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New Female Condom Coming Stateside

Posted by Condomologist on March 12, 2009

A newer version of the female condom, called the FC2, has finally been approved by the FDA, meaning a cheaper version of the original female condom will hopefully hit shelves soon in the US. One of the biggest obstacles in promoting wider use of the original model has been its cost, and reports are that the price may be reduced around 30% — still costly, but cheaper nonetheless. It also means that US-funded HIV prevention programs overseas can now begin to purchase and distribute the FC2, a necessary tool in the fight against unplanned pregnancy and STDs/HIV around the world.

While the female condom benefits and empowers women, who are bearing an ever-increasing burden of HIV, largely a result of heterosexual contact, it is also useful for men who have sex with men. For that reason, many in the sexual health field (myself included) feel the name female condom is a bit of a misnomer, as a female condom is highly effective in preventing STD/HIV transmission when inserted anally — though one would want to take the inner ring out first if being used in the butt. I don’t like to use terminology that gets too confusing for people — it’s why I say STD most of the time, instead of the more politically correct STI (sexually transmitted infection) — but it would be a good thing if the female condom earned a new name over time (which probably will not happen). I used to call it the receptive condom, because it received a penis, but someone once said, Yeah but it’s inserted in the anus. And I called the male condom the insertive condom, but…you get the point. Some also argue that calling it a female condom detracts from the chances that men will carry them around as a means to protect themselves (when making sexy time with women or men).

But no matter. The female condom, the reality condom, FC1 (the first-generation model from the Female Health Company), FC2, receptive condom, insertive condom — call it what you want. It’s wonderful it exists and we’re all better off the more it’s promoted and accepted and understood; Prevention Now is leading the fight to get the word out and affect policy change worldwide.  The FC1 is made of polyurethane, the FC2 of nitrile — which is supposedly less noisy during sex than polyurethane — so both are good bets for the latex-allergic crowd. They provide some added protection — though by no means entire protection — against infections transmitted through skin-to-skin contact — such as HPV, herpes and syphilis — since the outer ring sits outside the vulva or anus and acts as a barrier between thrusting pelvic areas. Lastly, as we used to say at Sex Out Loud, Shoot for the hoop, meaning make sure the penis goes inside the condom, because if it doesn’t you’re rendering it pretty much useless. Hopefully we’ll be talking more and more about female, um, receptive condoms in the future; in the meantime, I liked this synopsis of what they’re all about and I’ll point you to a story I discussed recently which takes a more pleasure-focused look at the female condom. Because after all, it’s sex we’re talking about, so let’s make safer sex more sexy.


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