Female condoms scheduled to reach U.S. market this year

Contracept Technol Update. 1991 Aug;12(8):117-22, 127.


PIP: 3 female condoms, or "vaginal pouches" as they are called by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) are expected to be marketed in the US in 1991, the Bikini Condom from International Prophylactics Inc., Princeton NJ; Women's Choice from M.D. Personal Products, Hayward CA; and Reality from Wisconsin Pharmacal Co., Jackson, WI. The advantages of the female condoms are control for women over contraception and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), availability over the counter, no need for spermicides, thicker than male condoms with better barrier effectiveness and less breakage and slippage, and reported heightened sensation for women. The disadvantages are difficulty for inexperienced women to insert, unappealing appearance of part of device protruding from vagina, interference with foreplay, cost of $1.50-$2.40 each, few reports of vaginal irritation. The Bikini Condom looks like a G-string panty with a condom pouch that is automatically introduced into the vagina with coitus. Bikini had a breakage rate of 0.5%, compared to 1-2% for male condoms, an acceptance level of 56%, and can be used 5-10 times. It effectively blocked STDs and HIV (human immunodeficiency virus). Women's Choice has a 2-inch diameter flexible ring that covers the introitus, and a thickened dome of latex resembling a diaphragm at the deep end, lubricated with silicone. 20% of women reported increased clitoral and labial sensation during use. It prevented transfer of semen acid phosphatase, and enzyme smaller than STDs and viruses. Reality condom is a polyurethane sheath with an inner ring similar to a diaphragm, but fitting more loosely, and an outer ring covering part of the vulva, all inserted with an applicator. It had a leakage rate of 0.6% compared to 3.5% for male condoms, and a slippage rate of 2.7% compared to 8.1% slippage and breakage of male condoms. 5% of users reported vaginal irritation. 65% of women and 80% of men liked Reality. Generally people in female condom trials either strongly liked or disliked them. They are so novel that they appeal to people with an "open mind," and to those with experience with condoms and other barrier methods.

MeSH terms

  • Americas
  • Behavior
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry
  • Condoms*
  • Contraception Behavior
  • Contraception*
  • Contraceptive Devices, Female*
  • Costs and Cost Analysis*
  • Developed Countries
  • Disease
  • Economics
  • Family Planning Services
  • Infections
  • Marketing of Health Services*
  • North America
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Personal Satisfaction*
  • Polymers*
  • Psychology
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases*
  • United States
  • Virus Diseases*


  • Polymers