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Men’s Health Thursday: Sex Must Last For Hours And 9 Other Lies Porn Tell

Men’s Health Thursday: Sex Must Last For Hours And 9 Other Lies Porn Tell


Have you ever considered the fact that if real life were anything like porn, we won’t ever get anything done because we’d be so caught up with spending much time into giving in to our sexual desires.

The truth is real life is nothing like what you see in pornographic movies simply because movies are nothing but ‘make-believe’. Thinking that you can have sex for hours on end is the biggest lie yet told by pornography. Sex never goes that long as the actors are either on performance enhancing drugs and/or several editing of the film tapes are done. Men in the real world are nothing like porn actors and by the time you’re done with this article, you’d agree that the myths surrounding porn aryou’d agree that the myths surrounding porn are nothing but lies.e nothing but lies.


Men love facials

Again and again you’d see male actors in porn movies ejaculating on the face of their partners which may be cool sometimes except when you have to stroke yourself for a couple of minutes while the lady waits. The lie that she enjoys it is preposterous as no woman wants your murky fluid all over her face and neither do you want her staring at you while you make weird faces as you ejaculate.


Men want to have five girls at once

Have you watched those crazy porn videos when a man has about five women trying to jump on him all at once? How’s that even possible when you only have one penis? The truth is you wouldn’t even know what to do with so much pile of bodies all around you if you ever find yourself in such situation.

Men want to have sex with every uniformed person

Ok, this one might be a little bit true but if you do find yourself in a hospital and need some urgent medical attention, the paramount thing on your mind would be to have a health care professional attend to you in a way that you’d become healthy rather than have someone trying to have you jerk off.

All men are handsome

Every porn actor is usually hotter than normal real men you encounter on a daily basis. We all have hair in weird places and even if we pay considerable attention to our physical appearance, we still eat junk food and quite a number of us don’t care how our abs look like.

All men have large penises

Like seriously? This may not be a full lie but it does grave injustice to the actual size of male penises. Not everyone is as huge down there. More so, it’s not the size that matters but how you make use of what you have, right?

READ: NEW STUDY: Porn Stars Are Healthier Than Other Women

Men are always horny

Pornography seems to portray men as crazy, horny and sexual bulls. Porn movies make you believe that if you want a one-night stand, all you have to do is order for food and the delivery man comes in handy. Or you could just take a stroll outside and hookup with any horny girl. In reality, men aren’t on the lookout for sex 24/7. Sometimes we wish it were that way, but that would be exhausting and dangerous.

Blowjobs are always involved
Porn makes you believe that every sexual encounter must involve blowjobs. From lame conversation to three seconds of boob mashing, then five minutes of blowjobs (simply because the man has to be excited and ready to go before sex), followed by a lot of vagina penetration which the girl is totally into simply because the blowjob was a major turn-on for her. That’s just what they make you believe sex is and everyone seems cool with that except the normal cool dudes out there.

Do it everywhere
Porn makes you believe you can have sex everywhere and at anytime without a care of what anybody thinks. You’d have to be a fool to believe this is possible in reality and if you do, you’d probably have a date with law enforcement agents or better still stomach the embarrassment of being a subject of public ridicule.

READ: 7 Things Men Do In Private That Women Will Never Know

Shove it anywhere
Don’t ever believe that cliché that porn portrays that the sex feels good because you’re creating lots of friction by putting your penis in a tight grip of muscles. No! Vaginas maybe gaping chasms which you can easily penetrate but the portrayal by pornography that you can penetrate from every angle without resistance is a façade. There are angles through which you porn makes you believe you can penetrate that will do more harm than good to you and your partner.

Change positions at least 5 times
Yes. You can have sex from an array of sexual positions but believing you can have them all at once is false to say the least. You’d probably be so caught up with having sex with your partner from a particular position that by changing positions, you interrupt the normal sexual flow.

The moral of all of this is: Learn to do things at your own pace without the bearings of a pornographic material acted by people on performance enhancing pills.

A shout-out to International Condom Day

A shout-out to International Condom Day


Saturday not only happens to be Valentine’s Day but International Condom Day, as well. Though the latter holiday may not be as well known, it is definitely just as important to recognize. – See more at:



International Condom Day reminds us that we can protect ourselves and our partners from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unplanned pregnancy by using condoms. Condoms are inexpensive and readily available, and they are the only form of contraception that can help protect its users from STD such as:




With such high rates of STDs and unplanned pregnancy in , it is even more important individuals are responsible when engaging in sexual activity. Condoms also can also help protect against STDs that can be transmitted through anal and oral sex. Remember, using a condom means safe and responsible sex that protects you and your partner — not just on Valentine’s Day, but all year long.

Take control of your sexual health: Be smart. Be safe. Be healthy.

– See more at:

Research Gives new Insight into Male Breast Cancer

Research Gives new Insight into Male Breast Cancer


The results of a study entitled EORTC10085/TBCRC/BIG/NABCG, conducted by the International Male Breast Cancer Program was recently presented at the 2014 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. This research gives us new insight into the male form of this disease. In fact, the presenters said that male survival rate from such cancer has improved significantly, while female breast cancer has not seen the same dramatic rise in treatment outcomes. 1,822 male participants who underwent breast cancer treatment between 1990 and 2010 took part in this study. Breast cancer in men is rare, affecting less than 1% of all cancer diagnoses in the gender. Though not common, it is often deadly. Almost 25% of diagnosed cases in 2013 were terminal. What’s more, medical science doesn’t know a lot about male breast cancer, yet. In fact, no randomized clinical trials existed previous to this study. Researchers discovered that male breast cancer was far different than the female variety. Though it is dangerous, investigators found that the male kind was also less well managed.

Shirtless man suffering a heart attack

Though research shows that many men would benefit from a type of hormone therapy, only 77% received it. Just over 50% of men were found to have tumors which were very small. Yet, only 4% received breast-conserving surgery. Most had mastectomies which can seriously affect a patient’s quality of life, sexuality and self-esteem. Researchers now know that 99% of male breast cancer patients should be receptive to hormone therapy. Radiation therapy may also be beneficial in the later stages of the disease. During the next leg of this research project, an international male breast cancer registry will be set up. For 30 months all participating medical organizations will submit data to the registry. Prospective participants can also be culled from these lists. If you are a man who finds an unusual lump in the breast tissue, itchiness, pain, swollen glands or a growth or discoloration in that area, have a physician take a look at it. Though many men feel upset or ashamed if they find out they have breast cancer, the earlier the disease it caught the better the treatment options and outcomes. You can survive a gentle ribbing from friends and colleagues, but not cancer. The truth is you won’t believe how many people will be understanding and supportive of your condition.

Get the Facts on Vitamin-D

Get the Facts on Vitamin-D


ust fifteen minutes in the sun can give you a daily dose of vitamin-D. But what’s so special about it? Medical researchers have found that vitamin-D protects against heart disease, M.S., stroke, diabetes, depression and more. This essential nutrient can even help you shed a few pounds. Besides sunlight exposure, there are supplements and a few foods that contain vitamin-D. But will you benefit from adding these to your daily routine? Get the facts on vitamin-D and see if you are at risk for becoming vitamin-D deficient. Whether you are an infant, elderly or something in between, vitamin-D is critical for bone health. This nutrient allows the bones to absorb calcium. In the 1930’s scientists added this bone building vitamin to milk to help people avoid getting rickets, bowed legs and more. For M.S. scientists have long noticed that those who get the autoimmune disorder are more than likely to grow up away from the equator. Though it may help prevent it there is no way scientists can use the vitamin to help treat M.S. patients today, at least not with the techniques that are available currently. Research has shown a link between type-2 diabetes and a low vitamin-D level. There is no proof that the supplement can help prevent diabetes. Scientists believe the link between this form of diabetes and a vitamin-D deficiency is obesity.


The obese often have low vitamin-D levels studies have shown. The fat in the body traps this key nutrient. But scientists still don’t know which comes first, the fat or the vitamin deficiency and what role one plays on the other. One small study does seem to suggest that adding more vitamin-D to a calorie restricted diet could help dieters lose weight. Vitamin-D is essential for brain function. What’s more, a lack of it may cause depression. One study showed taking vitamin-D could decrease one’s depression-related symptoms. Other studies however haven’t shown a clear link. Sun exposure is a good way to get vitamin-D. For fair skinned people, 5-10 minutes of bright sunlight a day three times per week is sufficient. For most other skin types, 15 minutes a day is recommended. Low light in winter, cloudy days and sunblock which is important can impede this process. Better to get vitamin-D through your diet or perhaps supplements. Egg yolks, oily fish like salmon and sardines, beef liver, sunflower seeds and peanuts have natural vitamin-D. Milk, soy milk, bread and cereals are fortified with it. Cheese and ice cream don’t often have vitamin-D. Check your labels and start your day with a diet including vitamin-D. Perhaps some cereal with milk? Certain yogurts contain vitamin-D. Yogurt and fruit is good. Or how about some eggs? Talk to your doctor to see if you are vitamin D deficient and if you should take a supplement. Most experts agree that normally, it’s best to get nutrients from your diet.

The Effects of Over-Masturbation

The Effects of Over-Masturbation


Years ago, young boys and teens were discouraged from masturbation, and told a striking litany of untruths from the notion that they would go blind, to the unlikely event of developing hairy palms or any of a number of sexual dysfunctions. Medical scientists and psychologists agree today however that masturbation is a normal and healthy practice, both physically and psychologically as long as it is done, just like with anything else, in moderation.  However over-masturbation can have serious side effects which can include problems with physical, psychological and specifically genital health. There is a difference between frequent and over-masturbation. Though it can take place more than once per day, depending upon one’s physical condition, sexual functioning and sex drive, over-masturbation is more associated with an obsession or a compulsion. This form of masturbation can have a whole host of negative sexual side effects. Over-masturbation can lead to sexual fatigue. Without a refractory period for recovery, frequent masturbation can lead to the appearance of impotence. Ejaculating too often too can change a man’s body chemistry leading to memory loss, hair growth, fatigue, and pain in the areas of the groin and genitals.  Without sufficient pause, a man may find it increasingly difficult to have or sustain an erection.

Those who have fallen into the habit of over-masturbation and have caused themselves certain conditions, such as perceived erectile dysfunction, only need to quit the act for a few days or a week usually for things to go back to normal. See a physician if this doesn’t appear to be the case. Men who masturbate compulsively however may not be able to stop so easily, and may in fact be exhibiting addictive behavior. If he is hiding the behavior, fails to take part in normal activities, and the act is getting in the way of work, school, relationships and other responsibilities he should seek out medical attention, either from his primary healthcare physician or a psychologist. What’s more, obsessive or compulsive masturbation can cause a whole host of psychological and relationship problems. It can cause a man to lose interest in sex with his partner, for instance. His perceived erectile dysfunction too can hurt his self-esteem. In the bedroom itself, normal sensation may not be enough to bring the man to orgasm. Or he may have trouble performing. This can lead to relationship problems or worse. If over-masturbation is the issue, don’t hide it. Have an honest conversation with your partner about the issue. Perhaps even seek out couple’s therapy. Those who masturbate excessively can do damage to the penis itself, particularly those who use aggressive techniques such as gripping hard to twisting. Though it may lead only to soreness initially, over time it can thicken the skin leading to a loss in sensation. Masturbating less and using gentler techniques will help.

Overweight and Pregnant

Overweight and Pregnant



Pregnancy, or the desire to become pregnant, often inspires women to take better care of themselves — quitting smoking, for example, or eating more nutritiously.

But now many women face an increasingly common problem: obesity, which affects 36 percent of women of childbearing age. In addition to hindering conception, obesity — defined as a body mass index above 30 — is linked to a host of difficul during pregnancy, labor and delivery.

These range from gestational diabetes, hypertension and pre-eclampsia to miscarriage, premature birth, emergency cesarean delivery and stillbirth.

The infants of obese women are more likely to have congenital defects, and they are at greater risk of dying at or soon after birth. Babies who survive are more likely to develop hypertension and obesity as adults.

To be sure, most babies born to overweight and obese women are healthy. Yet a recently published analysis of 38 studies found that even modest increases in a woman’s pre-pregnancy weight raised the risks of fetal death, stillbirth and infant death.

Personal biases and concerns about professional liability lead some obstetricians to avoid obese patients. But Dr. Sigal Klipstein, chairwoman of the committee on ethics of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, says it is time for doctors to push aside prejudice and fear. They must take more positive steps to treat obese women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant.

Dr. Klipstein and her colleagues recently issued a report on ethical issues in caring for obese women. Obesity is commonly viewed as a personal failing that can be prevented or reversed through motivation and willpower. But the facts suggest otherwise.

Although some people manage to shed as much as 100 pounds and keep them off without surgery, many obese patients say they’ve tried everything, and nothing has worked. “Most obese women are not intentionally overeating or eating the wrong foods,” Dr. Klipstein said. “Obstetricians should address the problem, not abandon patients because they think they’re doing something wrong.”

Dr. Klipstein is a reproductive endocrinologist at InVia Fertility Specialists in Northbrook, Ill. In her experience, the women who manage to lose weight are usually highly motivated and use a commercial diet plan.

“But many fail even though they are very anxious to get pregnant and have a healthy pregnancy,” she said. “This is the new reality, and obstetricians have to be aware of that and know how to treat patients with weight issues.”

The committee report emphasizes that “obese patients should not be viewed differently from other patient populations that require additional care or who have increased risks of adverse medical outcomes.” Obese patients should be cared for “in a nonjudgmental manner,” it says, adding that it is unethical for doctors to refuse care within the scope of their expertise “solely because the patient is obese.”

Obstetricians should discuss the medical risks associated with obesity with their patients and “avoid blaming the patient for her increased weight,” the committee says. Any doctor who feels unable to provide effective care for an obese patient should seek a consultation or refer the woman to another doctor.

Obesity rates are highest among women “of lower socioeconomic status,” the report notes, and many obese women lack “access to healthy food choices and opportunities for regular exercise that would help them maintain a normal weight.”

Nonetheless, obese women who want to have a baby should not abandon all efforts to lose weight. Obstetricians who lack expertise in weight management can refer patients to dietitians who specialize in treating weight problems without relying on gimmicks or crash diets, which have their own health risks.

Weight loss is best attempted before a pregnancy. Last year, the college’s committee on obstetric practice advised obstetricians to “provide education about possible complications and encourage obese patients to undertake a weight-reduction program, including diet, exercise, and behavior modification, before attempting pregnancy.”

An obese woman who becomes pregnant should aim to gain less weight than would a normal-weight woman. The Institute of Medicine suggests a pregnancy weight gain of 15 to 25 pounds for overweight women and 11 to 20 pounds for obese women.

Although women should not try to lose weight during pregnancy, “a woman who weighs 300 pounds shouldn’t gain at all,” Dr. Klipstein said. “This is not harmful to the fetus.”

Dr. Klipstein also noted that obesity produces physiological changes that can affect pregnancy, starting with irregular ovulation that can result in infertility.

Obese women are more likely to have problems processing blood sugar, which raises the risk of birth defects and miscarriage. There is also a greater likelihood that their baby will be too large for a vaginal delivery, requiring a cesarean delivery that has its own risks involving anesthesia and surgery.

The babies of obese women are more likely to develop neural tube defects — spina bifida and anencephaly — and to suffer birth injuries like shoulder dystocia, which may occur when the infant is very large.

High blood pressure, more common in obesity, can result in pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, which can damage the mother’s kidneys and cause fetal complications like low birth weight, prematurity and stillbirth.

It is also harder to obtain reliable images on a sonogram when the woman is obese. This can delay detection of fetal or pregnancy abnormalities that require careful monitoring or medical intervention.


HIFU Treatment for Prostate Cancer

HIFU Treatment for Prostate Cancer


High intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) is a treatment for prostate and other forms of cancer where intense, concentrated sound waves traveling at a high frequency are sent into the cancerous tissue to heat it and kill it off ( For prostate cancer, since the gland inhabits an area deep within the body, the probe emitting is inserted into the rectum for this treatment. In the medical field this is called a transrectal probe. From this position the ultrasound waves can be concentrated on the prostate directly. HIFU is an effective treatment in combating prostate cancer. It is generally used when the cancer is first diagnosed or when a patient is experiencing a recurrence of the disease. HIFU is a new treatment however, so long term results are still unknown. Some trials suggest that HIFU be used instead of radiotherapy or surgery to treat prostate cancer that is localized, that is to say that hasn’t spread to other tissues in the body. HIFU has minimal side effects ( You won’t have to stay in the hospital for very long after treatment. It also is minimally invasive. It is expensive however. The long term effects are still unknown. It may not be as effective as other treatments in controlling the cancer. And it has an effect of scarring the prostate.
Some of the side effects include urine leakage also known as urinary incontinence, infection and fistula development. A fistula is an opening in the bowl or urinary system. This treatment is best for localized prostate cancer for patients who are advanced in their years that have a low to moderate risk of dying from the disease and have a life expectancy of around ten years ( Talk to your doctor or oncologist if you fall into this description and are suffering from prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in men. Discuss all of the treatment options available to you. Make sure to visit more than one specialist, talk over the results of the test and treatment options with your loved ones and decide which option is right for you. Though you may have prostate cancer, treatment may not always be proper or necessary in all instances. Some cancers are so slow growing that a man of a certain age will never pass away from it. Others move quickly and can go metastatic, meaning spread to other parts of the body and endanger the patient’s life. Your age, the type of cancer you have, its rate of growth, your overall health and other factors will help you and your healthcare provider decide which treatment option, if any, is best for you.


Male Breast Cancer

Male Breast Cancer


Certainly breast cancer is most common in women. But the truth is that men can get it, too ( It is this misconception, that breast cancer is only a female disease that makes it dangerous for men. They don’t think they can get it, ignore the symptoms when they occur and visit a doctor when it is too late, or when treatment is far more severe than it would have been otherwise. The truth is, knowing the symptoms of male breast cancer can save your life, or that of someone you love. So what are they symptoms of male breast cancer? Just like with women, a lump is found in the breast area of the chest. To check for it, lie flat on your back. In this position the muscle tissue of the chest is at its thinnest, so a lump will be easier to detect. Using your three middle fingers on your left hand, begin to examine your right breast. This is done by moving the fingers around in overlapping circular motions. Work slowly from the inside out feeling for any unusual hard lumps. For the muscle and skin mass that is the thinnest, use light pressure when pressing. Increase the pressure’s intensity as you work from thin mass to thicker mass. The firmest pressure should be used on the outside of the breast, closest to the ribs and chest area.

Lots of guys forget to check under the arm. This is a fault, as a lump can just as easily form there. Make sure to check around the breastbone and sternum—the hard bone right in the center of the chest. Don’t ignore the parts near the upper part of the chest and collarbone. Once the one side is complete, begin with the opposite hand on the other side of your chest and use the same procedure. When checking under your arms, examine this area in a standing position. Sitting or standing is recommended. Raise your arm to give yourself total access to that area. Remember that what you are feeling for is an unusual lump. It often doesn’t hurt but you will notice that it feels out of place. You may find other symptoms around the area as well. For instance there may be a puckering or a dimpling of the skin. Your nipple could turn inward or become indented. There even may be a discharge at the nipple area. If you do find a lump, don’t ignore it. Many guys are embarrassed by this. They don’t want to be associated with what is considered a woman’s disease and fear ridicule by friends, coworkers, family members and others. But the truth is that no one who is a considerate human being would do that. Catching cancer early gives you the best chances of success. If you find something, make an appointment with a physician immediately. It just may save your life.


Doctors don’t talk to adolescents about sex

Doctors don’t talk to adolescents about sex




Thirty-six seconds is the average time a physician spends speaking with adolescent patients about sexuality, according to research published online Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

About one-third of adolescent patient-doctor interactions result in no talk at all about sexuality – which includes things like sexual activity, dating and sexual orientation.

“A lot of these are one-way conversations,” said Stewart C. Alexander, associate professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Center and lead author of the study. “The adolescent barely talks or responds (when issues of sexuality are raised).

“Doctors just lob it up there and when there isn’t participation, they stop going there.”

About 30% of the time, the conversations lasted between one and 35 seconds (out of an average 22-minute appointment), while 35% of conversations went a bit longer, according to the study.  On the high end of the spectrum, the sex-talk lasted just under two minutes – hardly enough time to delve deeply into a topic.

Researchers listened to audio recordings of annual doctors’ visits with 12 to 17 year olds (with their parents’ consent) in the North Carolina area from 2009-2012; study participants included 253 adolescents and 49 physicians.

They analyzed the conversations according things like how often sexuality was raised, how engaged the adolescent was during those conversations, and who brought up issues of sexuality.

Questions ranged from “Are you having sex?” and “How many partners do you have?” to more innocuous-seeming fare, like “Are you dating?”  Not surprisingly, the usual response from the adolescents tended toward one-word answers.

What should be happening, according to organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics, is for children and adolescents to “discuss potentially embarrassing experiences, or reveal highly personal information to their pediatricians,” according to a policy statement on the AAP website.

In fact, the conversation should go much further than simple Q and A, and cover “questions, worries, or misunderstandings…regarding anatomy, masturbation, menstruation, erections, nocturnal emissions (‘wet dreams’), sexual fantasies, sexual orientation, and orgasms.”

Clearly, that’s not happening in 36 seconds.

Part of problem is cultural. Another part of the problem may involve parents, Alexander said.  When they left the room during the appointment, adolescents seemed to feel safer and tended to be more open.  When parents stayed in the room, he said, there was less chance for meaningful conversation.

And it is not just an issue of adolescents being tight-lipped around parents. The reluctance to talk sex also came from doctors.  Study authors cite discomfort and a lack of confidence among physicians when speaking about these issues.

An editorial responding to the study suggests the issue is more complicated than that.

“Physicians may also be hesitant to discuss sexuality because of factors related to their comfort and confidence; concern about adolescents’ or parents’ comfort; beliefs about their role,” according to an editorial by Bradley O. Boekeloo of the University of Maryland School Of Public Health.

Their hesitation, according to Boekeloo, may also stem from “judgments based on patient stereotyping; complexity of sexual issues; concern about legal and ethical issues; concern about adolescents’ stage of cognitive development; and concern about the availability of follow-up services.”

Alexander says that doctors are missing a window of opportunity to provide credible and accurate information about sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy and screening to a vulnerable group.  (Their other sources of information – peers, the Internet, the media, even parents – don’t necessarily provide accurate information.)

“We need to start training doctors to teach them how to start these conversations and how to keep them going,” Alexander said.

Women Who Stand By Their NuvaRing

Women Who Stand By Their NuvaRing


Some are finding it difficult to dump a contraceptive that has been known in some cases to lead to death


There’s the 24-year-old who stopped breathing, had two heart attacks, and died on life support. There’s the mother whose two-year-old son watched her go into a seizure. And there’s the college student who started spitting up blood while having lunch with her dad.

The accounts of women experiencing the negative side effects of the NuvaRing contraceptive are gruesome, and their stories are part of the evidence that led to the $100 million settlement last week with NuvaRing maker Merck & Co. The pharmaceutical company agreed to hand over $100 million for liability lawsuits claiming the ring caused blood clots that sometimes led to heart attacks and even death, although Merck denied fault. The women argued they were not adequately warned about these side effects, and about 3,800 of them are eligible to partake in the settlement.

Despite the well-publicized risks, some women are finding it difficult to ditch a contraceptive that has provided them with consistency and convenience. Oftentimes, finding the right birth control takes years of trial and error, and side effects range from weight gain to decreased libido. For this reason, when women find the right contraceptive, they tend to develop a certain loyalty to it.

Sarah, 26, a graduate student in New York City, struggled with finding the right birth control since she was 20 years old. During the year she was on the pill, she put on weight and was constantly having mood swings. She’d feel depressed one day and highly irritable the next. She switched to the NuvaRing five years ago after a friend suffering similar effects made the swap, and it has been smooth sailing ever since. “I hated the whole contraceptive experience, but with the NuvaRing I don’t experience any of that,” she says.

The NuvaRing ring is a flexible ring that women insert inside their vagina and remove for the week of their period. Like an oral contraceptive, it releases the hormones progestin and estrogen (though at lower levels), preventing ovulation and sperm from reaching the egg, but you don’t have to remember to take a pill every morning. Women prefer it for its convenience, the localized hormones, and the fact that there’s less accountability. In 2012, there were about 5.2 million prescriptions in the U.S. for the NuvaRing, according to IMS Health, a healthcare technology and information company.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG)–the medical authority on all things related to baby-making–NuvaRing leads to a slight increased risk of deep vein thrombosis, heart attack, and stroke. And, as highlighted in a safety warning on NuvaRing’s website, the danger is higher for some women, like those over 35 who smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day or women who have multiple risk factors for heart disease. Its typical use failure rate is 9%, the equivalent of an oral contraceptive, according to the CDC.

Following the settlement Friday, Merck issued a statement saying, “We stand behind the research that supported the approval of NuvaRing, and our continued work to monitor the safety of the medicine.”

Though the side effects of the NuvaRing are very real, for many women it bears no complications. “I am extremely busy with very irregular hours and travel for my job,” says Julie*, 27, who works for a film production company in Los Angeles, California, “so the NuvaRing is the ideal fit for my lifestyle. I have virtually no side effects, so I plan to remain on it for the foreseeable future.”

Other women simply shrug off the dangers. “Every drug you take comes with risks, from Asprin to birth control to allergy medicine,” says Ricci Ellis, 31, a respiratory therapist in Little Rock, Arkansas, who switched from the pill after consistently forgetting to take it. “For me, the benefits of NuvaRing far outweigh the risks.” Because she’s not not a smoker and leads an active and healthy lifestyle, Ellis considers herself relatively safe from the risks of blood clots, strokes, and sudden death.

“It is absolutely essential that people are aware of the risks associated with each method of contraception,” says Bill Albert, the chief program officer at The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. The American Heart Association (AHA) recently recommended that women considering birth control get screened for high blood pressure, which can put them at a greater risk for clots and stroke. ”Equally important, however, is how such risks compare to those of other methods, and to pregnancy as well.”

According to Albert, the side effects need to be placed in a broader context so that they are neither dismissed nor viewed with disproportionate alarm. “One of the highest risk of blood clots comes with pregnancy. Consequently, if an individual is having sex and doesn’t want to get pregnant, skipping birth control altogether for fear of blood clots is not the best way to protect your health,” says Albert. “This is not meant to be cavalier, but the doubling of a rare risk is still rare.”

Medical experts are careful to not trivialize the risks, but Dr. Eve Espey, the chair of ACOG’s Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women and a professor in the Department of Ob-Gyn at the University of New Mexico’s School of Medicine, says the NuvaRing settlement hasn’t changed how she counsels her patients. “It’s always tragic and horrible when a woman has a bad outcome or dies from a blood clot. But to then label that method as dangerous often translates into more unintended pregnancies with a higher risk than using the method,” says Dr. Espey. Though popular for its convenience, the NuvaRing isn’t the most effective form of birth control out there. And neither is the pill. The intrauterine device (IUD) and the implant are considered the two safest and most effective forms of birth control available, with a typical use failure rate of 0.8% and 0.05% respectively.

When asked if women currently using NuvaRing should talk to their doctors about other options, Dr. Espey said, “How do you prepare for the event that’s so rare?”

But it’s making Sarah think twice. “I’m definitely concerned about the risks,” she says. “I am making an appointment with my gynecologist to discuss options.”

*Name has been changed for privacy.