Female Condoms - A Safer Sex Alternative

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Price :

Female condoms are somewhat more expensive than male condoms. However, certain health departments will provide them to individuals for free. They may also be available for free or reduced prices other places, like university campuses, that have condom distribution programs. 

Prices should be going down soon. In early 2009, a less expensive version of the female condom that has long been available overseas was approved for sale in the United States, and a number of other female condom alternatives are in the pipeline.

Ease of Acquisition :

Most, but not all, drug stores sell the female condom, and it is also available online.

Use During Vaginal Intercourse :

Female condoms are designed for use during vaginal intercourse, although getting used to them may take some practice.

Use During Oral Sex :

Female condoms are not terribly well suited for use as a barrier for oral sex performed on a woman. However, they are better than nothing and will stay in place. They provide a fairly limited surface area when compared to a dental dam. On the other hand, they do allow for protected penetration with the tongue. Female condoms are not a good option for performing oral sex on a penis. 

Use During Anal Sex :

The female condom is not currently approved for use during anal sex. Some gay and heterosexual couples remove the inner ring to use it for this activity. Still, the female condom is not designed for anal sex and there are still questions about safety and effectiveness.

The Verdict :

The female condom is the only female controlled contraceptive that also protects against STDs. That's pretty exciting. In general, women don't have a lot of direct control over protecting themselves during intercourse. This is a device that can change that.

The female condom can be slightly intimidating at first, but it's actually quite easy to use.

Many couples enjoy the different sensations that they experience while using the female condom. Some men even prefer it to the male alternative. In fact, it's a particularly good option for uncircumcised guys. This is because unlike a male condom, the female condom doesn't restrict movement of the foreskin.

When using female condoms, it can be very helpful to put lube both inside the condom and outside the condom. Some people say that using the female condom in this way gives a feeling that is more like unprotected sex.

A Word from Verywell

Don't let the newness of the female condom make you scared to try one. It's a good option for both contraception and protecting against STDs during intercourse. Experimenting with the female condom can be a fun way to spice up your sex life. You may even discover that you like using the female condom more than your regular safer sex routine! If you don't, you can always go back. 

Sources:

Alexander KA, Coleman CL, Deatrick JA, Jemmott LS. Moving beyond safe sex to women-controlled safe sex: a concept analysis. J Adv Nurs. 2012 Aug;68(8):1858-69. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2011.05881.x.

Gallo MF, Kilbourne-Brook M, Coffey PS. A review of the effectiveness and acceptability of the female condom for dual protection. Sex Health. 2012 Mar;9(1):18-26. doi: 10.1071/SH11037.

Koster W, Bruinderink MG, Janssens W. Empowering Women or Pleasing Men? Analyzing Male Views on Female Condom Use in Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Cameroon. Int Perspect Sex Reprod Health. 2015 Sep;41(3):126-35. doi: 10.1363/4112615.

Mantell JE, Kelvin EA, Exner TM, Hoffman S, Needham S, Stein ZA. Anal use of the female condom: does uncertainty justify provider inaction? AIDS Care. 2009 Sep;21(9):1185-94. doi: 10.1080/09540120902730005.

Rodriguez K, Ventura-DiPersia C, LeVasseur MT, Kelvin EA. Inconsistencies on U.S. Departments of Health Websites Regarding Anal Use of the Female Condom. AIDS Behav. 2015 Jul;19(7):1141-9. doi: 10.1007/s10461-014-0933-6.

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