OP: Female Condom?

Hi there!
I'm sure these questions must have been asked and answered before, but after a search I couldn't find it... so:

1) What's the effectiveness of the female condom?

I don't know where this came from, but somewhere in my head I have this notion stuck that female condoms would be less reliable than male condoms. Since I always want to be clear on things, I've looked it up. Now I've read on a Dutch website that compares and describes practically all means of birthcontrol that the percentage of pregnancies resulting from the use of the male condom is theoretically: 2%, practically: up to 28%. The female condom would theoretically be: 3% and practically: 10%. They say this is because the male condom is more often improperly used and/or doesn't fit well, than the female condom. Which makes a female condom actually more reliable in practice. I've looked through some random search-results, which suggests both condoms are equally or the female condom slightly more reliable in practice. Is this correct?

2) If I'd use a contraceptive gel together with a female condom, does this mean I could apply it on both the outside and the inside?

I've learned using any types of gels/lubes inside a male condom can only be in very tiny amounts or the glide may contribute to it sliding off. But it seems to me that shouldn't be an issue with the female condom. Since using a water-based lube is possible according to the instructions, I'd think I could use a lube with spermicidal attributes that's safe with latex. Paralyzing the little sperms on the spot. And should the female condom break/tear and the tiny army left would make it inside my vagina alive, they'd still have to pass another chemical barrier before they reach my cervix. Making it like a triple safety-net. But that's just my theory :) Better be safe than sorry and thus ask (especially when the goal was to be more safe ;))

3) I've read you can insert it (long) prior to intercourse, but how long is that?

The instructions fail to mention this. Btw, I do realize that combined with a contraceptive gel, that one should take into account the time the gel lasts as well :) and thus whatever amount of time is the smallest determines the use.

4) It is mentioned -though not specified- that not all sex-positions are possible when using a female condom. Now I don't know what to make of that exactly... You?

I don't know if it matters to any of the answers, but specifically this would concern the Cupid female condom; which is latex and has a sponge instead of a smaller ring at the end. I believe they call this a 2nd generation female condom, designed to be more flexible, less noisy, even more easy and pleasurable to use than the originals.

5) Anyone care to share their experiences? That's always interesting to hear :)

Thank you very much for your responses!


Posted: 30 Sep 03:37


We have said many times that most condom "failures" are a result of sperm travelling around the open end. The "open end" on a female condom is much larger and looser than on the male condom and vaginal swabs thirty minutes after sex have shown more sperm after using a female condom than using a male condom. Your conclusion, then, is correct, the female condom allows more leakage to reach the vagina than does the male condom. Women do tend to be more careful in protecting themselves and final effectiveness rating is close between the two.

The recommendation is that vaginal jelly goes into the vagina first, then the condom and, then, vaginal jelly in the condom. This seems to work well but takes a bit more "getting ready."

When the female condoms first came onto the market, I tried them. If I am recommending something, I want experience with it. I did not like the pre-lube that was on the condoms so used Gynol II (any vaginal jelly will work. My "testers" said they preferred the female condom over regular condoms. This is reported elsewhere and is not just my opinion. The male condom travels with the penis and reduces the friction for him. The female condom does not travel with the penis, so the man gets a more real feel. On the other hand, I felt a bit short-changed. Because the condom stayed rather still against me, there was a bit less friction moving the parts I wanted moved.

You can insert it as early as you wish. It does feel strange as it dangles a bit and bounces against your thighs. No biggie when you are going into action but I do not want to sit around with it there. So, the drainage of the spermicide would determine the length of time ahead.

I have not tried any unusual positions and have no idea what the limitations would be based on positions - as long as you have vaginal spermicide. The drainage would be rapid in female superior positions.

I have not used the second generation versions you describe. Female condoms are more expensive than male. The WHO found in distributing them in the third world that they can be washed, gently, allowed to dry and re-used. I do not believe any of the manufacturers claim this as yet. When I travel, I always have condoms with me - both male and female. Most men have never experienced them.


Posted: 30 Sep 03:37

Hi everyone,
Is it true that the synthetic nitrile of which the FC2 female condoms are made, is compatible with oils?


Posted: 30 Sep 04:18

Latex condoms, being vegetable products from the rubber tree, will deteriorate when soaked in vegetable oils used in massage. The lube for these condoms should not be vegetable oil, vaseline or body lotion. Only water based or silicone lubes are safe with latex. The pre-lubed condoms, usually with "spermicide," use a water based lube but should not be considered effectively spermicidal. There is simply too little of the spermicide to do any real good.

The nitrile or poly condoms, whether traditional or female condoms, can be used with vegetable oils usually used for massage.


Posted: 30 Sep 04:18

Thank you, Brandye!
That's good news! :) Cause I tend to get a bit uneasy after a oily massage on whether or not the condom will be affected. I've also recently become a big fan of coconut oil. My doctor has told me using coconut oil or jojoba as a lube does not have the negative effects of other oils. In terms of that other oils can get stuck on the cervix or rectal lining (in case of anal sex) and could cause infection and possibly promote cancer. That there are actually some indications coconutoil may be beneficial in re-balancing the natural flora and help heal from yeast and fungal infections; more research needed to confirm that. But unfortunately, that these oils are the same as others in terms of that they won't go well with condoms. Anyways, happy to have confirmed female condoms or the poly regulars are an option :) One more reason to convince him to try out female condoms! ;)

O, and if anyone who happens to read this thread who also uses the non-latex condoms by SKYN, which are made from polyisoprene instead of polyurethane, I've asked their customer support and they've answered that: "SKYN polyisoprene condoms, from this aspect, are like natural rubber latex condoms: the use of oils (baby oil, paraffin oil, etc.) might damage them. Therefore please do not use our condoms with oils, but with condom compatible lubricants".


Posted: 30 Sep 04:18

Thanks for adding the problem with polyisoprene. The poly I referred to was the more traditional polyurethane which will not be affected by oils. Polyisoprene is chemically more similar to natural latex and is therefore affected similarly by vegetable and some mineral oils - baby oil, for instance.

The FC2 female condom is prelubed with silicone based jelly. This really not usually sufficient so you can add whatever you want. I recommend that women use spermicide in the vagina and in the condom. Although female condoms have shown to be as effective as traditional condoms, studies done thirty minutes ejaculation more commonly find sperm in the vagina with female condoms. This is leakage around the open end. The spermicide in the vagina will be the last barrier for the sperm.

Coconut oil is interesting because it is good on you but not in you. In this sense "in" means eaten. It is wonderful for topical application and does good things for the skin and, possibly, the vagina. Eating the stuff, however, is a pathway to cholesterol problems. It is amazing the amount of peanut butter made in Europe that is actually peanut paste (the waste when peanut oil is extracted) mixed with tropical oils. Read the label and go for the natural containing only peanuts and, maybe, salt.

Bottom line with your clarification is that polyiso and latex are subject to degradation by a variety of oils, so water and silicon(yuk) based lubes only; polyurethane is safe with any oil that you would on or in your body.

I only tried the female condoms when they first came on the market and were available in polyurethane only. Partners reported that they felt more "real" because the penis was slifing inside the condom unlike male condoms that move with the penis. The nitrile is reported to be less "crinkly" but with any puncture it has a tendency to tear. Fortunately, in surgical gloves anyway, it is less likely to puncture.


Posted: 30 Sep 04:18

I actually like the female condoms: femidom :) So far I find it much more comfortable than the regular condoms. I don't like how male condoms make a penis more rigid and somehow I get easily irritated by the ring at the base of the penis (not to mention I've actually gotten a grip on that on several occasions, ripping the condom of by vaginal muscle power alone!) I find the female condoms surprisingly easy to put in. And I actually tend to agree with the guys that I feel 'more'; that it feels more comparable to bare sex. I do think that it's not so popular and well; what's unknown makes 'unloved'. Once convinced; all it takes a little guidance, but in my limited experience guys will ask you to guide them in anyways :)

Downsides to me are
1) after repeated thrusting I sometimes worry that there will be too much tension from that outer ring. Because I tense up upon orgasm and my vaginal muscles have a way of gripping hard anyways, it sometimes seems the condom only moves deeper in and never make the movement backwards as one would expect.
2) Only improvement I would advice the manufacturers is they could make the inner ring softer/thinner. Once he bumps into that ring it can actually feels very uncomfortable or well; hurts. They've made the outer ring softer on the FC2 compared to the old version and I wonder why they've not done this to the inner ring. It reminds me of those toddler plastic bracelets I used to wear as a child; all it needs is a bit of extra color or sparkle ;) And I doubt whether that's really necesarry for the design....

Btw; I've also tried the Cupid female condoms; those are latex with a sponge instead of an innerring. And they come in pretty pink colors and vanilla flavors (should anyone be into that ;)). Imho the sponge is quite large and makes me feel like a stuffed turkey before anything else enters. So not my cup of tea!

I've been reading the discussions on coconutoil for consumption. My dietician is a true 'believer' in all the beneftis coconut oil may bring, such as anti-inflammatory, strengthening the immunesystem, a wasteline slimmer, etc. I tend to keep it somewhere in the middle; I use coconutoil, olive oil and butter interchangebly. And I buy all in good quality; virgin, not de-scented or de-flavored and butter that comes from cows who have walked outside and ate fresh grass. I think that way I'll benefit from the (potential) benefits these three may bring, while minimizing (possible) risks they may include. And well; variety is the spice of life and they all bring their own lovely flavors to food :)


Posted: 30 Sep 04:18

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