For the obvious reasons of avoiding unwanted pregnancy and not contracting sexually transmitted diseases, many people have embraced the use of male condom as a preferred contraceptive.
But due to reasons that are not exactly clear, it has been observed that most people do not give a thought to using female condom.
One could hazard a guess that the tilted preference could be because the female condom is more expensive, which could be as much as N5,700 per pack; it is not as common as the male condom, some find the way of using it – inserting it in the vagina – as stressful and cumbersome or due absolutely to ignorance.
Perhaps, it is because of the ignorance that September 16 was set aside as the Global Female Condom Day, as an annual day of education and advocacy to increase awareness, access and use of female condoms.
But according to United Kingdom’s National Health Service, if used correctly, female condoms are 95 per cent safe (though as against the 98 per cent for male condom) and they do not deny couples of the fun of the act. However, there are some basic things to note about the female condom.
The NHS stressed that due to its nature and the manner of use, couples should be sure that the penis entered the condom, because the penis could easily slide in-between the condom and the side of the vagina, which would defeat the essence of using it. It said one way to be sure is to make sure the open end of the condom covers the vaginal opening. Thus, women are encouraged to guide the penis into the opening of the condom to be sure it enters the right place.
It also noted that the condom should be handled with care so it does not tear, and that people should desist from using their teeth to open the pack.
After intercourse, the woman is advised to twist the open end of the condom, after the man has withdrawn, so the semen does not pour into the vagina.
Apart from giving women the sense of control in what is usually a male-dominated exercise, the NHS warned that the purpose could be defeated if the female condom gets pushed too far into the vagina.
One other advantage of the condom is that while the male condom requires the man to be erect before it can be used very well, the female condom does not need a man’s erection to keep it in place, and the NHS found that it can be inserted up to eight hours ahead of the sexual intercourse.
In fact, if the insertion is done by the man, findings have shown that the act of doing that could also be part of foreplay, because using the finger to stimulate the woman’s vagina or clitoris is a verified route to sexual satisfaction, sometimes more effective than penile thrusting.
Given that psychologists and marriage counselors often advise couples to experiment with their sexual lives, trying a female condom, as against the more common male condom, is on its own a form of variety.