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Condoms are not just for men. Women also wear condoms called female condoms used internally. It is a soft, loose-fitting pouch or tube made of rubber or latex, inserted into the vagina before sexual intercourse.
Female internal condoms are super easy to use and provide an effective barrier against both sperm and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Condoms for women, when used correctly, are up to 95% effective in preventing pregnancies. This means that out of 100 couples using female condoms, 95 of them may not get pregnant.
Still, the risk of pregnancy can be decreased further by pairing female condoms with other methods of contraception, like oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) or injectibles or patches.
Internal condoms are available over the counter at many pharmacies and health clinics. They can also be ordered online.
What Do Female Condoms Feel Like?
Female condoms are soft and thin. The feeling of the women’s condom can vary from person to person. Some people may find that they feel more comfortable with a male condom, while others may find it less comfortable. They can be a little uncomfortable for women who don’t like touching their genital areas.
The feel of the condom depends upon
- the material of the condom
- the size
- the way it is inserted
Pros and Cons of Female Condoms
Like any other method of contraception, you may want to look at the benefits and weaknesses of using female condoms before making the choice.
The advantages of using female condoms are as below.
- Don’t need prescriptions from a doctor
- Protective against sperm and STIs, including HIV
- Perfect for women who can’t use other methods of contraception
- Can be put in 8 hours in advance
- Can fit a range of penis sizes
- Can be used with a variety of lubricants
- Less likely to break or slip as compared to male condoms
- Has little to no side effects
- Your partner doesn’t need to remove their penis as soon as they ejaculate
- You can also use them immediately after having a baby, having a miscarriage, or abortion
- Can be used for various sex positions
On the other hand, the disadvantages of using female condoms are:
- Can be more expensive than male condoms
- May not be widely available
- May be difficult or uncomfortable to insert
- Higher failure rate as compared to other contraceptive methods
- Burning or itchy feeling due to allergy to the condom material
- Using it too long can cause infections like urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Read More: 8 Home Remedies for Feminine Hygiene
How to Use an Internal Condom
If you’re new to this product, here is a quick step-by-step on how to use female condoms.
- Open the condom package carefully.
- Remove the condom from the package. It’s highly advised to wash your hands thoroughly before touching and inserting the female condom to reduce the risk of infections.
- The condom has two ends, a thick, closed, “Inner” end which will be placed inside the vagina, and a thin, “outer” end which will be placed near the labia.
- Use your hand to squeeze the thick inner ring of the condom together.
- Insert the thick inner ring of the condom into your vagina. Push it as far as it can go. The condom expands inside, so you won’t feel discomfort.
- The thin outer ring of the condom should rest against your inner labia. Make sure it isn’t twisted.
- If you are using lubricant, apply it to the outside of the condom.
- Your partner can insert their penis into the condom. Stop if you feel the penis between the condom and the vaginal walls, or if the outer ring is pushed inside the vagina.
- After sex, remove the condom by grasping the outer ring and pulling it out of your vagina.
- Properly discard after use.
This video by Planned Parenthood is also helpful in understanding how to use female condoms.
Tips for Wearing Female Condoms
Here are some things you should keep in mind when using female condoms:
- Talk to your partner: Make sure that you are both comfortable with the idea and that you understand how to use them correctly.
- Practice: Practicing how to use a condom prior to sex will help you get comfortable with the process and make sure that the condom is inserted correctly.
- Lubricate: Female condoms come pre-lubricated, but you may want to use additional lubrication. Use a water-based lubricant to help the condom slide into your vagina. This will make it more comfortable for both of you.
- Check the condom before you use it: If you see any tears or holes, do not use the condom. Also, check its expiry date.
- Get tested for STIs: Even though condoms are the only methods of contraception that are protective against STIs, if you have multiple partners, it is always recommended to routinely get tested for STIs.
Female condoms are a great method of contraception if you want to avoid the side effects of hormonal contraception. They are super easy and fast to use and don’t require any prescription from doctors.
However, female condoms have a higher failure rate as compared to male condoms, and some women are allergic to latex, which can make it a not-so-great choice. Couples should always discuss their preferred choice of contraception with their doctor, who will help them make informed choices.