What Are The Barrier Methods?

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

As the name suggests, the barrier method works by using a barrier to prevent the sperm from meeting the egg. This method has been using from the earliest days of humanity. There are 3 main types of barrier methods – male condoms, female condoms, and diaphragms.

Male condoms

Male condoms are made from rubber and are used to cover the penis before sex. If you are allergic to rubber, you may opt for polyurethane condoms. Male condoms, if used properly, are almost 98% effective in preventing conception. They are also the best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Using a condom correctly means to use a water-based lube to prevent rubbing and tearing. Also, do not keep condoms in your purse, wallet or pocket because heat can damage the condoms and cause them to loose their effectiveness. Remember to check your condom before using to make sure it’s not expired yet.

Female condoms

Female condoms come in the shape of a cylinder made from polyurethane with an open end with a ring at either end to keep it in place. The closed end of the condom should cover the cervix while the open end points towards the vaginal opening. If used properly, female condoms are 90% effective in protecting against pregnancies and STIs.


A diaphragm is a silicone dome-shaped device that needs to be put into the vagina before sex and kept there for at least 6 more hours. Diaphragms come in different sizes. If this is the first time you use it, you will need a doctor or a nurse to fit it for you. Diaphragms are up to 96% effective in preventing conception. You can enhance their effectiveness by using them with a spermicide to kill off sperm. However, diaphragms may not be effective against STIs.

Is the barrier method right for you?

The barrier method may be a good choice if you want a contraceptive way that does not include the use of hormones or insertion of an intrauterine device. It’s also advisable to use this method if you plan to have a baby soon and do not want a wait time. The barrier method is beneficial for those with heavy menstruation since it can contain your menstrual blood as long as you do not let it stay inside for longer than 6 hours at a time. If you and your partner find it easier to use the barrier method, it may be the right one for you.

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Review Date: April 7, 2017 | Last Modified: December 6, 2019

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