The original condom, the FC1 (known to many as the Femidom), was not a great success when it was launched some 20 years ago.
Part of the reason was that it was made of polyurethane, which made it a bit noisy during sex.
While women in the US and Europe shunned the Femidom, women in African countries, for instance – where difficulties with condom negotiation with men were greater – were more likely to embrace it.
Demand from developing countries in particular led to the Chicago-based Female Health Company developing a new version – the FC-2 – made of non-rustling synthetic latex. This has dramatically increased sales, with some women saying the female condom can increase sexual pleasure, and men saying they are less tight than male condoms.
Several new types of female condom are also being developed, including the oval-shaped Origami condom, made of silicon, and the Air Condom on sale in Colombia which includes a little pocket of air to aid insertion. It seems the image problem surrounding the female condom may be a thing of the past, at least in some countries.