As we’ve discussed, the Today contraceptive sponge is available in Canada and many parts of Europe. However, there is little research on the cross-cultural use of the contra­ceptive sponge. We do know that for years women in France have been using vaginal

sponges that have been dipped in various chemicals to avoid pregnancy. These sponges are washed and used over and over. This practice is not recommended, however, because of the risk of infection and toxic shock syndrome. As with diaphragms, sponges tend to have low usage rates in other cultures, which may be due to such factors as the lack of availability of spermicidal cream or jelly or the necessity of touching the genitals.