Seven Questions about the Female Condom

October 19, 2019
The female condom is an alternative to the male condom. Since it has the same effectiveness levels, it allows women to not depend on their partner to protect themselves against unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

The female condom is a contraceptive method that, besides acting as a birth control device, also protects against sexually transmitted diseases. There are many things you should know about it before trying it out.

Questions about the female condom

1. How is it inserted?

The female reproductive system.

The female condom creates a protective barrier from the vagina to the cervix.

It consists of two rings, one at the closed end and one at the open end. To insert it correctly, you should consider the following:

  • The inner ring must be placed over the cervix. To do this, insert the closed end inside your vagina and push it until it reaches the cervix.
  • The outer ring covers the vulva, which is why you shouldn’t insert it into your vagina. Make sure it protrudes about one inch.

2. How do you remove the female condom?

To remove it, you have to locate the outer ring, squeeze it, bend it, and pull it gently. It’s important not to reuse female condoms; you must use a new one each time you have sex. Also, remember that you can’t dispose of them down the toilet. Instead, throw them in the trash.

3. Advantages of the female condom

  • Protects against sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Protects against unwanted pregnancies.
  • It doesn’t require a prescription.
  • It’s affordable and easy to find.
  • Since it’s a non-hormonal contraceptive method, it has very few side effects.
  • It allows women to gain control over their sexual health, as they don’t have to rely on male condoms.
  • The penis doesn’t have to be erect and you can insert a female condom up to eight hours before having sex.
  • You can use it during your period and when you’re pregnant.
  • It’s easy to insert and remove.

Read more: Should I Stop Using Contraceptives?

4. What are the disadvantages of using the female condom?

Lubricant.

To prevent vaginal dryness during penetration, you can use lubricant to improve your sexual experience.

  • Although it’s not common, it may cause allergic reactions (such as itching and swelling).
  • There’s no direct contact between the penis and vagina, which is why it may affect stimulation. Also, friction can lead to a lack of lubrication, which can lead to unsatisfying sex. The use of lubricants often helps counteract these disadvantages.
  • The condom can break.
  • The outer ring may slip into the vagina during intercourse.
  • The female condom can slip out of the vagina.

5. What’s the difference between male and female condoms?

Unlike male condoms, which are usually made of latex, female condoms are made of polyurethane or nitrile. Therefore, women who are allergic to the components of male condoms can use them.

Also, they’re not affected by moisture or temperature changes, like in the case of male condoms. Moreover, instead of being placed over the penis, the female condom is inserted into the vagina.

6. Is it a suitable birth control method for me?

It’s important to visit your doctor or gynecologist so they can assess your situation and determine the best birth control for your particular case.

Thanks to the fact that there are many types of available birth control methods, you can choose the best one according to your needs and change it depending on your condition. Nevertheless, you probably should evaluate other birth control methods if you:

  • Have a regular sexual partner and have sex often. In this case, you might consider a birth control method that doesn’t require placement every time (IUDs, birth control pills) because the female condom is more suitable for sporadic sex.
  • Are sensitive or allergic to nitrile or polyurethane.
  • Have a hard time inserting and properly positioning the condom.
  • Have anatomical abnormalities that interfere with the positioning of the female condom.

This article may interest you: Contraceptive Methods: Know the Myths and Truths About Them

7. Is the female condom an effective birth control method?

A woman taking out a condom.

If used correctly, female condoms are 95% effective.

The effectiveness of female condoms depends on correct use. If you use them every time you have sex and insert them correctly, they’re 95% effective. However, since the conditions that lead to proper use aren’t always met, its effectiveness decreases to 79%.

If you require more protection, you can use female condoms along with birth control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), or contraceptive implants. You shouldn’t use it along with a male condom because the friction between the different materials could cause tears.

  • Lameiras-Fernández, M., Núñez-Mangana, A. M., Rodríguez-Castro, Y., & Bretón-López, J. (2007). Conocimiento y viabilidad de uso del preservativo femenino en jóvenes universitarios españoles. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology (Vol. 7). Retrieved from http://www.redalyc.org/articulo.oa?id=33770114
  • Navarrete, M. A., Salas, A., Palacios, L., Marín, J. F., Quiralte, J., & Florido, J. F. (2006). Alergia al látex. Farmacia Hospitalaria, 30(3), 177–186. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1130-6343(06)73969-1