The female condom falls under the barrier method of contraception and the best part of this procedure is that it is reversible. It actually constitutes of a pre-lubricated pouch that has been specially manufactured. Commonly referred to as FC, it is thin or rather very fine, very soft and does not emit any odour. The material can be either of the two – plastic polyurethane or a variety of synthetic latex called Nitrile. Both of them are much stronger than the latex that is commonly used in making men’s condoms. The female is required to wear the FC inside her vagina while having intercourse and this way it actually lines the inner walls of the vagina. It forms a barrier not only to the sperm but also to a host of other sexually transmitted diseases.
There are two flexible rings at each end of the female condom. The ring that is situated at the closed end fulfills its purpose in holding the pouch within the inner walls of the vagina. The ring that is at the open end actually falls outside the vaginal opening.
How Does Female Condoms Work?
The purpose of the female condom is to prevent the semen from entering the vagina. It is equipped to collect the sperm beforehand, that is, during the intercourse and even after the ejaculation takes place. The ring that is at the closed end of the FC is inserted inside the vagina so as to hold it within the walls. It can actually slide into the desired place or position which is exactly behind the pubic bone of the woman. The outer ring that lies at the open end of the vagina is very soft and does interfere with the intercourse. Its function is to basically cover the area adjacent to the vaginal opening, that is, the vulva.
The Advantages of the Female Condoms
Have a quick look at the advantages of using condom to females.
- Once the woman gets a hang of how it is inserted, the insertion process becomes easy.
- Female condoms do not require prescriptions for usage and are easily obtained.
- Since it is made from a very fine material, it can readily conduct heat. Therefore intercourse appears to be normal and sensitivity is not lost.
- They do not render any impact on the natural hormones of the woman.
- They do not get spoilt in climatic conditions like humidity, high or low temperatures and are also safe for people allergic to latex.
- They can effectively prevent STDs and infections.
- Since it lines the inner walls of the vagina loosely, it does not give any tight or constricting sensation.
- It can be inserted before having sex and even by the partner and the external ring can be used to stimulate the clitoris as a part of sexual play.
- Irrespective of the fact whether the man is able to attain erection, the female condom stays in place.
- The woman is free to choose from both oil based and water based lubricants.
Disadvantages of Female Condoms
Here are some disadvantages associated with female condom usage.
- In some cases, the female condom has been found to slip inside the vaginal cavity.
- The FC can move around after placement and affect the feeling and sensation while having sex.
- The inner ring of the FC can irritate the penis of the man.
- There can be vaginal irritation where the outer ring affects the vulva, thus causing discomfort to the woman.
Effectiveness of Female Condoms
For preventing pregnancy, FC is 79-95% effective. If used perfectly, just 5 out of 100 women stand the chance of becoming pregnant in a year’s time. It is important to insert the FC before the penis makes any contact with the vagina. The woman should also gently and carefully remove it so that the semen does not spill out from the pouch. It should also be noted that each FC should be used only once and a female condom must not be used at the same time with a male condom.