top of page
Contraception and Safe Sex

If you’re thinking of having sex, the most important thing that Tilly asks, is that you look into contraception, as well as ways to prevent sexually transmitted infections! Although contraception means to prevent pregnancy, there are some contraceptives available that can also help with other issues, such as your periods. So follow along to see the various forms of contraception available to you! 💗

 Contraceptives available in New Zealand are condoms, the pill, injections (Depo Provera), Implants (Jadelle), IUDs, and emergency contraception. And the best prevention against STI's is always using a condom or dental dam. 

Firstly, it's important to debunk some myths! 

  1. Birth control always causes weight gain

This is not true! Weight gain due to birth control is dependent on a case-to-case circumstance. Everybody’s bodies are different. Even if there was weight gain, it is generally minimal. A friend of Tilly had gained a bit of weight on birth control, whereas another friend didn’t show any signs of weight gain throughout the course of using birth control. 

  1. Birth control will affect my future fertility 

Birth control does not prevent fertility or the ability to get pregnant later on. Once you stop using your birth control, it is still very possible for you to become pregnant. Fertility is something that varies from person to person, but there is no evidence that using birth control will alter your fertility. However, STI’s can affect fertility. Hence why it is so important to use contraception to ensure your own protection. 

  1. Birth control imbalances hormones and makes you “crazy”

The hormones used in birth control are similar to those that a woman produces naturally. So any use of birth control will not alter your hormones in a drastic way to cause concern. In fact, stress will cause a greater hormonal imbalance than birth control. 

To look into these myths further, visit

 If any of these are cause for concern, consult your local GP. 

Contraception methods 


The most common use of contraception are condoms. Defined by Family Planning, “A condom is a fine tube which is rolled on to the penis before sex. It is a barrier to stop sperm and infection passing between sexual partners. It is usually made of rubber.”. It is important to place on emphasis on the fact that condoms are not just important for preventing pregnancy, but to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STI) as well. Thats why it’s important to wear a condom when having sex, as STIs don’t pick and choose, they can come from anyone. Anyone can buy a condom. You can get them free from your local Family Planning, or buy them from supermarkets and pharmacies.

However, less commonly used are the internal condoms. Family planning states “It is a tube with flexible rings at each end – one end is closed and the other is open.”. It is placed inside the vagina, to prevent sperm from entering inside the vagina. The pregnancy rate for internal condoms are 21 out of 100 each year, however if used properly, it drops to five per 100. You can purchase internal condoms through Family Planning, costing $3.80. 

“I was skeptical in the beginning about how the internal ring would feel. However, I found that it was less irritating than using other forms of birth control, like condoms. I was worried that it would slip out of place, but it didn’t which was good. The only tip I have is to try it at least once or twice on your own. Like any other type of birth control, even the pill, it may take some getting used to. I found it more reliable and enjoyable because of the lubrication inside and out, the latex-free and irritation-free experience, and the peace of mind of knowing it was designed to fit well.”

internal dom.jpeg

Contraceptive implant (Rod):

The implant is two small rods that are inserted into your arm, where it slowly releases progestogen (hormone). The rod is useful in many ways. It’s been proven 99% effective, works up to 5 years, you can choose when to take it out and you don’t need to take anything or do anything after it’s been put in, “fit and forget!”. It works by preventing your body from releasing an egg each month, as well as thickening the mucus inside your cervix so that sperm can’t pass through. There are side effects however, some may find that their menstrual patterns change. For example, you may get an irregular period, heavy period, or no period at all. It’s all very random and just depends on the person. 


Tilly's friend will tell you about her experiences with the rod: 


“I was about 16 when I got the rod. The reason why I chose the rod rather than the pill (or other birth control) was because I can be quite forgetful, and it had been recommended to me by friends of mine. I booked through Family Planning to receive my rod. The process was super quick. They numb your arm, and insert the rods inside. The lady who did it explained everything to me, how it worked, what may happen etc. It was a very easy experience. Since I've gotten the rod, my periods have been super irregular and quite light. Whereas I know another person who hadn’t got her period at all after the rod. It didn't bother me however, I could just put on a liner for a couple days until the light bleeding stopped and it was all good. I also have a friend who has just gone off the rod, and her periods have gone back to being regular and normal so it’s a pretty easy transition getting it and getting off it.” 


The pill:

There are two types of pills.

Firstly, combined oral contraceptive pill. This is a combined pill which contains two hormones, oestrogen and progestogen. However, quoted from Family Planning, “This pill is normally 92% effective. This means 8 in 100 people taking the pill will get pregnant each year.” However, it is 99% effective as long as you take it consistently. The combined pill is able to stop or alter your cycle of your period. This pill can be taken if your period is too heavy, or suffer from bad cramping. The pill works by preventing eggs from developing, so that no egg is released from the ovary. 


The other pill is the progestogen-only contraceptive pill. This pill is purely to prevent pregnancy.. The pill thickens the mucus in the cervix preventing sperm from travelling through. As well by changing the lining of the uterus to make it more likely to reject a fertilised egg. This pill is also 92% effective. Some symptoms of the progestogen-only pill is that your period may change. Either it may stay the exact same, become more irregular, have heavier bleeding, or no bleeding at all. The progestogen only pill works by thickening the mucus within the cervix, preventing sperm from travelling through. The cost for the prescription is typically $5. 


A friend of Tillys shares their experience using the combined oral contraceptive pill, specifically called the Levlen pill:


“I started the pill when I was 14. I originally had the IUD but didn’t like it because it made me bleed and have bad cramps. The doctor then prescribed me the pill, the Levlen pill. I like the pill because it firstly stops me from getting pregnant,  and I can pick and choose when I want my period. It’s just annoying having to take it at the same time everyday. But I didn’t experience any weight gain.  I wasn’t using birth control for the my first year of having sex so I’m just glad that I’m being safe now.” 


The injection: 

Depo Provera, also known as the injection, is another contraceptive method. The injection contains progestogen, the same hormone that is used in the pill, and the rod. The injection is given every 13 weeks, and is only to prevent pregnancy. It is 97% effective, where 3 out of 100 people will get pregnant each year, however, if you get the injection on time every 13 weeks, then it is 99% effective. Side effects include bleeding changes. Similar to other hormone contraceptives, it may be irregular or last for a longer period of time - particularly in the first 3-6 weeks of getting the injection. Statistics show that 70% of people who have received the injection, don’t get a period after four injections. However, this is safe and won’t affect your future periods and fertility after going off the injections.

One of Tillys friends shares their experience with the injection:

“I got the injection when I was 17, overall one of the best contraceptives I’ve tried and I’ve tried some form of each. Started using to help with heavy periods. Completely stopped my periods other than the occasional spotting towards the end of the 12 weeks after injection. Found it had no long term impact on my moods and very few side effects in general and improved my skin. Really handy only having to get it every 12 weeks rather than take a pill everyday. Only downfalls are for about a week after the first 2 injections I was very teary and hungry all the time but this stopped once I got used to it.”

Emergency contraception:

If you are worried about getting pregnant after unprotected sex, then another form of contraception can be used. This is the emergency contraception pill (ECP), or also known as the morning after pill. This can be taken AFTER sex to prevent pregnancy from occurring. However, it is important to note that it will only be effective up to three days after unprotected sex. Quoting directly from Family Planning, This pill can be used if:  

  • you haven't used protection

  • your normal contraception fails e.g. condom splits

  • you have missed more than one contraceptive pill

  • you have been vomiting or had diarrhoea while on the pill

  • you have missed your injection

  • you have been forced to have sex without contraception.

The side effects of ECP are nausea or vomiting. It is suggested to take food with ECP to lessen the side effects. It is discouraged to use ECP as a regular form of contraceptive as it is less effective than other forms of contraception. As well, It is recommended that if you weigh more than 70kgs, to use copper IUD as the ECP will be less effective. However, if you would prefer to take the ECP, check and see if a double dose would be better for you. The cost for ECP is $5 at Family Planning (including appointment and prescription), whereas from pharmacies it’s typically from $35 to $50.

Tillys friend has tried ECP, and this is how they found it:

“The first time I took this pill was when I was 16. I did feel nauseous but I could handle it. I have taken this pill numerous times so I was aware of the side affects, not so bad as other pills just a heavier period and cramping, but overall I would recommend for a morning after solution.” 

emergency pill.jpeg



The Intra Uterine Device (IUD) is a form of contraception that is inserted inside your uterus. There are two forms of IUD, the copper IUDs and the hormonal IUDs (Mirena or Jaydess). Copper IUDs don’t have any hormones in it, only contain copper; a metal. This IUD can be used as an emergency contraceptive. The hormonal IUD contains progestogen. They both work similarly, they each prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. Even if the sperm does reach the egg, the IUDs prevent it from developing further by not letting it attach to the wall of the uterus. They are both 99% effective and can last from 3 to 10 years. One friend of Tilly’s has an IUD, this is her experience with it:


“I was 17 when I got the Mirena through family planning. You can either get Copper or Marina. The copper just stops you from getting pregnant but doesn’t stop your period. Whereas the Marina has hormones in it, and stopped my period. Getting it in hurts, but it’s bearable. The whole process lasted less than 20 minutes. I’ve also had the rod before, but I prefer the Mirena because the rod would cause me to bleed constantly which was annoying, so the Mirena is better for me in that sense. It was all pretty straight forward, and since having it in I’ve had no issues”

Safe sex for female same-sex relationships

People with vulvas can catch or pass on STIs when having sex with each other. There are several ways of protecting yourself when engaging in oral or digital sex.

  • Wash your hands before and after sex to stop infections from spreading. 

  • Dental Dams - a dental dam is a thin latex square that can be used to cover female genitals during oral sex which acts as a barrier to prevent against STIs.

  • Internal condoms can also be used but are not as effective as dental dams.

  • Avoid oral sex if either of you has cuts or sores in or around your mouth or lips.

  • If using toys, make sure they are clean and use new condoms for each partner.

Contraceptives are different for all people. However, if you are to be sexually active please be sure to have some form of contraception. You can try out whatever contraceptive you feel suits you best, and consult your GP or book straight through Family Planning. The cost for the implant, IUD, and injections are free if you are under 22.  Overall, It’s all easy and a very normal process for teenagers to go through, so don’t feel anxious if you want to get contraception as well! But please ensure to use a condom or dental dam whenever you’re having sex to avoid STIs.

All information and photos provided are sourced from Family Planning, for further information, please visit:
For further reviews on these contraceptives, please visit:

bottom of page