For the past 9 years of my life, I’ve been on and off various forms of hormonal birth control. At 14, I was prescribed Yasmin by a dermatologist to get my acne under control. When combined with a strict face washing regimen and an oral antibiotic, it worked quite well. (Would I go back to that? Absolutely not, especially the oral antibiotics.) Sometime around age 16, I was switched to Yaz, which worked equally well. At 20, I got the Mirena IUD because my partner wanted to stop using condoms and I was too afraid to rely on just the pill because most of my friends used two forms of birth control. Mirena is where shit began to get crazy, and the love/hate affair began.
My skin freaked out. I had lovely skin until I got my Mirena. Suddenly, zit city. On the other hand, it stopped my periods entirely. This phenomenon might have caused other women to panic but I enjoyed every second of that period-free existence, except the part where my face looked like the surface of the moon. What was the best part? Mirena is >99% effective, and you just set it and forget it (provided you have either the means or the insurance to afford it).
When I determined that I couldn’t stand the acne anymore and decided to have the Mirena removed, I opted for NuvaRing, which I hate with a burning passion. Hate it, hate it, hate it. First of all, there’s a slight chance you’re going to end up playing a game of Penis Ring Toss. That’s not as fun as it sounds, especially when it’s your birth control. Additionally, it was somehow really hard for me to remember to replace it every month, even with a calendar event. Sometimes, the alarm would go off and I wouldn’t be home, and would thus totally forget until a day or so later. But worst of all, it made my vagina dry. Like, Sahara desert dry. Multiple applications of even the best Sliquid has to offer, dry. When your partner is wincing trying to put it in, you know there’s a problem. So, out came the ring.
For somewhere between 8 and 12 months, I went au naturale. During this time, I switched my skincare over to a brand I used to work for (hate to bad mouth them – it just didn’t work for me), and my skin decided it was once again not pleased. Was this more to do with my skincare switch, or my birth control ditch? I might never know. What I do know is that my sex drive was normal, my periods were erratic but never terrible, and I took the chance to experiment with all kinds of condoms to become a bit of a connoisseur (Lifestyles Skyn are my condoms of choice).
Around July, I became frustrated again with my acne. It was majorly flaring up, and I had scars from previous flares to boot. I wasn’t even considering switching my skincare, so I decided to try hormonal birth control again. Enter: Sprintec, a mono-phasic birth control pill that’s approved for acne treatment. So what’s the problem? It murdered my sex drive. Totally annihilated it. I’m a newlywed! I should be having sex like 20 times a week, taking breaks only for sustenance! It’s only been three months, but in these three months, my sex life has taken quite a blow. Sure, it’s nice being 98% sure I won’t get pregnant. But you know what? If I’m not having sex, it’s not really doing me any good. Furthermore, it’s really dampening my desire to test products and write quality reviews.
I’ve spent the last week doing some research to see if another pill might be a good option for me. Unfortunately, it looks like the ones that don’t negatively affect your sex drive do tend to cause acne. These two things are not items that I’m willing to compromise on. I will not trade one for the other. If I’m going to take a pill, it had better positively impact both, otherwise I’m not sure what I’m paying Big Pharma for, you know? Which leads me to my solution: The humble condom.
Since I’ve finally gotten my skin under control, which I believe is much more a result of discovering the magic that is Avene, a healthy diet, and regular exercise than using Sprintec; and because I would like to actually bone my husband more than once in a blue moon, I’m switching back to good old condoms. Lifestyles, don’t let me down.
Please note: This is entirely my own personal experience. I am not in any way a health care provider or expert, and you should always consult your own before making any birth control decisions. What’s right for one person might not be right for you. But I do highly recommend Lifestyles Skyn condoms, because I am at least an expert in wrapping before tapping.