Male condoms vs female condoms
Of all the birth control options, condoms are arguably the most popular and the most easily accessible. Recently, there's been a lot of discussions about male condoms vs female condoms. But before we jump into the debate, what are condoms, really?
What is a condom?
To the uninitiated, condoms are contraceptive devices or latex sheaths used during intercourse. This barrier-method of contraception serves to prevent the sperm from entering the vagina and making its way to the uterus, where it might fertilize the woman’s egg(s). In simple terms, condoms are used to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Types of condoms: Male condoms vs female condoms
A variety of male and female condoms exists in stores and pharmacy shops across Nigeria. Condom preferences are often determined by sexual preferences. For instance, fruit-flavoured condoms are often preferred for oral sex. (Although dental dams are also used as protection during oral sex, they are different from internal condoms.)
Often, people ask which of the two are better between male condoms vs female condoms. Both of them are important and effective, so long as you use them properly.
This doesn’t mean there are no differences between the two. Male condoms differ from female condoms in both design and mode of use.
Everything you need to know about male condoms
A male condom is worn over a man’s erect penis before intercourse. The goal is to ensure that the man ejaculates inside the sheath and not directly into the woman.
Male condoms are made from latex, polyurethane or polyisoprene materials. Men who are allergic to one material can try a different model. In fact, some condoms are manufactured from lambskin.
Apart from its role as a contraceptive, condoms reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. Male condoms can protect sexually active people from contracting STIs such as herpes, HIV, chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea. If you have multiple partners, always make sure you protect yourself with a condom.
Historians have traced the initial use of external condoms back to ancient Egypt. Back then, they were used to prevent the spread of diseases and to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
Nowadays, despite the male condoms vs female condoms debate, even women buy male condoms and persuade men to use them before sexual intercourse.
Important facts to know about female condoms
Female condoms are also known as internal condoms. Like the male version, this barrier-type contraceptive device is slid up the vagina as a lining prior to sexual intercourse. It is also manufactured from polyurethane and resembles a double-ended pouch. One end is open while the other is closed.
There are stiff rings on both ends and each of these hold the internal condom in place. The goal is to prevent the sperm from entering the womb and ultimately fertilizing any of the mature eggs.
Unlike the male condom, the female barrier-type device is not so easy to insert properly. Experience and expertise are required in other to insert it into the vagina. However, it is almost as effective as the external condoms in curbing the spread of sexually transmitted infections.
Male condoms vs female condoms: which is the most effective contraceptive?
Of all the available birth control options, condoms seem to be the quickest and easiest choice for most couples. If inserted properly, male and female condoms efficiently prevent unwanted pregnancies.
However, it is important to note that all contraceptive methods are imperfect. Abstinence is the only birth control method that is 100% effective. Male condoms are only 85% protective. With the female condom, the risks are higher. Internal condoms are only 69% protective. The pouch shifts during intercourse making it possible to exchange body fluids.
It is practically impossible to use both male and female condoms at the same time. At any rate, couples can use condoms alongside effective oral birth control pills.
One can argue that the male condom offers more protection than the internal condom, especially at preventing pregnancy.
Inserting the male condom on an erect penis requires less effort and expertise than the internal condom requires. Not every woman can ensure that the inner ring of the female condom touches the cervix.
Should you choose male condoms vs female condoms? The choice is up to you! It is important to note that using condoms is an excellent way to exercise some agency over your sexual and reproductive health. What matters is that you use them properly.
Indiana University Kinsey Institute for Research