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Abstinence is the most obvious behavioral birth control option for you. Abstinence means continuous avoidance of not only sexual intercourse, but also intimate sex play that may lead to sexual intercourse. Although you can only get pregnant from having sex, many times it is difficult to abstain from having sex, especially after long bouts of intimate sexual foreplay. However, if you have strong will power and successfully abstain from having sex, you will completely avoid pregnancy and contacting many forms of STDs. This is the only fool-proof method of birth control and protection.

Many couples engage in withdrawal, the act of removing the penis from the vagina immediately prior to ejaculation, in order to prevent pregnancy. This method of birth control is rarely effective and becomes problematic. It is often difficult for a man to practice withdrawal in the moment, and proper withdrawal requires a great amount of self-control and trust. Furthermore, pregnancy may be caused by sperm emitted from the penis in pre-ejaculatory fluid or any sperm that comes into contact with the vulva. And withdrawal does not protect against STDs.

Some women choose to practice fertility awareness based birth control. This method has also been referred to as “the rhythm method,” “natural family planning,” and “safe period.” Women who choose this method keep careful watch over their fertility calendar and menstrual cycle and abstain from sex on “unsafe” days. If you choose fertility awareness, you should do so with the close guidance of a healthcare professional who can teach you how to chart your menstrual cycle and detect physical signs that signal fertility or “unsafe days.” This method requires you to check your temperature daily, check cervical mucus daily, carefully record menstrual cycles on a calendar, and keep an extremely accurate record of your monthly period. Because this method requires expert training and a lot of effort and maintenance, it has a low effectiveness. Furthermore, sometimes fertility is not predictable due to illness, lack of sleep and certain infections.

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