Have a question for Dr. Debby Herbenick of Indiana University's Kinsey Institute? Send it in anonymously here.
Are there more and less reliable forms of birth control? My boyfriend doesn't like condoms (whose does?).
Sarah: Thanks for coordinating with the previous reader! Yes, there are plenty of other forms of birth control that are just as effective. The downside is, aside from a vasectomy, all the other forms of BC fall squarely on the shoulders of female responsibility, which is some bullshit. That said, birth control doesn't cover on the STI front, so if that's on your list of concerns, you'll still want some kind of barrier. I think the most effective version of this is the Scroguard, a device that will both keep you clean and healthy, and also is so visually repellent that it may end all your sexual contact with everyone, everywhere.
Dr. Debby: Yes! But again, there are so many different kinds of condoms and I would encourage you and your boyfriend to find one that works for you. You can also pair it with another form of birth control, like withdrawal or the pill or patch or ring, to double up your protection against pregnancy. You might also try using a female condom (easier to find on the internet than in person) which can help sex to feel more pleasurable for you both and still provide you with a huge reduction in STI risk that can only come with male or female condoms.