Home>>Family Medicine>>Adult Health: Birth Control: Barrier Methods

Male Condom

How well does it work?

The male condom is 85-98% effective at preventing pregnancy.

How to use?

  • Use a new condom each time you have sex
  • Use a polyurethane condom if allergic to latex

What are the advantages?

  • Can buy at many stores
  • Can put on as part of sex play/foreplay
  • Can help prevent early ejaculation
  • Protects against HIV and many other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Can be used while breastfeeding

What are the disadvantages?

  • Can decrease sensation
  • Can cause loss of erection
  • Can break or slip off

Female Condom

How well does it work?

Female condoms are 79-95% effective at preventing pregnancy.

How to use?

  • Use a new condom each time you have sex
  • Use extra lubrication as needed

What are the advantages?

  • Can buy at many stores
  • Can put in as part of sex play/foreplay
  • Good for people with latex allergy
  • Protects against HIV and other STIs
  • Can be used while breastfeeding

What are the disadvantages?

  • May be noisy
  • May be hard to insert
  • May slip out of place during sex

Diaphragm

How well does it work?

A diaphragm is 84-94% effective at preventing pregnancy.

How to use?

  • Must be used each time you have sex
  • Must be used with spermicide
  • A health care provider will fit you and show you how to use it

What are the advantages?

  • Can last several years
  • Costs very little to use
  • May protect against some infections (NOT HIV)
  • Can be used while breastfeeding

What are the disadvantages?

  • Using spermicide nonoxynol-9 may raise the risk of getting HIV
  • Should not be used with vaginal bleeding or infection
  • Raises risk of bladder infection