Female condoms yet to take off


Participants attending the discussion organized by UNFPA’s Condomize Campaign during the ICASA conference shared their experiences on the use of female condoms to protect themselves from HIV infections and other sexually transmitted diseases.


The women, most of whom came from different African countries, indicated that they felt uncomfortable when they used it for the first time. However, they were able to enjoy sex with it once they got used to using it.

“The condom I used for the first time was noisy and made me and my boyfriend uncomfortable,” said a lady from Ethiopia who shared her experience of using female condoms said. “But gradually my sex partner began to like it. Unlike the male condom, the female condom transmits heat between the sex partners,” she added.

Another woman from Congo also shared a similar experience. She also indicated that unlike the male condom, it takes more time to properly insert it into the vagina.

“I feel more comfortable when my sex partner uses the female condom,” said one male participant in the discussion, who was from Senegal.

Responding to the issues raised by the participants, UNFPA’s Condomize campaigners agreed that the two female condom brands which are currently in the market make more noise than the male condoms. To solve this problem they advised the use of lubricants with the female condom before inserting it in to the vagina and turn-on music during sex while using the female condoms. The campaigners also noted that new brands of female condoms are in the pipeline and these issues should be resolved soon.

Research indicates that many people are still not familiar with female condoms in Africa because they cost more and take more time to insert into the vagina. As a result the male condoms are currently much more widely used in the continent. They are also less accessible. A global study indicated that only one in 36 women use the female condom among those who have access to it.