Did you know there are multiple types of internal (i.e. female) condoms??? I am not talking about the way male condoms come ribbed, or flavored, or with lube that makes you feel like you just put icy-hot on your genitals...I am talking STRUCTURALLY different. This makes a difference. But before I go into all the various types, lets get some basics about female condoms straight.
Throughout the piece I will be referring to "male" condoms as outer condoms and "female" condoms as internal or in-condoms. I am doing this because these terms are more trans and queer friendly.
They prevent STIs (including HIV) & Unintended Pregnancies
So for all you folks complaining that you don't like the way male condoms feel, but want to avoid STIs and prevent pregnancy (perhaps you don't want to be on a long-acting or hormonal contraceptive)...TRY OUT AN INTERNAL CONDOM! Some people prefer them to outer (aka male condoms).
They can be inserted PRIOR to intercourse
Hate on how grabbing an external condom interrupts the act? Well Female Condoms can be inserted into the vagina (kind of like a nuvaring) before sex!
They are NOT dependent on an erection & can remain in place aftersex
Unlike external condoms which need to be put on an erect penis, internal condoms are independent of a partner's erection, which is why it can be inserted before intercourse and can even remain in place after! That means your partner does not have to pull out right away (like they SHOULD be doing with male condoms)= MORE CUDDLE TIME!
The reason people don't use them is because they aren't as easily available
It is not because people do not like them! Unfortunately, internal condoms are not generally available at a drug store or gas station in the way external condoms are. There are two reasons for this (1) internal condoms came after male condoms were invented, and by that time external condoms had a monopoly on the market, (2) internal condoms generally cost more to manufacture and thus cost more, limiting their availability (thankfully the UAFC Joint Program is striving to create competition in the female condom market place and drive down prices overtime) .
Some people report greater satisfaction with internal condoms than with external condoms--this may be because the outer ring of a female condom can provide clitoral stimulation, while the inner ring or sponge stimulates the head of the penis. Further, a 2012 Study on Male Views on Female Condoms found that male sensation was "highly appreciated" when sex happened with a female condom. But you will not know unless you try em.
They cover a larger area of the vagina
This is great, especially if you are looking to have sex with your partner after having a baby or something else that may have caused a perineum to tear.
They can be used for more than vaginal sex
I just learned this fun fact but internal condoms can be used for anal sex as well! Some people prefer that the inner ring or retainer be removed prior to insertion. Don't forget to use more lube if you are doing anal play. Also do not use the same condom for anal and vaginal sex (this goes for outer condoms as well...CHANGE CONDOMS WHEN CHANGING HOLES)
Internal condoms are really great because they are controlled by the female-bodied partner and not dependent on the male partner, thus it allows the woman to take the drivers seat when it comes to protecting their health! Further when you invest in internal condoms, you are helping to increase the demand side which encourage manufacturers to supply more condoms and thus increase the availability of female condoms around the world, and ideally lower the price.
HOW TO USE IT?
1. Ask yourself if you are going to have sex in the next 0-8 hours.
If the answer is yes or possibly, consider using a female condom to protect you from STIs (including HIV) and unintended pregnancy. Because female condom go inside the vaginal opening, they are NOT reliant on an erection and can be put in place 0-8 hours before sex (I am talking penetrative and otherwise). If you do not have sex within that time frame, toss the condom (it cannot be used again)
2. Check Expiration Date & Check for Tares in Packaging
Now that you have decided to use a female condom, you should make sure it is good. Do not use if a condom is expired. This goes for male condoms too btw.
3. Message Packaging to Spread the Lubrication
Lubrication will help make the insertion of the condom into the vaginal canal easier and will make sex more enjoyable. If you are using a latex based condom and want extra lubricant, WATER BASED LUBRICANT ONLY. Oil based lubricants will cause latex to break down and render the condom ineffective. Here is a Refinery 29 list of the best lubricants
4. Gently open the package (DO NOT USE TEETH) & Remove the Female Condom from the ackage carefully
5. Check out the ANATOMY of a Female Condom
There is a closed end with a small inner retainer. In the most common Female Condom (the FC2) the internal retainer is a small flexible ring, similar to a Nuvaring. However new varieties of female condoms come with sponges and other mechanisms to hold the condom in place inside of the vagina. The closed end goes inside of the vagina to hold the condom in place. The larger outer ring remains outside of the body, covering the area outside of the vaginal opening. This outer ring covers a larger surface area than male condoms and thus prevents from skin to skin diseases which malecondoms do not offer protection from.
6. Find a good position to insert the condom in
Before inserting an internal condom, find a position that is comfortable to you . It may be similar to the position you take when inserting a tampon. This could be squatting, lying down, raising a leg, or even having your partner help insert the female condom (oooo contraceptive foreplay!) Lubrication and the internal retainer also help to ease insertion.
7. Squeeze the inner ring so that both sides touch (or compress the sponge) and gently insert it into the vagina
8. Using your finger, gently push the ring as far as you can into your body
9. Guide your partner into the vagina
If this is your first time using an internal condom, it may be best for you to hold the outer ring in place so that your partner does not enter from the sides (i.e. between the female condom and the vagina). One your partner has entered, there is no need to hold the condom in place. P.S. IF YOUR PARTNER IS A DUDE WITH A PENIS, DO NOT WEAR A FEMALE CONDOM AND A MALE CONDOM. This causes them to break and renders them ineffective
10. To remove the condom, twist the outer ring 3X and gently pull the condom out
Options. Options. And More Options.
The Joint Programme for Access to Female Condoms has invested a lot of money and time into developing new internal condoms and having them prequalified by the WHO. The idea behind increasing models is that the more options there are, the more competition between manufacturers, which will ultimately lead to a decrease in the price of internal condoms (which is one of the barriers to wide-spread access and use). Plus more options are dope for picking the kind you like more! Try em all and pick your favorite!
Also known by it's other brand names: Femidon, Protective, and Care. This condom is made of nitrile and synthetic latex (i.e LATEX FREE...I know we all that friend in middle school who was allergic to latex and we would joke and say they would have to use porous & ineffective sheepskin condoms...NO MORE). Further you can use OIL & WATER based lubricants with this model (with latex male condoms, OIL LUBE IS NOT OK because it causes the material to break down). It is pre-lubricated, so no need to buy your own! For more pleasure tips, check out the FC2 Website It has a flimsy outter ring that kind of has the consistency and structure of a hair band. The inner ring is smaller and is Nuvaring like in structure, helps to keep the condom in place. Order them here or on amazon (if you don't share an account with your parents like I do). They are also available at certain CVS and Walgreens stores.
I know you want to be as joyous as the woman in the red dress on the Velvet condom packaging. Velvet is made of natural rubber latex and has a ring inside to keep it in place (similar to the FC2). Becuase it is made of latex, only use WATER BASED LUBRICANT with this one. Buy it here
The pouch of the Cupid female condom is made of natural rubber latex. This condom comes prelubricated, but if you are a looking for a bit more slip to your slap use WATER BASED lubricants (REMINDER: If a condom is made of LATEX, only use WATER BASED LUBRICANTS). The condom comes in a transparent or pink color. It also can be purchased with vanilla flavoring if so desired. The external retainer is firm, octogonal shaped, and made of polyethylene. One of the coolest and most unique feature of the Cupid is the donut shaped, polyurethane sponge which helps to hold the condom in place inside the vagina. This sponge retainer absorbs semen after ejaculation which helps to prevent spillage from condom after use (#AVOIDTHEWADDLE). Some men also report enjoying having the sponge to "bounce off" of. Buy from amazon here. For bulk purchases, order here.
VA w.o.w (Reddy, V'Amour, L'amour)
VA w.o.w pounch is made of natural rubber latex and has a sponge (similar to the Cupid in that regard, but a little bit harder than the polyurethane sponge in the Cupid) instead of a ring. The pouch on this model is shorter than the Cupid but it stretches. Some men prefer this model as it is a bit tighter than the condom, and some women prefer it because of the angle of the outer retainer, which is a bit harder and triangular shaped so it can stimulate the clitoris.
The Woman's Condom (aka O'lavie)
The Woman's Condom was made for the China Market with women in mind. The pouch is made of polyurethane and has a rigid outer ring. While the condom is not pre-lubricated, it comes with a separate lubricant. As you may know, some women are intimidated by the large ring or sponge in many female condoms, this model has a capsule which is made of dissolvable material so that the insertion process is more similar to that of putting in an ob tampon.