Sexual spontaneity. Does the method require
interrupting sexual intercourse, such as to put on a condom or insert
spermicide? Do the partners need to make sure that the method is always
available whenever sex may occur, as with condoms and diaphragms? Do partners
need to use the method at each act of sexual intercourse?
Schedule. Does the method require remembering to take
a pill daily, such as with birth control pills, or scheduling regular visits to
a health professional, such as with the birth control shot?
Attention. Does the method require regular monitoring
of the menstrual cycle and avoiding sex during fertile periods, such as with
natural family planning?
Hassle. Is the method messy or complicated to
Comfort. Does the method cause irritation or
discomfort for either partner?
Permanent or longer-term methods such as
tubal ligation or
intrauterine device (IUD), the hormonal implant,
the shot, and the hormone patch or vaginal ring offer the most
convenience for many people. With these methods, you do not have to take a pill
daily, keep a birth control method handy for when you have sex, or carefully
monitor your menstrual cycle.
All users of long-term
methods who have any risk of
sexually transmitted infection (STI) exposure should use
a condom. Most spermicides contain a
chemical called nonoxynol-9, which may increase the risk of getting HIV/AIDS
from an infected partner.
Birth control pills may be convenient for women who are able to remember to take a
pill daily. The pill does not have to be taken at the time of sexual activity,
which may allow for spontaneity. Also, with certain pills you can have fewer or
Barrier methods—such as spermicide
with condoms, the cervical cap, the -shield, and the diaphragm—require that
couples have the methods readily available and have them in place just before
having sexual intercourse.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Current as of
May 3, 2012
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
May 03, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this