In 1997, a random sample of Finnish men (n = 395) and women (n = 393) aged 18-50 years received a postal questionnaire concerning family planning, in which they were asked which contraceptive methods they had ever used and which three methods they considered to be best. Men's contraceptive preferences were compared to those of women. The response rate for men was 45% and for women 56%. The majority of both men and women had used, together with their partners, condom, oral contraceptives (OCs) and intrauterine devices (IUDs). The use of diaphragm, Norplant, Depo Provera and postcoital IUDs was not common. Among the men, 2-11% did not know whether their partner/partners had used the contraceptives in question. Concerning the three best contraceptive methods, men placed the condom first and women OCs. No male or female respondents rated postcoital emergency pills a superior method. Both men and women appreciated the most reliable means.