Contraceptive Technology and Reproductive Health Series: Home Page Contraceptive Technology and Reproductive Health Series Back to FHI Website
Barrier Methods
Introduction Contents Post-Test References Go To Presenter Info

Goals

Section 1
Section 2

- Information
- Objectives
- Male Condom
- Properties
- Latex
- Plastic
- Correct Use
- Breakage
- Behaviors
- Cautions
- Protection
- Female
> Characteristics
- Use
- Spermicides
- Characteristics
- Correct Use
- Preferences
- Diaphragm
- Characteristics
- Considerations
- Correct Use
- Fitting
- Follow-up
- Sponge
- New Methods

Section 3

Summary

Previous pageNext page

Section 2 - Method Information

Characteristics of the Female Condom

  • Female-controlled
  • Made of plastic, loose-fitting
  • Can be inserted prior to initiating sexual activity
  • Likely prevents transmission of STDs
  • May be difficult to learn to insert
  • May be expensive

Slide 23


While female condoms have many similarities to male condoms, they also have some unique features. An important feature of the female condom is that it provides women with more control over use than the male condom. Thus, it is an option for women who want to protect themselves with barrier methods.

As mentioned, the female condom is made of plastic, thus it is stronger and more durable than the latex condom. It is also loose-fitting and may be more comfortable for men who object to the tight-fitting male condom. It can be inserted prior to the initiation of sexual activities and does not interrupt coitus.

The ability of the female condom to prevent transmission of HIV and other STDs is promising. Laboratory studies have found that the female condom is impermeable to various STD organisms, including HIV. Clinical trials are under way.

The female condom may be difficult to learn to insert for first-time users. Women should practice insertion before using the method.

Currently, the female condom is only approved for one use for one act of intercourse. However, because the device is expensive, studies are under way to determine if it can be rinsed and reused without losing effectiveness or compromising safety.

In acceptability studies, many women have reported that they liked the device and would recommend it to others. However, some women complained that the inner ring caused discomfort when the penis hit it and that the movement of the device during intercourse was bothersome. Other women mentioned that the device was noisy if not lubricated adequately. Men were less enthusiastic about the device than women.

 

Back

Previous page      Next page

Next