A chemical substance designed to kill sperm, mainly used in the prevention of infection and pregnancy.
Originally conceived to aid in the process of preventing pregnancies, it was also developed as a method of Safe Sex, to aid in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, such as HIV.
Spermicides are either a natural chemical or artificially created, that is designed to kill the sperm itself.
Presence and Potency of Lactic Acid is considered to be the central key to whether or not a Spermicide is an effective killer of sperm.
Microbicide is the process of killing bacteria within sperm, to prevent the spread of diseases. It is considered to be a secondary purpose of a Spermicide.
The first written record of any spermacide comes from Egypt, in the Kahun Papyrus dated to around 1850 BC.
The mixture was to be inserted into the female vagina.
It was made up of crocodile dung and fermented dough.
Other formulas are recorded, around 1500 BCE which included the mixing of seed wool, acacia, dates, and honey.
It is considered to have been somewhat effective, due to acting as a barrier as well as to the presence of lactic acid which is a natural sperm killer.
Laboratory testing of products, which led to the development of such spermicides as Nonoxynol-9 and menfegol began in the 1800's.
Due to the Comstock Act of 1873, many spermicides were promoted as hygiene products, which had no scientific substance to being effective in killing of sperm.
One popular item marketed for this, was Lysol.
History (Legend): Lemon Juice has been touted as an effective Spermicide, though no clinical studies have been done to proof or disprove this concept.
In fact, not only may it NOT be an effective method of birth control, but it can create abrasions within the body, that are more susceptible to infections, such as the HIV virus.
Basically, most spermicides are available in different forms, that allow for easy use. Most are based on Nonoxynol-9 though it is no longer considered an effective barrier for infection containment, but in fact, may add to one's risk of infection.
It is available in gel form, cream, film or foam.
Once commonly available within pre packaged condoms, it has been shown to be ineffective.
Menfegol is a foaming tablet, available in Europe only.
The application is to either coat the inside lining of the anus, vagina, or to coat the penis before insertion. However, used alone, most spermicides have a failure rate of 18% when properly applied, and about a 29% failure rate when used incorrectly.
This applies as a birth control method only. It's effectiveness as a Microbicide has basically been debunked, or rated as not only being ineffective, but a potential risk for increasing the chance of infection from sexually transmitted diseases.
Practice (Associated Acts): It was believed that Spermicides not only were effective in reducing unwanted pregnancies, but was a method of helping to reduce the spread of Sexually Transmitted Disease and Infections.
That is however not the case.
In fact, recent studies indicate that use of such items, like Nonoxynol-9 or even Lemon Juice (considered a natural Spermicide) do more harm than anything else.
They can cause irritations in the inner linings of both the anus and vagina, or sores, that can in fact increase the likelihood of possible infection for diseases like HIV, Herpes.
Noteworthy: Comstock Act of 1873 made the sale or promotion of contraceptives illegal in the United States, which included spermicides, as well as condoms. It included any material that promoted their use, as well as the product itself.
While the Act dealt with obscene material, the portion dealing with contraceptives was repealed in 1936, though many portions of the Act remain in force to this date (2008).
It is a myth that soda pop like Coca Cola or others, can effectively act as a Spermicide. There is NO proof of any effectiveness.
Viva Gel is considered to hold promise as being a possible Microbicide that could kill the HIV virus, as well as the Herpes virus.
Testing on animals has proven successful and full human testing is expected to begin in both Australia and the United States.
To date, spermicides like Nonoxynol-9, Lemon Juice, Neem Oil, have proven to be ineffective in killing bacteria or viruses. They all create abrasions and irritations in the linings of the vagina, rectum, which can actually increase the risk of infection.
Other side effects include itching of the sex organs, burning sensation, urinary tract and yeast infections (in women).