Oh Joy Sex Toy: The Birth Control Implant

Erika Moen
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I’ve been producing webcomics since I was 15 and doing it full-time as a professional since the age of 25 at Periscope Studio in Portland, OR. My work has been published by Dark Horse Comics, BOOM! Studios, Image Comics, Fantagraphics, Last Gasp and Villard, among my many self-published projects as well.

Each week, Oh Joy Sex Toy features an illustrated sex toy review. But this week is different! We’re featuring a special guest comic that’s about another aspect of sex—artist Lucy Knisley dishes on the pros and cons of her birth control method.

A comic about the pros and cons of Implanon

Read other Oh Joy Sex Toy review comics, including artist Erika Moen’s review of the Fleshlight, a fake tongue wheel, and a vibrator alarm clock.  

Read and buy Bitch magazine’s current print issue!

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19 Comments Have Been Posted

What country are you in?!

Great comic and info! I just have a quick question what country are you in? Because I just did a quick search and what cropped up was that sub-dermal implants were not widely available in the US and Canada (I care more about canada because that's where I am)!!!. I really hope this isn't true because I want to find out more about this. Do you guys have any links you could share?

Found it

Turns out that no sub-dermal implant devices are available or even going to be available in Canada. I find this to be very disappointing :(

I have an implant and I LOVE

I have an implant and I LOVE IT!!! It is available in the US-- your doc prob doesn't know a lot about it though. I live in a fly-over state and got mine free through the Choice Project (http://www.choiceproject.wustl.edu/). However, when I get it replaced it will probably cost about $1k unless I have health insurance that will cover the cost.

I have to say I really like it! I have no periods but I have gained weight (but I have also gotten 2 new jobs, got married, moved and adopted 3 pets in the time since I got the implant-- just sayin' it might be other factors!!)

Talk to your doc about options and talk to your health insurance provider to find out if you are eligible for a discount (Medicaid recipients often get IUDs and Implants free as part of their coverage.)

OP Here

Thanks for the info guys. Unfortunately I live in Canada where an implant as a form of birth control is not an option

Those are just the CUTEST

Those are just the CUTEST little STIs!

not a fan of implants

i had the implant and like some of the other women i've known that were on it they experienced bleeding everyday. something i had hoped to avoid since the doctor told me that women typically don't bleed while on it but honestly she just told me exactly what it says on the pamphlet that they give you once you get the implant. i found that the iud is a better option for me, i had some bleeding in the beginning but that's typical and i spot occasionally. something i don't mind as opposed to everyday

Another REALLY common side

Another REALLY common side effect that isn't mentioned here is loss of arousal! I know a handful of people who have been on this, and EVERYONE SINGLE ONE had it removed after a while because they had zero desire for sexy times. Like, they couldn't even be turned on when their partner tried their hardest. I imagine a lot of people think "this wouldn't happen to me" or "I could get over that", but it has caused serious issues for the people who I know who've used it.

I dont know, it seems like

I dont know, it seems like this just makes it look like there are NO side effects whatsoever. Truth is, you might not get your period but a friend of mine got her period on this for a year like EVERY FUCKING DAY for A YEAR!!!!!! and then it stopped, but still..... Most side effects that can occure by being on the pill can occure as wel. hormonal stimulation by the way is linked to breast cancer! And an important note: although the implant does not contain any oestrogens, it's possible that the device may cause a slightly raised incidence of thrombosis.


I don't know, it seems like

The docs have been very upfront, in my very own personal experience, about the potential side effects. Lack of period is actually considered a potentially negative side effect: a lot of the women in studies who stopped using it did so because they didn't like not having a period. I got Nexplanon a few months ago and my cycle hasn't calmed down enough for me to know what I'll get (One month I got no period, one month I got light flow for weeks, et c.) You can get it taken out if you don't like the results, and I will if I don't.

Most pills are combination estrogen/progesterone. The only progesterone-only pill isn't at all popular, I would assume because you have to take it within a few hours of the same time every day or it becomes terribly ineffective as birth control. So this progesterone-only implant does differ pretty strongly from estrogen/progesterone pills.

The article you linked, by a GP, advises against using Nexplanon if you currently have thrombosis, with no further explanation and no link to studies. Since my OB/GYN put me on Nexplanon <em>explicitly because</em> I am a thrombosis/stroke risk, I find this a little hard to take as a meaningful red flag. I read the scientific studies she cited, and they were all about estrogen: progesterone didn't statistically blip on the clot-throwing chances, and I specifically checked because I was dubious and paranoid. I'm by no means saying that there's no possible risk, but that it seems premature to warn about it without some science backing one up. One general article from a dude who says desperately vague yet alarming things like "Obviously, it is to be hoped that use of them does not lead to any form of cancer. Certainly, at the time of writing there has been no indication of this, but with a hormone product there must always be a chance of a long-term link with (say) breast carcinoma." isn't a great basis upon which to throw around scary warnings.

The cost could really be a dissuasive factor (it counts as in-patient surgery, according to my insurance bill, which costs!) but I, an American, was happily surprised to discover I didn't have to pay a penny of it because of healthcare reform. If you have insurance, <a href="http://www.nwlc.org/resource/contraceptive-coverage-health-care-law-freq... appears it should be covered</a>!

I just got one

I got mine implanted about three weeks ago. And I totally make every one I know poke at it. I think it's cool. I'm now officially a cyborg!

Mirena! :)

I wish you would do one on the IUD Mirena! That's what I have and I think it would be really useful for girls to know about as well because it can last up to 5 years!

Seconded! I've had my Mirena

Seconded! I've had my Mirena for about 2.5 years now and I love it! No complaints and I really don't miss my period.


I also have a Mirena. I spotted off an on for several months and since then, no period. I love it.

What about pregnancy?

So I've heard the only real reason we should have a regular period is to make sure we're not pregnant. Even though the implant is highly effective, wouldn't having no period for three years be risky?

I like getting my period every couple months because it reassures me that I'm not preggo!

Nope, from a

Nope, from a biological/medical perspective, there's no risk to not getting your period. When my period disappeared after I got my Mirena IUD, my gynecologist pointed out that although the chances of getting pregnant are technically greater than 0, I should only be concerned if I get other early pregnancy symptoms ("flu-like" symptoms for more than a couple weeks). Like Lucy, my IUD has been a win: it's super-effective, no babies, and no period. Yay!

I was on Depo for 8 years,

I was on Depo for 8 years, and my doctor finally insisted I get off of it because by tricking your body into thinking it's pregnant, it badly impacts body calcium. Wouldn't the implant do the same? I know it's less powerful, but it's still powerful enough to trick your body into not having a period.

As someone with an intense

As someone with an <i>intense</i> fear of needles, I'm going to stick with the pill but I wonder at how having the implant might be affected by high contact/impact sports. Would it be problematic to have a heavy impact on the location where the implant is?

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