question seems to be “Do you have a condom?”
But, men and women alike, seem to agree that when it comes to sex, it’s the responsibility of both parties.
“I would assume most girls are on birth control if they’re having sex,” Kyle McKinley, Ruohonen’s boyfriend, said.
McKinley said that before he was in a relationship, he would always be sure to have a condom with him, in case the situation ever came up.
“You can’t just count on the other person,” McKinley said. “It’s your job, too.”
St. Joseph Mercy Hospital resident physician Dr. Breanna Pond said both men and women should take responsibility for sexual contraceptives. “People that don’t protect themselves are putting themselves at a very high risk of getting STDs or becoming pregnant,” Pond said. “It’s always good to use male and female methods. Even when on birth control, condoms are a good back-up method.”
Pond also said that people have to realize that neither condoms nor birth control are 100 percent effective. “Condoms are only about 80 percent effective,” Pond said.
According to Omnia Samra, a gynecology professor at the Medical College of Pennsylvania, couples that use condoms consistently and correctly during the first year of use are estimated to be protected approximately 97 percent of the time. However, the true effectiveness rate is estimated to be 86 percent, with the marked difference of failure reflecting errors in usage.
The most popular forms of female contraceptives are the patch and the pill, and have been found to be more effective than the male condom. Samra reports that the pill is 95 to 99.9 percent effective, though it has a high rate of incorrect usage, and the patch is 99.9 percent effective, though it varies for women weighing more than 198 pounds.
“The patch and the shot are great forms of contraceptive,” Pond said. “The pill is a good method, as well, but many women forget to take it.”
Pond also said that the other important thing to consider is that birth control does not protect from STDs, so while it is more effective for preventing pregnancy, condoms are still necessary.
Ruohonen said she thinks the biggest problem with condoms is that men do not properly store them before usage. “Most guys keep them in their wallets, which is the worst place to put them,” Ruohnen said.
According to a sex education correspondent from AskMen.com, storing condoms in inadequate places, such as wallets, can destroy their effectiveness. Condoms are supposed to be stored at a moderate temperature, because extreme heat or cold can cause them to break down faster. It is suggested to store condoms in a convenient place at home, away from direct sunlight, heat radiators or refrigerators and to never keep them in a wallet for more than one night.
Ruohonen, McKinley and Pond all agreed, in the end, that it is both parties responsibility to take control of their reproductive health.
“Ideally it should be both people,” Pond said. “It takes two people to make the decision to have sex, therefore to prevent STDs and pregnancy, both should be using some form of contraception.”
Women interested using contraceptives for the first time, such as the pill or the patch, should contact their gynecologist or the local Planned Parenthood. The East Lansing Planned Parenthood branch can be reached at (517) 333-6744.
“No babies, no babies, no babies.”