The internal condom or FC2, formerly known as the female condom*, has been quite overlooked in North America. Selling much better worldwide, nationwide the FC2 is still predominantly surrounded by lack of knowledge and negative attitudes.
Why is that? Most customers know about and have experiences only with the older version of it – the first generation female condom. It used to be made of polyurethane, which was much more expensive, produced a loud noise during intercourse, and didn’t transfer the body temperature very well. They gave up on the FC1 and never caught up with the FC2. What about younger people? Little or no education is provided during health classes at school. If you happen to have spent your adolescence in any of the 27 states that teach abstinence only sex ed, or in the 32 states that don’t require safer sex practices or contraception to be part of the curriculum, you were left with little to no chance of getting aquatinted with the FC2. Add to the mix the lack of experience with the product among health professionals and MDs usually causes them to not recommend the product to their patients.
The newer, improved version of the female condom, made of nitrile was introduced and distributed globally in 2009, but it wasn’t until 2013 that it got FDA approved and sold in the US.
Why does the FC2 rock?
- Much like the external (male) condom – it protects from STIs, as well as unwanted pregnancy.
- FC2 is cheaper than the first generation internal condoms – you can get 9 condoms for roughly $15, or a 3-pack for $7.
- Health insurance covers them and you can get them for free. A number of college campuses distribute them for free too.
- They are latex-free – no allergic reaction risks.
- 100% vegan.
- You can use ANY lubricant with them: since they’re not latex, you can absolutely safely use coconut oil (Sliquid Soul is a very good choice), silicone or water-based lubes.
- If lubricants generally irritate your vagina (some people can’t stand even Sliquid H2O, which is about the purest lube on the market) the FC2 will serve as a barrier between you and the lube. (It comes prelubricated with a silicone lube, but the lubrication on the outside is very mild and usually non-irritating.)
- No friction burn for the receiving partner – hot and steamy long pounding session – your vagina or anus won’t be able to tell.
- The female or receiving partner is in charge and can take responsibility if the penis owner doesn’t want to wear an external condom.
- It’s very loose and spacious and doesn’t make the penis feel confined or too tightly covered.
- Provides much more sensation for both parties – usually neither of them can feel it and tell it’s there.
- Can be placed in the vagina or anus hours prior to play and intercourse – no need to stop what you’re doing or interrupt your foreplay to put an external condom.
- No pressure to maintain erection the entire time – as it’s secured behind the woman’s pubic bone and can just stay in for hours – you can keep enjoying safer sex without having an erection the entire time. No risk of slipping off if the penis gets softer.
- Provides barrier protection for a number of versatile sexual activities, not just intercourse: you can use it for fingering, instead of a glove, you can use it for oral sex performed on the partner wearing it, instead of a dental dam – it covers parts of the genitalia, the outer labia, can even be pulled out a bit so it covers the clit. Or you can just cut it with a pair of scissors, and turn it into a sheet and use it as a dental dam. One condom can be turned into several dams as it has a bigger surface area.
- Great barrier protection for rim jobs and anal sex as well.
- Awesome for hot steamy FMF threesomes (two vagina-owners and one penis-owner, aka female-male-female): each receiving partner is wearing their own FC2, no need to put a new external condom when changing partners.
- Safe, easy and fantastic for underwater sex. Just insert it before going into the water. Apply plenty of silicone-based lube inside of the condom, as well as on the penis. It’s great for underwater strap-on sex too, especially if you are in a situation where you can’t easily disinfected your dildos and want to use a barrier method instead. FC2 stays in place under water, fits perfectly on the inside of the vagina, so underwater sex is actually much more enjoyable than bareback underwater sex.
- The least messy way of having sex during your period.
- Food play! If you are into putting Nutella, strawberries in your own/your partner’s vagina, or fucking them with a Twix bar gets you off (don’t laugh, it’s happened to me in Amsterdam, which explains a lot…) avoid a yeast infection or unbalancing your pH by using the FC2 as a barrier between any delicious food and the gentle mucous membrane of your vagina.
- One size fits all. Unlike external condoms, here you don’t have to worry about which size to get, no risk of “getting it wrong” and compromising your health. Not having the right “fit” can lead to misusage or accidents when it comes to the external (male) condom. If it is too small and too tight on the penis – it can break, if it’s too big and loose, it can slip out, all of which put you at risk of getting an STI or unwanted pregnancy (if you are not using another form of birth-control).
Where to find the FC2?
Get it online from their manufacturer, go to Planned Parenthood, or check with your OBGYN if your health insurance covers it. Find it in your local sex store, almost any online sex shop, and even Amazon, Walgreens, Drugstore.com, Walmart, and Kmart. In theory CVS should have it too, but I’ve never managed to find it in stock, maybe it’s just the branches that I’ve visited.
Give it a chance
Placing and using the internal condom correctly is a skill. Give it a fair chance, there’s a learning curve. Try to remember how tough and discouraging your first experience with the external condom was. But you moved past it, didn’t you? For best results practice placing it, getting used to the product, and how it feels on your own or in a non-sexual situation. Get to know your own and your partner’s body. Pretty soon you will be a FC2 master.
* Why internal, instead of female?
First of all, not all people who identify as female have vaginas, and not all vagina-owners identify as female. Second of all it can be used for anal sex, ergo by all people who have butts (which covers all of us). It can be used as a barrier protection from porous sex toys, or for strap-on sex in conditions where you can’t sanitize dildos. And last but not least it can be used for so much more than penetrative sex.
Disclaimer: I am still using the term female condom here and there, as I want people to have equal access to this article, and not everybody who needs it knows the inclusive language.
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