I wore a female condom for the first time and it felt strange. The strangeness was related to the idea of inserting something inside me, but I had no other option. You see it was either the female condom or nothing. No way was I going skin to skin on this one. I could not justify another round of morning after pills.
How did I come about a female condom? My boyfriend had a free pack he got from an NGO in celebration of AIDS day. So, there it was: the female condom. I’d like to state that before this time I had never seen one, however I had heard about them on a radio show when I was a teenager.
I never imagined I’d wear one. Why would I when the male versions were readily available? You need to understand: my attitude towards female condoms is borne out of the fact that they were not familiar. I never saw female condom adverts or heard anyone randomly talk about them. I suppose it is more familiar to go pick a male condom than talk about a female one. Am I right or just ignorant?
The first thing that hit me about the female condom was the size. The pack contained two big white rectangular packed condoms. I picked one and tore the pack carefully. Tearing the pack revealed a big transparent rubber oiled condom.
I carefully removed the condom from its pack with the tip of my finger, all the time being careful my long nails did not puncture anything. I stared at it for a moment it was way bigger than a male condom.
How in the world am I going to fit this in? The thought that my vagina was designed to handle a baby nudged me to continue with the process. There I was, my sexual libido asking me to be or not to be? Going with the vagina-baby thought, I read the instructions. The summary was wash hands, hold condom by the edge, position yourself, insert into your vagina, guide penis into your vagina. Easy right? No, not easy.
What if I got an infection? Was it secured enough to ensure it did not leak? I closed the door because I felt silly and I did not want my boyfriend to see me. Sat on the edge of the bed and squeezed the coil part of the condom or should I say device (it did look like one) and inserted it into my vagina.
It was a bit of a struggle, so I had to add more pressure and it was in. Time to get the boyfriend? Not quite. I had less than half of it inside and the diagram on the pack showed it had to be fully inserted. “Take the damn thing out do you have to have sex today?” I closed my mind to the thought. There I was with a rubber inside my vagina, the front part of the condom dangling out waiting for a ready penis.
I had good sex with my boyfriend. I told him I felt like something was still inside even after taking out the condom. He shrugged. About 10 minutes later I felt okay. Now, the question is will I be using a female condom again? Yes, I still have a pack left. Would I consciously pick a female condom over a male condom. No, female condoms take so much effort to wear.
During my internal monologues I realized the reason why many women would be discouraged to use a female condom: size. It is rather large and this made it intimidating.
Would I go to a pharmacy and purchase a female condom? Not quite sure I would. I could easily get a male one which is hassle free and easy to wear. However, using a female condom was not uncomfortable and it felt good knowing I could wear a female condom if I wanted to.
I think there should be more awareness about female condoms in Africa and the world. It is important people know there are options when the man does not have a condom. What kind of woman goes and gets a female condom by the way? The one who understands her future is in her hands.
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Echezonam Smith is a bicultural writer and photographer. Connect with her on Twitter.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not in any way reflect that of Circumspecte.