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What is the Today Sponge?

The Today Sponge (which is often just called “the sponge”) is a hormone-free birth control method that does not require a prescription. The sponge acts like a barrier to prevent sperm from swimming into a girl’s cervix, and the spermicide on the sponge kills sperm. It is a soft, white sponge with a small indentation on both sides.

The sponge is pre-soaked in spermicide, which is activated by water. It has a polyester loop attached, so it can be removed easily. To use the sponge, a girl runs it under a light stream of water, and then squishes it between her fingers until it gets sudsy. She then folds it in half and inserts it deep into the vagina until it rests against the cervix.

The sponge can be inserted into the vagina for up to 24 hours and must be left in place for at least six hours after intercourse. If it is not, sperm can still enter her cervix and fertilize an egg if one is present.

The Today Sponge is effective between 80 to 91 percent of the time, if used perfectly. With typical use it is 76- to 88-percent effective. If a couple uses a condom plus the sponge, they would be able to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and unplanned pregnancy at a very high effectiveness rate.

Today Sponge Pros:

  • Easy to use.
  • Doesn’t require a doctor’s visit or prescription.
  • Available in stores.
  • Provides an option for couples who don’t want to use hormonal contraception.
  • Used only when a girl actually has vaginal intercourse.

Today Sponge Cons:

  • Not as effective as hormonal contraception.
  • Provides no protection from STDs.
  • Can be expensive if needed regularly (each sponge costs about three dollars).
  • May be uncomfortable or difficult to use if she doesn’t like to touch her own vulva and vagina.

To get more detailed information about the sponge, check out the official website.

For information on other birth control methods, check out this FAQ.

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