Whenever you use your diaphragm you also need to use roughly a teaspoon of spermicide; it looks and feels like lube but is used to kill or immobilise sperm.
There is conflicting advice on using spermicide but it should help in 3 ways:
- by putting it round the rim of the diaphragm it creates more of a seal between it and the walls of your vagina
- wherever the spermicide is; it acts as a further barrier because sperm cannot easily swim through it
- it kills/immobilises the sperm
Many studies on spermicide use end their findings by concluding that more research needs to be done, with one stating that the spermicide could actually cause the diaphragm to become dislodged more easily because of its slipperiness.However, spermicide used by itself (DON’T use it by itself) is about 70% effective in preventing pregnancy so it seems intuitive that spermicide would indeed be beneficial. All diaphragm manufacturers state you absolutely must use spermicide.
There are basically 3 types (excluding any homemade natural recipes)
The standard ones containing Nonoxyl-9, such as Gygel
This is what the NHS provides. It may cause UTIs, skin irritation and sensitivities. The World Health Organisation state that using N-9 damages tissue in the vagina and puts women at higher risk for catching STDs, and they state that frequent use of N-9 is not recommended.
If you are using one like this you need to reapply between each act of sex or if your diaphragm’s been in place for more than 3 hours.
I would worry about getting head if you’re using this kind because it doesn’t sound very tasty, but I brought this up when I interviewed sex educator Emma McGowan and she assured me her partner isn’t fazed by it.
Natural alternative versions containing lactic acid, such as Contragel
It has a mildly acidic taste which is pretty innocuous.
I contacted Contragel and their lab advised that: “Contragel can be applied a few minutes before or up to two hours before having intercourse, when used with a diaphragm.”
Manuka honey with a UMF of 16+
One day I will try using a diaphragm with honey. Because – DELICIOUS! Although potentially problematically sticky…
Manuka honey also sounds exciting because you can leave your diaphragm in for 5 days without risk of irritation or odour and you also do not have to reapply it in between acts of sex!
WIN WIN WIN
However as clinician, researcher and lecturer in female health Dr Trevor Wing notes; Manuka UMF16+ or higher honey is used as the spermicide as we know this immobilises sperm in the lab comparable to other spermicides.. There is good anecdotal evidence… but in the absence of good RCT (randomised and controlled trials) women wishing to use this (diaphragm/or caps with the honey) must make up their own mind.
Time taken to immobilise sperm in super fertile semen:
Nonoxyl-9 spermicide: 45 mins
Spermicide containing lactic acid (such as FemProtect or Contragel): 31 mins
Manuka honey 16+: 138 mins
All sperm were immobilised within the 6 hour time period and the honey also seemed to have an additional barrier effect as the sperm were less able to penetrate it
If you need to re-apply spermicide you can use your fingers or get a little applicator that screws to the end of the tube so you can just squirt it up.
“We work with many midwives and Gyno´s who are barrier specialists and they say in that scenario its best to use a finger to apply more gel, not an applicator. The idea is that after intercourse you should check, with a finger, that the barrier is still correctly in place before having intercourse a second time. That could be done whilst applying more gel.”
how to check and reapply between sex-es?
If you have sex more than once in a row you don’t want to have to get dressed and run down the hallway to the loo and whack some more in and then return; you want to just carry on fucking.
You could make it erotic, one hand putting more up there and the other hand playing with yourself, or them (as long as you can concentrate). If you’re horny enough to be having more sex straight away; pausing for one sec to feel your diaphragm and get some more goo involved isn’t going to ruin the vibe. Or you just put on a silky dressing gown, saunter to the bathroom and leave them hanging, and return for more once you are spermicide’d up.
image cc insta @_dont_watch_this