Why should the female condom be universally accessible? » »
Why is it important that there are different types of female condoms on the market? » »
What models of female condoms are available? » »
What are the advantages of female condoms over the male condom? » »
Why is the female condom relatively expensive? » »
Can the female condom add pleasure during sex? » »
Whom can you recommend to use the female condom? » »
Does the female condom make noise? » »
How can one insert the female condom? » »
Where can one buy female condoms? » »
What kind of lubricant can be used with female condoms? » »
Why should the female condom be universally accessible?
Female condoms are the only dual STI/HIV and pregnancy protection method available today that can be initiated by women. It provides women with control over safer sex, their health, and their families’ health.
Why is it important that there are different types of female condoms on the market?
People differ and preferences differ. Therefore, it is important that people can choose a condom that fits their preferences as best as possible. Subsequently, a variety of female condoms will also contribute to lower prices which increases its affordability.
What models of female condoms are available?
At this moment, the FC2, the VA w.o.w., the Cupid, the Woman’s Condom and the Velvet or HLL Female Condom are available. Although, not all four varieties are available yet in all countries. The FC2, the Cupid, the Woman’s Condom and the Velvet are prequalified by the World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and are therefore eligible for international procurement.
What are the advantages of female condoms over the male condom?
- Can be inserted before ‘the heat of the moment’.
- Dual protection method that can be initiated by women.
- Men often prefer female condoms because they have a soft, moist texture that feels more natural during sex.
- A female condom might offer additional sexual pleasure.
- Among women using female condoms, qualitative studies demonstrate an increased sense of empowerment in negotiation for safer sex and a greater sense of control and safety during sex.
- Although female condoms were not designed for anal sex, some couples prefer them to male condoms when having anal sex.
Why is the female condom relatively expensive?
There are two main reasons for the current price level of female condoms:
- Use of materials
More materials are needed for the production of female condoms (compared to male condoms). Furthermore, the material itself can be more expensive. The FC2, for example, is made of nitrile, which is more expensive than latex. The packaging and the placing of rings and/or the sponge make the production process more complicated and labour-intensive.
- Economies of scale
Female condoms are not yet produced on a very large scale. Because relatively few female condoms are produced, their price is higher. If more large-scale female condom programs were to be implemented and the procurement and production of female condoms were to increase, the price would decrease.
Can the female condom add pleasure during sex?
Yes, the pleasure one experiences depends on the type of female condom used and on your personal preferences. Some couples have found that the inner and outer ring adds pleasure to the sexual experience. Some men prefer the female condom to the male condom because it does not fit tightly around the penis.
Whom can you recommend to use the female condom?
The female condom is suitable for all women and men. For some couples, it is a huge advantage that it can be inserted even before foreplay (and not in the ‘heat of the moment’). Just like the male condom, you need to practice using it. Therefore, we advise you to try it several times before making up your mind about whether female condoms works for you.
Does the female condom make noise?
None of the female condoms are noisy. The FC1 (the first FC model produced by the Female Health Company) was made of polyurethane and was known for the ‘crispy’ sound. The FC1 has, however, been replaced by the FC2. The FC2 is made of nitrile, which is a synthetic latex that feels very natural and makes no sound. The VA w.o.w., the Cupid and the Velvet condoms are made of latex, which is not noisy. The Woman’s Condom is made of such thin polyurethane that you can hardly hear it.
Read about the most common myths and misconceptions on female condoms and how to counter them, in the advocacy brief on this issue.
How can one insert the female condom?
The way to insert and remove the female condom depends on the type of female condom you are using. See our demonstration movies.
Where can one buy female condoms?
This differs per country. In some countries, female condoms can be bought in pharmacies, commercial outlets, at hairdressers, etc. In some countries, female condoms are distributed in the public sector. Unfortunately, there are often stock-outs making it difficult to obtain condoms, which makes advocacy for the stable availability even more important.
What kind of lubricant can be used with female condoms?
The FC2, the VA w.o.w., the Cupid and the Velvet condoms come pre-lubricated. It is of course possible to use extra lubrication on the inside of the female condom or on the penis. With the FC2 you can use water-based, silicone and oil-based lubricants. With the VA w.o.w., the Cupid and the Velvet condoms you can only use water-based or silicone lubricants. If you use oil-based lubricants with latex condoms, they may tear. The Woman’s Condom come unlubricated and is packaged with a sachet of water-based lubricant, so you can use the amount you like. If you want to keep it simple, only recommend the use of water-based and silicone lubricants with female condoms.