Search Sex Ed by Topic

show topics
hide topics


A shallow cup that goes into the vagina and keeps sperm out of the uterus.


A small, dome-shaped cup made of silicone or latex that a woman inserts into her vagina before having sex.


The diaphragm covers the cervix, keeping sperm away and out of the uterus; you have to use it with a spermicide.


The diaphragm is 88% effective. Note: When we talk about effectiveness we mean typical use numbers or what happens when couples used this method of birth control prettywell; it accounts for human errors and occasional contraceptive failure. BUT, teenagers are often not as careful as older people in using these methods, so real typical use rates for teens may be a little worse than what you see here. Keep that in mind as you're looking at the options and remember that for birth control to be effective, you have to use it consistently and correctly every single time.


  • Completely private.
  • Non-hormonal.


  • Some women are uncomfortable inserting the diaphragm.
  • If you’re allergic to spermicide or silicone, you should avoid the diaphragm.
  • No STI protection (it’s a good idea to double up with a second method like a male/female condom if you’re using the diaphragm as your primary method). 

Note: Not every woman experiences these drawbacks—they are just some of the ones that are commonly reported. Talk to your medical provider to learn more and keep in mind that if this method doesn’t work for you, there are LOTS more out there…but it’s best to wait at least six months to see if things get better before you decide to switch. If they don’t, or if you just can’t deal with them, talk with your medical provider about finding something that works for you.


Yep; even though the diaphragm is non-hormonal, you still need a prescription for it—a medical provider will actually measure you and find out which size diaphragm is just right for you. The better fit means better protection.


Need to find a health center? We can help!

Back to Birth Control Explorer

Teenagers sitting on a tree limb

Make a difference just by telling us what you love and how we can improve. This survey will only take a few minutes. Thank you for being a part of what we do.