By Veronica Appleton, MA
You’ve heard it before: “Protect yourself and get tested.”
It may sound like a song that is played way too much on the radio, but it’s essential information.
Each year, nearly 20 out of 100 women who use a female condom will likely get pregnant, but the key here is protection against the risk of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV/AIDS.
The female condom, a lubricated pouch inserted into the vagina, places you in control of your sex life, relationship and health. Take a look below for 10 facts about using the female condom and how you can maintain a pleasurable and happy sex life:
The female condom keeps sperm inside the condom and out of your vagina. Each condom has a soft ring on each end (one end specifically designed to keep the condom in place), which covers the inside of the vagina or anus to keep sperm and pre-cum out. To see a full demonstration on how to insert the female condom, see here.
With typical use, the female condom is about 75-82% effective and when used correctly all of the time, the female condom is 95% effective.
The condom can be inserted up to eight hours before you have sex and a new condom should be used each time you engage in sexual activity. Also, the female condom can be used during menstruation or pregnancy (or after recent childbirth).
For some women, the female condom can cause irritation of the vagina, vulva, penis or anus. It may also reduce a pleasurable sensation during intercourse and/or the condom may slip into the vagina during vaginal intercourse, or into the anus during anal intercourse.
Please note: Many women and their partners can use female condoms without any of these problems, but consult with a physician if you have any concerns about using the condom.
The female condom is made with nitrile (a synthetic rubber that is protective against diseases and a great alternative for people with latex allergies), and are available at a local drugstore, supermarket, or Planned Parenthood health center.
No prescription is necessary to begin your use of the female condom.
The female condom can be used with both oil-base and water-base lubricates. If the condom should break/leak/spill during sex, use emergency contraception as soon as possible and up to five days after it happens. It is also suggested that you get tested for sexually transmitted infections.
Using the female condom is a safe and easy method to use during sex and Lindsay, Sean and Anastasia provide testimonies on Bedsider.org to take a closer look into what it’s like using the condom with their partners.
Unlike birth control, the female condom does not have an effect on a woman’s natural hormones. Please note: The condom can still be used along with birth control pills for extra prevention.
It is not necessary to use a female and male condom at the same time, as this may cause both condoms to break or tear.
You have 10 great facts about the female condom, So what’s next?
If you and your partner are interested in using the female condom, visit the Chicago Female Condom Campaign website for more information or take a look at the four steps below to get more informed:
- Develop a plan by asking yourself the following two questions: How often do you and your partner plan on using the female condom? Will you and your partner switch between using the male condom and/or the female condom?
- Discuss your comfort level with your partner and let him/her know how important using protection is to you
- Determine which female condom works best for you, and
- You can never be too overprotective when it comes to your sex life. Get tested. Protect yourself, and continue practicing safe sex!