Use, effectiveness… Update on the female condom

Contraception is a whole galaxy of varied products that can be used either by the man or by the woman, to prevent fertilization between egg and sperm, therefore with the aim of avoiding pregnancy, but also to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease such as. HIV (AIDS virus). How to use a female condom? What are its advantages and disadvantages? We take stock of this contraceptive method.

Definition and contraception: what is a female condom? What is it for?

The female condom is also called an internal condom. In fact, unlike the male condom, which is external and is placed on the man’s penis, the female condom is placed in the woman’s vagina. This condom looks like a kind of sheath with a flexible ring at both ends. Its material can be nitrile or polyurethane.

The female condom is inserted into the vagina. It is for single use only and must be removed after intercourse. However, it can be put in the vagina several hours before intercourse. If you have never used an internal condom, it is recommended to practice beforehand to avoid errors in use. Specifically, you must pinch the ring and insert it into the vagina. You must then push the ring into the base of the vaginal wall until the end is located at the entrance to the vulva. It is recommended to rub the condom wrapper between the hands so that the lubricant is well distributed.

Note: the female condom should not be used at the same time as the male condom (externally). This actually increases the risk of rupture, which would allow the passage of sperm.

Price, price… Where to find a vaginal condom?

Female condoms are fairly easy to find, but less so than male condoms. You can find it in pharmacies or on the Internet. According to Santé Publique France, it is also possible to find female condoms in education and family planning centers (CPEF) or in information centers for free screening (CGIDD). Associations fighting HIV can also offer free female condoms.

The price of a female condom is on average 2.8 euros in pharmacies. The most common brands of female condoms are Manix, Durex, but also Intimy and Ormelle.

Advantages and disadvantages of the female condom

The female condom has many advantages, but also some disadvantages.

– In theory, it protects 95% of pregnancy. However, this figure is reduced to 79% when user error is taken into account.

– It protects against STIs (sexually transmitted infections)

– The female condom provides good protection against venereal diseases (sexually transmitted infections)

– This contraceptive is very resistant and can be used without a prescription

– Male sex partner does not need to pull out before he ejaculates

– The female condom is flexible and can adapt to all types of vagina, while the male condom is not suitable for all penis sizes

– It can be used if one of the two partners is allergic to latex. In fact, nitrile and polyurethane, the two components of this contraceptive, do not cause any allergic reaction, unlike latex.

– Its price is much higher than a male condom. In fact, the female condom costs on average 2.8 euros per unit while its male counterpart is less than one euro.

– If the female condom is quite available in big cities, it is more difficult to find it in pharmacies in small towns, unlike the male condom, which can be found everywhere, especially in supermarkets

– The female condom is less easy to put on than the male condom, which results in a higher user error rate

A brief history of the female condom

In contrast to the male condom, which has been used since antiquity (use of pig bladders for example), the female condom came much later in the history of contraception. In fact, it was not until the vulcanization of rubber in 1849 that the first models began to appear. These will be used during the Belle Epoque, but given a high price and a general distrust, it will not be democratized. After a drastic reduction in contraceptives due to pronatalist policies after the two world wars, the female condom began to be reborn in the early 1980s.

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