The Female Condom

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The female condom is not a new product, but it is definitely unfamiliar to most American women. Its biggest market is in Africa where 45 million were distributed last year. Why isn’t it more popular here?

For one thing, since male condom use is so high in the U.S., women don’t have as great a need to find something similar to protect themselves and are more likely to use conventional female contraceptives.

For another, information about contraceptives, period, has been limited because of the prevalence of abstinence-only sex education. If women don’t know how to use the female condom, they are less likely to purchase them.

Then there is the fact that not even health professionals are familiar enough with the product to recommend it to their patients.

Up until recently, it has been fairly costly: $2 to $5 a condom. That’s much more expensive than other forms of birth control. Now there is a second-generation female condom that is considerably cheaper. (I didn’t find any cheaper ones on the Internet, but that could be because those are first-generation condoms.)

Go here for a how-to video and a chart comparing male and female condoms.

Source article on Care2.com by Laura Sessions Stepp, Senior Media Fellow at The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Also check out the National Campaign’s website, SexReally, which “seeks to foster conversations about relationships and sex while addressing gaps in people’s knowledge about fertility and contraceptive use through polling, videos, podcasts and other content.”

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Ellen Keim

Ellen is a freelance writer, essayist and copy editor, living with three cats and a husband in Columbus, OH.

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