Which Birth Control Option Is Best For You?

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The Good, The Bad and The Bottom Line

One-Time Use Barriers: Condoms (Male and Female), Sponge and Spermicide Alone

What you will love: you can buy them over the counter without a prescription. For condom users, you will get the highest level of protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), except for abstinence. There are no hormonal side effects, and there is no wait if you want to get pregnant tomorrow.

What you will hate: the loss of spontaneity, especially when the moment arrives, and the nightstand is bare. The irritation and rash if you are allergic to latex or spermicide. The mess and keeping track of how long to leave in the sponge and spermicide to be effective without the risk of developing toxic shock syndrome. For the environmentalist, the thought of cluttering landfills with these disposables.

Bottom line: if you are primarily concerned about safety and are actively searching for Mr. Right or dating a lot just for fun, the latex condom provides the maximum protection against sexually transmitted infections. Condoms and sponges are also the most accessible form of birth control.

Muti-Use Barriers: Diaphragm and Cervical Cap with Spermicide

What you will love: the cost savings and eco-friendliness of these multi-use devices. No hormonal sides effects. No wait if you want to get pregnant tomorrow.

What you will hate: the visit to the doctor's office to have the diaphragm fitted or to get a prescription for the cervical cap. For busy women or preoccupied minds, remembering to take out the device within the window period. The mess and possible side effects from irritation, potential allergic reactions and urinary tract infections.