In the world of contraception as men have condoms, so do women have ‘femidoms’! While they may be unfamiliar to many, probably most people have never heard of them, the femidom is a tool that allows women the initiative of single-use contraception previously only available to men. In this article we will explore the effects, advantages, and disadvantages of femidoms, and increase our contraceptive options.
Female Condom a.k.a Femidom
What is a ‘Femidom’?
The femidom consists of a thin, pocket-like tube about 17 centimeters long with a ring on either end. To insert it you take the smaller, closed ring and place it inside the vaginal canal. Just like male condoms the femidom blocks the fertilization of the eggs by sperm. If condoms function by wrapping the penis, femidoms work by covering the walls of the vagina.
It is a contraceptive method designed by women to take the initiative in protecting their bodies from STIs and the possibility of unwanted pregnancy, as opposed to male-led contraception like condoms.
- Perfect use: 95%
- Typical use: 75%
- Women can protect themselves without relying on men to use condoms.
- They can reduce the chance of unintended pregnancy and prevent STIs.
- Unlike men's condoms, which are generally made of latex, they are made of polyurethane or nitrile, so women with latex allergies can also use them.
- Unlike men's condoms which are worn only once an erection is achieved, they can be inserted before sexual activity begins.
- They can be used during menstruation or pregnancy.
- Due to the lack of awareness, it is difficult to find a seller either online or offline.
- Compared to men's condoms femidoms can be over 3 times more expensive per unit.
- Women who are not familiar with inserting something into the vagina may find them difficult to use.
- During sexual intercourse, the outer ring may get pushed into the vagina.
- It cannot be used for anal sex.
How to Use a Femidom
STEP 1. Insert the femidom before the penis comes into contact with your genitals.
Using scissors, a knife or your teeth to open the packaging could damage the femidom, so open it carefully using your hands. Check for any abnormalities before you use it.
STEP 2. To insert the femidom comfortably press the closed end flat with your fingers.
STEP 3. Insert the closed end ring into the vagina, using your finger to push it as far as possible.
STEP 4. Check that the open end outer ring of the femidom is covering the entrance to the vagina. The outer ring should cover the vulva to prevent it slipping inside the vagina. Around a finger’s width (2.5cm) of the femidom should sit outside of the vagina.
STEP 🔥. Enjoy some great sex.
Make sure the penis doesn’t accidentally enter between the femidom and vaginal wall.
STEP 5. Remove the femidom immediately after ejaculation. Twist the outer ring to prevent any semen from spilling out and remove the femidom. Dispose of the used femidom in the bin.
Precautions for Use
🚫 Don’t use with a Condom
If you use a femidom and a condom at the same time the friction can cause both to tear. If you want to double up your contraceptives use a femidom with oral contraceptive pills, or an intrauterine device.
☝ You can only use it once
Just like male condoms, a femidom is a single-use contraceptive. After ejaculating once it can’t be used again.
A Femidom with Teeth to Prevent Rape
“If only I had teeth down there…”
The quiet wish of a sexual assault victim was heard by one person, who sought to make it a reality. That person is Dr. Sonnet Ehlers, a doctor from South Africa. Dr. Ehlers worked for years to invent ’Rape-aXe’, a femidom with literal teeth.
The Rape-aXe is made of a stronger material than a regular femidom, and inside there are sharp plastic hooks like thorns. If a man forces himself into a woman’s vagina his penis will become trapped in the hooks as he withdraws, causing severe pain. Once caught in the hooks the rapist can’t remove the Rape-aXe by himself. Help from a doctor is required to remove the device safely, allowing for clear evidence of the sexual assault to be gathered and hopefully an arrest to be made.
During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa 3,000 samples of the Rape-aXe were supplied to women free of charge, but it has not been officially commercialized.
Of course, the Rape-axe’s hooks can’t truly lower the incidences of sexual assault, or rehabilitate the perpetrators. You can’t keep a Rape-aXe inside your vagina everyday on the off chance an assault will occur. It could even cause the perpetrator to become enraged and even more violent. Nevertheless, women’s enthusiastic support for the development of Rape-axe demonstrates a clear desire to protect themselves, and condemn the offenders.
- Femidoms, like condoms, are single use contraceptives that are inserted into a woman's vagina
- Femidoms allow women to take initiative and are effective in preventing pregnancy and STI’s
- However, they are still not well-known and can be difficult to purchase