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Male vs female condoms: We finally figured out which one is more effective

We got sexual medicine experts to settle the debate between male condoms and female condoms once and for all.
female condoms
Ladies, you have got to try internal condoms! Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Sonakshi Kohli Published: 27 Apr 2020, 19:59 pm IST
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Gone are the days when strawberry, chocolate, and bubble-gum were just ice-cream or candy flavours. Believe it or not, these flavours are now available in—wait for it—drumroll—C.O.N.D.O.M.S.! Yes, you read that right.

However, the experimentation and expansion of this protective sexual gear is not just limited to its flavours, but also its types. Now, typically, condoms are meant for men to cover their penis before penetrative and oral sex. But, in a world, where women are at par with men, there exists female condoms as well.

Needless to say, just like the other debatable aspects of the never-ending male-versus-female battle, this too raises a question—a very pertinent one at that: which is more effective between a male and a female condom?

But first, let’s understand the difference between them
“Both male and female condoms work in the same manner. However, they differ in certain ways. A male condom needs to be put on a man’s penis whereas a female condom has to be inserted into a woman’s vagina,” says Dr Ramesh Maheshwari, consultant, sexual medicine, Aditya Birla Memorial Hospital, Pune.

flavoured condoms
While male condoms cover the penis, female condoms need to inserted in the cervix. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“The lubricant used in a man’s condom is usually water based while the lubricant used in a woman’s condom can be water or oil based,” he adds.

That’s not all! According to Dr. Sandeep Chadda, gynaecologist, Motherhood Hospital, Noida, male condoms are in the shape of a penis while a female condom is stretchy and flat.

“Also, male condoms should be removed immediately after ejaculation whereas with female condoms there is no hard and fast rule as such. Latex condoms for men can decay if not stored properly, but female condom is not susceptible to deterioration due to temperature and humidity, “she further explains.

In fact, Dr Maheshwari mentions that a female condom can be inserted into the vagina up to 8 hours before intercourse and this allows women to prepare themselves before the intercourse.

But, which is more effective for birth control?
In most cases, condoms are used to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. And well, despite their differences in shape and functionality, both types of condoms can do that by acting as a barrier and stopping the semen from a man’s ejaculation from entering the vagina.

If you’re wondering, which is more effective as a barrier though, here’s what both the experts have to say: A male condom is more effective in this case.

“According to the various studies, there is a 21% chance of becoming pregnant while using female condoms as compared to using male condoms, which is just 14%,” Dr Chadda states.

female condom
While a female condom might make sex more pleasurable for your partner, it is not as effective as its male counterpart. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“The reason behind this is that the placement of the condom on an erect male penis is easier. On the other hand, insertion of a female condom into the vagina can be challenging and there’s a probability of the inner ring of the condom not reaching the woman’s cervix,” Dr Maheshwari explains.

And what about protection from STIs?
The other important function of a condom most definitely is to protect you from getting sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) and diseases such as herpes, gonorrhea, HIV, and hepatitis.

And when it comes to effectiveness in terms of protection against STIs, the male condom fares better yet again.

“Male condoms are more effective as they shield the user from sexually-transmitted infections such as HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhoea. This is especially useful for people with multiple partners. On the other hand, while using female condoms, some bodily fluids might be exchanged and the protection might be compromised,” Dr Chadda explains.

The final word…
Male or female condom, you’ve got to use one for protection against STIs. Although, considering the “superiority” of the male condoms, let your man make the effort of wearing it, we say.

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