The Female Condom Versus the Male Condom

Simple Health
Simple Health
Updated: May 26, 2020

There are many forms of contraception and protection against STIs. Let’s take a look at two of the most popular varieties of barrier methods and how they stack up: the female condom and the male condom.

Material

The FC2 internal condom, also known as female condom, is made from a soft, thin material (nitrile) which is latex-free, so it won’t trigger any allergic reaction. It’s placed inside the body to create a removable pocket, limiting sex partners from sharing bodily fluids and making direct skin contact. Unlike male condoms, the FC2 comes pre-lubed on both sides, to ensure the most pleasure for both partners.

Like the FC2, the male condom also has a plastic package and a sheath, however it doesn't require an internal soft ring, which the FC2 has for insertion as well as to hold it in place inside the vagina. Male condoms can come in a range of materials, including latex, which can make them susceptible to ambient conditions during storage. The FC2 is not affected by temperature and humidity, making it a reliable choice to keep on hand.

Effectiveness

All types of condoms greatly decrease your chances of pregnancy and exposure to STIs, without the use of hormones. Male condoms are generally more effective. When used correctly, female condoms are 95% effective at preventing pregnancy, but with “normal” use, the efficacy is about 79%. Male condoms are 98% effective, but with “normal” use, that number is about 85%.

While neither is 100% effective; protecting yourself and your partners with a physical barrier is shown to hugely decrease the risk of contracting STIs. Slightly larger than the male condom, the FC2 protects a greater area of the body, shielding both the inside and outside of your lady parts.

The FC2 is purposely designed (and therefore only recommended) for vaginal sex. For other forms of intercourse, the male condom is safer and more versatile.

Pleasure

A common complaint of male condoms is a decrease in sensation, though, male condoms come in all types of varieties. That being said, some people who use FC2, including men, have reported an increase in sensation, and therefore prefer it to the male condom. If you're looking for a women's account, check out this blog post.

Usage

Both methods need some familiarity to ensure correct use, and you can find out more on how to use the FC2 on our blog.

Unlike the male condom, the FC2 puts contraceptive control in the hands of women. There is no need for an erection to use it, so no one else needs to be involved in your decision to use the female condom (which we love). It can be inserted up to 8 hours in advance, meaning you can avoid awkward interruptions when you get down to the deed (especially convenient if you have your period). All of this adds-up to making sex enjoyable and distraction-free!

Both methods are single-use and should be removed and disposed of after ejaculation.

How do I get it, and what’s the cost?

Although it’s usually cheaper to buy directly, the male condom is often not covered by insurance. The FC2, however, is covered by many major health insurance plans, making them free* for women that request them through our online consultation.

It’s all about YOU

You are the expert in picking what’s right for you, your body, and your sex life, and we want to make sure you know all of your options, not just those that are readily talked about. Whichever option you choose, remember that it’s your right to feel in control and comfortable when it comes to sex. 

*The FC2 Internal (female) condom is typically 100% covered by insurance, so the out-of-pocket cost is usually $0.