Dear Pillow Talk,
Over the weekend, I had sex with a guy I met at a party. I was pretty drunk and although I think we were safe, I’m not 100 percent sure. I bought Plan B to be safe, but I’ve heard that birth control pills can sometimes be used instead of buying Plan B. As a relatively broke college student who would rather not spend $50 on Plan B, I was wondering if this is true. If it is true, how many of my birth control pills I would have to take to be safe?
Looking for Alternatives
First of all, good call on getting emergency contraception even though you felt as if you were probably not as risk. When it comes to sexual safety, it’s better to be safe rather than sorry, especially if you engage in sexual activity when intoxicated or otherwise impaired. Remember though, if you had unprotected sex you’re also at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection so please be sure to get an STI screening as soon as possible.
Some birth control pills can be used in place of Plan B and other types of emergency contraceptives such as Next Choice or Ella, but the number of pills and doses vary from brand to brand. If you need to know if your brand of birth control can be used for emergency contraception, or how many of the pills you need to take, check out The Emergency Contraception website (http://ec.princeton.edu/questions/dose.html#dose).
According to this website, almost two dozen brands of birth control pills can be used as emergency contraception, as they have been proven both safe and effective at preventing pregnancy within a few days of unprotected sex.
However, I have heard that using birth controls rather than emergency contraceptives can sometimes cause more nausea than their counterparts, plus you’ll be using the pills that you should be taking daily. To keep costs down, look into obtaining emergency contraception from a family planning clinic that operates on a sliding-fee scale, such as Planned Parenthood, rather than a pharmacy.
- Mallory Long is a senior studying journalism and women's studies. Ask her your questions about sex and love in the culture section of thepost.ohiou.edu, at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow Pillow Talk on Twitter at @post_pillowtalk.