Mercy Ngala Mukake talks about the female condom
Mercy Ngala Mukake, 34 years old, married and mother of three children, is a Secondary School teacher.
Buea, Cameroon, November 3, 2010.
How did you learn about the female condom?
I came to this beauty saloon to do my hair and discovered the female condom on display here. I was excited because I had been seeing it on television and here it was before me. So I bought it.
Why were you excited?
Well I want to use it for family planning especially after my third child. I don’t want unwanted pregnancies. Previously my husband would not want to use the male condom during sex. He would tell me he would withdraw when its time to ejaculate but when the time comes he begins to behave funny. So I prefer something that I can wear and he would feel free.
You need to be taught how to use the female condom. How did you go about using the female condom for the first time?
Luckily on that day, two ladies promoting the female condom came here and demonstrated how to use it to all the women who were here that day. They had an artificial vagina so it was easy for them to demonstrate it. I went home and tried it.
Before then for how long had you been using the male condom?
For a very long time. Maybe since 1999.
So it was a whole new experience when you first used the female condom. Tell us about that?
Ermm… I followed the instructions on how to use it and it was good.
What did you husband say when you came home with the female condom?
He was ok with it. He had no problem. Maybe because of the way I presented it to him. I am also a community health educator so I always told him that things like these are good. I told him the female condom would always be available in the house so that when the need comes we’ll have no problems if his male condoms are not available.
So you use both the female and male condoms?
There are those who would claim that the female condom doesn’t look attractive and maybe reduces the pleasure in sexual intercourse. What would you say to them?
That’s true. But I don’t use it all the time. The sexual anxiety for a man is more than that of a woman, isn’t it? So I also use it to satisfy my husband. At the beginning, the female condom was not very accommodating like now. I feel more comfortable with it. My suggestion is that the manufacturers should make it lighter. Right now the female condom is too coarse. Let it be softer.
Is that what your husband feels?
That is how I feel. I fit it into myself so I feel it.
Is it cumbersome fitting it into your body?
No. It’s easy especially when I lubricate my fingers with Vaseline.
Have you been able to tell other friends and relatives about the female condom?
Yes I do. I have told many colleagues and my friends and young teachers. I talk about protective everyday to teachers when we were marking the GCE scripts. It stirred a lot of laughter.
Why do you think it’s important to spread this message about the female condom?
One, to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Two, prevention of HIV/Aids.
While you used the male condom did you experience any unpleasant incidents?
Yes it got torn and it burst.
Is it always easy to access the female condom?
Yes, I always get it from this saloon. Many women say it is expensive. But I always explain that it requires much material to manufacture the female condom.
Now that you have a choice to use the female condom, do you feel different?
Yes, I feel secured. I know that I can make my opinion and my opinion would count, not pushed to the wall all the time by the man. I think this campaign should spread across the country. It will help many women as a contraceptive and prevention of HIV/Aids. You know many men don’t cooperate to put on their male condom when the need arises. Women are thus exposed to health risks and a woman will feel the pain more than the man when there is trouble. So the message should spread far and wide, even to schools, from primary to university level.
Would you easily talk to your daughter about the female condom?
I will. I will let her know the importance.
Many would say you are encouraging the child to go into sex. What would you say to them?
Well I will let them know that ignorance is the worst danger. When you leave the child ignorant you are exposing the child to real danger. But when she is well informed she might instead not go into sex. So it’s good to let the child know the reality and she will be more careful. If she opts for sex, she will be conscious of what she’s getting into. You have given her two choices. The good and the bad.
Do you feel that the female condom is a good contraceptive?
Absolutely! It has worked for me for many years. When I see women who take pills as a form of contraceptive I see very funny side effects. You see a woman so fat. Many of them have ballooned as if they ate fertilizers. They grow beards and… I’ll recommend the female condom as a contraceptive.