VCF Contraceptive Gel Review | The Roaring Twenties


Contraception is a very personal matter. Women are all different, and because of that our bodies and choices vary. Throughout my teenage years I had issues with my periods. I was too heavy and quite irregular, so I made an appointment with a doctor and went over my options. I was also meeting my boyfriend of a few years for the first time in the upcoming year, so I wanted to discuss birth control. It flopped big time. Not only couldn't she recommend the pill because of a disease that runs in my family, but the copper coil wasn't an option for the same reason. We discussed the implant but something about that just didn't sit right with me, I didn't want to have something inserted into my flesh that affected fatality. I left with the option of something I didn't feel comfortable with or condoms. Grand. Since moving to the US, I've had a look at their options. I'm gearing up to make an appointment to discuss the possibility of the now non-copper coil options that are in the world (I'm still very confused why I wasn't offered that in the UK..?) However, for the past year or so I've been using the VSF Contraceptive Gel that I stumbled across in a CVS and figured, why not? Read on to know my thoughts, and what the hell it is.

I'm going to be brutally honest in this post, and maybe too graphic for some more modest readers I'm going to answer the questions that I had when I first started to use the gel, so be prepared for too much information.

Condoms are a perfectly valid option, and definitely more enjoyable for the girl in comparison to this. If you just want to double up, fair enough. I was happy using condoms but they were acting as a cold shower for my now husband. They were awkward, gave us too much time to get in our heads, and usually got wasted. If you catch my drift. So we wanted to find something else, and I figured I'd take the plunge and try out something myself. I didn't want to try the sponge after so many horror stories and the just overall icky feeling it gives me, and I didn't trust the equivalent of a 'female condom' as the pressure to put it in the right place was just too stressful. When at the aisle to buy more dreaded condoms, I saw the VCF collection. They had the gel pre-filled applicators, a foam, and strips of the formula to insert yourself. The latter gave me too much anxiety despite it seeming like the less messy option, and the foam just looked a little scary so I went with the pre-filled applicators. It's wasteful, yes, but when it comes to birth control I'm willing to be a little more lenient.

As stated on the box, these are:
  • Safe and effective 
  • Hormone free
  • Easy to use

The method to the pre-filled applicators is, you open the pack like you would a tampon. Inside you'll find the filled tube with a lid, and a syringe applicator. You push the applicator into the tube until you feel it give way, and then go ahead and insert the applicator like you would a tampon and eject the gel into yourself. I was absolutely terrified of not ejecting far enough, so I tested out a few of the applicators before even agreeing to use them for sexy time. I wanted to know whether there were any side effects and get comfortable with this new thing that I'd never done before. I also recommend you doing this, and it creates less pressure. I definitely didn't inject far enough the first time as the entire process felt foreign to me and I didn't know how far I was willing to put it in. It sounds stupid to say 'you'll just know' but you really will. Much like inserting a tampon, you know if it's wrongly put. If you insert a finger after putting in the gel, you shouldn't feel like your fingertip is in a pool of gel. It will just feel like you're a little lubed up, seen as the gel surrounds the tube as you remove it. I didn't receive any side effects, but be cautious just incase.

Once inserted you have 60 minutes until it is no longer viable. Yes, you're having sexy time to a Countdown style timer. It can be a buzzkill and a little bit of a faff as I got stuck in a habit of almost scheduling our time together. I recommend keeping a packet in your side cabinet and find humour in the very unattractive process of squirting something inside of you in front of your partner. My biggest issue with the product is how it does kill the woman's pleasure in a sense. It tastes vile, absolutely vile, so if you're someone who usually finds her pleasure after your partner with his help, it does make it semi impossible. Unless you full on shower, the taste is going to linger on your flesh. If you usually get pleasured before the act of penetration, then you're laughing. But I personally found the entire thing a little awkward as I was just continuously thinking 'gotta use the gel' and all too often skipped out on my own satisfying, let's say, 'ending' in a bid to use it. This of course all comes down to communication. You have to be comfortable with taking maybe a little longer in the foreplay section for yourself, I'm not good at that. Again, just something to keep in mind.

The part I find most peculiar is that exactly 60 minutes after you've used the gel, it comes back out. I'm not even going to try and understand the science of this, but it's like magic. It doesn't necessarily feel weird, merely like you've just come on your period. You know when you just know? It's like that. So unless you're comfortable being in a sticky situation, you may want to make sure a bathroom is available. This never bothered me, but if you want to get down and dirty before a trip outside, you're going to need to either put on a sanitary pad or know where exactly you're going. It's messy, like most sexual actives, not really surprising.

All in all, I like the ease of the gel and it's really fulfilling to be in charge of our birth control. But I do wish it was a simpler process, and perhaps tasteless. Here's a little Q&A between me and myself with all the questions I had when starting to use the VCF gel.

Is it hard to insert?
No. If you're already familiar with tampons, it isn't hard at all. It doesn't hurt, despite the length of applicator (I find I have trouble with some tampons, but this was a breeze). It feels a little weird when the gel 'releases' but not painful at all. You can't tell it's there once inserted.

Do you feel protected?
Honestly, yes. The first few times I felt a little on edge with the newness of it, but I think that's normal when it comes to something that you're relying on so heavily. We have now gone through at least 6 boxes and haven't had any trouble. The odds are the same as condoms, so you just have to decide whether you personally feel comfortable to put your trust in this product.

What's the price point?
In CVS it's $19.99 for 10, but only $10.99 in Target for the same quantity. Target also offers delivery which I know is preferable for a lot of people. They are an expensive option, but if condoms don't personally work for you both, then it isn't too bad for a form of contraceptive.

Can either of you feel it?
No, neither one of us could feel it. It wasn't messy during the act, as it really just had a lube-like formula.

In comparison to condoms, what's the application like?
This is an answer that differs hugely between man and woman. For my husband it was better as I could insert the gel before even getting to the foreplay, so we didn't need to stop at any point to 'prepare'. For me, it was a little disheartening to use it before as it made it clear that I wouldn't be getting all the ways of foreplay that there are. It is easier than condoms though, you just have to get in a natural rhythm of when to insert it.

If you have any other questions, feel free to comment on this, reach out to me via my twitter @RootingBranches, or if you want discreteness send me an email at I'll answer anything as best as I can.

1 comment

  1. I have been using this for a year now and I’m honestly NEVER GOING BACK!!! and yes as soon as you get in the rhythm of grab and insert I don’t have to even miss any type foreplay lol I’m probably quicker than someone was at grabbing the lil golden packet 😉
    We love it !


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