The spread of sexually transmitted infections alerted society to the need to prevent unsafe sex. The use of condoms has been ascribed as a safer way of having sex to prevent the spread of infections and unwanted pregnancy. Therefore, unlike other contraceptives that are effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy, condoms play a double action. For years, the popular type of condoms catered for males.

Male condom
Figure 1: The male condom

The male condom gave men an upper hand in decision-making regarding the use of condoms during sexual intercourse. Society, being patriarchal, has somewhat excluded women in decision-making over their sexual rights. However, the introduction of the female condom was met with skepticism by most males.

The female condom

Female condom
Figure 2: The female condom

The female condom is thin and soft latex that is worn inside the vagina to prevent semen to reach the womb. This condom then acts not only as a barrier to prevent pregnancy but also Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). It has flexible rings at the ends to hold it in place before and during sexual intercourse.

How to use the female condom

The way one position a tampon or menstrual cup is the same way it is inserted into the female vagina.

How to use the female condom
Figure 3: How to use the female condom

Benefits of the female condom

  • You can put one for hours before sex
  • Prevention against unwanted pregnancy and STIs
  • If used correctly, they are 95% effective

Why the female condom is unpopular

  • There are various scientific or medical reasons behind why some do not prefer female condoms. These range from irritation on sexual parts and being uncomfortable.
  • The other assumed reason behind its unpopularity is their cost compared to the male condoms.
  • The patriarchal society perspective on female condoms. The basic belief has been women submit their sexual rights to their male partners. Female condoms have been, culturally, viewed as challenging the existing masculine ideologies where sex has been placed in the hands of male. Its unpopularity is built upon shared norms in society. Social networks influence the health behaviour of everyone. Social networks have a major impact on the use of the female condom; as information about condoms is influenced and determined by one’s social circle. The fact that it’s a female condom has resulted in most males refusing to use it, rooted in the mentality that women want to control the rules of sex. The socially biased norm regarding female condoms has disregarded their use in society. The argument put forward is that women will have power in decision-making and power over their sexual/ women rights. This is one reason why women were prone to STIs and unplanned pregnancy due to a lack of power to voice their rights for safe sex.

CONCLUSION

Women for years have been sidelined and there is a need to promote their rights and recognize who they are. This includes advocating that they have power over their sexual rights, that they have the right to safe sex.