What is Sexual and Reproductive Control?

31 July, 2020
Sexual and reproductive control seek to protect a person's freedom to decide responsibly whether or not they want to have children, when, and with whom.

Have you ever heard of reproductive control? Are you aware of the different birth control methods that allow people to enjoy their sexuality freely and safely?

If you have any questions or doubts on the subject, don’t miss the information below.

What is sexual and reproductive control?

Sexual and reproductive control is based on sexual and reproductive rights. Reproductive rights give all people, regardless of their gender, age, or ethnicity, the right to decide freely over their reproductive life.

At the same time, sexual rights refer to an individual’s autonomy when it comes to exercising their sexuality in a free and healthy way. And this implies being able to do so without experiencing any sort of abuse, violence, or discrimination.

Today, there exists a great number of methods of birth control and for preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Having access to them is essential to being able to practice our sexuality in a free and safe way. Below, we’ll explain the most common birth control methods, differentiating between male and female methods.

Methods of sexual and reproductive control

It’s important to make a distinction between birth control methods and those methods that also protect against possible STDs. Among the most common, the only method that prevents the spread of STDs for women is the female condom. Other methods only prevent unwanted pregnancies, to a greater or lesser degree of effectiveness.

Learn more: 4 Sexual Health Products

The female condom

A female condom.
The female condom has become a very popular birth control method. Not only does it help prevent unwanted pregnancies, but also protects against the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

Female condoms are small polyurethane sleeves that women insert in their vagina. They cover the inside of the vagina as well as some parts of the vulva. This way, they create a reservoir for ejaculated sperm, preventing them from reaching the ovule. 

  • This method helps to prevent STDs since it reduces the possibilities of contact between semen and the skin.
  • Female condoms are a popular choice because they are inexpensive, easy to use, and don’t require a prescription. However, following instructions carefully and inserting these condoms correctly is fundamental to their effectiveness.

Contraceptive implants

This is a small, thin rod that a health professional inserts below the skin of a woman’s arm. Its effectiveness lies in that it releases the hormone progestogen, which thickens the mucous of the uterine wall. This, in turn, prevents sperm from reaching the ovule.

One of the best features of this birth control method is that it lasts approximately 5 years. What’s more, it’s one of the safest and most effective methods. However, it does not protect against STDs – only barrier methods can do this. 

Intrauterine device (IUD)

The IUD is a small T-shaped device that a health professional must implant in the inside of the uterine wall.

There are two types: Copper and hormonal. Both prevent pregnancies by changing the way that sperm move, keeping them from coming in contact with the ovule.

The basic differences between one type and the other are the following:

  • The copper IUD acts as a spermicide, given that the increase of the copper’s ion levels inhibits the mobility of sperm.
  • The hormone IUD releases the hormone progestogen to thicken cervical mucous. In this sense, they work in the same way as contraceptive implants.
  • IUDs are not permanent. Therefore, if a woman desires to get pregnant, all she needs to do is have the IUD removed.

There are other effective birth control methods as well. For example, birth control pills, the birth control vaginal ring, and the patch. Their use requires care and consistency, which means they have a greater chance of failure. For example, when it comes to oral contraceptives, women have to remember to take them every single day.

Choosing a birth control method that best suits your needs and lifestyle is very important. If you have any doubts, consult with your gynecologist or general practitioner.

Discover more: What You Should Know About the Birth Control Shot

Reproductive control methods for men

A woman holding a condom.

The use of male condoms continues to be the safest way to enjoy sex in a free and fulfilling way. Just the same, there are other methods that men can choose as well.

The number of contraceptive methods that are available for men is much fewer than that of women. The most common is the condom since it prevents unwanted pregnancies and also the spread of STDs.

Just as with the female condom, it’s very important to put on male condoms correctly for them to be effective. It’s also a good idea to combine condom use with another (female) birth control method, such as the pill DIU, or implant. That way, the level of protection and safety is even higher.

Another commonly used male birth control method is the vasectomyThis is a surgical procedure that blocks or cuts off the tubes that transport sperm from the scrotum to the exterior. Therefore, this method effectively prevents pregnancies. It’s a permanent birth control method, making it highly effective.

Your personal sex life and clinical history will determine what birth control method is best for you.

Do you have any questions? Don’t hesitate to talk with your doctor or gynecologist. Without a doubt, he or she will give you the support and information you need about sexual and reproductive control.

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2019). About Teen Pregnancy | Teen Pregnancy | Reproductive Health | CDC.
  • Sharma KD. Control of STIs and HIV: The male reproductive and sexual health context – The paradigms. Indian J Sex Transm Dis AIDS. 2010;31(1):55. doi:10.4103/0253-7184.69006
  • Askew, I., & Berer, M. (2003). The Contribution of Sexual and Reproductive Health Services to the Fight against HIV/AIDS: A Review. Reproductive Health Matters. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0968-8080(03)22101-7
  • Lusti-Narasimhan, M., Collins, L., & Hopkins, J. (2014). Lessons learnt from sexual and reproductive health and HIV linkages for multipurpose prevention technology service delivery. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.12845