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Information on suppositories, contraceptive sponges, lubricants, jellies & gels such as KY jelly, foams, creams and other spermicidal & birth control options.

You are here: Sexual Health > Birth Control > Spermicide Birth Control methods

Methods of Contraception: Spermicidal

  Creams & Jellies
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Creams & Jellies

Spermicidal creams and jellies should be used in conjunction with another method of birth control, such as the condom or diaphragm. Spermicidal creams or jellies are useful lubricants and increase contraceptive protection when using a condom.

For vaginal intercourse insert spermicide before any genital contact and repeat application if more than 15 minutes passes before intercourse. The spermicide is inserted into vagina no more than 20 minutes before sexual intercourse and must be reapplied each time you are about to have intercourse. Do not douche for eight hours after intercourse.

How To Use

  • Fill the applicator completely by attaching to the tube and squeezing
  • Insert the applicator deep into the vagina and push the plunger completely into the applicator.

If a spermicidal lubricant is used for anal intercourse it should be applied to the outside of the condom prior to penetration.


no major health concerns

allergic to a certain brand (can change brands)
no medical examination needed  
no prescription needed

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Vaginal film is placed on the fingertip and inserted against the cervix at least fifteen minutes prior to intercourse. The small, film-like square spermicide, is effective for one hour after insertion.

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The most effective spermicide is Foam.

How To Use

Follow the steps below when first using spermicidal foam:

  1. The applicator should be full and inserted while lying down
  2. The woman should insert the applicator into the vagina similar to the insertion of a tampon
  3. With the applicator tip approximately half an inch from the cervix, the plunger should be pressed to insert the foam
  4. The applicator should be removed without pulling the plunger back out
  5. A new application must be made before each act of intercourse

If you wish to douche after intercourse, wait at least 8 hours to allow time for the spermicide to work.

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The contraceptive sponge contains nonoxynol-9 which is the spermicide used in many vaginal foams, suppositories, and jellies. It is made from a soft, round polyurethane sponge with a cloth ribbon attached to one side and an indentation on the other.

It stops conception in two ways:

  1. Due to its absorptive qualities the sponge acts as a barrier trapping sperm keeping them inside and hindering their passage through the cervix
  2. The sponge releases a spermicide continuously over a 24-hour period immobilizing or killing the sperm

It should be used with a condom to protect against the transfusion of STDs.

*The sponge has not been available in the US since 1994


no major health concerns

may not fit all women well
no medical examination needed may cause itching, irritation
no prescription needed messy or difficult to use
effective for 24 hours

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Suppositories are inserted into the vagina at least twenty minutes before intercourse. They are supposed to melt and cover the cervix with spermicide. Intercourse should take place almost immediately after insertion to avoid the spermicide melting and being ineffective.

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