Contraception can be a sensitive topic to talk about, and with the many contraceptive methods available in Australia, it can be a confusing topic as well! Having an open and honest discussion about your choices with your partner, your doctor, your friends or a family member may help you to decide which contraceptive method is best for you and your lifestyle.
Universal conversation starters
No matter who you decide to talk to about contraception, these tips may help get your conversation off to a smooth start.
With the many methods to choose from, contraception can be quite daunting. It helps to do your research, or speak to your doctor or pharmacist, before you start your conversation.
Don't be embarrassed!
Many people use contraceptives so you needn’t feel embarrassed talking about it. Keep your conversation light and relaxed. You may find it useful to bring information with you, to help guide the conversation.
There's a time and a place...
Sex and contraception are sensitive subjects, and talking about them can be embarrassing at any age. Choose a private, quiet area to start your conversation.
Live in the moment
TV storylines and current affair programs often incorporate storylines about sex, relationships and teenage pregnancy. Use these programs as a prompt to start your conversation.
How to start a conversation with a parent, relative or close friend
Talking to a parent, a relative or some friends may help you learn more about contraception. Those close to you will be happy to discuss their experiences with different types of contraception and offer you advice. Here are some ways you can start talking.
Ask that question
All it takes to start a conversation is to ask a question that’s been on your mind. Those close to you are always happy to help you and share their experiences with you. If you both don’t know the answer you can always do some research together.
Let them know you’re being responsible
Your parents, relatives and friends care very much about your health and safety. Reassuring them that you are being smart and safe about your sexual health is a great way to start a conversation about contraception. Let them know that you appreciate their trust and support.
The buddy system
If you have never visited a doctor before to discuss contraception, it can be a good idea to ask a parent, relative or friend to come all with you. They can provide you support and help you to understand the information you receive from your doctor.
How to start a conversation with your partner
Contraception is an important topic in every sexually active relationship. You and your partner should feel comfortable to talk openly about contraception. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Start talking early
It is important to discuss your contraceptive options and sexual history, before you and your partner become sexually active.
Share the responsibility
Remember, it takes two to tango! Contraception is the responsibility of both partners in a relationship. The more informed you both are about your contraceptive choices, the more likely you will be to share the responsibility.
Respect your bodies and lifestyle
Not every method of contraception is suitable for every person. Consider factors such as allergies, lifestyle and medical history when you are discussing contraceptive options.
Be open about your wishes and respect each other’s choices.
Be forward thinking
Are you and your partner planning to have a baby soon? It is important to think about and discuss your plans for the future as this can influence your choice of contraception.
How to start a conversation with your doctor
Talking to your doctor about contraception is an essential step in deciding which contraceptive method is best for you. You may feel uncomfortable raising the topic, but remember your doctor is there to help guide your decision and offer advice. Here are some tips to consider before you head to the clinic.
Make an appointment to see a doctor you are familiar and comfortable with.
Make a list
Before you visit your doctor, you may want to do some background research on your contraceptive options. If you have any questions about what you read, make a list and bring it to the doctors. You may also want to complete the survey on this website and print the results out to take with you.
Keep no secrets
When you are discussing contraception with your doctor, he/she will probably need to ask you questions about your sexual history, current sex life and medical conditions. It is important to be open and honest with your doctor. This will make it easier for you and your doctor to decide together which contraceptive option is best suited to you.
How to start a conversation with your son/daughter
Many parents feel uncomfortable discussing sex and contraception with their teenager. You may feel that your teenager shouldn’t be engaging in sexual activity; however, it is important to ensure they are well informed about sexual issues.
Teenagers often don’t know as much about sex and contraception as you might think. Most teenagers get information from their friends, magazines, TV or the Internet. You may have to uncover any misconceptions they may have, and provide them with the correct information.
Don’t push it
Talking about sex and contraception can be embarrassing at any age. While it is important for you to initiate a conversation, don’t force your teenager to open up. Do not pressure them into telling you everything. Let them tell you what they feel comfortable sharing.
You were young once too
Remind your teenager that you were their age once too, and you understand the issues that they may be facing in relation to their sexual development. Let your teenager know that you trust their judgement and expect them to act responsibly.
Be honest, open and available
Your teenager may or may not let you know when they become sexually active. Discussing sex openly and offering to make an appointment with the doctor will often open the lines of communication for you to talk about contraception. Be honest with your teenager if you are embarrassed about a certain topic, or if you are unsure of how best to discuss it. Your teenager will appreciate your honesty. Let your teenager know that you are available to speak to them any time they have a question, or need some advice.
Teenagers and sex: more than just the birds and the bees. Community services NSW. Available at: www.community.nsw.gov.au/docswr/_assets/main/documents/parsex.pdf. [Accessed December 2010].
Talking Sexual Health - framework. Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society. Available at: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/arcshs/downloads/arcshs-research-publications/TSHframework.pdf
IMP-10-AUS-7288-PE First issued February 2011.