OBJECTIVES:There is evidence that men's perception of contraceptive methods and of their effectiveness and health risks have a major impact on couples contraceptive choices. Engaging men in decision making improves reproductive health outcomes. If they are better informed, men can potentially contribute to more effective use of contraception, thus reducing the rate of sexually transmitted infections and abortion. In Central European countries, few data are available on male contraceptive knowledge and behaviour. METHODS:To collect more data we conducted an anonymous survey among young men studying at Zürich University in Switzerland. A questionnaire was distributed to 1500 male students which included a broad range of items addressing sexual behaviour, condom use and knowledge, and attitudes regarding contraceptive methods. RESULTS:Three hundred and sixty-one questionnaires were eligible for evaluation. Condoms and the combined oral contraceptive pill were the most frequently used methods. However, at last intercourse 15.6% of respondents had not used any method of contraception. Many respondents (37%) had had a one-night stand without protection. Contraceptive methods most regarded as unhealthy for women were the combined oral contraceptive pill, progestin-only methods, intrauterine devices (IUDs) and emergency contraception. Characteristics considered by young men to be important in determining contraceptive method choice were: efficacy, partner satisfaction and no impact on fertility and libido. CONCLUSIONS:Awareness among male Swiss students about contraceptive methods is high, but in-depth knowledge is limited. Myths were expressed about the combined oral contraceptive pill, progestin-only methods, IUDs and the emergency contraceptive pill. High-risk behaviour occurs frequently. The internet was reported to be the most important source of information about contraception.