In search of the perfect short-term contraceptive (maybe safe for work but probably TMI)

Posted on May 13, 2010


I’m wrote what follows, but Shoshana read it and approves its publication. A little over a year and a half ago Shoshana’s gynecologist switched her oral contraceptive from Triphasil to Yaz as a lower dose intermediate step before menopause. A month ago her gynecologist told her to go off oral contraception entirely so she could tell when menopause actually occurs (at which time hormone replacement–at much lower doses than contraception–is available if needed). That required us to find an interim form of contraception. Though the chances of Shoshana conceiving at age 51 are slim they are not zero. Because Shoshana is close to menopause a long term contraceptive such as an IUD (which can last up to five years) is not called for. 

Shoshana’s gynecologist suggested either barrier methods or spermicides. We don’t mean to brag, but male condoms don’t suite us, because with male condoms coitus ends with ejaculation, and since I can remain aroused and erect for several minutes after ejaculation, and Shoshana is multi-orgasmic, a form of contraception that requires us to stop before we want to would cramp our style. Even if that were not a factor, Shoshana is allergic to latex, and polyurethane condoms don’t stretch, are available in only one size, and (again, I don’t mean to brag) that size is narrower than the girth of my erect member. Spermicidal gels and foam containing paraben (which has been linked to breast cancer) are disqualified. That leaves contraceptive sponges, female condoms,  spermicidal ovular shaped capsules, and spermicidal film; we tried all four. 

The contraceptive foam is a polyurethane cervical cap smeared with spermicide and covered with a mesh fabric. On the plus side the spermicide is effective immediately; you put it in and you’re good to go. But I found the mesh fabric irritates my penis, and Shoshana found that the spermicide caused discomfort urinating for three days after using it. One down, three to go.

The female condom is like a XXXL size polyurethane male condom with a polyurethane cervical ring and optional lube (which has paraben so we used our paraben free silicone lube instead). Shoshana really dislikes the female condom. Neither of us succeeded in positioning the cervical ring over her cervix, maybe because the cervical ring comes in one size that does not fit all cervixes (a polyurethane motif). Without the cervical ring it’s like a super large male condom (one that actually fits), but we don’t care for male condoms (see above). Two down, two to go.

That leaves the spermicidal capsules and spermicidal film, each of which requires a waiting period before it’s effective. The capsules become effective ten minutes after insertion. Ten minutes of foreplay is not a problem, but upon commencing intercourse the spermicide began to burn both of us. Ouch!  Three down, one more to try.

That leaves the contraceptive film, a thin tissue that is folded, inserted, and becomes effective 15 minutes after insertion. Perhaps because intercourse works so well for us, 15 minutes is longer than our usual foreplay, but stimulating each other with our fingers and mouths for 15 minutes is not a bad thing either. During intercourse the spermicide is warm but not unpleasant. We think we have a winner! The only possible drawback to contraceptive film is that if we want to have intercourse a second time we have to insert another contraceptive film and wait another 15 minutes. 

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