■ Condoms are available in a variety of styles. Advantages include protection from sexually transmitted infections and availability as a backup method. Disadvantages include


interruption of sexual activity if the couple do not incor­porate its use into their sex play. A female condom has also been developed.

■ Vaginal spermicides (including contraceptive foam, the sponge, vaginal suppositories, creams and jellies, and contra­ceptive film) are available without a prescription. Advantages of vaginal spermicides include lack of serious side effects and added lubrication. Disadvantages include low level of effectiveness unless used with a condom, possible irritation of genital tissues, and interruption of sexual activity.

■ Advantages of cervical barrier methods include lack of side effects, high effectiveness with knowledgeable and consis­tent use, and possible promotion of vaginal health. Disad­vantages include interruption of sexual activity, potential irritation from the spermicidal cream or jelly, and possible misplacement during insertion or intercourse.

Intrauterine Devices

■ ParaGard and Mirena are the only intrauterine devices (IUDs) on the U. S. market. Advantages of the IUD include uninterrupted sexual interaction and simplicity of use. Disadvantages include the possibilities of increased cramp­ing and spontaneous expulsion. Uterine perforation is rare. The IUD increases risk of pelvic inflammatory disease for women with multiple partners.