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Effective immediately, no hormones, can be inserted up to 24 hours before sex


The sponge is a round piece of plastic foam with an imprint on one side and a nylon loop across the top. It is about two inches across. The sponge gets placed in the vagina before sex. It blocks the cervix to keep sperm from getting to the uterus and releases spermicide.

  • Can put in hours in advance
  • You can have sex as many times as you like while it’s in
  • Neither you nor your partner should be able to feel it
  • Doesn’t affect your hormones
  • No prescription needed
  • Can be used while breastfeeding
  • Can immediately get pregnant after stopping use
  • Doesn’t protect against STIs, including HIV
  • Is not reusable
  • Can be difficult to insert
  • May cause vaginal irritation or discomfort
  • May make sex messier, or even dryer
  • Can’t be used if you are allergic to sulfa drugs, polyurethane, or spermicide.
  • Needs to be used every time you have sex
  • Hard to find

How to Use

The sponge can be inserted 24 hours before sex. But you must be comfortable with touching your body since you will need to put your fingers inside your body every time you use it. It might take some time getting used to. Before you have sex, moisten the sponge with water before inserting it in your vagina to activate the spermicide. Once it’s in you can have sex as many times as you want. If you are on your period, don’t use the sponge. After you have sex, you will need to leave it in for 6 hour and then you can throw it away. The sponge is not reusable.


The sponge takes some discipline and planning. You must use it every time you have sex. But you can put it in up to 24 hours before having sex. If you are having sex often, it may be a little time consuming to use. Since the sponge is small enough, you can always keep it your purse for in-the-moment, spontaneous sex.


The sponge is not the most effective. With perfect use, it is 86% effective, but with typical use it is 82% effective. Sponges are more effective for women who haven’t given birth.

Side Effects

Usually none, unless you are allergic to sulfa drugs, polyurethane, or spermicide. May experience some irritation or discomfort.


You will be able to become pregnant as soon as you stop using the sponge. If you stop using the sponge and are not ready to become pregnant, use another method right away.

How to Get

The sponge does not require a prescription. It is available online and possibly in stores. You may also be able to get it from a family planning clinic near you.


Can be a little pricy and usually comes in packs of 3. You may be able to get free or discounted sponges from a family planning clinic near you.