Have you tried the ‘other’ condom?
What’s wrong with a regular condom you may ask? Well in my experience the biggest challenge with using male condoms is remembering to put the damn things on! Apparently I am not alone; up to 15 women per year will fall pregnant using male condoms due to incorrect usage. Requiring the male condom user to be aroused (not the best frame of mind for sober, logical decision making) and then to press pause on the fun times is a major design flaw in my view. The female condom is a great alternative which can be inserted up to eight hours before sex.
The female condom has all the advantages of other barrier methods of contraception; 95% effectiveness for pregnancy prevention and protection against STI’s. However, very few couples have tried them, the female condom accounts for less than 0.2% of condom sales worldwide. It is also known as the internal condom as it can be inserted into the vagina or anus. This condom provides protection by covering the vagina and vulva with a nitrile sheath kept in place with flexible internal and external rings.
Safe For Oil Based Lubes
My favourite aspect of using the female condom is the ability to use oil based lubricants. The nitrile sheath will not break down when in contact with oil like the latex in a male condom will. Fantastic for those who have allergies to latex or water based lubricants. Plus nothing beats natural oils such as coconut oil, shea butter or olive oil for enhanced sensation.
There are some disadvantages, primarily the cost, they are 4-5 times more expensive than a male condom. Also, the female condom’s appearance can be a little disconcerting for many users. The first couple of times using the female condom I couldn’t get over the feeling that I had a daggy sock hanging out of my vagina. Not the sexiest feeling in the world. Initially I would scurry off to the bathroom to insert it in privacy.
It Takes Practise To Put In
It is very similar to inserting or a menstrual cup and isn’t difficult with a little practice. I would then saunter back to the bedroom with the outer ring tucked between my thighs to hide the unfortunate sight from my partner. Eventually I couldn’t keep the sock joke to myself and since a shared laugh really has got mood enhancing properties I have come to embrace the female condom’s unfortunate visuals. Besides, the dangly bit at the end of a male condom is not all that appealing either but we have learned to live with it. Perhaps if the outer-ring was reshaped to look more like a butterfly or a flower with an inbuilt clit tickler sales would really take off.
As the male condom is not fitted to the penis it has a wide range of user benefits. The unfettered movement can result in a more natural feeling compared to the male condom and the internal ring can create a pleasant sensation also.
Men in Zimabwe have embraced the female condom even inventing a phrase, ‘kaytec-yenza’ to describe the extra ‘tickle’ the internal ring can provide. The outer ring on the clitoris isn’t bad either. All the glorious variety in penis shapes; bendy, petite, wide, long and everything in between can be accommodated by the female condom. For many men fitting into and keeping on a ‘standard shaped’ male condom can be a significant barrier to their use.
As you have probably figured out by now I am a fan of the female condom, which leaves me wondering why they remain so unpopular? Is it still a taboo for women to take control of their sexuality, sexual and reproductive health in a way that the female condom allows? Is the required familiarity with female anatomy a constraint? Are man put off buying them because of the name? What are your thoughts? Why not have a try and let us know. Female condoms are available in Australia through Condoms Australia: www.condomsaustralia.com.au/ and worldwide from www.luckybloke.com
Image credit:© Nastasia Froloff - Fotolia.com