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Fiona's Blog: Non-hormonal Contraception

By SarahWhelan 13 Mar 2020

Continuing on from the last list on Hormonal Contraception, here is the list of non-hormonal contraceptive options.


The most well-known and used non-hormonal contraception is of course the condom. This is the only type of contraception that protects both against pregnancy and against STIs and when used correctly the “male” condom can be up to 98% effective, the “female” condom up to 95%. They act as a barrier, preventing the sperm from reaching the uterus. Condoms are usually made of a thin latex, though non latex alternatives are available if you have a latex allergy.

It is important that the penis does not touch the vagina before the condom has been put on if it is the sole method of contraception, as semen can come out of the penis before ejaculation.

If you are using extra lubrication, make sure your lube is compatible with condoms as some will dissolve latex, which is far from your ideal situation.

There are “male” and “female” condoms, one is place onto the penis and the other is placed inside the vagina.

The Male Condom

    • The condom should be removed carefully from the packaging and placed on the erect penis. If there is a small teat at the top, this should be pinched with the thumb and forefinger, before rolling the condom down to the base of the penis. If you have penetrative sex multiple times you should use a new condom each time and the old condom should be thrown in the bin, not flushed down the toilet!

The Female Condom (don’t agree with this name, but it is for people who have vaginas)

    • The condom should be removed carefully from the packaging. The small ring at the closed end of the condom should be squeezes and put into the vagina. The large ring should cover the area around the opening of the vagina. When inserting, make sure the penis goes into the condom as opposed to between condom and vagina. Again, DO NOT flush this down the toilet, just throw it in the bin. 

The Cap/Diaphragm

The cap or diaphragm is a small circular silicone dome that is placed on the cervix to avoid sperm reaching the womb. It has different sizes; your doctor or nurse will be able to help you find the right size for your cervix. If you lose a lot of weight or have a baby, miscarriage or abortion, you may need a different size.

When used correctly the cap/diaphragm is 92 to 96% effective. You can put it in with a spermicide any time before you have penetrative sex, though more spermicide will need to be added if has been in for more than 3 hours before having penetrative sex. It must be left in a further 6 hours after penetrative sex.

The cap/diaphragm itself does not protect against STIs. 

Natural family planning

Natural family planning is a way of contraception by means of fertility awareness. In this, the person with the vagina would monitor various fertility signals throughout their cycle. It can be up to 99% effective when used correctly, though it can also be used to plan a pregnancy rather than to prevent one.

To use natural family planning, the person would record various fertility signals such as their temperature as well as the fluids from their cervix. It is highly recommended that anyone wanting to use natural family planning should speak to a qualified fertility awareness teacher. There are fertility clinics throughout the UK where you can find these teachers.

The different measurements will show you when you are most and least fertile. This contraceptive method does not protect against STIs so it is recommended to use a condom while using this method. For more information visit the NHS website.

And there we have it! The second list of contraception, with all of our non-hormonal options! Hopefully this list will help you out to make your decision. Please keep in mind that there may be other alternatives out there that I was not aware of while writing this, so always do your own research to find out what works best for you!

You can pick up FREE condoms and access further advice at CREW

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