The Sponge is back!!! It’s my favorite form of birth control, and after a few long hiatuses, it’s returned to store shelves.
What is it about the sponge that makes it so appealing? First, it is a barrier form of birth control, (check out this video to learn about barrier birth control) so it doesn’t affect our hormones during use.
Second, it is easy to get unlike other female barrier methods that require a doctor’s prescription, the sponge is available at drug stores or for order online here.
Third, once it’s in, it’s good for 24 hours. You can have intercourse as many or as few times as you want during that 24-hour period. However, it does need to stay in place for at least six hours after last intercourse – and while 24 hours is optimum, it is safe to leave in for 30 hours at most.
Granted, like everything in life, it is not perfect.
They are not cheap. I’ve seen them on sale for about $3.00 per, the link above is selling them for a little over $4.50 each.
It takes a little practice getting them out. The first time I used one, I sweated for about 10 minutes trying to grab the ring that pulls it out. I eventually got it by squatting and pushing really hard … like I was giving birth. What a relief!!! As it turned out, the ring was on the wrong side due to my rookie error.
Also, and this didn’t happen to me but to a friend of mine, due to the spermicide it contains, foam oozed out of her vagina during sex. Talk about awkward! Good thing it didn’t happen to her during oral sex. Eeek!
In addition, the spermicide it contains is nonoxynol 9 which, for some people, irritates the vagina. Once the vagina is irritated, we are more susceptible to STDs transmitted from an infected partner.
Since the sponge doesn’t protect from any STD, it’s best to use only with partners that have recently been tested. And, as Elaine so famously said on the Seinfeld episode where she hoarded Sponges that were off the market – you may want to only use it with men who are “sponge worthy.”