Dear Go-To Girl,
I was in class the other day and heard several of my classmates talking about using citrus rinds as diaphrams for birth control! They said the acid kills the sperm. Is this true? Even if it is true, could it possibly be effective birth control? And even if it was effective, wouldn't it be painful or dangerous? What would be the advantage of the this natural method?
Unless they teach a class called "Secret 19th Century Birth Control Methods of the Stupid and Pregnant" at your school, don't listen to these classmates. While the rind of, say, an orange might from a great distance resemble a diaphragm, there are a few important differences between the two. First of all, a diaphragm is made of really flexible material; orange rinds are hard. Whether or not you could even put an orange rind in your cooch is an open question.
Here's the deal with acidity and the vagina: the vaginal environment is acidic, and sperm is relatively neutral but leans toward alkaline. So to change the pH of the vagina by using something acidic (citrus rinds, vinegar, battery acid, whatever) could make what is normally a hospitable environment for sperm hostile and, in theory, kill them. But the withdrawal method also theoretically prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg, so don't rely on a theoretical understanding to keep you from getting pregnant.
File this one under "WTF."