Female condoms or internal condoms function similarly to male condoms. It is a contraceptive worn by women internally and made of soft and thin latex material The female condom acts as a barrier inside the vagina to prevent sperm from meeting up with an egg and result in an unplanned pregnancy.
This type of contraceptive is not a new concept. Ancient Greeks may have been the first to have conceptualized and used a female condom made from a goat’s bladder. This was also used in the early 1900s to collect animal semen used for breeding. In modern times, the female condom was developed by Lasse Hessel and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 1994.
Today, women who are in control of their lives and their bodies use female condoms as a barrier method for contraception. Aside from preventing pregnancy, it also protects women and men from contracting sexually transmitted diseases. When used correctly, and inserted properly, female condoms are 95% fail-safe. However, it does take a little bit more practice to use compared to male condoms. Women should take their time to learn how to properly insert it into their vagina to make sure it is in the right place.
What To Expect
If you are not comfortable touching your genital area, female condoms may not be suitable for you. Using female condoms can get a little icky for some. Removing it after your partner has ejaculated can get messy while standing up. It is advisable to remove the condom lying down. Although it has been designed for vaginal sex, some have found a way to use it for anal sex. Studies have yet to prove the efficacy of protecting men and women from STDs if used for anal sex.
Should you decide to go this route in contraception, you may find that it is not readily available in a lot of sexual health clinics. It is best to check the packet if it has met the required safety standards. You can buy female condoms from :
- Online stores/websites
Female condoms may be available for free in the following places :
- Contraception clinics
- Sexual health clinics
- Genitourinary medicine clinics
Can You Use it If You’re Under 16 Years Old?
Sexually active teenage girls can use female condoms and avail them for free in some contraception/ sexual health clinics. If a girl wants to use this type of contraception or any other form of contraception, doctors and nurses keep confidentiality and will not divulge information to parents unless there are serious consequences at hand.
How To Use It
- Open the packet and take care not to tear the condom. It is wise not to open it with your mouth/teeth
- Take hold of the smaller ring at the sealed end of the condom and insert into the vagina slowly
- Do make sure that the open end of the condom with the large ring covers the entire area around the vagina opening.
- The penis should slide inside the female condom itself
- The condom should be removed immediately and gently after sex. To prevent semen from leaking out, twist the large ring to seal it shut while pulling it out.
- Dispose of the condom in the trash bin. Do not flush in the toilet.
- Female condoms come lubricated for ease of use.
- Do not reuse or wash and reuse Always use a fresh condom
Facts You Need to Know
The Encouraging Edge: The Pros
- Protection: The best part of using female condoms is of course is its preventive and protective function in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. That is a no brainer even for male condom usage. It is only used when you have sex, Unlike IUDs, that need to be put in by a doctor and can stay inside your uterus for a long period.
- Increased Sexual Pleasure: Focused group studies reveal that its participants report physically enjoyable sex with a female condom in place. Female condoms come pre-lubricated and the condom outer rings provide for extra stimulation of the clitoris and added stimulation from the internal ring with deep penetration. Men seem to like this as an alternative since male condoms give off a constricted feeling for the penis.
- Convenience: A female condom can be inserted in the vagina up to 8 hours before sex. This provides for spontaneity and not having to go through awkward moments of interrupting the moment to gingerly install a female condom since it requires some practice to properly put it in place. If you’re anticipating sex and don’t want to get all “unsexy”, this is your secret artillery. Readiness!
- Attention Not Required: One great advantage of the female condom for men is that it does not require an erection to use. Unlike the male condom that needs an erect penis to put on.
- Minimal Risk of Allergic Reactions: The common material used for condoms is natural rubber latex which causes allergic reactions in some people. Female condoms are made with synthetic latex and rarely causes allergies and other side effects.
The Debbie Downer: The Cons
- Tricky Moves: Female condoms are not as convenient to use and can be awkward if one gets caught in a compromising situation and need to act quickly. Women need to get their condom insertion techniques perfected since the heat of the moment can quickly turn into a dying ember if you take too long or can’t get it right.
- Accidental Tearing: Female condoms are thin and strong. However if not placed properly or gets snagged with sharp fingernails or jewelry, it can split and tear.
- Funny Noises: Common feedback from female condom users is the noise it makes. Adding more lube may lessen the noise and making sure it is inserted properly to adhere to the walls of the vagina.
- Availability: Not many are even aware of the female condom. It is not as popular as male condoms and fetches a higher price. They are not conveniently available in grocery stores or drug stores and vending machines. To avail of them, you may have to contact certain pharmacies, sexual health clinics, and online web stores.