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All About Female Condoms-Uses, Effectiveness And Tips

By Nishkak +2 more

What are female condoms? 

A female condom is a birth control device made up of polyurethane or a newer version made of nitrile, a man-made latex-free material. It is a long pouch that fits inside the vagina and like a male condom, collects the semen and aims to reduce the chances of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. 


The female condom needs to be placed inside the vagina before beginning intercourse These are said to be approx 95% effective when compared to male condoms (98% effective).

How to use a female condom? 

Wearing a female condom can be tricky in the beginning, but it gets easier with practice. 

  • Do not reuse a condom. Wear a fresh one after each round of vaginal sex.
  • Wash your hand and open the packet and remove the condom carefully. Do not tear the packet with your teeth.
  • Check the condom for any signs of damage.
  • Find the most comfortable position for you to relax in while you place the condom. You may lie on your back, squat or place one leg higher on a chair seat.
  • Just like you would wear a tampon, squeeze the small ring present at the closed end of the condom and insert it as far as it goes inside your vagina. Let go of the ring so that it fits over the cervix and covers it
  • The ring on the open side of the condom rests outside the vagina.
  • Remove the female condom carefully after sex. Twist the loose outer open side to prevent semen from leaking out. 
  • Dispose of the used condom.
  • Most female condoms are pre-lubricated but you can add more lubricant for easy use. Read the packaging to see which lubricants are suitable.

Effectiveness of female condoms

If you wear the female condom correctly and follow the instructions listed on the packaging, it is may serve as an effective measure for contraception. Statistically speaking a female condom is upto 95% effective when used correctly. However, some situations can make the female condom less effective. If-

  • A penis comes in contact with the vagina before the female condom is worn
  • The condom tears due to sharp nails, teeth bite or jewellery while opening 
  • The condom gets pushed back too far inside the vagina

If you think that semen has entered your vagina. Consult your doctor about-

Advantages of female condoms

  • Can be purchased from a pharmacy or family planning clinic without a prescription.
  • Can be used during pregnancy, after childbirth and during menstruation.
  • Acts as effective protection against unwanted pregnancy and STIs.
  • Not made of latex but a softer material called nitrile, which does not irritate the skin or cause allergies.
  • Female condoms can be worn 8 hours before sexual intercourse, therefore it does not ruin the mood.
  • It remains secure in its position even if your partner loses his erection.
  • You can use both oil-based and water-based lubricants without damaging the condom or making it less effective.
  • The female condom has a longer shelf life compared to a male condom. It lasts for upto 5 years and is not affected by sunlight or humidity.
  • There are no serious health hazards of a female condom.

Disadvantages of female condoms

  • They are more expensive than male condoms.
  • Difficulty in wearing. Not all females are comfortable putting on female condoms.
  • Not as widely available or popular as male condoms.
  • Friction and lack of lubrication can make sex less pleasurable and uncomfortable.
  • No contact between the penis and vagina reduces clitoral stimulation.
  • There is still a chance of STIs.
  • Female condoms are available in only one size.

Important points to remember 

  • Do not use a male and female condom together. The friction may cause either or both condoms to tear.
  • Do not tear open the condom package with your teeth or sharp objects like scissors or fingernails.
  • If the female condom breaks, it bunches up inside the vagina. Remove it immediately and replace it right away.
  • Remove tampons before wearing the condom.
  • Keep a male condom in handy in case of any emergency.
  • Condoms do not assure 100% contraception. Consult your doctor for additional measures (IUD, contraceptive pills etc.) for contraception. 

Conclusion

Even though you do not need to remove the condom immediately after sex, it is advised to do so to avoid any incident of sperm spillage. Female condoms do not completely eliminate but significantly reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections. Make sure to read the instructions on the package on how to wear the condom and the lubrication specifications to ensure a safe, pleasurable and hassle-free sexual experience.

Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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