How Long After I Get on Birth Control is it Safe to Have Sex?

Starting a new method of birth control comes with all kinds of questions. How do I use it most effectively? What are the possible side effects? And perhaps most importantly: When it’s safe to start getting frisky?

Well, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to that last question because it’s a little different for each method, so here’s a simple breakdown to help you out. (You can learn more about all of the methods listed below right here.)

Method When is it safe to have sex?
Copper IUD (ParaGard) Good news. The moment the copper IUD is inserted, you are protected against unintended pregnancy. You can have sex as soon as you want.
Hormonal IUD (Mirena & Skyla) Take your pick:1) Wait to have sex for seven days after insertion.2) You can get busy right away, but you’ll need to use a back-up method like condoms for seven days to protect against unintended pregnancy.
Implant (Nexplanon) This one’s the same as the Hormonal IUD above. You can either wait seven days, or use a back-up method for those seven days if you don’t want to hold out.
Vasectomy It’s best to get your doctor’s advice on when you can start having sex after this procedure, but keep in mind that it takes most men three months (8–16 weeks) for all of his sperm to be long gone. You should get a sperm count three months after the procedure to confirm that your semen is sperm-free. In the meantime, use a back-up method of birth control to protect against unintended pregnancy.
Surgical tubal ligation (tubes tied) This one’s all about doctor’s orders. Talk with your healthcare provider to determine when you’ll be in good enough physical condition to have sex. Once you get the green light, go for it, girl!
Essure (tubal occlusion) Talk with your doctor about when you can start having sex after the insertion, but remember that you need to use a back-up method of contraception for about three months and until you have a follow up x-ray that confirms that the fallopian tubes are fully blocked. The shot is a great back-up option since it provides three months of contraception with a single injection, but any method will work.
Shot (Depo) Take your pick:1) Wait to have sex for seven days after your first shot.2) Don’t want to wait? That’s okay too. Just use a back-up method like condoms for seven days to protect against unintended pregnancy.
Combined oral contraceptive pills, Patch, Ring Take your pick:1) Wait to have sex for seven days after you take your first pill, apply the patch or insert the ring.2) Can’t hold out? No problem. Just use a back-up method like condoms for seven days to protect against unintended pregnancy.
Progestin-only pills Take your pick:1) Wait to have sex for two days after you take your first pill.2) Rather not wait? That’s fine too. Just use a back-up method like condoms for two days to protect against unintended pregnancy.
Diaphragm, cervical cap, sponge Lucky you. These work right away, so as soon as you’ve inserted one of these methods into the vagina, you are protected from unintended pregnancy and are good to go. Just remember you need to use them every single time you have sex.
Condoms (male and female) Lucky you. These work right away, so as soon as the condom is on properly (male or female varieties), you’re protected from unintended pregnancy and can have sex whenever you want. Just remember you need to use them every single time.

And just as one last note, don’t forget that condoms are the only method that protects against STDs, which makes them a great addition to your regular method, especially when you have a new partner or multiple partners. Have a chat with your healthcare provider about which back-up method is right for you, and remember: safe is sexy.