Certainly the female condom is less popular than the male condom, which is far more widely used and also much more widely available around the world.

As the name suggests the female condom is to be used by the women, and may be inserted into the vagina prior to intercourse. Intercourse does not have to be interrupted for inserting the female condom; it can be inserted from before, as many as 8 hours before intercourse.

While the material used is the same as the male condom i.e. latex, the design of the female condom is slightly different.

It has a tube like structure with flexible rings at both ends and is open one end and closed at the other.

Unlike the male condom however, one has to take care with the female condom that the penis is inserted at the correct place inside the condom ring. It should not slip into the vagina by mistake because that would negate its purpose.

The female condom gives women the same protection against STDs and pregnancies as the male condom. This becomes very important particularly when a male partner is reluctant to use a male condom.

It can take a little getting used to, but for many women, the female condom makes a lot of sense and offers a sense of control that the male condom does not.