The Today contraceptive spongeThe photo: The Today sponge, shown folded for insertion.
Benefits of the Sponge: The contraceptive sponge is safe, simple, and convenient. In the U.S. you can buy it in a drugstore without a prescription. It does not need to be fitted by a health care provider and with some practice, inserting and using the sponge is easy. Women like the sponge because it can be conveniently carried in pocket or purse to be prepared should a spongeworthy occasion present itself. It generally cannot be felt by you or your partner. It has no effect on a woman's natural hormones. It does not interrupt sex play — the sponge can be inserted hours ahead of time and can be worn safely and effectively for up to 30 hours after you insert it. During that time, you can have intercourse as many times as you like during the first 24 hours without removing or reinserting the sponge. It can be used during breastfeeding. According to the 19th revised edition (2008) of Contraceptive Technology the sponge is 91% effective for nulliparous women if used correctly and for every act of intercourse.
Disadvantages of the Sponge
- It may be difficult for some women to insert or remove the sponge. If you cannot remove a sponge, or if one breaks into pieces and you cannot remove all of the pieces, see your health care provider immediately to have the sponge removed.
- It may cause vaginal irritation.
- It may make sex too messy or too dry. Some women complain that the sponge is messy because it requires too much liquid. Others have complained the sponge makes sex too dry. Using a water-based lubricant may help dryness.
The sponge contains the chemical spermicide nonoxynol-9. Nonoxynol-9 has certain risks. If it is used many times a day, or by people at risk for HIV, it may irritate tissue and increase the risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Inserting the sponge:
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Before inserting the sponge, wet it with at least two tablespoons of clean water.
- Gently squeeze the sponge. The spermicide, Nonoxynol-9, (N9) will become active when the sponge is completely wet.
- Fold the sides of the sponge upward and away from the loop on the bottom to make it look long and narrow. Then slide the sponge as far back into your vagina as your fingers will reach.
- The sponge will unfold and cover the cervix when you let go of it. To make sure the cervix is covered, slide your finger around the edge of the sponge and check its position. You also should be able to feel the nylon loop on the bottom of the sponge.
- The sponge can be inserted up to 24 hours before intercourse. It must be left in place for at least six hours after the last time you have intercourse. It should not be worn for more than 30 hours in a row.
The sponge can be inserted up to 24 hours before intercourse. It must be left in place for at least six hours after the last time you have intercourse. It should not be worn for more than 30 hours in a row.
Removing a sponge:
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- To remove the sponge, put a finger inside your vagina and through the loop. Pull the sponge out slowly and gently.
- Use a sponge only once. Always discard a used sponge in a waste container. Do not flush it down the toilet.
The Today sponge is available over the counter in the U.S but NOT available in stores in the UK. However, it is available on the Internet which makes it easily available with a little planning. A box of three costs about £15.
Sponge sabotage: Our clinic knows of instances where the spermicide has been rinsed out of the sponge and the sponge dried and reused. One source is the trash cans where used sponges are discarded in women’s loos in clubs and communal restrooms in women’s dorms. Then the sponge is given to an unsuspecting woman to insert leaving her with a much less effective method protected only by the moist sponge’s ability to absorb her partner’s semen with no spermicidal activity. If a rinsed and dried sponge is reused it’s also more likely to come apart during use further decreasing its effectiveness.
I’m CD9 and newly fertile this cycle: its Sunday August 30th as I’m writing this post. I always become aroused when I’m fertile and am writing about contraceptive sabotage occurring either among my friends or to patients who come to our clinic to get help afterward. I think when you are going to be with a new or mischievous man its best even when a woman is on hormonal contraceptives to wear a flat spring rim diaphragm with spermicide to prevent any unexpected decrease in the effectiveness of her hormonal birth control from putting her at risk of pregnancy. Even The LARC methods Nexplanon, Mirena and Kyra can be made less effective by the users intentional or unknowing use weight loss supplements, some prescription meds or even the EllaOne morning-after pill.
Odalisque injuries: There is good news and bad news. The bad news is that another of the small group of corps dancers who are competing amongst themselves to seduce Nikolai out of my bed has been injured. It occurred during a ballet-sex tryst with him when she bruised a big toe when landing from a thrust-drop while wearing Freeds. The good news is that it’s not too serious. Even better news is that this second injury has caused the other Odalisques to rethink purchasing Gaynor Minden shoes in which to play with him. Neither the dislocated toe nor the bruised nail has been linked to Nikolai as the women didn’t want to explain truthfully how their injuries occurred so he is safe for now. I don’t have an immediate replacement, but I think the four remaining Odalisques, including the recent replacement for the one who dislocated her big toe, should take care of his needs until bruised toe can get back into competition.
Summer Bank Holiday: This coming Monday August 31st is the Summer Bank Holiday. The unionized workers on First Great Western railroad which covers parts of South West England and Wales from Brighton to the tip of Cornwall at Penzance on the south coast of England and along the south coast of Wales from Newport on the East to Pembroke on the west have decided to have a strike this weekend. Most routes are operating, but at reduced service. Fortunately rail service to Caersws, Wales was not affected. On a spur of the moment decision I decided to take Nikolai aboard The Dragon to Blackthorn Castle, my ancestral home in the Cumbrian Mountains. The trip gives us an opportunity to be alone together – with just the servants - where we can work on his pointe training and sexual stamina. The weather so far has been as expected Cool, in the low to mid 60s (F) at mid-afternoon with showers and forecasted thunderstorms Monday afternoon… Sigh! It seems strange not to have my Wards with me to enjoy girl gossip. I think I have a bit of empty-nest syndrome. But I can lose myself with my nose buried in Nikolai’s armpit enjoying the male testosterone musk of his sweat after he keeps me in orgasm for so long I’m breathless and can hardly move much less stand.
Tropical storm Erika and Lost Cove on Virgin Gorda: Alice, Duchess of M**** phoned to say that tropical storm Erika passed over Virgin Gorda on the 28th with heavy rain and gusty winds and thankfully relatively little damage. Her place and mine on Lost Cove were undamaged. I hope that sort of things continue as we still have another eight weeks of Hurricane season to go.