From the Pacific Standard online…
“We see sexy commercials for Trojan. We see sexy commercials for Durex,” says Jennifer Medina Matsuki, condom availability director for the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, addressing a breakout session on FC2, the new female condom, at the National Harm Reduction Conference in October. “There was no sexy marketing. People would see it at various events and say, ‘What is that?’”
FC2 was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2009, and bears considerable advantages over both its predecessor and male condoms—namely, they put more power in the hands of the receptive sex partner and feel better than the first female condom, also lacking its trademark rattling sound—but is still a minor player in the world of safer sex.
Matsuki’s department started stocking the first female condom in 1998, seven years after its introduction, and now buys 1.5 million female condoms per year, compared to 35.5 million male condoms. Worldwide, FC2s account for just 1.6 percent of total condom distribution. So far, there’s just one manufacturer, as opposed to the dozens of male condom manufacturers, though other companies—such as Origami, which is working on insertable condoms for both anal and vaginal sex—have devices in development. Where FC1 was advertised aggressively in women’s magazines—only to be mocked in the same publications as a noisy, awkward novelty—FC2 has been sold via social media and gatekeepers at public health organizations. But it’s yet to shrug off FC1′s bad rap.