7 Surprising Facts About Birth Control

  • Romantic Couple Walking Through Autumn Woodland
    What You and Your Partner Should Know
    Whether you’re considering your options, or you’re already using one of the 19 different FDA-approved methods, there are probably some things about birth control you’re not aware of. Thanks to better information on usage and effectiveness—and even some potential new devices on the horizon, women—and men—have a lot to consider. Check your knowledge, and see how your choice measures up to your fellow contraceptive users, with the following seven facts about birth control.
  • couple-in-bed
    1. Birth control hasn’t been proven to affect sex drive.
    Hormonal methods, like the pill and the ring, have long been thought to lower libido—but current research is showing birth control and sex drive are not linked. Studies haven’t been able to show any significant difference in sex drive between women taking these contraceptives and those who don’t. However, some women do experience a noticeable increase in libido after going off hormonal methods. If you’re not in the mood as much as you’d like to be, your doctor can help decide whether you should try switching.
  • Intrauterine device
    2. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are the most effective form of birth control.
    While it isn’t the most common form of birth control in the United States, the IUD is officially the most effective way to prevent pregnancy. The intrauterine device is a T-shaped object your doctor inserts into your uterus; you choose whether you want a copper- or hormone-based one. IUDs result in less than one pregnancy per 100 women each year, making them over 99% effective. Since they work for multiple years, it’s a worry-free way to prevent pregnancy.
  • birth control pills and calendar
    3. Pills are women’s most common form of birth control in the United States.
    When it comes to the contraceptive users in the United States, women are most likely to use the birth control pill: 26% of contraceptive users rely on it to prevent pregnancy. The second most common method, with 25% of contraceptive users opting for it, is tubal sterilization in women, commonly referred to as getting your tubes tied. While oral contraceptives are the most commonly used form of birth control in the U.S., IUDs remain the most popular choice in Europe.
  • doctor talking to patient
    4. There are many options for permanent birth control.
    If you don’t want to reproduce for the rest of your life, there are permanent measures you can take—whether you’re male or female. Having your tubes tied, officially called tubal ligation, involves surgically stopping your fertilization by closing or blocking your fallopian tubes. For men, vasectomy is the only permanent option, a simple surgery that cuts and seals the tubes carrying sperm into your semen.
  • Confident Man Smiling and Looking Away
    5. Experts are working on hormonal birth control for men.
    Researchers recently made a significant step toward bringing the long-awaited male birth control shot to the market. According to a recently published study, the shot worked for 96% of the 300-plus healthy men who participated. The hormonal shot, injected every eight weeks, suppresses sperm production by sending signals to the body that it already has enough. And the men seemed happy with it—75% said they’d be willing to continue using it as their main contraceptive method.
  • Couples Feet in Bed
    6. About half of unintended pregnancies occur due to birth control error.
    Nearly half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, and about half of those accidentally impregnated women were using some type of birth control. Not using contraceptives properly or consistently is considered user error, which leaves people using birth control at risk for pregnancy. Something as seemingly small as taking your pill at a different time can cause it to malfunction, and condoms need to be the right size to work. Stay consistent and follow directions to avoid birth control mistakes and be as safe as possible.
  • Person Marking On Calendar
    7. Some birth control pills can (safely) stop your period.
    It’s perfectly safe to opt for an oral contraceptive that completely stops your period. While birth control pills were originally packaged as 21 days of active hormones and seven placebos—allowing you to menstruate between 21-day cycles of active pills—there are now options that skip the placebo week all together. This could be something worth looking into if your periods are particularly painful, or if you just want to try living menstruation-free.
Do You Know These 7 Surprising Birth Control Facts?

About The Author

Allison Firestone has been writing and editing professionally for over a decade. She is currently working on her doctorate in education, specializing in disability, learning, and childhood mental health. She has a master’s in journalism from the University of California, Berkeley and a master’s in special education from the University of Oregon.
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  10. Unintended Pregnancy Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/contraception/unintendedpregnancy/
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Last Review Date: 2020 Dec 27
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