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The dream catcher. The mosquito net. The rubber Jenny. These are all well known, and well used nicknames for the "femi-dom", or the 'Female Condom.
There is much stigma surrounding the female condom. It is, for some reason, seen as some kind of a joke, as the less 'cool', more hilarious sibling of the male Condom- like a rubber Stephen Baldwin if you will. But, these myths need to be dispelled. During my personal use (three times with two different girls), i have never had a single bad experience with the Female Condom. As it is inserted prior to the sexual act itself, there is no awkward moment where the male has to put a condom on, which can kill the heat of the moment and lead to the uttering of the second most feared phrase "i dont really feel like it anymore". Or, speaking from personal experience here, if a male has to turn on a light to fetch a condom from, say a drawer, it can even lead to the single most feared phrase "youre not really as attractive in the light. Im going home now."
Furthermore, if your boat is floated by the use of lubricatnts (hey, I'm not judging), even oil based ones can be used as a femi-dom is not made of latex and so will not perish, leading to pregnancy, unlike the condom.
As for particular brands, i do have my favourites of course. The 'Pasante' is naturally the pack leader, "now softer and more sensual"- a hefty claim, but one i can back up. I have personally experienced a 50% increase in sensation and a 75% (!) increase in softness, as compared to a normal Durex male condom- even 'featherlite'.
So, i can whole heartedly reccomend the Female Condom- especially Pasante. Fellas: Once you use these im sure will not go back to male condoms. Ladies: you'll enjoy them too (as speculated based on feedback personally received).
In theory the idea of a female condom is a great one in that it enables the woman to take control of the contraception using a barrier method to help prevent sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy. Unfortunately, that is not the whole story and therefore I deem these things as utterly rubbish!
A lot of men hate condoms, they reduce sensitivity, rub where you don't want to be rubber, smell disgusting, are slimy to put on and take off, aren't very romantic and are just generally a pain to have to worry about. However being the only barrier method of contraception for males they often have to put up with them for sensible reasons. I have always been aware of femidoms but never really paid much attention to them as they aren't particularly well advertised and are not stocked in shops anywhere near as much as male condoms are.
After a day of fabulous sex I became fed up with the dramatic "YUCK" noise that my boyfriend was making every time he had to put a condom on or take it off. I suggested we tried female condoms instead. So intrigued by the idea we went to the large Boots store in Brighton which appears to be one of the few places that sells them and brought a pack of three which costs £4.79. So at around £1.60 per femidom these work out pretty expensive compared to the male latex condoms. They can also be purchased in some chemists but are probably easier to get hold of online.
The femidoms themselves come in individually wrapped sachets. They are made of polyurethane which is thinner and feels different to latex. It does mean that they are suitable for those allergic to or uncomfortable with latex condoms. When we opened the packet we were quite shocked as it vaguely resembles a long sandwich bag and looks very unappealing!! They are 6.5 inches long and have a sealed end and a wider open end. Inside the sealed end is a flexible ring which is what holds the femidom open inside of you and is used to aid insertion. The femidom's are lubricated and are see-though in appearance.
Instructions for insertion imply that it is a fairly simple process! You need to pinch the ring in the sealed end together so that it looks like a figure of eight. You then hold it tight and push it as far up inside you as you can. As you let go, the ring springs open to hold the femidom open inside of you. The open end of the femidom remains outside of your body and the male needs to ensure that during penetration he goes in this outer ring. The best positions for insertion are either laying on your back, standing with one leg raised on a chair or squatting down (both highly unromantic!).
My first issue was with the appearance of the femidom as it made me think of a tesco's carrier bag!! It does not look at all appealing but I suppose it doesn't really need to. Insertion is a bit of a nightmare. Firstly because it is a very undignified process, secondly because the ring which you need to pinch together in a figure of 8 to insert it is covered in lubricant and slips out of your fingers! It is really hard to pinch it together properly and once you do, you then need to do various forms of gymnastics in order to insert the thing!! Technically you could get your bloke to insert it for you but this really doesn't do a lot for the romantic mood!
After the ordeal of getting it in (assuming you have managed) you need to make sure the flexible ring end is in far enough (in a sort of hooked behind your cervix type position) as if it isn't in properly then it will be painful and uncomfortable. Without being too graphic - you can kind of poke it around once its in but once the ring as opened up its hard to move it! It does say on the packet that if its not in properly you can remove it and try again. (by which time your bloke has probably gone off to make a cup of tea!)
If you have managed to get this far in the process, you are ready to get on with the action (finally!). No real complicated instructions here - just that the male needs to ensure that he penetrates inside the femidom not around the edge of it otherwise the whole thing was a waste of time! Personally I didn't feel the femidom during sex at all and this was the only time that I wasn't muttering abuse at it - however my boyfriend felt very differently!! He hated it saying that he could feel the ring at the end and that it was horrible! He didn't like it and before any deeds were done he withdrew, pulled the femidom out and asked for a male condom!
The information leaflet recommends that the femidom is removed by twisting the end outside the body (preventing all those lovely sperms flowing out!) and then pulling it out slowly.
So to summarise, using the femidom was not a positive experience! We tried using them twice more but with the same result and have abandoned the idea. I do think that they are potentially a good idea but the positives are greatly outweighed by the negatives.
The femidom is lubricated both inside and out and you can also use additional water based or oil based lubricants with them.
Femidoms should not be disposed of by flushing them down the toilet as they will either block your toilet or come back to visit a while later which could be highly embarrassing. Therefore they need to be disposed of in the rubbish bin.
It is also important that you do not use male and female condoms together as the friction caused can result in them breaking and becoming ineffective.
During use if the femidom outer ring slips inside you need to stop and pull it out as it should lay flat on the outside of the womans body at all times.
The femidoms generally come in packs of three but can be purchased in packs of thirty online.
Made from polyurethane meaning that it is suitable for those allergic to latex and is also a thinner material which some prefer.
Allows the woman to take control of the contraception.
Is a barrier method which helps prevent all those nasty little sexually transmitted infections as well as unwanted pregnancy.
They are 95% effective at preventing pregnancy.
They are lubricated both inside and out.
They can be obtained free of charge at some sexual health clinics.
They don't require an erect penis! Male condoms require an erect penis whereas these femidoms can be inserted before anyone gets excited. In fact you can actually insert them up to eight hours before sex (although why you would want to do this is beyond me!)
They can be beneficial for men who find it difficult to maintain an erection as if these men use male condoms they can slip off or leak semen if they lose their erection.
Does not need to be removed straight away after use - you can take it out a few minutes later.
They dont actually smell too bad!
Unlike latex condoms you can use oil based lubricants with these.
They can be used when you are on your period and help prevent any yucky mess!
Research has shown that their use can help prevent cervical cancer.
Can be difficult to insert.
Insertion process is pretty undignified and cant really be disguised as foreplay!
They do not look attractive.
They are very expensive at nearly £2 per femidom and are much more expensive than male latex condoms.
The success rate is 95% which is lower than the male condom which is 99%..
The polyurethane ring in the end can be uncomfortable for both the male and female. Whilst it can be tucked behind the cervix to keep it out the way this isn't helpful if your man is well endowed!
It requires a bit of target practise on the mans part as you need to ensure you penetrate in the right place!
Only one use per femidom.
Not widely available due to minimal publicity.
Not a practical size to keep in your wallet or handbag.
Not all sexual health clinics give them out free of charge.
Whilst using them you often get air pockets resulting in some rather unattractive yet strangely amusing noises during sex.
I did not like these and I think my boyfriend hated them even more than I did! They are the sort of thing that would be really good if they weren't a nightmare to put in, uncomfortable to use and expensive! They didn't feel particularly pleasurable and we certainly wouldn't bother trying to use them again. I suppose that the fact that they are still being manufactured means that they must work well for some people but I am yet to hear from someone who thinks they are great! We stuck to male condoms for a while before moving to relying solely on the contraceptive pill which has been by far the most pleasant method of contraception. So unfortunately this is a product that I cannot really recommend, however if you fancy trying something different to see if it works for you then at least the pack of three makes it easy to give them ago without ending up with hundreds that you don't want!
Ease of insertion 3/10
Comfort (for male) 1/10
Comfort (for female) 5/10
Ease of Removal 9/10
I'm sure most people know how to use an ordinary condom, but I wonder how many people have used a female condom. I know I hadn't until a couple of weeks ago, until curiosity got the better of me in a moment of madness and I purchased one from a toilet vending machine.
The female condom or femidom is sheath measuring roughly 17centimetres (or 6.5 inches) in length. The bright sparks among you may have gathered from the name 'female condom' that this is designed to be worn by the woman rather than the man. The basic idea is that the sheath lines the full capacity of the vagina, thus preventing pregnancy and all those nasty little diseases you really don't want lurking around your little blossom. No one likes an itchy mingle, or a warty one, so the idea of wearing a femidom to prevent these diseases makes a lot of sense.
At either end of the femidom there is a flexible polyurethane ring (as illustrated in the picture).
How To Use
As with an ordinary condom, open the package carefully, being careful not to tear it with teeth, nails or jewellery. Find a position that is comfortable for insertion, maybe you could squat, lie down, or sit on a chair with legs apart. Tampon users may find the femidom easier to insert due to experience of using internal products.
Basically you squeeze the ring at the closed end between finger and thumb until it becomes long and narrow, and then gently insert it into the vagina, lacing it as far up as it will go without being uncomfortable. You need to use your finger to make sure the condom is not twisted or bunched in any way. The other ring at the open end should be left outside the vaginal entrance, where it performs the duty (according to the instructions) of acting as a guide during penetration. I have to state here that I find this amusing. I would hope that whoever I was bedding might have some idea on their own of where to penetrate, or maybe I've just been lucky with my men. But really what they mean is that you have to guide the penis into the ring to make sure it doesn't slip in between the femidom and the vaginal wall. You can insert the condom up to eight hours before intercourse, although if you do this I'd advise a quick check all is still in place before getting down to business!
The condom is lubricated on the inside, although you can use additional lubricant. The lubricant is non-spermicidal (meaning it doesn't kill those tadpoles) and is silicon based.
Normal condom rules apply. If the condom slips out of place, or fully enters the vagina during intercourse, you need to stop and start again with a new condom, and you also need to bear in mind that due to that slip you are not fully protected against pregnancy and STDs. Also, the femidom can only be used once, by which I mean for one act of penetrative sex only.
Removing the condom is pretty easy, just twist the outer ring, which should still be outside your vagina if used correctly, and then pull the condom out, and throw it away. Femidoms can also be used during anal sex.
In my own experience of using the condom, inserting it did take me around five minutes, the first time, mainly due to the fact that I was following the instructions as I went along. Although it took me a while to insert, it was not hard work, just a little unfamiliar.
I've used it twice since, and insertion has been a little easier each time. During sex, all has gone swimmingly, with no slippages of any kind, and I couldn't feel the condom much at all, although the first time I was self conscious about the appearance of it during oral sex.
For me the benefits of the femidom are numerous. I like the fact that because it is made from polyurethane rather than latex I can use it with oil based lubricants, meaning I don't have to carefully check bottles and tubes before purchase if they are to be used in conjunction with the femidom. While most lubricants available are water based, I use a sensation enhancing gel that cannot be used with latex products, so using the femidom in conjunction with this gel gives me a great sexual experience.
I also like being able to be the one in control of the contraception. It removes the need for that awkward moment after foreplay where everything stops while contraception is sorted out as it can be inserted in advance, meaning I can move straight from foreplay to full on sex.
Other benefits to the femidom that others may like are the fact that with it not being latex there is a lot less chance of allergy. It's also great because a woman can use it if her partner refuses to use a male condom, although in my opinion men like that should be dumped!
The disadvantages to me are few. The first is that the outer ring is visible outside the vagina during sex, and I do occasional feel self-conscious when my boyfriend makes eye contact with it during foreplay.
The other disadvantage (which I'm not sure is a general one, or just for me) is the unfortunate queefing. For those men who perhaps don't understand what I mean, brace yourself for a shock. I'm talking fanny farts. Loud ones. Long loud squelchy ones. This is caused by a pocket of air within the condom being penetrated and squelched with each thrust, and can be very embarrassing, although now it just amuses my boyfriend more than anything.
Also, these are pretty expensive to buy, around £2 each ,but are cheaper to buy online, with a pack of three costing 4.79 at www.britishcondoms.com
Overall, I'm pleased with the femidom. Yes it is a little less spontaneous using it, but it means I can go from foreplay to penetration easily, that I am in full control regarding contraception, and more importantly that I am protected against STDs and pregnancy.I'm taking off one star for the price though, as they are rather costly.
Overall, I'd definately recommend this to any woman who feels comfortable enough with her own anatomy to insert it.
Thanks for reading
I remember my girlfriend tryiing one of these it was bloody awful. It was like stuffing a plastic bag inside her and quite invasive for her, although most men would not mind giving a helping hand.
Once inside if you have a large penis you end up either pulling it out on each thrust or pushing it deeper inside so it ends up all squashed up and the objective of a female condom diminished. Stick to the male condoms I,d say becuase you dont want to be fishing for that soggy thing afterwards!
Many people have found that latex condoms are less preferable to the polyurethane types of condoms (such as Durex's Avanti). But not every guy out there likes to use condoms. So, for those ladies who may be interested, now there's also a condom for woman - and what's more, it's not made of latex.
My husband and I have been very happy with the polyurethane condoms available on the market due to their generally looser fit and thinner construction which seems to heighten sensitivity for both partners. In addition, polyurethane condoms are the answer to those women who are allergic to latex and unable, or decide not to use other contraceptive methods. When we found these female condoms we decided to try them as well.
I cannot, however, tell you that I totally recommend these, for the following reasons:
I had a very difficult time inserting this condom properly. Perhaps it is because of my own physiology, but this was the case for me. The basic idea is that you have to bend the rings of these a little, insert them and then let them unravel inside you. Even with practice, I never got it right. This was a stumbling block that was insurmountable for me. People should know that when the female condom isn't correctly inserted and still used nonetheless, it can result in a very painful experience for the woman. The manufacturer suggests that if this is the case, that the condom be removed and re-inserted properly. Not exactly conducive to spontaneous love-making, is it?
Still, I've read other reviews of those who haven't had any problem inserting these and almost all the results have been positive ones.
You should know that one advantage to a female condom is that the woman is once again in control of her contraceptive with this type of condom. For couples who have been using condoms as their only type of contraceptive, this means that the woman can take the initiative more easily, and this also takes pressure off the man. The female condom can be inserted long before a man is aroused and this is more conducive to spontaneous love-making.
Furthermore, as with all types of condoms, these will prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and have been proven to be equally effective as a birth control device as any other condom. In fact, these are considered to be slightly more effective than regular condoms against STDs and pregnancy because they have a lower breakage level, you do not have to remove them immediately after intercourse, and they cover both internal and some external female genitalia, as well as the base of the penis to provide even further protection.
One of the other pluses is that these condoms can be used with any type of lubricant or spermicidal creams, since they will not deteriorate when they come in contact with them. Moreover, you can use the lubricants or creams both on the outside and inside of these condoms.
Since I first wrote this review, the company that makes these Femidom have come out with a second Female Condom which isn't made of either latex or polyurethane the "FC2" as they're called, are made of something called Nitrile which certain types of surgical gloves are made of. I understand that there is research which says that those people who cannot stand latex or polyurethane have no problem with Nitrile, so that's another plus.
Given the above pros and cons, there is little left for me to say but that I think you should try them yourselves and decide if they're right for you after you've experienced using them a couple of times. I'd be willing to say that the odds are 50-50 that you'll be happy with them. Basically, if you never try them, you'll never know if they are the downfall or perfect solution for you. For me, however, they didn't succeed. Still, I'll give them three stars for all their other advantages.
Thanks for Reading!
Davida Chazan © January, 2001 for Ciao; updated February, 2006 for DooYoo
The official webpage for this product can be found at: http://www.femalehealth.com/theproduct.html
One place you can purchase these is through this site:
and from there you can buy 3 for £4.79, 12 for £17.95, or 30 for £42.85.
As a price comparision regarding these vs. other non-latex condoms, you'll find that at the above site you'll see that these cost £1.60 per unit, while Durex Avanti cost about £1.46 per condom and Trojan Supra cost about £1.42 per condom - depending on how many you purchase at one time. So these are a bit more expensive than male non-latex condoms, and are quite a bit more expensive than the male latex ones - just in case you were wondering.
In the USA Femidom is marketed as a product called 'Reality'. This sounds slightly less clumsy but doesn't really tell you what the product is. Femidom is a female condom. You get all the obvious benefits and protections from using it as directed on the packaging. It is made of polyurethane (good if you are allergic to latex) and lubricated with mineral oil. Vegetable oil is quickly absorbed into the body so it wouldn't be suitable for this purpose. A pack of 3 of these costs #4.97. This seems to me to be quite expensive. The manufacturers suggest that you practise on your own to get the hang of these things...(mmm! well! maybe I won't bother.) If you have to practise prior to use it must be difficult to use, I would think. Find a comfortable position, open the sachet and remove the product. The femidom is prelubricated and you should make sure that the flexible ring is at the closed end. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Now comes the complicated part: Squeeze the lower half of the inner ring between your thumb and fingers. This gives you a good grip and narrows the inner ring for easy insertion. With the other hand spread the skin and insert the device as far as you can. Then adjust the ring. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++= (More detailed instructions, if you haven't been put off yet, are available on: http://www.condomerie.com/EFemidom.html Part of the sheath will hang outside the vagina. It is about 15 centimetres long. (Kind of off putting I think!) It says on the website that you and your partner won't even be aware of the Femidom. (Rubbish! I say.) Just make sure that he knows how to navigate it! You have to throw these things into a bin after use as you can't flush them down a toilet. My opinion of these is that a Tesco's carrier bag w
ould be more exciting. These things are bulky, they move around when you don't want them to and they aren't easy to use. If you've had a few drinks, forget it. The whole thing then becomes hilariously funny and you will never succeed in using these as intended. They look like sandwich bags, or see through hoover bags, take ages to fit properly, and rustle when you don't want them to. I must admit that I haven't laughed so much for a long time, but I certainly won't be using these again. They are alright for a laugh just to say you've tried them but I find them totally impractical.
Often known as the 'Femidom' or by the name 'Reality', the female condom is a polyurethane sheath or pouch about 15 cm in length, which is worn by a woman during sex. It entirely lines the vagina and it helps to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted