Making the Case for the Female Condom
The female condom is getting a lot of flak lately, and I don’t see what the problem is. I love this little nitrile doohickey more than I love a lot of things, such as accidental pregnancy or contracting STDs or STIs. There’s a reason that they are at the top of our list of Spiciest Condoms On the Market.
Image: Image Point Fr via Shutterstock
Why You Should
We get a lot of calls from people who are looking for the perfect condom for them. And for many, the female condom is ideal. But unfortunately, many women (and even men!) reject them right off the bat.
There are a lot of problems that using a female condom can fix. Not only are they made of latex-free nitrile, they have to be unrolled to be put on, which means that if you’re struggling in that horrible battle for condoms that are BOTH latex AND lube-free (spoiler alert: there are none), you can wash this water-based lube off easily without having to worry about putting the condom on wrong.
Besides those obvious benefits, the female condom puts the person being penetrated in control of their own sexual well-being. While the birth control pill gave women a chance to prevent pregnancy on their own accord, it still didn’t protect their sexual health from disease and infection.
If you’re concerned that your partner will remove a male condom without telling you, the female condom puts you in control. If you’re worried that you may be intoxicated and unable to insist that your partner use a condom, the female condom can be inserted up to eight hours before you have sex. If you’re worried that male condoms may not accommodate your partner for one reason or another, the female condom fits inside of you, not over them. They’re even a great asset for many trans* people.
Although if you are having sex with someone who may remove their condom on the sly on you, maybe we should be having another talk altogether.
But guess what? You don’t have to be of the female gender to use the female condom. It’s been recommended left and right for anal sex for anyone of any gender who is on the receiving end. They can even be used for pegging. Just be careful– it isn’t approved by the FDA. Want to know why?
In short, if male condoms don’t work for you or even if you’re just looking for something new, give thefemale condom a shot.
Female condoms originally came out in the early 1980’s to limited excitement. The reason? They were made of polyurethane– the same material that is used in many non-latex condoms, including Trojan’s BareSkin Supra. But with the plethora of polyurethane involved in female condoms, many reported that they felt big and uncomfortable– and they made horrible crinkling noises that ruined the mood. It was described as trying to stuff a plastic bag in your vagina. Not cool.
The product experienced a revival in the early millennium when they switched from polyurethane to a much softer, more comfortable, and quieter nitrile. This rubber-like material is the same material that latex-free medical gloves are made of, making them allergy-safe and even oil-safe. Yes, coconut oil enthusiasts. You can use your beloved lube with a female condom.
Female condoms have recently found a niche in the developing world– more are distributed there than male condoms. The World Health Organization claims that while it’s not as safe as buying and using a brand new condom, female condoms can be washed and reused easier and more effectively than male condoms– and for many in developing countries, this is a life-saver.
And now, a team from Indiana University is collaborating with the UK company, TheyFit, to produce a brand-spankin’ new female condom– and Origami Condoms have their own silicone-design coming out within the year.
Still, the western world hasn’t quite picked up on the fad yet. Many health departments all over the US, and even Planned Parenthood are continuing to push for the explosion that it’s never quite had.
How-To Use a Female Condom
The how-to on this one is easy in theory, but you may need to practice a few times before getting it 100% right.
1. Open the package. Easy enough.
2. You’ll notice that there are two rings. The first one is enclosed in nitrile, but the second one is open. The open one goes outside of the vulva. The inside ring goes inside the vaginal canal. The condom comes prepackaged with silicone lube already applied, but you may want to apply your own to the outside to help things go a little easier.
3. Pinch the inside ring closed– the one that’s inclosed in nitrile. Smoosh it down until it’s about the thickness of a tampon, then insert it into your vaginal canal. You can use a finger to straighten it out and push it deeper.
4. Removal is even easier. Twist the outside ring tightly so that you won’t make a mess with any fluids released during your extracurricular. Then, pull it out as easy as you’d pull out a tampon and dispose of it in the trash. Done and done!
- The female condom can be inserted safely for up to eight hours. But once you’ve finished having sex, it’s best to remove it and dispose of it. Don’t leave it in for over eight hours as you can expose yourself to toxic shock syndrome, just like with a tampon.
- Just like with other condoms, don’t double up on these guys. The heat and friction against other nitrile can put them at risk for breakage. This includes using them with any male condoms– no matter what they’re made of.
- Because these condoms are lubricated with a silicone-based lube, they may not be toy safe, depending on the material your toy is made of. Check out our guide on how to tell if your toy islube-safe.