Everything you need to know about the female condom
Most of us are pretty familiar with the logistics of the male condom.
We know how to use it, we know what it does, and we know where to get it.
The female condom, however, is not so ingrained in the public psyche.
This is most likely down to the fact that the female condom is not as widely available, is a bit more expensive, and simply, not as popular as the male condom.
Despite this, it is still a useful and reliable form of barrier contraception for many women around the world - particularly in developing countries where access to hormone-based contraceptives might not be as common.
And just because the female condom may not be everyone's contraceptive of choice, that doesn't mean that we shouldn't educate ourselves on the female alternative to the popular barrier method.
The female condom was invented back in the '80s as a response to the growing realisation that more men were deciding that they didn't want to wear the male condom (sigh).
Aesthetically, the female condom looks similar enough to its male counterpart except it's a lot bigger.
Made of latex and pre-lubricated, it includes a flexible ring at either end. To insert the condom, it's recommended that you relax yourself and get into a comfortable position.
(Think inserting a tampon but one that's made of latex and allows for protected sex.)
Pinch the sides of the closed end of the condom together and insert it inside of your vagina as far as it can go.
The inner ring should go up as far as your cervix, with the outer ring hanging just outside of your body.
If the condom isn't twisted - and as long as it feels comfortable - you're good to go.
Taking it out
Removing the female condom is simple enough.
All you do is pinch the outer ring of the condom together, twist it to ensure no semen spills out, and throw it away.
Like the male condom, it has to be disposed of correctly and can't just be flung down a toilet because blockages happen and nobody has time for that.
Understandably, the condom is not reusable.
Relying on it
The female condom has a 95 percent success rate providing that its instructions are followed and that it is used correctly.
Comparing this with the male condom's success rate of 98 percent, it is understandable why the vast majority of people choose the latter as their preferred option... but hey, 95 percent is not to be sniffed at.
During penetration, if you feel the female condom slipping it is recommended that you adjust it before continuing.
Similarly, if the penis enters the vagina between the vagina walls and the condom itself, the condom should be removed.
The female condom does, of course, have its benefits.
Unlike other forms of female contraception like the pill or the bar, condoms do not require you to get a prescription from your doctor.
And seeing as you're not putting any external drugs into your body, it's not going to affect your hormones either.
As we know, the female condom simply isn't as widely available as the male one - at least not in Ireland anyway.
But if you're inclined to give it a whirl, you can order a pack or two of the Femidom brand online at safesex.ie, or pick them up in some pharmacies.
GOSHH.ie also offer them for free on request.