This is a case report of a 44-year-old woman who used a home-made diaphragm for 16 years to protect herself from pregnancy and sexually-transmitted infections. The woman stitched a piece of cloth with folded polythene inside. This case report provides a vivid illustration of the limitations of available methods of protection for women. It consists of an introduction to the topic, a description of her experiences using her home-made diaphragm and a discussion of the significance of the case. This report supports the need for additional research on female-controlled methods of protection against sexually-transmitted infections, methods that can be used without male knowledge and co-operation, such as vaginal microbicides and cervical barriers against infection, including the diaphragm.