7 Birth Control Methods That Actually Don’t Work

Quick question: Have you ever used saran wrap as a condom? Would you ever, if pressed, use saran wrap as a condom? If not, great–you’re already doing better than someone on Total Sorority Move who goes by “wait_what25,” who, over the weekend, posted a first-person account of how, in a moment of passion in which she found herself without a condom, she chose, instead, to use plastic wrap.

It’s easy enough to see why this piece was published. Save for Eli Manning memes, there’s nothing the Internet loves to click on more than a confessional, sensationalized piece about an ill-advised sexual encounter to collectively gawk over and eviscerate–hey, I’m talking about it now, right?–and, as an Internet writer, you’ve got to Get Those Clicks, Baby™.  At the same time, however, it should be noted that the piece doesn’t really get into why this DIY contraceptive was, uh, not exactly a great idea. Wait-what25 goes into great detail about how, post-saran wrap, her boyfriend’s penis looked like “looked like a leftover sausage wrapped up for storage,” and how it  felt like an “over-sized Barbie arm wedged up [her] vag,” (say what you will about the piece, but it really is quite vivid) she doesn’t really talk about how saran wrap is basically a totally useless method of birth control/ STD protection.  I mean, you all know that I love a good DIY project, but, statistically speaking, the words “DIY” and “birth control” shouldn’t really ever be used together.

And saran wrap, as it turns out, is not the only thing that people have used as birth control that, as it turns out, is totally ineffective. Check out these birth control methods that, uh, if you were thinking about using in a pinch, should probably just stay away from:

Saran Wrap Or Plastic Bags

If you need some convincing as to why you shouldn't use plastic wrap or plastic bags as birth control, here it is: These makeshift condoms tear easily, are easily displaced, and don't actually fit the way they're supposed to, which is kind of the point of a condom--you know, fitting properly. so semen won't leak out of the sides and into your body. Please don't try this.

Pulling Out

You've probably been told that the pull-out method (removing the penis from a partner’s vagina before ejaculation to prevent pregnancy) is ineffective. But, all the same, here's a refresher: First of all, pre-cum--which can contain sperm--leaks from the penis throughout the entirety of sex, meaning that even if pulling out happens at the right time, you can still get pregnant.  Also, pre-cum aside, focusing on pulling out at the exact right moment while you're having sex is just hard, since your mind isn't exactly on "timing." Finally, pulling out is a method depends entirely on the guy deciding when to pull out, and it's best to have your birth control in your own hands. (Plus, it goes without saying that this isn't going to prevent you from getting an STD, since there's no barrier at all.)

Natural "Lambskin" Condoms

Some people use natural condoms (also called "lambskin" condoms, since they're made out of sheep intestines) for more of a sensitive, skin-to-skin feel. Putting my own personal vegetarian editorial bias aside (which would read something like this: "ew") lambskin condoms are not a great move--according to the CDC, these condoms have an 18% failure rate in regards to preventing pregnancy. Obviously, this is better than nothing, but it's a pretty big difference from the 2% failure rate you get with condoms. More importantly, they also aren't effective at all for preventing STDs because the membrane-based protection layer allows bacteria and viruses to pass through. A website for the product, which seems to have been made in 1998 and left untouched since then, proclaims that it is the condom of "Hollywood stars." You know what Hollywood star used lambskin condoms, though? Charlie Sheen, which didn't turn out very well. So maybe, uh, don't.

Post-Coital Douching

Douching, in general, is not great. It's not healthy for your vagina, first of all--douching can cause anything from pH imbalances to pelvic inflammatory disease--so, in general, you should stay away from them. Same goes for after sex--you might have heard a rumor at one point or another that douching "cleans" your vagina out after unprotected sex enough to prevent a pregnancy, but this isn't the case, since it can't actually clean everything out down there.

Pre-Sex Bath

Ever heard that rumor that, if a guy takes a hot bath before sex, this will kill all the live sperm in his testicles, making it so that having unprotected sex is totally fine? Yeah, sorry. Not true. If that were the case, there would be a lot of infertile guys out there.

Drinking Pineapple Juice After Sex

It's true that pregnant women are advised to stay away from pineapple juice during their pregnancy, since it may cause a contraction of the uterus and, eventually, a miscarriage.  The key word here, however, is "may"--drinking pineapple juice doesn't guarantee a thing, so you should definitely not rely on that as a birth control method.


Those period-tracking apps can be really, really great in terms of monitoring when you need to make sure you've got extra tampons in your bag, but they shouldn't be used as brith control. Some people think that, since they tell you when you're ovulating, if you just have sex when you aren't ovulating, you won't get pregnant. This isn't the case, however--your phone is smart, sure, but not that smart. It doesn't actually know your body, so it could be a little off when it comes to knowing exactly when you're ovulating and not. Plus, you can still get pregnant when you aren't ovulating. Plus plus, this still won't prevent against STDs. So. Don't rely on this. (Same goes for having sex on your period, by the way--while you might not be as likely to get pregnant, there's still a chance that it could happen).

Were you surprised by any of these birth control methods? Which ones? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

7 Ways You Didn’t Know You Should Be Taking Care Of Your Vagina

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