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Female Condoms: What are they? How do they work?

January 7th, 2008 · 2 Comments

I remember being a junior in college and hearing about the female condom from my best friend and roommate, a staunch women’s activist. Only a few months earlier, she had excitedly alerted me of a cool new contraption that would allow women to pee standing up, so let’s just say that I was less than open to the idea of hearing about some hokey body-sized rubber that probably covered the woman from head to toe. I kept thinking, “Well, of course it would protect a woman from getting pregnant; men would be running in the opposite direction at the sight of it.” It wasn’t until recently that I was able to actually research female condoms to see what they are really all about, and you know what? They aren’t full body-sized. While female condoms have never proved to be extremely popular in the U.S., they are still available at many retail outlets and proven very effective against STDs.

A female condom is worn during sexual intercourse by the woman and, like regular male condoms, is used to prevent pregnancy and certain sexually transmitted diseases. The female condom is usually made of polyurethane (in 2005, a new version came out made of nitrile, making the female condoms less expensive) and looks remarkably like a male condom. The difference is that it has two flexible rings on either end. The ring that is attached to the sealed end of the condom is what is inserted to hold it in place during intercourse. The ring on the opposite unsealed end is placed outside the entrance.

To insert a female condom, one will probably want to assume the same position she would when inserting a tampon. Pinch the ring on the sealed end and insert the ring and the condom into the vagina. With one or two fingers inside the condom, gently push until the ring cannot go up any farther. Be sure that the ring on the unsealed edge stays at the vagina entrance. Also, be sure that the condom does not become twisted inside the vagina for maximum effectiveness.

When beginning sexual intercourse, gently glide your partner into the female condom. A few things you will want to keep in mind when using the female condom:

*A female condom is not designed to be used coupled with a male condom. This would be like double-bagging a condom and would cause extra friction and an increased risk of breakage as the two condoms rubbed against each other.

*While some users swear that the female condom can be used after being washed and sanitized, it is recommended that a new female condom be used after each episode of sexual intercourse.

*Like a diaphragm, a female condom can be inserted and ready for use eight hours before sexual intercourse.

*Some women report that the female condoms make a distracting squishing sort of sound during intercourse. If this occurs when using the female condom, a drop or two of extra lubrication might do the trick.

*Female condoms are a bit more expensive than male condoms, although the new nitrile-based female condoms are less expensive than the original.

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Tags: Condom Reviews · Condom Use

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Carly!! // May 8, 2008 at 6:42 pm

    Great info! thanks! I needed this for a health project so thanks so much for the help.

  • 2 Megan and Loren // Jun 3, 2009 at 7:05 am

    This stuff is so cool. We wanted to know because we think of the most random things.
    Thanks for the help.

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