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Female condoms for anal sex
   Last updated: 25.06.04
 
Like condoms, it appears that, although not designed for the purpose, female condoms do work as an effective barrier during anal sex. A study in the United States of 14 male couples using the equivalent of the female condoms found that, although no leaks or tears were found in any of the sheaths used, all of the men found design and usage difficulties, 'which were primarily due to lack of experience and knowledge' of the product.

Provisional guidelines for anal sex with female condoms
  • 1 - The easiest way to use the female condom for anal sex is to wear it like a `male' (penile) condom. Put lubricant in the female condom and then place it over the penis (or a dildo). Use plenty of lubricant on the outside of the female condom or around your partner's arsehole before fucking

  • 2 - Alternatively, you could try to insert the female condom in the rectum first, as for vaginal fucking. Use plenty of lubricant around the arsehole, and loosen it with a finger in readiness for the female condom. Make sure your fingernails are cut short

  • 3 - After removing the female condom from its wrapper, hold the inner ring between your thumb, index and forefinger, and squeeze it so that it forms an oval. Don't remove the inner ring, as this will lead the female condom to become tangled, and could lead to breakage

  • 4 - Push the female condom up into your rectum as far as you can, using the inner ring as a guide, whilst spreading your arsehole with your other hand. You may find this easier if you raise one leg onto the side of the bath, or a stool

  • 5 - Then put your index finger inside the female condom, until you feel the bottom of the inner ring. Push up as far as you can, but do not insert the outer ring

  • 6 - You will find that the outer ring, and perhaps a small part of the female condom, are on the outside of your arsehole. That's meant to happen, and should stop the female condom from slipping inside

  • 7 - Use more lubricant inside the female condom, to keep it moist, and add it whenever you need it during fucking

  • 8 - Check every now and again during fucking that the outer ring of the female condom hasn't slipped inside your arsehole, or that his penis hasn't slipped between the female condom and your arsehole. If it has, stop, remove the female condom, and use a new one before starting again

  • 9 - Don't re–use the female condom. Some gay men are reported to have used a female condom as a semi–permanent barrier to HIV, being fucked by multiple partners. The female condom is designed for vaginal sex and for single use. If you use it more than once for anal sex, we don't know the strains that it could put on the sides of the sheath, which might easily tear. And if you get a lot of semen in the female condom, we don't know how effective it is in holding it in, or whether any seepage into your rectum could take place. It is likely that fucking in somebody else's cum would also be dangerous for your partners

  • 10 - Removing the female condom. Because the female condom lines the inside of the rectum, your partner doesn't have to withdraw immediately after coming. You can remove the sheath when it suits you, making sure that no semen is spilt. Twist the outer ring to keep the semen inside, then pull gently. Throw away the used female condom.


Gay men's use of female condoms
Female condoms were the first product developed to offer women more control over HIV prevention methods. The Reality condom was approved in the USA in 1992 for vaginal contraceptive use. Latex male condoms have been associated with usage problems including, breakage, slippage, latex allergies and lack of control by receptive partners. Although female condoms are essentially not designed for the purpose, some gay men have used them and it seems they do provide an effective barrier during anal sex.

Research published in the March 2003 edition of the journal AIDS has assessed the safety and acceptability of a brand of female condom called Reality for anal sex among gay men. The study enrolled 56 monogamous seroconcordant gay male couples who had not used condoms in the past three months were randomised to use latex male condoms or the Reality female condom for anal sex. On study entry the men were given 10 Reality or lubricated male condoms to use with lubricant during the following six weeks. In the second six weeks the couples crossed over and began using the other condom type.

The Reality condom has two polyurethane rings and a thin, loose-fitting polyurethane sheath which in laboratory studies has been shown to be impermeable to viruses and less likely to rupture than latex condoms. Since it is made of polyurethane it can be used with both water-based and other kinds of lubricant. In this study couples were advised to remove the inner ring to reduce potential rectal trauma and bleeding.

Receptive partners were more likely to report pain or discomfort with the Reality rather than the male condom. Both partners were significantly more likely to report RealityTM condom slippage during use or withdrawal. Rates of condom breakage were similar for Reality and male condoms.

After using both sets of condoms , both active and passive partners were significantly less likely to be willing to use Reality condoms in the future with partners of unknown HIV than they were to be willing to use male latex condoms; (21% of receptive and 26% of insertive partners would be willing to use Reality condoms, compared to 61% of both receptive and insertive partners who were willing to use latex condoms. The main reason reported by those who would be willing to use the Reality condom with future partners of unknown HIV status were that the Reality condom was more comfortable, easier to use, and perceived to be stronger and safer.

The researchers suggested that gay men who are considering using the Reality condom might require training relating to slippage and methods for avoiding semen spillage that might expose the anal mucosa. They added "further work is warranted on design modifications, safety and acceptability of the Reality condom in HIV-negative gay men".