With the number of contraception options available, and free condoms thrown at us multiple times a year at sexual health awareness events, what exactly is the point of the female condom? Is the Femidom a redundant form of contraception?

YES

The female what? Yes, my thoughts exactly. Despite being introduced in 1993, many people have not even heard of the female condom, let alone used one.

With the female condom being much more difficult to find, more expensive, and less effective (at only 95% when used correctly) why would you bother using it when the ‘normal’ condom does the job perfectly fine?

The female condom prides itself on the fact it can be inserted 8 hours prior to having sex. If you’re a little OCD, and like organising your life and your man, then perhaps this may seem like a great idea. But think about it, would you really want to be waddling around for 8 hours in the hope that you might ‘get lucky’?

As for spontaneity, well that goes completely out of the window. What ever happened to impulsive sex? I’m all for being an empowered woman, but if your partner isn’t in the mood or isn’t taking your hints, frustration may kick in: ‘Listen, are we gonna do it or what?  I’ve been walking around all day with a condom shoved up inside me!’

There’s also a fine art to putting it in. If you happen to forget to pre-plan then no amount of romantic candles could aid in the incredibly un-romantic task of trying to wedge it up there, so that it sits in place properly, without falling out or getting stuck. It could kill the mood slightly, don’t you think?

Supposedly it is ‘similar to putting in a tampon’. I mean that’s great but I personally don’t find the idea of adding ‘awkwardly faff around with femidom’ to the list of foreplay activities, particularly arousing.

It has been suggested that it’s great for people whose partners refuse to wear a condom. However, the female condom has been said to feel even ‘less natural’ than a normal condom- it feels like having sex with a plastic bag.

Unless you’re into that kind of weird stuff, the idea of having sex with a plastic bag doesn’t seem hugely appealing.

Jemma Holmes

NO

The beauty of the Femidom is that you can insert it up to eight hours before you actually have sex. Among the number of lame excuses young people often give for not practising safe sex, ‘ruining the mood’ by frantically searching for a condom is up there with the concerning conviction that the ‘pull-out method’ is a legitimate thing. It’s not.

A Femidom is not only for the hyper-organised people who know exactly when they’re going to be getting some, either. For any female students who have found themselves in a stranger’s bed after a few too many Jägerbombs, the Femidom you soberly inserted a few hours earlier can help give you peace of mind that you are not going to wake up to an STI on top of a raging hangover. Even if you end up home alone with a Domino’s, you can give yourself a pat on the pack knowing that you were a responsible drunken mess.

On a far more serious note, the Femidom offers women some level of protection against sexual assault. I’m not suggesting that we all start wearing Femidoms every waking minute and live in perpetual fear of attack, but we should consider that, for some women, using a female condom might give them peace of mind. While the presence of a Femidom won’t protect against the attack itself, it can prevent the victim from catching STIs or falling pregnant as a result. Women who have suffered an assault, who live in a dangerous area, who have to travel alone at night, or who have an abusive partner might find a degree of reassurance knowing that they can take matters into their own hands when it comes to protecting their bodies.

Femidoms might not be the most popular method of contraception, but they do deserve their place on the sexual wellbeing shelves. If nothing else, they offer people with vaginas another way to enjoy safe sex, and what could be wrong with that? It’s all about options, people.

Isabella Millington

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