Although male partner cooperation is often essential for successful use of the female condom, only a few studies have directly assessed men’s experiences of using the device. We examined barriers to and facilitators of female condom use via qualitative in-depth interviews with 38 young men (18 to 28 years) in South Africa whose partners, all university students, were enrolled in a female condom intervention trial. In all, 21 men used the female condom; the remaining 17 did not attempt use. The main facilitators to female condom use were convenience of use for men, curiosity to see how female condoms compared to male condoms, enhanced sexual sensation, and perceptions of better safety and comfort of the device compared to male condoms. The main barriers were men’s limited familiarity with the device, insertion difficulties, and men’s concerns about loss of control over sexual encounters. We recommend that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention and condom promotion programs around the world target men directly for education on female condoms and that they also work with couples jointly around issues of safer-sex communication and negotiation.
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