Creams & Jellies
Spermicidal creams and jellies, like the other methods of vaginal spermicide discussed, should be used in conjunction with another method of birth control such as the condom or diaphragm. With a condom, a spermicidal cream or jelly increases contraceptive protection and is useful as a lubricant, as well. With a diaphragm, the spermicidal cream or jelly is essential in creating a protective seal around the cervix. In addition, the spermicide will help trap and immobilize any sperm that make it past that seal.
A small, film-like square spermicide, vaginal film is placed on the fingertip and inserted against the cervix at least fifteen minutes prior to intercourse. It is effective for one hour after insertion.
Foam is the most effective spermicide. Once the applicator is full and while lying down, the woman should insert the applicator into the vagina much as she would a tampon. With the applicator tip approximately half an inch from the cervix, the plunger sho uld be pressed to apply the foam. The applicator should be removed without pulling the plunger back out. A new application must be made before each act of intercourse. Although douching is not necessary or recommended, if you wish to douche after intercou rse, wait at least 8 hours to allow time for the spermicide to work.
The contraceptive sponge is a soft, round polyurethane sponge with a cloth ribbon attached to one side and a dimpled indentation on the other. It contains nonoxynol-9, the spermicide used in many vaginal foams, suppositories, and jellies and works against conception in two ways: as a barrier and as a spermicide. The sponge traps sperm because of its absorptive qualities and holds them inside, hindering passage through the cervix. In addition, it releases the spermicide continuously over a 24-hour period w hich immobilizes or kills the sperm. The sponge was pulled from the U.S. market late in 1994, and is not currently available in this country.
Suppositories are small, solid-form spermicidal pellets which are inserted into the vagina at least twenty minutes prior to intercourse. They are supposed to melt and cover the cervix with spermicide. However, it is difficult to time the use of supposit ories because intercourse must take place not too long after insertion as otherwise the spermicide will have melted too much as will be ineffective.
Return to Sex & Sexuality
Return to Safer Sex