PSA: Spermicidal Condoms Are No Good

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A condom that can actually kill sperm sounds like a pretty good deal when it comes to birth control, right? But it turns out they aren’t any more effective than regular condoms, and they can actually increase your risk of STDs.

The World Health Organisation’s position is that spermicidal condoms shouldn’t even be sold “due to adverse side effects.” The spermicide that’s typically used, nonoxynol-9, irritates vaginal and anal tissues. (Planned Parenthood notes that this is mainly an issue for people who use it multiple times a day, or who have anal sex.)

But it’s not just about discomfort. The irritation can even increase your likelihood of contracting HIV, the WHO announced years ago. Durex stopped making condoms with nonoxynol-9, but spermicidal condoms from some other companies are still on the market.

Gynecologist Jen Gunter writes that since spermicidal condoms carry these extra risks, and don’t even increase your protection against pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection, they aren’t worth it. They also have a shorter shelf life than condoms without spermicide, so you’re best off with a plain lubricated condom.


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