The New Female Condom Takes Over DC: New York Next?

We may now welcome the phrase "female condom" to the great category of English words like "moist" and "uvula": those which mostly bring shutters to English-speaking men and women nationwide. But this hasn't stopped D.C. lawmakers from touting a new campaign to promote safe sex in the area. From metro ads and baskets of free handouts to full on public demonstration tables, the new female condom, euphemized as the "FC2,"  is festering all over the Nation's Capitol after an improved redesign. Will the infamous form of contraception spread to New York, too?

Salon calls the FC2 a "tough sell" even though the new design is supposedly better. The breakdown?

Pros:


  • Offers wider external coverage against STIs.
  • New version eliminates "rustling plastic bag" sound.
  • Can be inserted up to eight hours before intercourse for what they call "spontaneous sex!"
  • You don't have to wait until your partner is "erect" to use.

Cons:


  • Does "uphill battle" sound good to you?
  • Site suggests you attempt insertion at least 3 times before actual use to avoid fucking it up.
  • There's a lot of potential for fucking it up (Make sure he doesn't enter between the condom and the vaginal wall), just as there is with a male condom that is easier to manage.
  • "Unweildly"
  • 75-82% effective -- as opposed to a wopping Trojan 97% -- but if used correctly they "can" be just as effective as male condom.

Debatable:

  • It "empowers" women -- a woman providing her own male condoms (and even putting it on the guy herself) could be equally as assertive.
  • Do you really want a to be contraceptively vajazzled for up to eight hours before intercourse? Removing it after a night of not having expected-yet-spontaneous sex will inevitably be, at best, disappointing, and at worst, humiliating. 
  • Dear god, women already have the option to pay for oral contraceptives and persevere the menstrual cycle, can't the dude take care of just this one thing?

But DC seems to believe the Pros hold more weight. HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death among African-American Women ages 18-34 nationwide -- so it's kind of a moot point whether or not the FC2 is the most effective or pleasant to use. It's something. And all the promotion is at least in part educational. Will we be seeing more of these lovely contraceptive tools in our famed NYC Condom campaign, though? Will our buses be telling us to "Get Turned On" too?

According to Dr. Monica Sweeney, the Assistant Commissioner for the Bureau of HIV Prevention and Control for New York City, they have more of a grassroots approach to female condoms. Last year, they distributed almost a million female condoms to groups all over the city complete with demonstrated instructions. Sweeney also noted that their distribution increased 13% last year, and that they plan to continue expansion. So, yes, New Yorkers, the female condom is coming. Not like that. But yes, it's on its way.

[Annie Werner | on Twitter]

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