Female condoms: Everything you need to know


Three years in the past, a 28-year-old Mumbai-based photographer handed on a feminine condom–that was gifted to her by somebody who didn’t need to use it — to a good friend. “I gifted it to another friend who I thought would use. As for me, I was not sure how it works, and have also heard it’s uncomfortable,” she stated. But, because it turned out, even the good friend by no means used it.

Nandni Sharma, a 38-year-old Delhi-based publicist relates to the episode and shares an analogous sentiment. When requested if she would love to use feminine condoms, she replied, “not sure”. This is even if she first examine feminine condoms in a “woman’s magazine couple of years ago, and was intrigued how they worked”.

Female contraceptives are identified to be extraordinarily helpful; they not solely assist stop undesirable pregnancies however are equally essential for selling secure sexual practices. “If used correctly, they are 95 per cent effective. They protect against unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs),” stated Dr Anubha Singh, gynecologist, IVF skilled, and medical director, Shantah Fertility Centre, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.

In comparability to contraceptives like male condoms and Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs), nonetheless, feminine condoms are lesser-known and even lesser-used, in accordance to specialists. So, what’s holding girls again?

Indianexpress.com reached out to specialists in numerous fields to perceive the significance of speaking about feminine contraceptives, particularly feminine condoms, which are thought-about “cumbersome” to use.

According to Himani Bajaj, 31, a PhD analysis scholar at Ambedkar University Delhi who has undertaken analysis targeted on younger girls’s expertise of negotiating contraceptives, none of her 35 topics within the age group of 18-32 years “had ever used a female condom”, with ECPs or male condom being the popular decisions. “Some of them cited the fact that it is simpler to pop a pill or ask the male partner to put a male condom instead of placing the condom inside the vagina,” shared Bajaj.

How a lot do you know about feminine condoms? (Photo: Thinkstock Images)

What are feminine condoms?

Female condoms act as a contraceptive barrier that may be worn contained in the vagina. They stop undesirable pregnancies by stopping sperm from assembly an egg whereas additionally stopping sexually transmitted infections which will happen due to body-to-body contact. Female condoms will be positioned into the vagina upto eight hours earlier than getting intimate with a accomplice.

They are product of both polyurethane, pure rubber, or artificial rubber, all of which don’t use MBT/ZMBT or mercaptobenzothiazole, a chemical materials that has lately been recognized as a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, as per World Health Organization.

What are the advantages?

Dr Shobha Gupta, gynecologist and IVF skilled from Mother’s Lap IVF Centre, Pitampura, New Delhi, stated feminine condoms present the identical advantages as male condoms however “allow women to take more active and independent responsibility for preventing pregnancy and the spread of STIs”. “When you use female condoms, you don’t need to rely on your male partners to provide and wear their own condoms. Other benefits include convenience, male genital erection is not required, increased sexual arousal, and it rarely causes allergic reactions,” she stated.

How to use a feminine condom?

Find a cushty place. While holding the surface of the condom on the closed finish, squeeze the edges of the internal ring collectively along with your thumb and forefinger and insert into the vagina. “It is similar to inserting a tampon. Using your finger, push the inner ring as far up as it will go until it rests against the cervix,” defined Dr Gupta.

Is it for each lady?

“It depends on one’s needs and preferences. It also depends on its availability, as not much awareness is there,” Dr Gupta stated.

“What is that? We only keep male condoms,” stated a chemist from a widely known pharmacy that indianexpress.com reached out to over the cellphone.

This lack of availability coupled with selling secure intercourse practices prompted Pee Safe, an intimate hygiene model, to lately foray into the feminine condom phase with Domina. “The female population today is aware of its rights, including those related to hygiene and sexual health. Internet penetration has further influenced buying behaviour. Our aim is to not only address this segment but also ensure that we play a part in preventing sexually transmitted infections like AIDS,” stated Vikas Bagaria, founder, Pee Safe.

female condoms, sex, physical Female condoms are identified to enhance sexual arousal. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

Known as India’s first producer of feminine condoms, Cupid Limited’s sale figures are round 25,000 items every year, totally on “online platforms”. “We have done sales of around 23 million pieces in 2019-2020 worldwide for female condom. Most of this sale is to the Ministry of Health in countries like South Africa and Brazil. If the Indian health ministry also procures and promotes the use of female condoms, then its awareness and demand will increase in India. The MRP of our two-piece wallet of female condoms is Rs 95,” stated Swapnil Dhage, advertising and marketing supervisor, Cupid Limited.

However, as per know-how analysis firm TechNavio, by way of market scope, the APAC area, pushed primarily by India and China, is ready to be the fastest-growing marketplace for feminine condom. It estimates that the worldwide market measurement for this product class is roughly 800 million. The gross sales, like Dhage identified are largely on-line, contemplating only a few bodily pharmacies maintain inventory.

Even because the market is ready to witness an upward trajectory, at the moment, the “unavailability”, excessive value, lack of fundamental know-how of insertion methods, and consciousness have been identified as viable causes for the shortage of such contraceptive use.

While a pack of 10 male condoms prices Rs 180, a pack of two feminine condoms is priced round Rs 100. “The costing is more due to the construction of the condom as a male condom has just latex whereas a female condom also comes with a ring, and a synthetic rubber or polyurethane,” burdened Dhage, whereas stating that precise manufacturing value “can’t be disclosed owing to business reasons”.

Despite many research and proof displaying constructive consumer expertise and acceptance, feminine condoms have remained out of most authorities applications, stated Dipa Nag Chowdhury, programme director, Population Foundation of India. “Some studies have also highlighted concerns around its acceptance by men. Additionally, pricing and packaging are also some of the other issues seen as reasons for their poor uptake,” defined Nag Chowdhury.

So, what will be achieved? “Going forward, female condoms must be popularised and made available to all women, as an integral part of the world’s commitment to providing universal access to sexual and reproductive health and family planning services,” stated Nag Chowdhury.

Dr Singh added, “Based on past research on the rate of successful use of barrier methods of contraception, the results are divided into two categories: perfect use or typical use. In reality, only a few people use the female condom correctly every time. Proper education, therefore, should be given on how to use them perfectly.”

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