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Birth control: Non-hormonal methods


Abstinence is the most effective form of birth control; partners do not engage in sexual activity that might put them at risk for pregnancy.  This form of contraception also provides STI protection. For more information about abstinence, please visit our sexual health page.

Male condoms

Male condoms are a popular type of birth control used by college students. They provide both pregnancy and STI protection, and can be used with all types of hormonal birth control. 

Female condoms

Female condoms are made of polyurethane and are inserted vaginally prior to sexual activity. They provide both pregnancy and STI protection, and can be used with all types of hormonal birth control. They should never be used in conjunction with a male condom. 


A diaphragm is a silicone, dome-shaped cup that is inserted into the vagina and sits around the cervix, acting as a barrier to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. A diaphragm is usually used with spermicide. A woman must be fitted for a diaphragm in her clinician’s office.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

An intrauterine device (IUD) is similar to the intrauterine system (IUS), but an IUD does not contain hormones. It is inserted into the uterus and is T-shaped. This method is also known as “copper T,” as it uses copper to help prevent pregnancy. This non-hormonal method lasts for up to 12 years and must be inserted and removed by a health care provider.


A vasectomy (for men) and tubal ligation (for women) are forms of contraception that are meant to be permanent. In a vasectomy, a clinician blocks or cuts the vas deferens, which are the tubes that carry sperm out of the testicles; this helps prevent sperm from being released from the body, helping to prevent pregnancy. In a tubal ligation, a clinician blocks or cuts the fallopian tubes, preventing an egg from being released into the uterus, helping to prevent pregnancy.

Page last updated: 7/2/2014 2:06:58 PM