Part of the bliss of having sex is that your brain has a chance to shut off and focus on what’s immediately in front of — or, ahem, on top of — you. The last thing you want to pop that bubble is worries about your birth control. But if you just started taking the pill, then it’s important to know how it works, preferably before you get between the sheets. What about its effectiveness from the get-go? Can you have unprotected sex the first week you're on birth control?
"I don’t recommend that, simply because a woman might not always have a regular cycle," says Dr. Christine Greves, an OB-GYN at Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies in Orlando, Florida, in a phone interview with Romper. "Not everyone is blessed with a 28-day cycle and ovulates on day 14. I tell my patients to use a back-up during the first month of beginning birth control just to prevent any 'oops' moments."
Back-up birth control methods include condoms or spermicide, which you should have on hand anyway in the event you miss a day taking the pill and need to allow your body time to get back on track. Greves points out that you can also have a copper intrauterine device (IUD) placed within 72 hours to five days of having unprotected sex and it acts as a form of emergency contraception. Of course, Plan B is also always an option.
According to Planned Parenthood, when used perfectly, birth control pills are 99 percent effective. But because human error usually makes its way into that equation, the pill is typically about 91 percent effective. That means nine out of 100 pill users will realistically get pregnant each year. On the other hand, the IUD is 99 percent effective, meaning fewer than one out of 100 women will get pregnant each year.
It's important to also note that, in addition to missed days, other things can lower the effectiveness of birth control pills, including antibiotics and the latest health trend, activated charcoal.
So, if you want to take full advantage of sexy time, it sounds like you need to come prepared — at least for a little while. And why not? I hear the big O can not only make you smarter, but ultra relaxed. Those sound like wins to me.