Have You Heard About Female Condoms?
A contraceptive that’s least intrusive and let women take charge, here’s all you need to know about female condoms.
Dotted, ribbed, extra long, to even flavours like chocolate, achaari, strawberry; men have a range of condom options available to them. But have you ever heard about female condoms?
In a country where the burden of sterilisation falls squarely on the woman (93 percent according to the National Health Mission report), meaning the responsibility of reproductive health is pretty much only hers, it’s surprising that not enough women know about the female condom.
Ironically enough, even with rapid increase in population every year, we are a country that talks about sex in hushed tones. That is if we talk about it at all. It still remains a taboo for most part, and it has to be even more hushed if women are involved.
But it’s necessary for women to take charge of their own reproductive health if they want to lead a healthy life. And sterilisation cannot be the only option on the table.
Female condoms help in letting women take charge of contraception with the least chances/ number of side effects. Here’s all you need to know.
How do They Work?
Female condoms unlike male condoms, are internal contraceptives. They have to be put in the vagina. The closed end reach till the mouth of the cervix which prevents the sperm from reaching the egg, while the open end fits at the vaginal opening.
The only point of concern being the penis entering the space between the condom and the vagina. If used properly, they do not pose any risk.
After ejaculation, the woman can careful pull it out and dispose it off. According to Dr. Indu Taneja, HOD and Sr. Consultant Gynecology at Fortis Faridabad, it’s not as much as the usage or the technique that prevents women from using it, but the sheer lack of awareness.
Let Women Take Charge/ Availability and Utility
Even though the are not that easily available over the counter, the condoms are currently available on most of the e-commerce sites. The pricing is also similar to that of the male condom and the sites also offer discreet packaging in case there are inhibitions.
Dr. Ranjana Sharma, a gynecologist at Indraprastha Apollo hospital, says that advertising is key in making female condoms popular. Also, that media has and will play a crucial role in making women aware about this method of contraception which is one of the most effective and at the same time, let’s them take charge of their body, reproductive health and sex life in general.
In her words, if a woman uses a female condom, she won’t have to “beg” her partner to use a condom or depend on them in any way.
Unawareness About Reproductive Health
While talking to FIT, Dr. Ranjana revealed a fascinating fact. When asked what is the most common method of contraception used by women, the answer was ‘withdrawal.’
Withdrawal is when during intercourse, the male partner pulls the penis out of the female partner, just before ejaculation.
But why should the method that has the highest failure rate, remain the most popular? Dr Ranjana says that women believe that as long as there isn’t any discharge inside them, they won’t get pregnant. She also believes that some of it is due to the fear of side effects of other the methods.
Oral contraception ranks below copper T and IUD as a preferred method of contraception among women. According to Dr. Ranjana, women are scared about hormonal changes caused by pills. In that case too, female condoms remain an effective method of protection without side-effects.
The demand for skin-to-skin contact during sex also prevents people from using either types of condoms. This despite the fact that condoms remain the most effective protection against pregnancy and STI’s.
Like any new thing, there will definitely be inhibitions, but like we discovered with menstrual cups, once you get the hang of it, it really becomes a blessing.
So how about giving the female condom a chance?
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