Girl rubbers

Japanese women now have their own condoms.

By Jack Boulware
Published April 27, 2000 4:00PM (EDT)

Women in Tokyo will no longer have to wait for their men to wrestle with the condom wrapper before engaging in sexual intercourse. As of this week, Japanese women will be able to purchase their very own condoms.

Called Myfemy, the female version is the first such product ever sold in Japan, and consists of a lubricated sheath made of polyurethane, a material unlikely to tear or cause allergic reactions. The apparatus is inserted into the vagina just before the "moment of truth." A package of three will sell for 800 yen -- $7.53.

Female condoms have been used in 24 countries around the globe and have been available in the United States since 1993. Japanese women traditionally have not had access to birth control, so Japanese manufacturers have held off on the whole condoms-for-vaginas deal, thinking that women wouldn't be inclined to use them.

Approval of the female condom came after four years of clinical trials, which concluded that the device offers a 97 percent effectiveness rate. Japan's regulatory body, Koseisho, approved their use late last year. Taiho Pharmaceutical took the body's action to mean "free-for-all" and has ordered 2.5 million of the little fellas, to be marketed under the Myfemy brand name. Myfemy condoms will be available at drugstores throughout Japan.

Based in Tokyo, Taiho is also known for its spermicide products. As everyone knows, the combination of condoms and spermicide is an excellent deterrent to the onslaught of hardy sperm attacking innocent ova.

The introduction of Myfemy follows on the heels of September's release of oral contraceptives, a maneuver that no doubt has already had a great impact on Japan's social courtship.

Jack Boulware

Jack Boulware is a writer in San Francisco and author of "San Francisco Bizarro" and "Sex American Style."

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