Chances are you’ve heard of the IUD and maybe even have one. Of the respondents to our ELLE Canada Sex and Relationship Survey, 7% said they use an intrauterine device. These T-shaped forms of contraception are inserted into the uterus and have a failure rate of less than 1%. IUDs are available in two versions. The first, a hormone-free copper IUD (copper creates a toxic environment for sperm), costs about $100. One potential drawback, though, is heavier, crampier periods. The alternative – a progestin-releasing IUD – is best for those who suffer from heavy flow and severe cramping because it thins the uterine lining, but the downside is it can cause acne. (This one will run you about $400.)

Once inserted, your IUD can last from three to 10 years. Insertion, which is done by a doctor, can be painful – an IUD goes about five centimetres deeper than your average pap smear – so some doctors recommend you take an ibuprofen before your appointment. On the plus side, it takes less than 10 minutes to insert, and any post-insertion cramping will likely subside before you leave your doctor’s office. And FYI: The removal feels like a tiny pinch that is over by the time you’re back into your skinny jeans.



1. Male condom (30%). 2. Contraceptive pill (20%). 3. Withdrawal (11%). (In fact, 59% of you have relied on the withdrawal method at least once.) 4. Sterilization: tubes tied, vasectomy, etc. (9%).



Forty-five percent of you told us that sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are your biggest fear. But only 34% of you always ask a new partner to disclose his or her STI status and 43% always use a condom with a new partner. Here’s why using a condom is a good idea: According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis have been climbing steadily since the ’90s. Younger generations are more likely to be infected with an STI, but cases in middle-aged people are also on the rise.

Text by Katherine Flemming and Carli Whitwell.

This article originally appeared in the February 2017 issue of ELLE Canada.