BACKGROUND: Vaginal microbicides are in development to provide new options for the prevention of sexually transmissible infections. Although promoted as a female-initiated product, men may influence the decision to use a microbicide and the way that it is used, so it is important to explore their views. METHODS: Men (n = 36) enrolled in a 7-day, phase 1 clinical safety trial of SPL7013 Gel were interviewed pre- and post-use of the gel. The trial did not include use of the gel during sex. Interviews were digitally-recorded and transcribed verbatim, and analysed using a framework approach. RESULTS: The men (mean age 37 years) were interested in the idea of vaginal microbicides, had little knowledge about them, and varied beliefs about how they work. They tended to assess microbicide use in relation to condoms and lubricants. Many would want a microbicide to be as effective as condoms. Participants did not anticipate difficulties discussing use with their partners. Many thought that a microbicide would be less intrusive than condoms; some anticipated that the lubricating properties might enhance sexual pleasure. Some anticipated using a microbicide with a condom or with a lubricant, and a few raised questions about the timing of use and use during different types of sexual activity. CONCLUSIONS: No major barriers to microbicide use were found in this sample of Australian men, who anticipated being willing to use them if they are shown to be safe and effective. Our findings should help to inform the design of further studies as well as future information materials and anticipatory guidance.