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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

NMU CARES — President Brock Tessman shares his feelings on the universitys new CARE Team. Photo Courtesy of Northern Michigan University
Letter to the Editor — Our New CARE Team
Brock TessmanFebruary 23, 2024

Ins and outs of female condoms

Question: I never see female condoms at the store. Where can I find them and what are the pros and cons of female condoms?

— Looking for protection

Answer: You’re absolutely right, female condoms are very hard to find in Marquette. I called around to several major stores and pharmacies and nobody carries them. A few employees had never even heard of female condoms. Your best bet would be to order them online, such as at www.undercovercondoms.com.
Many people don’t know a whole lot about female condoms. A female condom looks somewhat similar to a male condom except that it has a flexible ring at each end. To use one, first lubricate the closed end. Squeeze the ring together and insert it deep into the vagina, like you would a tampon. The ring at the closed end holds the female condom in place, covering the cervix. The ring at the open end remains outside the vagina about an inch or so.
Many places don’t carry female condoms because there isn’t much demand for them. Female condoms are slightly less effective than male condoms. Male condoms are between 85 (with typical use) and 98 (with perfect use) percent effective while female condoms are between 79 and 95 percent effective. Also, female condoms do cost a little more, starting at $2.50 each.
So, if they cost more and are a little less effective, why might someone choose to use a female condom instead of a male condom? Female condoms offer something that male condoms do not; spontaneity. A female condom, which is worn internally inside the vagina, can be inserted up to eight hours in advance. A common complaint about male condoms is that they tend to interrupt sexual activity. A female condom allows a woman or couple to be prepared way before foreplay even begins, without having to risk ruining the mood.
Another advantage of female condoms is that they are made of a very thin type of plastic, not latex. Many people who are allergic to latex condoms use female condoms for this reason. Since they aren’t made of latex, female condoms are also safe to use with water-based and oil-based lubricants, unlike male condoms, which are safe to use only with water-based lube.
Another bonus is that if a male partner loses his erection, you don’t have to remove the female condom and start all over again with a new one, like you would have to with a male condom.
And last but not least, some women even report that the outer ring that remains on the outside of the vagina is actually able to stimulate the clitoris during sex. That alone might be a good enough reason to give one a try.

Editor’s Note: Lyndsay Mercier is a senior Psychology major. She is also the president of Vox: Voices for Planned Parenthood, a trained sexual education peer educator and a teaching apprentice for Psychology of Sex Behaviors. Lyndsay is not a medical doctor and her advice should never replace the advice of a doctor. E-mail her your sexual health related questions at: [email protected].

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