Female Condoms: How to Use It, Effectiveness, Benefits, Disadvantages

Female condom_w1920

A female condom is a barrier method of contraception, used to prevent the sperm from getting into the uterus and to protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Also called an “internal condom”, it provides a few advantages over a male condom. In this article, we look at how to insert a female condom, its effectiveness, disadvantages, and the uses of female condoms.

How to Use It

Using a female condom can take a bit of practice, but it gets easier with each use. To ensure maximum efficiency, it is vital to use the condom correctly every time.

Female condoms can be used during vaginal sex as well as anal sex. This is a step-by-step guide on how to do it:

Before Getting Started:

Expiration and Safety Standards

Check the packaging of the condom for an expiration date and a mark of safety by FDA, ISO, CE, or Kitemark. (This mark confirms that the product meets their safety standards)

Storage

Store the condom in a cool, dry place where you can reach for it when needed. For example, in your bedside drawer or a bag. Do not store it in your pocket or hand where it can scrunch up or get damaged due to excess heat.

Removing the Packaging

Take the condom out of its foil. Make sure to be careful not to damage the condom while opening the packaging. Avoid using teeth, fingernails, or sharp jewelry.

Lubrication

The condom comes with some level of lubrication. You can always add more lubricant for easier application. More lubrication can also minimize the noise of the condom during intercourse.

For Vaginal Use:

  • Step 1. Find the ring on the closed end of the condom (inner ring) and pinch it between your forefinger and thumb (or middle finger and thumb).
  • Step 2. Squat down, lay on your back, or stand with one leg up – whichever position feels the most comfortable to you.
  • Step 3. Spread the lips of your vagina with the other hand and carefully insert the condom.
  • Step 4. Push it as far up as possible using your forefinger or middle finger. Once it is in place, you probably will not be able to feel it.
  • Step 5. Ensure that the condom is not twisted inside your vagina. You will be able to feel it with your fingers if it is.
  • Step 6. The large, open ring should rest approximately 1 inch outside the vagina. It will cover the vaginal area.
  • Step 7. During intercourse, guide your partner’s penis to ensure it enters the condom and not the space between the condom and vaginal wall.
  • Step 8. After sex, twist and gently pull the condom out with the help of the large ring. This method confirms that no semen spills out.

For Anal Use:

There are two ways to use a female condom during anal sex:

To Use it as a Male Condom:

  • Step 1. Put a good amount of lube inside the condom and place it on the penis.
  • Step 2. Lubricate the outer area of the condom and the area around the anus with plenty of lube.
  • Step 3. Gradually insert the penis.

To Use it Like During Vaginal Sex:

  • Step 1. Lubricate the area around the anus efficiently.
  • Step 2. Make an oval shape of the inner ring and push it into the rectum and push it as far as possible.
  • Step 3. The outer ring will hang from your body. Avoid trying to remove the inner ring as it can lead to condom breakage.
  • Step 4. After intercourse, gently twist the outer ring a few times to pull the condom out with ease without any semen spillage.

It is essential to lube the anal area with as much lubricant as possible. This is because, in contrast to the vagina, the anus does not create its own lube.   

Effectiveness of Female Condoms

Female condoms are one of the most trusted methods of contraception when used correctly. They have an efficacy rate of 95 percent with proper use. This indicates that in a year, 5 out of 100 women got pregnant by using a female condom as the sole method of contraception.

Unfortunately, there are higher cases of incorrect usage of a female condom. This can cause the efficacy rate to drop as low as 79 percent. This indicates that 21 people faced accidental pregnancies in a year due to incorrect and sole use of female condoms.

Below are some tips to maximize the effectiveness and uses of female condoms:

  • Wear the condom throughout intercourse.
  • Do not have any genital skin-to-skin contact without the condom in place.
  • Use female condoms simultaneously with other contraceptives like pills or an IUD.
  • Avoid intoxication by drugs or alcohol before intercourse. It can make people forget to use protection.

An important thing to remember is to avoid using a male and a female condom simultaneously. No, this does not provide you with “double protection”. In actuality, this can lead to condom breakage and tear, thus resulting in a higher risk of STDs or pregnancy.

Benefits

Besides protecting against unwanted pregnancies, there are many other benefits and uses of female condoms. Some of these are:

  • STD Protection

Condoms are the only method of contraception that provides complete protection against STDs. Contraceptives like pills and IUDs among others, cannot protect against diseases like gonorrhea, chlamydia, and HIV.

However, it is always a better idea to use other contraceptives with condoms to provide STD protection along with extra safety against unwanted pregnancies.

  • Latex Sensitivity

Male condoms are usually made of latex. This material is a genital-skin irritant in many cases. Female condoms are made out of nitrile. As opposed to latex, nitrite does not irritate sensitive genital skin due to its hypoallergenic properties.

  • Male Comfort

Many men like their penis to have some breathing space during intercourse. Since a male condom fits snugly around their penises, it leaves them with none. Large in size, a female condom feels a lot more comfortable to male counterparts too.

  • Heightened Pleasure

The outer ring often provides extra clitoral stimulation, while the inner ring provides extra stimulation inside the vagina. These factors have led women to feel a heightened sense of pleasure.

Another factor that adds to this benefit is the sense of control felt while using a female condom. Many women have reported that they do not trust their partners fully to use a condom. With the control being in their hands, they did not have to worry about the consequences of unprotected sex which ultimately helped heighten their sexual experience.

Disadvantages

Apart from the multiple uses of female condoms, it also comes with a few disadvantages. These are:

  • Not as easy to use and take some getting used to
  • Not available everywhere and are slightly expensive
  • Fear of slipping out
  • Make noise during intercourse
  • Can only be used once
  • Somewhat less effective at preventing STDs than a male condom

In case the condom is making too much noise, you can always add more lubricant. As opposed to latex condoms, female ones do not degrade when used with oil-based lubricants. You can also place the condom in the earlier stages of foreplay to give it time to stick to your vaginal walls. This way they make even less noise.

Female Condoms : Wrapping Up

It is best to practice the insertion of a female condom before actually using it. While choosing one, make sure to check for any tears or holes and the expiration date. Read all instructions carefully and never reuse a female condom or use it in combination with a male one.