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Putting Protection in Your Own Hands

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We’ve all probably heard of the female condom, but how many of us have actually used one?

As women we are more likely to be the recipient of sexually transmitted diseases solely based on our anatomy. In terms of shape, the vagina is a receptacle, and as such, our inner organs are much more susceptible to unfriendly microscopic invaders. So, why leave protection up to men?

The female condom has been available since 1988. It looks like a large male condom with flexible rings on either end. To use, the ring at the closed end of the condom is squeezed together between the thumb and index finger and inserted far into the vagina past the pubic bone. The flexible ring holds it in place. The other end provides some protection to the labia. To remove, twist the outer ring and pull gently to keep semen trapped in the sheath. The condom should not be reused.

The female condom (or FC) has many advantages, one of which is it better protects the area around the vagina. It can also be inserted before foreplay or intercourse, allowing a bit more of the spontaneity you don’t get with male condoms. Perhaps most importantly, the female condom lets women take charge of their own sexual well-being.

Some disadvantages: The FC may be less effective than its male counterpart because it is more likely to be used incorrectly. The FC can be made more effective by using a spermicide, but excessive use of spermicide can irritate delicate vaginal tissue. The biggest complaint is that FCs reduce feeling during intercourse. However, when weighing the risks against the benefits, you’ll find the FC is much more beneficial than detrimental, especially when used with other forms of birth control. When it comes to protecting yourself you can never be too prepared.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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