Female Condom | Advantages and Disadvantages
Female Condoms and the advancements in medicine have provided us with different means of protection against STDs (What is STD? Page) (sexually transmitted diseases) and unwanted pregnancies. Nowadays, there are many methods for birth control (Birth Control Methods and Their Effectiveness Page) available and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. When it comes to the question of the most suitable method, users should choose the best method which is applicable to their needs and expectations.
Types of Female Condoms
One of these methods is the female condom, also known as femidom. Female condom is a thin and soft device made of polyurethane, synthetic latex and natural latex which entirely covers the female vagina (Vagina | Vaginal Laxity Page) and cervix and which should be used during intercourse (Condom Mistakes You Might Be Making During Sex Page) providing a physical barrier against semen and infection triggers.
FC1 was the first female condom being marketed. It consisted of polyurethane (Polyurethane Wiki Page). The second generation female condom, announced in 2005 and officially introduced in 2009, is FC2 which is being marketed under various brand names (Reality, Femidom, Dominique, Femy, Myfemy, Protectiv and Care). It consists of synthetic nitrile and has a flexible ring at each end. The ring at the close end should be inserted inside the vagina and the ring at the open end remains out of the vagina. FC2 female condoms are pre-lubricated but do not contain any spermicides. A more recent variant of the female condom consists of natural latex (same as the male condom) and is being marketed under various names (Reddy, V Amour, L’amour, VA WOW Feminine condom, and Sutra); FDA approval is still pending for the later one.
The Female condom is designed to prevent both pregnancy and sexual transmitted diseases (HIV in Women Page) by collecting pre-cum (Premature Ejaculation Signs & Types Page) and semen (Semen Allergy Page) and preventing skin to skin contact and introduction of STD pathogens inside the female urogenital tract. There is no contraindication for the use of female condoms (except for known allergies to the material or lubricant type) and almost every woman can use it safely. It is very safe and it could even be used during anal sex. Its failure rate has been reported to be 5%, if used correctly.
How the Female Condom Works
Insertion of the female condom is easy. First some lubricant and/or spermicide should be applied to the outside of the close end. Then the ring should be squeezed and the female condom is inserted like a tampon inside the vagina. After insertion, the closed end is pushed in with a finger into the vagina until it reaches the cervix. In order to remove the female condom first squeeze and twist the outer ring and pull it out of the vagina. This is in order to prevent sperm from leaking outside the female condom into the vagina.
With the correct and perfect use, the success rate of the female condom is about 95%; typical use has a success rate of 79%. Also, it is very important to consider other alternative protective methods if the chance of missing to use the female condom is increased (e.g. after partying or having many drinks).
Benefits of Female Condom
- women can take active part in their own health care (Dr. Elist’s Discussion with Senator Harry Reid About US Health Care Page)
- women can protect themselves when their partner does not cooperate
- it may provide a better sensation in men compared to the male condom
- usable in individuals who are allergic to latex (newer types consist of latex)
- it could be inserted hours before sex
- it does not need erections (Dr. Elist Tips for Getting Harder Erections (Part Two) Page) to insert and remains in place if erection lost
- new generations are highly lubricated
- protection against skin to skin STDs
Disadvantages of Female Condom
- more expensive than male condom
- probability to slip into the vagina or anus during sex
- may cause irritation of the penis (Penis Enlargement Effects on Quality of Life Page), vagina or anus
Female condoms are one good alternative if other contraceptive methods can or are not being considered to be used. Being lubricated and easy to insert, female condoms can be an important part of female sexual health (Dr Elist and Sexual Health Page) in which they can participate actively. If used correctly, the success rate of the female condom is very high.
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