The Disadvantages of the Female Condom

Playing With A Condom
Woman holding a female condom. (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Female condoms have many benefits. They are effective against sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. Perhaps the best benefit of the female condom is that it's a female-controlled device that doesn't rely on prescription medications to prevent pregnancy. Still, female condoms are not as widely used as male condoms. Like any method of birth control, female condoms have their disadvantages and it's up to you to weight the pros and cons when choosing your form of protection.

Expense

The average female condom costs more than $3 for just one. This makes them significantly more expensive than male condoms, which cost an average of $1 or less each. Female condoms contain more material, including two flexible plastic rings that keep them in place. This extra material and manufacturing leads to a higher price.

Availability

Female condoms haven't gained the same widespread availability as male condoms. Significantly more stores carry male condoms than carry female condoms or both. Female condoms also haven't made the transition to nightclub vending machines and other places condoms are commonly available. They may be difficult to locate, depending on location.

Familiarity

Many people are not as familiar with female condoms as they are with male condoms. They may not, in the heat of the moment, be interested in learning something new or trying something they've never tried. Still, some people may not use female condoms because they or their partners have never heard of them.

Size and Appearance

According to Planned Parenthood, some people may find the appearance of female condoms to be a turnoff. They're large, with a plastic ring that remains outside of the vagina or anus. Female condoms are also roughly double the size of male condoms, making them more difficult to conceal and carry around.

Sound Effects

Some couples report their female condoms make a whistling or squeaking sound during intercourse. This is likely due to friction or air and can usually be remedied with lubricant.

Insertion and Removal

Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of female condoms is that they have to be inserted into the vagina. For women or their partners who are not familiar with their anatomy, this can prove challenging or uncomfortable. Many woman also worry if they have the condom inserted correctly. According to Planned Parenthood, it's also possible for the condom to slip all the way inside of the vagina.

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