These methods do not use hormones. They protect against pregnancy by blocking the movement of sperm into the uterus (womb) or by killing sperm. These methods must be used each time you have sex. The male condom is put on over the man’s erect penis. The other methods are inserted into the woman’s vagina. Condoms and sponges can be purchased at the drug store without a prescription. To use a diaphragm or cervical cap, you must visit your doctor for a proper fitting and a prescription. Spermicide needs to be used with the diaphragm and cervical cap each time you have sex.
- Condoms and sponges can be purchased without a prescription. No medical exam or procedure is needed.
- Condoms and diaphragms protect you from STIs.
- You control their use.
- Side effects are rare unless you are sensitive or allergic to their ingredients, such as latex.
- Condoms may leak, break or have holes in them.
- You need to have methods available and make sure they are used correctly each time you have sex in order to prevent pregnancy.
For more information about barrier methods, please visit the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals Web site.