Image via Spread the Health
The female condom still has a long way to go in gaining popularity in the U.S. Often I hear it mentioned in the same sentence with the diaphragm, which is a cervical barrier your grandmother may have used. Unlike the female condom, however, the diaphragm only protects a women from unwanted pregnancy (not STDs!), and it wasn’t even that effective, resulting in pregnancy 10% of the time. So it’s no wonder it’s fallen out of favor.
Now let’s talk about the female condom. The female condom is the only contraceptive other than the male condom that protects against both pregnancy and STDs. The female condom has a cylindrical shape and is closed at one end. A soft, flexible ring on the inside of the condom is used for insertion and keeps the condom in place during sex. A ring on the other end of the condom remains outside the body and covers part of the labia or anus if used for anal sex. Although this is different from other condoms we are more accustomed to, the female condom has some compelling advantages over male condoms.
Empowers women. Ladies, are you sick and tired of negotiating safe sex? Play it safe before the night even begins. Female condoms don’t rely on the male erection and can be inserted up to eight hours before intercourse. Unlike male condoms, they don’t require men’s willingness and cooperation, thus giving women control over the use of contraception at the outset. This puts women in a better position for negotiation when it comes to using contraceptives. When you are ready for sex, there is no interruption either — the condom is already there.
One size fits all. If your penis isn’t average sized, you probably don’t enjoy wearing condoms. Male condoms that are either too small or too big not only give you less pleasure, they are also less safe. The female condom is really one size fits all because the condom doesn’t rely on the penis to stay in place.
Latex free. Having safer sex with a latex allergy can be a challenge. Although latex female condoms exist, most of them are made of different materials. This means that if you are sensitive or allergic to latex, the female condom is a welcome alternative.
Additional protection. Because the female condom also provides some coverage of the external genitals, STDs such as herpes and genital warts are less frequently transmitted. This makes the female condom safer to use than the male condom.
Can be used for anal sex. There are two ways to use the female condom for anal sex. The first one is to insert the ring into the anus, this is easier when you use some lube and ‘warm the anus up’ a bit with a finger. After inserting the inner ring in the anus, put the finger inside the female condom and push the inner ring as far as comfortable. The outer ring of the female condom should not be inserted. This is something you and your partner might try out and see how it goes.
The second, and easier way to use a female condom for anal sex is to wear it like a male condom. This means taking out the inner ring and sliding the condom over the penis before insertion. Make sure to use enough lubricant on the outside of the condom and sometimes check during intercourse if the outer ring has not gone up the anus or that the penis hasn’t slipped between the condom and the anus.
Stay erect. Some of you men out there might lose your erection at the thought of using condoms or have trouble maintaining your erection during sex. The female condom is your new best friend! Since the female condom is inserted in the vagina or anus, your penis won’t be “wearing” it. This way, you don’t have to worry about your erection and you can fully enjoy safer sex. In some instances, your erections will be stronger with female condoms because you will find it easier to stay in connection with your partner.
Extra pleasure. If only there existed such a thing that protected you against pregnancy and STDs while at the same time increasing your sexual pleasure. But there is! The female condom has been found more pleasurable by both men and women. For men, having their penis not constricted makes sex feel more natural and therefore pleasurable. For women, the outer ring can increase pleasure by rubbing over her labia and clitoris helping her to climax more easily during sex.
Convinced yet? Here’s a few places where you can purchase female condoms:
Good Vibrations (non-latex)
Have more questions? Check out the FAQs on FC2’s website.
Major reminder: do not use a female condom and a male condom at the same time, one or both of them may break!