The key to having safe sex is using proper birth control. You may have heard or used the pill and male condom, but how about the female condom?
The female condom is a non-hormone form of birth control that the woman can use. Two types of female condoms have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration: the FC1 (made of polyurethane and no longer produced) and the FC2 (made of synthetic latex and has a silicone-based lubricant).
Here are some important facts about the female condom that you should know about.
It is a little less effective than the male condom
MedlinePlus stated that the female condom’s effectiveness ranges from 75 and 82 percent. In comparison, the male condom should be 97 percent effective, but its actual effectiveness ranges from 80 percent to 90 percent, according to MedlinePlus.
But the reasons that the female condom would not be effective are the same as for the male condom. For example, the female condom will not protect a woman against an unwanted pregnancy if the condom tears, is placed in the woman’s vagina after contact with the penis, or if semen spills during removal.
It can protect against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases
Besides protecting against unwanted pregnancies, the female condom protects against sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. The female condom is a barrier method of birth control — a barrier separates the vagina from the penis.
The female condom is inserted into the woman’s vagina before intercourse. It can also be used for anal sex when inserted into the anus.
Planned Parenthood explained that to insert a female condom, “squeeze together the sides of the inner ring at the closed end of the condom and insert it into the vagina like a tampon. Push the inner ring into the vagina as far as it can go — until it reaches the cervix. Pull out your finger and let the outer ring hang about an inch outside the vagina.”
Female condoms are being used in a campaign in Washington, D.C. for AIDS prevention.