Tag Archives: female condom

I Tried It: The Female Condom

I will admit: I’m fascinated by the female condom. For starters, it’s the only female initiated dual-protection (against both pregnancy and STIs) method available. The potential for women all over the world to have agency over our reproduction is amazing. But why, I’ve wondered, is uptake so low? Why don’t any of my friends use it?

There are certainly some aspects of the female condom that are less appealing than other methods. At $7.00 for three, they’re much more expensive than traditional condoms. They’re also a bit less effective than the traditional condom, and there’s the ever pervasive “I don’t like how they feel on my peen” argument for both varieties of condom (although female condom praise-singers are trying to combat that one). The narrative around them in the developed world is often something like “meh.” Female condom manufacturers and advocates have attempted to reframe the discussion to include benefits including enhanced pleasure and ease of use. I’ve joined the call for feminists and health care workers to advocate for their use and access, but the benefits beyond risk reduction feel clumsy and don’t really ring true for me. Can it REALLY stimulate bodies in ways that are worth using them over traditional condoms? Could watching someone insert one possibly be alluring?

So when a friend suggested I shut up and try it, I realized I really should put my birth control where my mouth was. Or something. Keep reading »

An Anti-HIV, Disappearing Female Condom Is On The Way

Condom Commandments
The rules of condoms. Read More »
Male Birth Control
The male birth control shot. Read More »
Condom Mishaps
condom misshap photo
Sometimes things go wrong with condoms. Read More »

Researchers at the University of Washington have developed the technology to create the all-purpose condom of the future. This new kind of female condom, made of “electrospinning” micro-fibers, will protect against pregnancy, release anti-HIV medicine (or other STI preventatives), and then, get this … just dissolve over a period of days, or even minutes. Here’s how the researchers describe the “electrospinning” technology:

“Electrospinning uses an electric field to catapult a charged fluid jet through air to create very fine, nanometer-scale fibers. The fibers can be manipulated to control the material’s solubility, strength and even geometry. Because of this versatility, fibers may be better at delivering medicine than existing technologies such as gels, tablets, or pills.”

Holy amazing! I’m far from a scientist, but I think this means they load the fibers with spermicide, anti-retrovirals so that they release within you and then just breakdown in your body. In the scientific abstract that you can read here, the researchers working on this project say that they are hopeful that similar technology can “serve as an innovative platform for drug technology for drug delivery to the lower female reproductive tract.” Really exciting stuff. [io9]

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