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Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013

Haven’t Tried Female Condoms Yet?

Here’s Why You Should

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Next Monday, September 16, is the second annual Global Female Condom Day. I will be taking part by giving away free female condoms at the Tool Shed.  I wrote about the inaugural 2012 Global Female Condom Day and the 2010 launch of the re-designed and improved female condom (for basic information about what the female condom is and how to use it, read these articles).

Obviously, I feel strongly about female condoms. Why? Simple: choice. I don’t just stock one type of vibrator, because everyone’s body is different. I don’t just stock one type of male condom, either, and I’ve noticed that people enjoy being able to buy and try a wide variety of male condoms and often find one particular type that works best for them. Some people may find that male condoms don’t work for them all or some of the time, but still need some protection against STIs and/or pregnancy.  That’s when the female condom is crucial.

Research shows that education is a key factor in getting people to use female condoms. So I’m going to keep talking and writing about them. A few weeks ago, as I was talking to sexuality educator The Redhead Bedhead about coming to teach at the Tool Shed, she mentioned that she had recently tried female condoms for the first time and LOVED them. I asked if she would be willing to share her experiences with other newbies, and she agreed. So if you’ve been thinking about trying FCs and want some tips from a recent convert—read on!

LAS: What did you think about female condoms before you tried them? Did you have any concerns about using them?

RB: I thought they seemed weird and complicated. I remembered the stuff I had heard years ago about how they made noises during sex. Also, I felt like there was just a general attitude of “ew” about them.

LAS: You’ve tweeted about how much you like female condoms. What, in particular, do you think is great about them?

RB: I think they offer increased sensation, even for the receptive partner. Each partner gets to use the lube they prefer, and the lubes stay separate (Note from LAS: one type of lubricant can be used inside the vagina or anus, and another on the penis, and the female condom acts as a barrier between the two lubricants). Traditional condoms are extremely erection-dependent and if the penis isn’t hard enough they will not work. Receptive condoms will work with a less erect penis for less pressure all around. For women who have dryness issues, I suspect female condoms are a lot gentler (this is more of a theory though). Finally, I love them an extra lot for mess-free period sex. The nature of the condom keeps the blood up and out of the way until you remove it. No clean up necessary.

People keep telling me that they are great because you can put them in ahead of time (note from LAS: because they aren’t erection-dependent, you can insert them a few hours before you plan to have sex, if you want to). I’m not so down with that, because I struggle with the whole “getting super hot and bothered with a baggie hanging out of my vagina” thing, but for some this might be seen as a plus.

LAS: Do you have any recommendations for new or first-time users?

RB: Be comfortable touching your own body. You do need to push the inner ring up into your vagina. Add lube, especially on the inside. Keep an eye (or hand, really) on the outside ring during insertion. If there isn’t enough lubrication, it can [be pushed] into the body, rendering the condom useless. 

Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee’s East Side. She has a master’s degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than fifteen years. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXPress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

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