sex

The contraception age game: Why every generation does protection differently.

Contraception is an entirely personal thing.

It's something you use for yourself, your lifestyle, your protection, that you sometimes disclose to a sexual partner or a few mates if asked, but beyond that it's a pretty closed off conversation.

Which is why there's barely any common knowledge or fresh data on the topic. Until now.

See, us nosey parkers at Mamamia decided to ask the contraception questions we think everyone should know more about.

Watch: The juiciest results from the Mamamia sex survey! Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

Obviously the first in the lineup was whether you actually use contraception at all, in any form. And, to be honest, we were a little surprised by the response - as over half of the 1,200 women surveyed don't use any contraception at all.

The age group most likely to use contraception are those between 16 and 24 years old (with a 85 per cent take up) and the over 50s category saw a 17 per cent take up. 

Image: Mamamia. 

ADVERTISEMENT

Next up, we asked those who used contraception what their preference was. Were they devoted to The Pill, fans of an IUD, loyal to condoms?

Turns out The Pill is the most popular contraception (with 42 per cent of women taking it), closely followed by condoms (33 per cent) and then IUDs took the bronze medal at 25 per cent.

But here's where things got interesting...

Because the divide in contraception preference correlates directly to the respondent's age, it's unearthed a trend pattern that we weren't expecting.

Give or take a few responses, the data showed us this:

  • The Pill is used most by 16 - 24-year-olds (60 per cent)
  • Condoms used most by those in their 30s (36 per cent)
  • IUDs are most used by those aged 50 or older

WOAH SCIENCE.

To dive deeper into these findings, we asked the Mamamia community why they have opted for their chosen contraceptives. 

Here's what they told us...

Bridgette, aged 25, and reliant on condoms:

I'm 25 and my boyfriend and I (who have been together for seven years) use condoms. I was on the pill when I was like 16-19 but then went off it because I was getting breakthrough bleeding in between periods, so basically figured that it wasn't worth the trouble of remembering to take it every day. The first pill I went on was to help my acne as well (specifically on shoulders and back) and it was amazing. Cleared it right up. Recently I've had the same issues coming up again and my doctor now won't prescribe any pill to me because I get regular migraines and apparently that heightens risk when taking the pill. So condoms it is.

Katie, aged 27, is a slave to her pill:

I first went on The Pill aged 14 to manage my rather hectic periods, and haven't been off it since then. Luckily, I've never experienced any negative side effects, just shorter periods and less cramping. When it came to staving off STDs, I took a slightly untraditional route... I demanded an STD test from the guy I was seeing before we first bonked. Once that came back as clear I was happy to just rely on the pill to prevent pregnancy and go sans-condoms. A few of my friends have recently gone off The Pill to see what their 'natural' cycle and body is like, which has made me pretty intrigued to give it a go - but I think the fear of non-pill me still overrides that curiosity, so I'm staying put for now. 

Genevieve, aged 26, and reliant on condoms:

I only use condoms. Reason being, I've had so many friends have horror stories with the Mirena (IUD). Plus The Pill just doesn't appeal to me - effectively tricking my body with hormones just seems unnecessary if there's an alternative. Condoms are the only contraceptive that protect against STDs, and I'd never had an STD scare until recently and tested for two in the space of a month. Thankfully, both results came back negative, and the reassurance I had from my doctor while waiting for results that was I should be 99 per cent safe given that I'd been consistently using condoms. That's the only reassurance I need to stick with condoms!

ADVERTISEMENT

Listen to this episode of The Undone, where there's a pretty hectic condom story. Post continues after podcast.

Emma, aged 20, picks The Pill as her chosen contraception:

I first started on The Pill when I went to the doctor at 15 and... asked for The Pill. I think it was just widely accepted as the best-known, most accepted form of birth control and I was in my first ever long-term relationship so wasn't worried about STDs. I've been on it for five years now and experienced a TONNE of side effects at the start, but they levelled out after about six months or so. I was too young and inexperienced to bother enquiring about anything else and it works wonders nowadays (particularly when I've been in two long-term relationships) so I haven't given it up. I use condoms as well now but I'm too scared of pregnancy or how my whole life will be changed if I go off The Pill.

Brielle, aged 23, uses a pill for her contraception:

I first started taking The Pill in high school to help with my acne. I was the only one of my friends who was on The Pill at the time so I remember being really nervous about how my body would react to it. My nan took me to the doctor, who gave me the contraceptive pill called Yasmin which came in a weird digital dispenser. I thought that was pretty fun, and I felt really grown up. But I quickly noticed how much my mood was changing and how emotional I became while taking it. A few months later I went back to the doctors, and they put me on Brenda - which I've been on ever since. Even now, not being in a relationship, I still take it for my skin and to regulate my period.

Lily, aged 27, relies on condoms for contraception:

I stopped taking The Pill a year and a half ago as I wanted to see what my body would feel like without the extra hormones. Best thing I ever did, I have so much more energy, feel more myself and much less anxious. The only no hormonal options were the copper IUD or condoms. I wasn't comfortable with the idea of the IUD as I am super scared of medical procedures, so now we just use condoms. We both find it totally fine, and decided together that if I feel better off The Pill, then it's worth it.

Charlie, aged 23, uses a IUD:

I’ve had a Mirena IUD since I was 15. It was nothing to do with contraception - I had terrible endometriosis and doctors suggested it would fix the pain, and it did. I got my second Mirena a few years ago (you need to change them every five years) and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. No period, such a safe form of contraception and zero side effects.

What contraception do you use? If any?! Let us know in the comments. 

Feature Image: Mamamia.

 Like a $50 gift voucher for your thoughts? Take our quick survey 

MMSurvey