Review of FC Female Condom—Pros and Cons

Protection From Both Pregnancy and STD/HIV

woman's hands holding female condom
Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images

The FC Female Condom is a soft, loose-fitting pouch that lines the vagina with a ring at each end. The FC2 is currently marketed and available at pharmacies. Formerly called Reality Female Condom, the FC2 condom is the only FDA-approved device for women that provides both contraceptive protection and STD/HIV prevention.

When inserting the female condom, the inner ring is placed behind the pubic bone (which holds the condom in place during sex).

The other ring stays outside the vagina. The outer ring of the female condom covers more of the vulva; this may provide extra coverage for herpes, HPV warts, or any other STD that can be transmitted through skin to skin contact.

Description

  • Dimensions: 6.7 inches long (170 mm), so it fits comfortably inside a woman’s body. It is also 3.1 inches wide (79 mm), so it provides that “extra room” for a man of any size.
  • To maximize sensation, it is only .0020 inches (50 microns) thick—similar to some of the ultra-thin male latex condoms.
  • To enhance comfort, each condom is abundantly lubricated inside and out with a silicone lubricant. The boxes include extra tubes of this silky lubricant for those who enjoy more lubrication.
  • The CDC notes that female condoms can be used for anal sex, but the manufacturer notes that it is only FDA-approved for vaginal sex and such use would be off-label.

Pros

  • The FC2 female condom Is the only FDA-approved device for women that provides pregnancy and STD/HIV protection.
  • The FC1 was made from polyurethane, but it is no longer marketed. The FC2 is made of nitrile. Both are latex-free and so the FC2 a good alternative for those sensitive to latex.
  • It can be inserted up to eight hours ahead of time, so sexual activity doesn’t have to be interrupted.
  • The female condom provides a sensual experience as it warms to the body temperature.
  • It allows a couple the freedom to switch between sex and foreplay.

Cons

  • It can be expensive.
  • It is awkward to insert, at first.
  • It might make noise during sex, but you can use extra lubrication to prevent this.
  • It may be difficult to find in stores or online.
  • Slippage can occur if not enough lubricant is used.

Review

The FC2 female condom is a great alternative to the male condom. Nitrile is stronger than latex and allows more heat to transfer between bodies, providing a unique and more natural experience for both men and women.

Since the female condom can be inserted up to eight hours before having sex, couples can easily switch between foreplay and sex without interruptions. Some couples may enjoy inserting the female condom as part of their foreplay.

The female condom offers the advantage of not having to use another male condom if a man's erection is lost. Many men like not feeling the pressure to keep an erection. Couples also may enjoy the increased intimacy of "staying connected" as the man doesn't need to withdraw as soon as he ejaculates.

Many women report that besides the warming sensations, the friction caused by the outer ring provides some extra stimulation of the clitoris while the inner ring of the female condom adds sensation due to contact with the inner vaginal walls.

The FC2 female condom is a reliable contraceptive option for sex in water because it is inserted into a woman's body, so less water will affect it, and there is less risk that the condom will slide out.

Concerns

More lubricant should be added if the penis is not easily slipping in and out. The female condom may slip up and down inside the vagina, so adding lubricant to the penis or inside the pouch may prevent this. Movement of the outer ring from side-to-side is normal.

Make sure that the penis is inserted into the female condom (and not to the side of it). Sometimes, the outer ring may be pushed inside the vagina during sex.

If this happens, stop and remove the device. Make sure to correctly insert a new one and add extra lubricant (perhaps to the penis as well).

Keep in mind: Each condom can only be used once and a female condom should never be used with a male condom. Also, know that this device may take some time to get used to (the look and feel). But once you learn how to insert a female condom and are feeling at ease, it can be a comfortable birth control option.

Disclosure

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Sources:

Female Condom Use. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/condomeffectiveness/Female-condom-use.html

Frequently Asked Questions. veru Healthcare. https://fc2femalecondom.com/frequently-asked-questions/

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