If you’re like most of the people I meet in my sex educator travels, you’ve never heard of the FC2 Female Condom. I just found out that the manufacturer, Veru Health, has decided to make this condom prescription-only, and I’m feeling a bit frustrated about it. Since I experience pain with penetration, I use THC-infused coconut oil spray almost every time I have sex. I need a non-latex option because oil degrades latex. These condoms are the only ones I’ve ever found that are both non-latex and able to accommodate my well-endowed partners.
One of the issues I’ve seen with the FC2 condoms is that not enough people know about them or how to use them, so I wanted to give you a little overview of my favorite barrier method in hopes that when they do become prescription only, you will be empowered to ask your healthcare provider about them.
One important thing to know up front, the name itself is a headache for sexuality professionals because it is a blatant misnomer—people of all genders can use the FC2. I prefer to call it the internal or receptive condom because it can be used vaginally or anally. It’s the only condom on the market designed to be used by the person being penetrated. From the manufacturer website, brackets mine: “It has flexible inner and outer rings that hold it in place during sex. It lines the walls of the vagina [or anus], allowing the penis [or toy] to move freely inside the condom during sex, the silicone-based lubricant provides a natural sensation and the non-latex nitrile material heats up to your body temperature.”
Things I love about the FC2 condom:
- Material: It’s made of nitrile and polyurethane, so it’s non-latex. This is great for folks with latex allergies or sensitivities.
- Lube compatibility: Because it’s non-latex, these condoms are safe to use with oil-based lubes, like my beloved cannabinoid-infused coconut oil sex spray. Most cannabinoid infused lubricants are oil based so if you want to mix cannabis and sex in that way, using a nitrile or polyurethane condom is a must.
- Size: These condoms are very large—large enough to accommodate almost any penis size, unless you happen to be packing a Pringles can in your gym shorts. To give you an idea of scale, one of my lovers typically finds Magnum XL condoms to be too constricting and these fit him with plenty of room to spare. Since a common condom complaint from penis-owners is that they’re uncomfortable/too tight/lead to decreased sensation, having a roomy barrier option is super helpful.
- They put control in the hands of the person being penetrated: This condom can be inserted up to four hours before sex, ready to be used at a moment’s notice. No need to be groping around for a condom in the moment if it’s already inside and ready to go.
- It can be used vaginally or anally (if used anally the inner ring must be removed).
Why I think going prescription only could be an issue:
- It restricts access. A lot of people don’t feel comfortable talking to their healthcare providers about sex to begin with, so having a condom for which you have to request a prescription seems like a high barrier to entry (no pun intended).
- It requires people to know about it to ask for it. If awareness was already an issue for this product, hiding it behind a pharmacy counter is not going to do anything to put it into public consciousness.
- As my colleague Jacq Jones, former public health worker and owner of sex positive adult retailer Sugar in Baltimore, explains, “The FC2 condom is the only condom that puts the control in the person receiving penetration. The people who will be hurt by this decision will be those who are most vulnerable.”
- According to TheBody.com, an HIV prevention resource website that first wrote about the shift, “The company is hoping to take advantage of the birth control benefits under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and increase use of the method by getting providers involved in the process. Advocates, however, note that this move comes with a hefty price increase that could leave the uninsured with no access to the condom.” Also, let’s not forget that the ACA could be repealed at any time, and not everyone uses this condom for birth control.
Have you ever tried the FC2 condom? Would you try it? What do you think about the manufacturer’s decision to go prescription only?