Preventing Unplanned Pregnancy: Abstinence and/or Contraceptive Methods
When you are in a relationship, it’s important to have open and honest conversations about relationship issues with your partner – including sex. Both of you need to make decisions about sexual intimacy together. Even though it may be awkward or embarrassing to speak about it at first, it’s actually one of the best ways to maintain a happy and healthy relationship.
Partners need to continually talk about each other’s sexual preferences: limits, likes and dislikes, what feels good and what’s not working out. Our partners can’t read our minds and we shouldn’t make assumptions about their preferences. It’s totally okay to have different desires but it’s never okay to pressurise someone to do something they’re not comfortable with.
Set limits you both agree on and are comfortable with before engaging in sexual activity, as it can be hard to think and speak clearly in the heat of the moment. You have the right to decide if and when you want to have sex. You can say no to sex at any time, for any reason – even if you’ve already had sex before. Relationships change over time, and you and/or your partner may eventually have different feelings about sex and abstinence.
Abstinence, defined as refraining from all forms of sexual intercourse, is a 100% safe and effective way to prevent an unplanned pregnancy.
Abstinence can mean different things to different people. For some people, it means no romantic physical contact with another person. For others, abstinence means limited physical contact like holding hands or kissing, but no genital contact.
Sex isn’t the only way to express your love and affection. Many people get closer and build trust with each other by talking and sharing; as well as being honest, respecting each other’s thoughts and feelings, doing activities and hanging out together.
People may choose abstinence for various reasons. Some choose to follow their personal, moral, or religious beliefs and values; and others would prefer to wait until they find the right partner or until they feel ready for a sexual relationship. A number of people may like to enjoy a romantic companionship without having to deal with a sexual relationship; and some would rather focus on their education, work, or other pursuits. There are also people who want to take the time to heal from a broken heart or overcome the loss of a partner; and others would want to follow their doctor’s advice to temporarily abstain from sexual intercourse after a sickness, infection, or medical procedures.
When you are ready to explore sex with your partner, have an honest talk about birth control and/or sexually transmitted infections. If you and your partner don’t plan to have a child, use contraceptives.
You can make an appointment with a family planning association in Hong Kong to find out more about contraceptive methods. You may also want to understand more about what your options are, the advantages and disadvantages of every method, what is most suitable for you and your partner, and the correct way of applying/using the methods.
Something to Think About…
- How do you feel about sex? Do you know your preferences?
- Consistency is important for both abstinence and contraceptives. Although you are abstinent or use contraceptives most of the time, first-time sex or one time sex without protection could result in an unplanned pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections.
- When practising abstinence, only when refraining from all forms of sexual intercourse all the time can be 100% effective to prevent unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections; anal and oral sex may still result in an unplanned pregnancy and/or sexually transmitted infections.
- While all contraceptive methods can help you prevent unplanned pregnancy, not all can help prevent sexually transmitted infections. For instance, the correct use of condoms can lower the risks of having an unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
There are a number of contraceptive methods available. More information can be found on The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong’s website: https://www.famplan.org.hk/en/health-info/contraceptive-methods/
You can also find the address and contact number of family planning centres and other service providers on PathFinders resource card: https://www.pathfinders.org.hk/assets/media/files/FINAL%20BILINGUAL_Resource%20Card%20Combined%201%20%26%202.pdf
Contact Number/WhatsApp: 5190 4886