The female condom: What do Australian women say?

Jessica R. Botfield, Sarah Cucuzza, Prudence Kidman, Sarah E. Fenwick, Deborah Bateson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: The female condom is a barrier method for the prevention of sexually transmissible infections and unintended pregnancy. Uptake of this method remains low in Australia, although little research has been undertaken to explore this. Methods: An interventional cross-sectional study was undertaken in 2019 to explore the views and experiences of women in New South Wales. After trying the female condom, they were invited to complete an online survey and/or structured interview. Training in the use of the female condom was not provided. This paper reports on qualitative findings from open-ended survey responses and interviews. Results: In total, 284 participants completed the survey and 20 participated in an interview. Most were aware of the female condom prior to participating in the study, but few had used it previously. Four broad themes were identified from the data: (i) accessibility of the female condom, including cost and availability, (ii) supporting choice in different circumstances, (iii) aspects of empowerment and control and (iv) use of gendered language. Conclusions: The female condom may be an acceptable option for many women in Australia. To support the choice of method and promote uptake, it will be important to increase the accessibility of the female condom by raising awareness and addressing the issues of cost and availability. Further exploration of issues regarding inclusive language and messaging in health promotion campaigns and marketing is warranted to ensure that this product is accessible for all people who may wish to use it, regardless of gender or sexuality. Similar research could be undertaken with men/partners and members of the LGBTQ+ community to explore their perspectives of the female condom. So what?: To support contraceptive choice and promote the uptake of the female condom for those who desire this method, it will be important to address the issues of cost and availability. Accessibility will also be enhanced through the consideration of inclusive language and messaging in health promotion campaigns and marketing of the female condom.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • acceptability
  • Australia
  • barrier method
  • FC2
  • female condom
  • internal condom
  • qualitative

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