Welcome to our first #SexEdSaturday, where we highlight safer sex materials, testing options, and other rad sex-related facts you never learned about in your sex ed class. To kick off this weekly series, we’re highlighting our favorite barrier method: the insertive condom.
What is an insertive condom?
Insertive condoms are usually sold under the name female condoms. At NYAST, we use the word insertive to describe female condoms because not just females or women use them. Insertive condoms can be used vaginally or anally.
Insertive condoms are usually made of nitrile, which is a latex-free material. The inner and outer rings are made of a polyurethane plastic. Insertive condoms protect against pregnancy, HIV, and other STIs. When used correctly, insertive condoms prevent pregnancy 95% of the time; 79% of the time if not used correctly.
Insertive condoms will be sold at pharmacies as “female condoms” or under the name brand “FC2.” They can be found in the same aisle as roll-on condoms. If your local CVS or Walgreens does not carry insertive condoms, you can check your local clinics to see if they offer them.
How do I use it?
The manufacturers of the FC2 insertive condom have detailed illustrations that can help you insert your condom here. You can lie down, squat, sit, or stand as your insert the condom. Find out what works best for you!
For vaginal use, pinch the inner ring into a figure 8 and push the condom as far into your vagina as you can, leaving the outer ring resting outside of your vagina and covering your labia. Your pelvic muscles will hold the inner ring and the condom in place during penetration. For anal use, remove the inner ring before inserting the condom. Put your finger inside the condom and push it into your anus.
You or your partner(s) should use caution when inserting a penis. Make sure the penis is not inserted under or to the side of the insertive condom. If your partner’s penis slips out of the condom and into your vagina, remove their penis and insert it back into the condom. If your partner ejaculates outside of the condom and into your vagina, you may want to consider emergency contraception and testing.
To take out an insertive condom, make sure you are in a seated, squatting, or standing position. Squeeze the outer ring and twist the condom so that it keeps any semen inside. Remove the condom and throw it away.
Never use a roll on condom when using an insertive condom. The friction created by the materials rubbing together can cause tearing and decrease the effectiveness of the insertive condom. If you are concerned about pregnancy, consider talking to a provider about starting birth control. If you are concerned about your risk of contracting HIV or STIs, make sure to get tested regularly. You can find an HIV testing location here.
Insertive condoms promote body autonomy
What is remarkable about the insertive condom is that it can be inserted vaginally (not anally) 8 hours prior to use. The insertive condom should be removed at the 8 hour mark to avoid developing toxic shock syndrome. Many people who insert the condom before going out feel a sense of security and preparedness if they end up wanting to have penetrative sex later in the evening.
If your partner has a penis and does not want to wear a roll-on condom because of any number of reasons, you can take control and wear a condom yourself. If preventing pregnancy and/or STIs is important to you, the insertive condom can give you the power to protect yourself.
Insertive condoms can enhance your pleasure and the pleasure of your partner(s)
By design, insertive condoms promote pleasure when used by a person with a clitoris. The rigid, outer ring rest on the clitoris and can rub against it as your partner inserts their fingers, their penis, or a sex toy. For people with penises, the inside of the insertive condom is pre-lubricated to provide maximum pleasure.
For people going through menopause, vaginal dryness can be a deterrent to vaginal sex. The FC2 warms to the person’s body temperature and is covered in lubricant, which prevents vaginal chaffing that can occur when using a roll-on condom. At any age, the insertive condom can be a pleasurable and safe method to take control of your sexual health.
Does the insertive condom sound like it could be the right barrier method for you? Check out Bedsider’s awesome comparison tool where you can compare the effectiveness of the insertive condoms with other methods. You can also complete the FC2 training here and become an insertive condom expert.