For many people, female condoms (a.k.a. internal condoms) are as commonplace as those made to fit over a penis (a.k.a. external condoms). For me, however, they were mythical—something I’d never actually seen. Internal condoms are basically pouches that you insert into a vagina (or anus) to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy. When my co-worker randomly pressed a few into my hand, I knew I wanted to try them.
Before sharing my condom curiosity with Bae, I read everything I could find. I discovered pictures and tips to make the insertion process sexy. But when I told him the condom would dangle between my legs like a tail, he was not enthusiastic. What followed was a less-than-sexy romp filled with laughter, some squatting, and the sound of crumbling plastic. There were also frequent pauses to read directions. Once the condom was in the right place (the tail was longer than expected), we made a few attempts to get things going. Eventually, we gave up—exhausted from laughing—but I did learn quite a bit from the experience.
Sex toys aren’t the only way to experiment. 50 Shades of Grey might have some of us convinced that toys are the only way to spice things up. Toys are great. But there’s research to suggest that certain birth control methods can boost your sex life. The internal condom didn’t work for us, but it was fun to try something new.
Laughter is a turn on. When you laugh, your body produces hormones that make you feel happy and relaxed. So chuckling and giggling during sex might actually increase intimacy (as long as everyone is laughing together).
Most methods have a learning curve. Whether you’re training yourself to take the pill on time or experiencing discomfort after an IUD insertion, most birth control methods need your time and attention while you learn to use them correctly. I did some research before my internal condom experiment, but I didn’t anticipate a learning curve. A little patience could’ve increased our success.
Talking about birth control makes it easier to use. The awkwardness of trying out internal condoms with Bae has made it easier to discuss other aspects of our sex life. If you’re having trouble talking about condoms or other contraceptives with your boo, there are lots of tips for broaching the subject. (And if you’re in a situation where you want to keep your birth control private, there are methods that make that possible too.)
Whether you decide to use internal condoms, external condoms, IUDs, or another method, I hope your sexcapades are filled with laughter and exploration. You deserve a sex life that helps you feel empowered. If you have that, even awkwardness can be exciting.