Barrier Contraception

Contraception classed as barriers need to be used every time you have sex. They work by preventing sperm from reaching the womb. Condoms are excellent at preventing the spread of STI’s and can be used alongside other methods of contraception. They include the following listed below.

The Male Condom

The male condom is a very thin but very strong tube of rubber that is put on to the erect (hard) penis before having sex. It acts as a barrier by stopping sperm from contacting the vagina. It can also help prevent the spread of STI’s and is recommended when having oral or anal sex. Check out this post on how to use a condom. When used correctly male condoms can be 98% effective.
Condoms are pretty cheap (about 30 cents each) and are sold all over the place – supermarkets, petrol stations, pharmacists, nightclubs and 7-11.

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Things to be aware of:

  • Although rare, condoms can slip or break during sex, if this happens be sure to see a doctor for a sexual health check (just in case of STI’s) and/or seek emergency contraception (link) to avoid falling pregnant.
  • Make sure your partner withdraws his penis as soon as he ejaculates so that semen does not leak from the condom into your vagina.
  • And finally, if you or your partner are allergic to latex rubber you can buy non-latex condoms.

Important Facts

  • Do not use expired condoms, each wrapper will have the date printed on it.
  • Condoms can only be used once, no recycling.
  • Condoms should be lubricated to prevent breakage, if you need more lubricant buy a water based one like KY jelly, do not use Vaseline, massage oil, moisturizer or an oil based lubricant as they can cause holes to form in the condom.
  • Only store a condom in your purse or wallet for one month and away from your coins, and don’t use condoms that have been kept in warm places such as a car glove box as they can melt!

For more information about male condoms click here.

The Female Condom

This is a soft, rubber-like pouch with a ring at one end, which is placed inside the vagina. Some women like to use it as it is thicker than the condom and allows more heat through, which can make sex feel better. Using a Female Condom also gives women more control over contraception as they don’t have to rely on their partner to use a condom and both water and oil based lubricants can be used.

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The Female Condom can be inserted any time before having sex and you can use it while on your period.

It acts as a barrier as it stops sperm getting through to the vagina and when used correctly can be up to 94% effective.

In order to properly use the Female Condom, you will need to practice inserting it into your vagina correctly. When having sex make sure that the penis is inside the condom, not around it (between your vagina wall and the outside of the condom). Also never use a male and female condom at the same time as they can cause a tear.

Here’s a video to give you a better look at the Female Condom:

Female Condoms are slightly more expensive than male condoms, about $2-$4 each. They can also be harder to find, however family planning clinics and some chemists will have them.

For more information about the female condom click here.

The Diaphragm

The Diaphragm is a shallow rubber cup with soft edges that is inserted into the vagina before having sex. A trained doctor or nurse is required to find your perfect fit and it can be used over and over again for up to two years.

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The Diaphragm is inserted into the position prior to having sex and needs to be kept in for 6 hours after sex. A Diaphragm can reduce the spread of STI’s but it is not completely reliable. If used correctly the diaphragm can be 94% effective.

Some women like to use a diaphragm, as it doesn’t involve any hormones and won’t affect your period, unlike the contraceptive pill or fit and forget methods.

For more information about the Diaphragm click here.

Dental Dams

A dental dam is a thin square or rectangular sheet of latex or silicon that is placed of the vagina or anus during oral-vaginal or oral-anal intercourse to prevent the spread of STI’s.

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It does not prevent pregnancy.

Fun Fact: just like the male condom they come in lots of different flavours, like chocolate, mint and strawberry!

For more info on the Dental Dam click here.


You can read about other types of contraception here. Your local doctor (GP) will be able to help you decide what type of contraception is best for you. Have a read of this page for tips on how to go about visiting a doctor on your own.

You can also go to one of the many family planning clinics located across the country listed below. These centers provide free or very low cost, confidential health care, counselling, information and referral. They are also able to organise translators for free or a very low cost. Check out YEAH’s website to find your closest sexual health clinic.

Victoria: Melbourne
New South Wales: Sydney Area
Queensland: Brisbane Area
South Australia: Adelaide Area
Western Australia: Perth Area and here
Tasmania: All Over
Australian Capital Territory: All Over
Northern Territory: Darwin  & Palmerston Area

If the above clinics aren’t near to you, this site lists all of the sexual health clinics Australia wide.


If you find that you are pregnant and don’t think you want to keep the baby there are many helpful and supportive places you can turn, click here for more information.

Click here for a list of Support Services.