Do you know about the female condom? Okay, maybe you’ve heard of it before, briefly touched on it in sex ed, or you just know that they exist in the universe to some capacity. But do you really know about them? Like, have you ever used one? Your friends? Have you ever heard one mentioned in any other discussions about birth control or sex ed? What about an advertisement? The answer is probably no, right? That’s the sad reality of female condoms; they could be another great resource in the birth control arsenal of anyone and everyone with a vagina, but not many of us are educated about them.
Well that ends right here, right now! Here’s absolutely everything you need to know about female condoms.
WTF is a female condom? And how does it work?
A female condom is pouch-like device that is inserted in the vagina before having sex as a way to prevent pregnancy and STD/STIstrad like ghonarria and HIV. It’s shaped like a cylinder with flexible rings on both ends. The closed end of the condom is inserted into the ol’ vag while the outer ring chills out outside of the ol’ vag. By the way, it can also be used anally if you’re into that.
Er, how do I insert one?
Planned Parenthood suggests lubricating the ring on closed end that enters your vagina with lube or spermicide. Then, once you’re in a comfortable position–on your back, one foot on a chair, squatting, whatever–you squeeze the ring and insert it into your vagina, sort of like you would a tampon or menstrual cup. You want to make sure that you insert it as deeply as possible, until you reach your cervix. Yeah, you have to be pretty comfortable with your ole’ friend downstairs to do this. Once you’re done with that, just make sure that the open end of the condom’s ring is hanging out outside of your vagina by about an inch or do. When you’re doing the do, it’s pretty common for the condom to move around, but you don’t need to worry unless your partner’s penis slips between the vagina and the outside of the condom. If that happens, readjust by removing the condom, adding more lube or spermicide and then reinserting.
Never–and I repeat, never–let your partner use a condom while your female condom is inserted and ready for action. You know how it’s bad news for folks with penises to wear two condoms at the same time due to friction ripping the condom? Yeah, same thing happens when a traditional condom and a female condom are getting jiggy with it.
Removal is easy. After the deed is done, squeeze and twist the outer ring–so that the semen is trapped inside–and gently pull out the condom. Then just throw it away. Easy peasy!
What are the pros and cons?
The pros are pretty cool. I mean, you’re sort of taking extra control of your sexual health instead of depending on your partner to wrap up their penis. This is also a great alternative for those of you who are allergic to latex! Also, it doesn’t depend on an erection to stay in place. As long as it is inserted properly, it is 95 percent effective.
The cons truly vary but some might experienced vaginal or vulval irritation after using a female condom. Some also report a reduce in sensation, but people say that about traditional condoms as well. Female condoms of yesteryear were often reputed for being noisy during sex, sort of like the sound of rubbing a plastic sandwich baggie while you’re getting busy. Not so sexy, right? But its new design pretty much eliminates that problem. Never know until you find out, though, right?
Like all reliable birth control methods, there is a slight chance of something going wrong, which can result in unintended pregnancy, so always be prepared to have a backup plan–like the morning after pill–just in case.
Wait, how come I don’t know as much about female condoms as male ones? Why aren’t there any commercials for them?
Good question. Honestly, if you’re not familiar with female condoms you aren’t alone. Even college students barely know what the hell they are. To be fair, they’re fairly new in the birth control game and weren’t even available in the United States until 1993. Why they haven’t quite caught on is hard to say, but its reputation for being noisier and more difficult to use probably didn’t do it any favors. Hopefully there will be a resurgence of popularity for female condoms, however. Folks who have a vagina deserve non-hormonal options for their birth control, too!
Where can I buy them?
Most drugstores and grocery stores should have them. But if you want to be discreet, there’s always the internet!
Have you ever used a female condom? What were your thoughts? Tell us in the comments!