Diaphragm or cervical capâ€”Each of these barrier methods are placed inside the vagina to cover the cervix to block sperm. The diaphragm is shaped like a shallow cup. The cervical cap is a thimble-shaped cup. Before sexual intercourse, you insert them with spermicide to block or kill sperm. Visit your doctor for a proper fitting because diaphragms and cervical caps come in different sizes. Typical use failure rate: 12%.
Male condomâ€”Worn by the man, a male condom keeps sperm from getting into a womanâ€™s body. Latex condoms, the most common type, help prevent pregnancy, and HIV and other STDs, as do the newer synthetic condoms. â€œNaturalâ€ or â€œlambskinâ€ condoms also help prevent pregnancy, but may not provide protection against STDs, including HIV. Typical use failure rate: 18%.
Condoms can only be used once. You can buy condoms, KY jelly, or water-based lubricants at a drug store. Do not use oil-based lubricants such as massage oils, baby oil, lotions, or petroleum jelly with latex condoms. They will weaken the condom, causing it to tear or break.
Female condomâ€”Worn by the woman, the female condom helps keeps sperm from getting into her body. It is packaged with a lubricant and is available at drug stores. It can be inserted up to eight hours before sexual intercourse. Typical use failure rate: 21%, and also may help prevent STDs.
Spermicidesâ€”These products work by killing sperm and come in several formsâ€”foam, gel, cream, film, suppository, or tablet. They are placed in the vagina no more than one hour before intercourse. You leave them in place at least six to eight hours after intercourse. You can use a spermicide in addition to a male condom, diaphragm, or cervical cap. They can be purchased at drug stores. Typical use failure rate: 28%.