8 Myths About the Female Condom
Many have heard of it, but few really know it.
The female condom is a very valuable tool for protection against sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV, and it also prevents unintended pregnancies, but its use has not been as promoted as that of its male counterpart.
What is the Female Condom Like?
This type of condom is a translucent cylindrical sleeve that is closed at one end and opens at the other. It has two flexible plastic rings; the one at the closed end is placed at the bottom of the vagina and its function is to keep the condom in place, while the ring at the open end is on the outside and covers the external genitalia of the woman, the vaginal labia.
Since the female condom remains unknown for a lot of people, it’s normal to still have doubts about it. Here we present some of the most widely held beliefs.
True or False?
- It can “get lost” inside the woman’s body.
False: While the inner ring keeps the condom in place, the outer ring prevents it from going fully into the vagina. Also, the vagina is a small tube (about 10 cm long in its normal state) that is highly elastic, but not “endless”.
- It will cause allergies like male condoms.
False: Female condoms are made of polyurethane, unlike male condoms, which are made out of latex.
- It is safer to use double condoms: both female and male.
False: The friction between the two materials can make it easier for one of the two to break, you should only use one or the other. However, you can use it at the same time as with any other contraceptive method.
- It is reusable.
False: It is designed for one-time use, like the male condom.
- It can be placed hours before sexual intercourse.
True: The female condom can be put on up to 8 hours before intercourse and worn while doing other activities.
- It can increase sexual stimulation.
True: The inner ring can stimulate both the tip of the penis and the cervix during penetration, while the outer ring can stimulate the labia and clitoris.
- It is very expensive.
True: The female condom can cost up to 3 times more than a male one, however, there are public and private institutions that provide them for free.
- It is too big/noisy.
Partially true: The material from which the female condom is made is not elastic like that of the male, so its size is larger. In addition, as it is not tight, friction generates a sound that does not happen with the male condom. However, all of this seems remarkable because it is compared to the male condom; think of it simply as a different condom with different characteristics.
The effectiveness of the female condom ranges from 70 to 95% (the figure varies depending on the source). But above all, it depends on its correct use. You can see the steps here:
At AHF Latin America and the Caribbean we can connect you to institutions that provide free female condoms. Locate our office closest to you or write to us on WhatsApp.