• Samantha Schofield

Contraception methods as Tinder Boys: to swipe or not to swipe?

There are so many options of contraception and unfortunately, it’s up to us to find which one doesn’t annoy us the most. Therefore, I’ve decided to explain how each contraception method works and judge them as if they were boys on Tinder. No, I will not be taking further questions as to my scientific method.

Before we talk about these specific methods, let’s take it back to year 10 biology. Estrogen and progesterone are two important hormones that I like to think of as bouncers to the Uterus Club that only let in VIPs. These two hormones work to prevent the formation and release of the egg in the ovaries, thin the lining of the uterus (so nothing can grab hold), and thicken the mucus in the cervix (making it extremely hard for a sperm to get through). Basically, sperm need to be Kim Possible to get through this security system.

Tinder boy #1 – The Condom

He’s holding the fish and the fish is big I guess? You get what this guy is about. He likes fish and umm… Catching big fish! Always wears aviator sunnies, good protection against the sun.

Condoms (both male and female) work by simply preventing sperm from meeting the egg by a barrier system. The material of condoms not only stops sperm but also are extremely effective against preventing STI pathogens from squeezing through. Condoms are about 98% effective when used perfectly and only 82% effective for typical use. The reason they aren’t completely effective is that they can break and tear when used incorrectly. The great thing about condoms is they have minimal side effects buuuuut if someone has a latex allergy, not so great to be using latex condoms.

Tinder boy #2 - The Pill

The pill has all group photos and you have no idea which one he is. Why the hell would you upload only photos of you and your 5 friends?? Well, I hope you’re the cute one…

So, there are two types of pills, the combined pill (which means it has both estrogen and progesterone) and the mini-pill (progesterone only pill).

Combined Contraception Pill

This is the pill we all know about and have all had some variation of I’m sure. It includes Levlen and Yasmine and all those others. The combination of progesterone and estrogen means the Uterus Club has maximum security, although we need to make sure the bouncers are always on shift (aka pill taken every day). The pill is over 99% effective when used perfectly. But the typical use brings it down to 91%. Taking some antibiotics and medications as well as vomiting and diarrhea can cause contraception failures.

Progesterone-only Pill

This pill is perfect for people who are on estrogen medication already or have certain medical conditions. The progesterone pill has the same efficacy as the combined pill (99%) with perfect use even though it only has one bouncer (thickening the mucus in the cervix and thinning the endometrial lining). But, because of this, the progesterone pill needs to definitely be taken every day, at the same time.

Tinder boy #3 - The Bar

This dude’s photos never show all of him. Sometimes it’s a mirror photo covering his face, sometimes a far-away photo of him surfing. Sir, what do you look like! Take off your sunglasses! You don’t know what you’ll get.

The bar, or Implanon, is inserted in the upper arm so that its easily felt but not seen. It works by slowly releasing progesterone into the bloodstream. This is better than the pill which is a larger dose of hormones, which can cause more side effects. This works to thicken the mucus at the cervix, thin the lining of the uterus, and stop ovulation (the trifecta!). It’s extremely effective because once it’s nestled into your arm muscles, it doesn’t need you to remember to do anything. Getting it put in, takes less than 15 minutes, is super cheap (usually like $20) and you can leave it for 3 years! Bad thing is, you don’t really know how it will work with your body. Some girls have lighter and shorter periods while other unlucky gals have longer and more painful periods. Oooh, playing with fire!

Tinder boy #4 - IUD

This is the sporty guy! He has a rugby photo of him mid-leap with the ball and then one with all his friends and a trophy. At the start, it’s kind of painful to hear about all his sports but he’s actually an alright guy. Home run! Goal! Wow, I really know nothing about sports…

There are actually two types of IUDs, the hormonal IUD (the Mirena) or the Copper IUD. IUDs are extremely low maintenance and you can set it and forget it for 5 years after you’ve gone through that nasty procedure of getting it shoved up your vagina into your uterus. Many girls say the procedure to get an IUD inserted into the uterus is painful as well as the cramping that comes afterward. Usually, the procedure costs between $200-300. But in the long term, you’re winning.

Copper IUD – lasts 5 to 10 years

This IUD doesn’t use any hormones, which is very good if you aren’t a fan of hormones but are a fan of long-term contraception. The IUD uses a coil of copper that acts as a spermicide (yep, like a pesticide but for sperm), killing the sperm. The copper IUD works immediately after being fitted and can even be used as emergency contraception.

Mirena – up to 5 years

The Mirena is the golden child. The best contraception a person could ask for. It uses a small amount of progesterone that is only released straight to your uterus. This is unlike the pill or the bar which circulates the blood and can cause some mischief (more side effects). The Mirena makes periods very light and short and completely stops for 85% of women.

Overall, when choosing contraception, or a Tinder lad, everyone has a type! Just don’t go for the no contraception guy… He sucks.

Sources and further reading