Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Would you? Could you? Have you?
Do you even know that Female Condoms exist and where you would find one?
It is a polyurethane sheath or pouch about 17 cm in length. It is worn by a woman during sex, and entirely lines the vagina. It is greasy to the touch, has flexible rings at each end, with one closed end obviously. For further info visit such pages as this page on avert's website.
I always wonder about people's awareness, perceptions and use of these, especially when such statements are made, that "The female condom is an integral part of the government's "ABC" -- abstinence, be faithful and condomise -- message". [This is from a Mail&Gaurdian article. Blogger is hating this link today, so if you are interested, go to M&G and it is a frontpage story.]
Because of the nature of my work, I have had access to them for several years. I often find though that friends are fascinated by, if not compeletly unaware of, them.
I can't say that I have ever used one or had any interest or intention in using one, which also makes me stop and think about why not.
Apparently there is acceptance that they have been too inaccessible during their decade-long existance. This is put down to:
- Cost - They cost the government R5 for one, as they are manufactured in and imported from the UK. They are given out free of charge in the public health sector. (Have you ever seen them being sold in shops?)
- Stigma & Opposing Cultural Practices
- Lack of Awareness
These are all issues apparently being addressed.
*Some women put them in before the women goes clubbing, in case of rape;
*Some gay men use them;
*"Eleanor Sopili, an HIV-positive Cape Town woman, says that when she started using the female condom, it felt a "little bit funny...But as you continue using it, there is no difference between that and the male condom.";
*Male partners...are "happy" this responsibility is shifted to women;
*It can be inserted up to eight hours before intercourse;
*It is a heat-seeking medium that sticks to the walls of the vagina;
*"[It is not] overly noisy... "sex isn't silent anyway".
-It is not reusable;
-NEVER use a Male & Female condom together. The friction could cause them to break/ tear;
So....Would you? Could you? Have you used one?