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Consider Female Condoms

By Susan Peck, MSN, APN

Consider Female Condoms

Are you interested in birth control that protects against infection, doesn’t require a prescription and that also doesn’t involve hormones? Why not consider the female condom—condoms aren’t just for men.

Female Condoms

The female condom is an easy to use, soft, polyurethane (non- latex) pouch that fits comfortably inside your vagina. There’s a ring at each end of the condom. Before intercourse, insert inner ring/pouch deep into your vagina, leaving the outer open ring covering part of your vulva. This external covering may reduce exposure to sexually transmitted infections that are transmitted from skin-to-skin contact, such has genital herpes or HPV.
During intercourse, any pre-ejaculate fluid and semen from your male partner is collected in the pouch, thereby preventing pregnancy and reducing your exposure to sexually transmitted infections transmitted through bodily fluids. After ejaculation, the female condom is removed and discarded. The condom is strong but very thin—about as the thinnest male condom.

Using Female Condoms

Many couples prefer female condoms because they can be used with oil-based lubricants like Vaseline or coconut oil and are latex-free, unlike male condoms. You may find it helpful to insert the female condom as part of foreplay; it may even enhance external clitoral stimulation making sexual activity more pleasurable. Polyurethane may conduct more body heat between partners, which may also heighten sexual pleasure. Female condoms can also be used safely during anal intercourse.
Some couples may find the condom slips easily into the vagina or may be awkward to insert, but with very little practice, most couples use it very easily. Adding additional lubricant may help to avoid slippage. Like male condoms, female condoms can only be used once and must be discarded after use. Don’t try to use both a male and female condom at the same time as friction may tear one or both of the condoms.

Effectiveness of Female Condoms

The female condom can be used with other birth control methods including birth control pills or IUDs because of the infection prevention it provides. On it’s own, and when used correctly every time, only 5/100 women will become pregnant after one year of use. If not used correctly every time, 21/100 women will become pregnant. Additionally, spermicide may be applied for extra protection.
In 2009, the FC2 Female Condom was approved for use and sale. You can purchase female condoms online or at local drug stores or health clinics like Planned Parenthood for around $4 each.

Susan Peck, MSN, APN, is a nurse practitioner at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and an expert advisor to Healthy Mom&Baby.

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