The Female Condom: Will It Get Stuck Inside Me?

Photo credit: Micheal Grogan

Photo credit: Micheal Grogan

The FC2 female condom (a.k.a. the “internal condom”) is one of the most recent innovations in safer sex technology. The FC2 is the only insertable contraceptive available that protects against both STIs and accidental pregnancy. However, because it is so different from traditional roll-on condoms, many are weary of using female condoms.

One of the most common concerns is that the female condom will get stuck inside the body. Melissa White, CEO of Lucky Bloke, to the rescue, assuring us that it is impossible for the FC2 to disappear inside your body. In fact, she explains, there are many reasons to choose the FC2 over traditional latex condoms.

This post was originally published on Your Tango.

BY MELISSA WHITE | LuckyBloke.com

While the female condoms seems a bit confusing, it’s a great option for many women. We tell you why.

At Lucky Bloke, our mission is to lead you to the land of amazing sex with condoms. With a selection of the world’s best condoms at our fingertips, we’re here to prove that the right condom can actually improve your sex life. Got a question for the Lucky Bloke: Condom Experts? Let us answer your sex education inquiries so you can concentrate on having the hottest sex possible!

Dear Lucky Bloke,

I’ve heard that there is a female condom that you insert in your body and protects just as effectively as a regular condom. But why does it seems so large? And can it get stuck inside my body?

—Signed Perplexed in Pittsburg.

The FC2 female condom, which we prefer to call the “internal condom,” might seem oddly shaped at first, but that’s because it’s radically different from what we understand condoms to be. A female condom is actually similar in length to standard male condoms, but is a little wider.

When inserted, the condom forms to your internal walls and allows for movement of the penis inside the sheath. This is one of its many benefits. One size, actually, fits all!

Thus, penis size (nor knowing what condom size your man requires) is not a factor with female condoms making it an excellent option for those who find that traditional, roll-on male condoms never seem to fit quite right.

So contrary to your concern, there is absolutely no risk of the FC2 getting stuck or disappearing inside you. And you do not need to be fitted before use. There is an inner ring on one end that slips under your cervix. Then there is an open end with a soft ring which remains on the outside of the vagina. To remove the FC2, you simply twist the outer ring and gently pull the condom out.

The FC2 is growing in popularity. Many people like the advantage that condom size is not a factor for comfort and safety. Plus, it can be inserted up to four hours prior to sex, so no need to pause for intimate donning in the heat of the moment. And it’s latex free!

Another great bit of news is that the FDA is currently considering reclassifying the FC2 as a “class II” device. Why is this important? Currently, the FC2 is not in the same class as traditional condoms.

They are considered a “class III” medical device, putting them under the same safety restrictions as pacemakers and replacement heart valves, states the National Female Condom Coalition.

Moving FC2 into the new class would enable invention and testing of new and different female condoms designs. While the FC2 has made huge advancements in terms of non-latex offerings, it remains the only female condom currently available.

As we all know, product variety means safer sex option for all of us to choose and best suit our lives. What better reason than that?

Unsure what size

Which of These 4 Types of Female Condoms Is Right For You?

Image by Condom Monologues

Image by Condom Monologues

There are hundreds of condom options for penis protection available today, ranging in condom size, material, texture, flavors and more. When it comes to the receptive partner, however, there is only one option. The FC2 is the only internal or female condom approved by the FDA and available for purchase. (We use the common term “female condom”, while recognizing that this barrier method can be used by all genders.)

As part of their weekly Q&A series, the folks at the CSPH (The Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health) explain what is the female condom and why it may be the best safer sex option for you. They also give some insight into three other internal condoms available in the future. There is certainly a lot to look forward to!

The benefits of the female condom include:

  • Female condoms protect against both STIs and accidental pregnancy.
  • Because female condoms form to the receptive partner’s body, they are a great option to solve condom size issues.
  • Female condoms are the only barrier method that can be worn by the receptive partner.
  • Female condoms can be inserted up to eight hours before sex.
  • Female condoms protect the skin around the anus and vagina, reducing the risk of skin-to-skin transmitted infections.
  • Because the FC2 is made of synthetic rubber it is compatible with both silicon and water-based lube.

This post was originally published by the CSPH.

BY THE CSPH | theCSPH.org

Each week, The CSPH answers questions that have been submitted through our website and social media outlets like TwitterTumblr, and Facebook. This week’s question:

What’s the best female condom?

Female condoms, also known as internal condoms or FCs, help prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Although these products are frequently marketed with the terms “female” or “woman,” the CSPH prefers to use “internal condom” when possible, because it better reflects the truth about gender identity—that being female or male cannot be defined by having a prescribed set of genitals. Besides, this fantastic prophylactic is an effective safer sex option for good times all around, both within and beyond the vaginal walls as it can also be used during anal sex by persons of any gender. Please note that some of the language in this Q&A may be triggering due to the fact that many brands of internal condom still market themselves using “female” specific language; however, we have included it as part of our resource set due to the fact that they are quality barrier methods even if the language they use is problematic.

Internal condoms are unique because they are the only barrier method that can be initiated by the receptive partner, which may empower that individual to feel greater control over their personal health and protection. Additional benefits of internal condom use include the potential for advance insertion (up to eight hours before sex), protection of the skin surrounding the vagina or anus, and its thin, synthetic rubber material—compatible with both silicone- and water-based lubes—that may better preserve sensation.

The Fc2

Assuming that you live in the United States, the answer to your question is simple: the FC2 is the “best” option. Why? Because it is the only internal condom approved by the Food and Drug Administration and, therefore, the only one available for purchase.  Although there are hundreds of brands on the market for penis protection—in assorted colors, textures, and flavors—there are limited condom choices for receptive partners. The good news, however, is that this could change in the next few years, as there are some exciting products under development.

Seattle-based nonprofit PATH has designed a new model, the Woman’s Condom, with input from heterosexual couples in the developing world. Despite the numerous benefits associated with internal condoms, not only can they be challenging to insert, but their  physical appearance can also be uninviting, somewhat akin to a slippery windsock. To address these ergonomic and aesthetic concerns, PATH scientists gathered most of the seven-inch polyurethane pouch into a capsule about the size of an OB tampon. All you have to do is insert the compact capsule, and then the pouch unfurls while foam supports adhere lightly to the vaginal walls to stabilize the condom. The Woman’s Condom, also branded as O’lavie, has been available in China in limited distribution channels since late 2011 and clinical trials were recently completed in the United States.

Other promising advances in the world of internal condoms include the following models, which, like the “Woman’s Condom,” have been designed and tested specifically for vaginal intercourse:

The Cupid

Available in both natural and pink colors, it is the only FC that is vanilla scented. If these qualities alone do not motivate you to stockpile your shelves, consider the more user-friendly insertion method: the Cupid uses a non-biodegradable sponge, meant to be compressed between the fingers, to push the condom into the vagina. The sponge  also holds the condom in place during use, much like the inner ring of the FC2. This FC was pre-qualified in June 2012 for bulk procurement by the United Nations, upon recommendations from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Female Condom Technical Review Committee. It is currently available in India, Brazil, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and South Africa.

Origami

Made of silicone to provide flexibility and durability during vaginal intercourse, this product is folded “origami style” and inserted by pushing the folded material into the vagina. While the design is intended to minimize its size for ease of insertion, after insertion, the condom will deploy to its full length during intercourse. The Origami has the potential to be a viable, reusable condom, due to its high-grade silicone material. This possibility of re-use, if found to be feasible, could lower manufacturing costs significantly. Clinical trials will commence in the U.S. in 2014. Furthermore, if these condoms become available in select animal shapes—like frogs, swans, or tigers—I predict a new contraceptive trend!

Panty Condoms

The Natural Sensation Panty Condom® offers sexy snatch protection with a discrete design that MacGyver would envy.  A reusable cotton thong, the Panty Condom® includes a replaceable pantyliner that contains a condom made of synthetic resin. The condom can be inserted by a penis or a finger, and the panty itself can be reused with another condom for additional acts of intercourse. One great benefit of this product is that you can wear it all day and, like a Girl Scout, be prepared. Additionally, it covers the entire vulva, which eliminates direct contact with the genital area and reduces the potential for sexually-transmitted infections such as herpes or HPV. Natural Sensation is available in parts of South America and Europe, though it has not received FDA or WHO approval. This FC is under review by the WHO Female Condom Technical Review Committee, and clinical work on function and acceptability is due to be undertaken in 2013.

If you wish to support the development and distribution of these fantastic products, consider joining the National Female Condom Coalition, or donating to PATH.  Unlike traditional condoms, FCs are considered a new “medical device” by the FDA and must undergo rigorous testing and research before widespread distribution, requiring funding and advocacy. Of the products that have already been approved, much of their availability is dependent upon donor organizations, such as the United Nations Population Fund, especially within the developing world.

For more information about the positive impact of FCs worldwide, check out the video submissions to PATH’s film contest, Female Condoms Are ________.  According to global citizens everywhere, from Bolivia to Kenya to the United States, “female condoms are sexy;” “female condoms are freedom;” “female condoms are for everyone.”

condom ad condoms too tight

csphThe CENTER for SEXUAL PLEASURE and HEALTH (The CSPH) is designed to provide adults with a safe, physical space to learn about sexual pleasure, health, and advocacy issues. Led by highly respected founder and director, Megan Andelloux, The CSPH is a sexuality training and education organization that works to reduce sexual shame, fight misinformation, & advance the sexuality field.