Week of:
Aug 10, 2018

An explanation of contraceptive failure rates

Dear Alice,

When people say that contraceptives, like condoms, have a twelve percent failure rate, do they mean that they result in pregnancy in twelve out of every 100 women who use them? I hope that means that twelve percent of people who use them become pregnant in a year, or something like that. Otherwise, it sounds as risky as Russian roulette to rely on condoms.

Five kinds of condoms: A guide for consumers

Dear Alice,

My boyfriend and I have recently decided that we will use condoms and spermicide for contraceptive purposes. We have begun experimenting with various brands/types of condoms, which has caused concern. Can you explain the various types of condoms, and/or the advantages/disadvantages of each, i.e., effectiveness, etc. Lambskin vs. latex vs. polyurethane??? We are monogamous and primarily concerned with pregnancy prevention.

Thanks for the help!

— Condom Confusion

Emergency contraception basic information


My boyfriend and I had sex last night and we saw that the condom had broke. We don't know when it happened and I've been looking all over for the 72 hour correction thing that the commercials say — just in case. Can you help me?


Diaphragm and cervical cap effectiveness

Dear Alice,

How effective is the diaphragm? I was on the pill, but it made me ill and depressed. However, I miss the spontaneity and reliability of it. What about the cervical cap?

Just Say No to Hormones

The contraceptive patch (Ortho Evra)

Dear Alice,

I saw this commercial on TV last night about the birth control patch. Is it as good as the pill? Do you keep the same patch on for a week or do you have to remember to put one on every day just like having to remember to take the pill? I was just wondering, because I forget a lot to take my pill and just wanted to know if that was easier. Are the side effects worse than the pill?