Our expert says:
Female condoms are made of a thin plastic called polyurethane. This is NOT latex or rubber. The condom is placed in the woman's vagina. It is open at one end and closed at the other. Both ends have a flexible ring used to keep the condom in place. Among typical couples who initiate the use of female condoms, about 21% will experience an accidental pregnancy in the first year. If these condoms are used consistently and correctly, about 5% will become pregnant. Complete information about this contraceptive is available from your pharmacist or from the package insert.
* Female condoms give women more control and a sense of freedom.
* Women don't need to see a doctor to get it. No prescription or fitting is necessary.
* It can be inserted several hours in advance.
* The female condom is safe and fairly effective at preventing both pregnancy and infection.
* Your partner can insert it and make it part of love-making.
*Any lubricant can be used with the female condom (including oil-based lubricants) since it is made of plastic rather than latex. Lubricant is provided in the package.
* Polyurethane transmits heat well. This may make sex more fun.
* The female condom can be used if either partner is allergic to latex.
* The female condom is large and some feel it is unattractive or odd-looking. Although it looks different and may appear unusual at first, its size and shape allow it to protect a greater area. Many of the couples who have used it like the way it feels.
* Some women may not want to touch their own vagina.
* It will not work if the man's penis is placed outside the female condom (between the condom and the woman's vagina).
* It may make rustling noises prior to or during intercourse. Using a lubricant may decrease noises.
* It takes practice to use it correctly. Some people complain that it is hard to use.
* Female condoms are not sold in as many stores as male condoms. They may be hard to find, so call the store in advance.
* Female condoms are about three times more expensive than male condoms.
Female condoms are sold at most chemists. Call in advance to be sure.
Female condoms are sold in packs of three or six. Each condom costs R15 to R20-00.
The package comes with a leaflet that explains how to use female condoms.
You can also call Planned parenthood in your area, they often stock free samples.
Dr Elna Mcintosh
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