To protect against STI’s whack on a male condom and hey presto, right? WRONG…well kind of. There is so much more to it than that, and how can you use a male condom for sex between two women anyway? Read on to see a fuller range of options when it comes to barriers against STI’s.
So most of us know that male condoms will protect us from STI’s. They are 98% effective, if used correctly, which is pretty good odds. Most of us also know that female or vaginal condoms exist, but aren’t really sure whether they’re effective, or how to use them. They are a little less effective, if used correctly, than male condoms at 95% effectiveness. Finally, most people don’t know what dental dams are, or how to use them. The most common question I’ve had since starting this blog is “what is a dental dam?” because I mentioned them in a previous post. This made me realise I should probably cover what they are. All three of the barriers I’ve mentioned should protect against STI’s if you use them properly. I’ve tried out all three types.
This is the second post and is my review of female condoms.
Click here for male condoms.
Click here for dental dams. (Coming soon)
Female condoms –
The NHS website defines a female condom as: thin, soft plastic called polyurethane (some male condoms are made from this too). Female condoms are worn inside the vagina to prevent semen getting to the womb.
Effectiveness: As I said earlier, they are 95% effective when you use them properly.
Ease of use: Purely for the purpose of this post, I put a female condom up my vagina. As you can see from the pictures, it kind of just looks like a big male condom. It was easier than I thought to put in. You just pinch the top end between two fingers and push it into your vagina. Then, you put your fingers inside the condom to push it in more. I was quite surprised that it stayed put and didn’t all go up inside my vagina during penis in vagina sex. The edges of it sit quite well round the vagina and can even reach up to cover the clitoris, which is really good for any pre intercourse sex that requires protection too. When you’re done with it, you pull it out, which is a little odd to feel but didn’t hurt at all.
When and who: Female condoms can be used for entry sex into the vagina and also for sex toys. I guess they could be used theoretically for anal sex but I wouldn’t think the shape is particularly right, so don’t hold me to it.
Accessing them: I bought the female condoms I used for this review from Amazon. Now I know they’re not the best site to buy from but they were the cheapest. Many other sites wanted a minimum order amount or charged more than the condoms cost for postage and packaging. I bought them online because I was unable to find them on the high street in my town, but it may be different for other areas. The NHS website states “Some places [sexual health clinics] might only offer male condoms – you can ask the staff whether they provide free female condoms.” As male condoms are more effective, they are more widely available. But this doesn’t mean that female condoms aren’t a valid option.
Personal opinion: To use female condoms, as someone with a vagina putting it in themselves and not having anyone else to do it for you, you have to be comfortable with your own vagina to be able to do this as it does take a bit of poking about. But I personally believe the better you know your body, the healthier your sex life will be. I didn’t find them too different to male condoms, only male condoms are easier to access and slightly more effective. I’d say try them out and see what works for you. At the end of the day, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Keep an eye out on social media for the next post in this little series: The low down on dental dams (coming soon)