Getting Pregnant For Dummies
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As a safe sex option, the female condom is lesser known and more expensive than the regular male condom. Both the female and the male condom function the same: It is a sheath that should be worn during sexual intercourse in order to prevent unintended pregnancy and to lessen the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you are a woman who is at risk and cannot rely on your partner to use a condom, you should consider the female condom.

How the female condom works

Because too many men have been giving women flak for forcing them to wear condoms, a female condom has been developed that allows women to protect themselves against sexually transmitted diseases. The female condom is a loose-fitting pouch with a closed end that you insert deep inside your vagina. Like a diaphragm, you can insert the female condom ahead of time or right before intercourse. The closed end must be lubricated first. The open end is left outside the vagina, and the male inserts his penis into it when entering the vagina for intercourse.

By the way, for those of you who may want to double your level of protection by using both a male and female condom at the same time, this is not recommended.

Advantages of the female condom

Like the male condom, the female condom provides reliable protection against most STDs. The female condom also offers women the freedom of self-reliance when it comes to protecting themselves against AIDS and its kin.

It can be bought over the counter and should be relatively easy to find.

When used correctly, the female condom provides some measure of birth control, although it is definitely not the most reliable method.

Disadvantages of the female condom

Some of the problems that couples have encountered using the female condom include

  • Vaginal irritation

  • The outer ring irritating the vulva or possibly slipping into the vagina during intercourse

  • The inner ring possibly irritating the penis

Some couples have also complained that the condom reduces their feeling and that it’s noisy.

Although condoms for men can cost as little as 50 cents, the female condom costs about $2.50.

About This Article

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About the book authors:

Lisa A. Rinehart has been involved in reproductive medicine in the Chicago area for 25 years, currently as a health care attorney and medical practice consultant. She is the executive director of the Kevin J. Lederer LIFE foundation, an active member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, and a frequent speaker on all aspects of reproductive law. Dr. John S. Rinehart has maintained an exclusive practice in infertility and reproductive endocrinology in the Chicago area for 35 years. He completed his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Johns Hopkins Hospital and his fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. He serves as a senior attending physician with North Shore University HealthSystem and as a senior clinic educator for the Pritzker School of Medicine for The University of Chicago.

Dr. John Rinehart has maintained his practice in infertility and reproductive endocrinology for 35 years. He is a Senior Educator at the Pritzker School of Medicine. Lisa Rinehart is a healthcare attorney and medical practice consultant and a frequent speaker on reproductive law. Jackie Thompson is the author of Fertility For Dummies and Infertility For Dummies. She is also a former fertility patient. Jackie Meyers-Thompson is managing partner of Coppock-Meyers Public Relations/J.D. Thompson Communications. She is the author of Fertility For Dummies and Infertility For Dummies.

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