Femidom: Not exactly a monster, just another baby barrier

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What do all of these names have in common: Reality, Femidom, Dominique, Femy, Myfemy, Protectiv and Care? They’re all street names for the female condom. Which brings us to our next point.

The scene starts familiar. A dim room, two hot co-eds getting steamy in a messy dorm room. After all the clothes come off, the chick leans over to a drawer, opens it and pulls out — a fist-sized plastic-wrapped package?

Yes, the omnipresent condom jars available on campus in the LGBT Resource Center, the Women’s Center and most famously, Student Medical Services, all offer ribbons and ribbons of male condoms. So where the hell did the aforementioned frisky female intercept that bulkier-packaged female condom? fcs are only available in the discreetly tucked-away Health Promotions behind the Gandhi statue at UNF and even there, one might run into problems scoring one as supply is typically low. This might be because demand seems to be rather low as well.
In 2005 makers of fc released fc2 onto the market, using synthetic nitrile (a synthetic rubber copolymer) in the new design to cut the price tag a bit. They use a firmer material on the inner ring to “anchor” the condom safely in the vagina and softer type for the outer ring (where things go in). The originals were constructed of polyurethane.

fc is widely promoted in West Africa, Zimbabwe and Brazil because, according to AVERT, an international AIDS charity, female condoms not only protect your womanly bits against nasty STDs like chlamydia and babies but also the most abominable of them all: AIDS.

Another thing females condoms have got over male condoms: the ability to plan in advance. They may be inserted up to eight hours before sexual intercourse, according to AVERT. This feature is advertised as helpful in not ruining “the moment.”

Some women have noted certain pleasure benefits associated with the fc, such as being able to feel in control, according to Paul Joannides book “A Guide to Getting It On,” and that the ring around the outside of the condom tends to stimulate the clitoris during intercourse.

fcs do have their pitfalls — no spermicide, for one. Initial discomfort, beginner’s unluck and social controversy. Oh, and they can be noisy (however many forums recommend dousing more lube in the mix to solve this problem).

Like tampons or even male condoms, fcs take some getting used to as far as application is concerned. But the fc brochure that comes along with the condom itself explains that the process grows simpler with practice.

If insertion’s done right, the end should be slightly hanging out. To remove, gently twist the outer ring and pull it out. Like male condoms, don’t go tossing it into the toilet and definitely DO NOT reuse it.

As far as fcs getting too ripe to use, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has authorized the fc for a shelf life of five years, and because of the materials of which they’re made, no special storage conditions are necessary — such as differences in temperature and humidity.

Certainly don’t go combining female condoms with male condoms. All that steamy friction will only threaten a break in the barrier — and if that happens, then, well, why did you even bother using anything?

Promoters of fc stress the potential for female independence and empowerment by taking the responsibility to protect against pregnancy and disease during coitus. However, some men aren’t sold on the idea of a woman taking control. Development Coordinator of the Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative, Cecilia Boyd, told NPR News this issue arose moreso in couples with cultural backgrounds which associate power with men only.

Despite their weak popularity and antithetic nature, they do represent yet another advancement in a society striving to stress safe sex, and we say that’s a good thing.

We got two brave (and most importantly, anonymous) UNF couples to give the fc2 a go-around and write about their experience. Here’s what they had to say:

Woman 1: Well, the most intimidating part was reading the instructional pamphlet — and boy, was it long and full of slightly disturbing pictures. Like, imagine the how-to for first time tampon users and times that by 100. Once I fully ingested the process, the insertion wasn’t difficult, just different. I’m on birth control so my partner and I aren’t even used to using a condom, let alone an fc2. Overall, it was tolerably comfortable, but certainly not as pleasurable as a male condom or going au naturale and much more lubrication was needed than the package included. Also, make sure to turn up the mood music because this device is loud. I think it’s a great invention for a certain demographic of people, but not for me.

Man 1: The fc2 resembled a weird, alien-like creature. If you think pausing to use a male condom kills the mood, this thing will definitely dilute the sexiness of the situation. I mean, I’m no woman, but she has to put her legs on a chair and/or spread her vagina to insert the thing, and sometimes it takes more than one try! I don’t think it will catch on. If you have to use condoms all the time it might be fun to switch things up with an fc2 — I mean it’s not as constricting on the penis as a male condom is, and it might be an interesting change, but like my long-term partner, it’s just not for us. I’m a fan of bc, not fc’s.

Woman 2: I really wanted to not be creeped out by shoving what’s essentially a plastic tunnel up my vagina, and I managed to remain calm until I set gaze upon it. The inner ring was super lubed up and really slippery, making for a not-so-easy insertion and it dangled out more than I thought it should. When we started to have sex, the outer ring started moving around a whole lot and hurt me. Maybe I didn’t put it in correctly or my partner and I are just not used to using condoms in general, but I found the entire experience uncomfortable and made sorting recycling look sexy. Perhaps repetition would eliminate some of these problems, but I definitely don’t plan on revisiting the fc.

Man 2: My experience with this rubbery, frumpy dame was brief — and no, it was not my fault. It is hard to stay turned on when it feels like your shagging with a Publix bag for protection. So here are some tips to make your female condom experience go better than mine: First off, don’t look down — because that thing’s pretty scary. Also, prepare yourself by starting slow. For this stage it’s important that you and your partner stare at one another uncomfortably and confusedly. Finally, get ready for the big finish! You will know you’re there when you hear “ouch ouch get off of me.” Now having have used both the male and female condom, choosing between a tight male condom or an awkward female condom, I’d opt for the first.

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