Free female condoms have been sitting on the counter at Jasmine’s Hair Gallery in Anacostia for one week, but the contraceptive device has yet to make it out of the salon and into a woman’s vagina. Last week, a representative from a local nonprofit came down to Jasmine’s equipped with a few dozen female condoms—and two sets of rubber genitalia—in order to instruct the salon’s owner, Terry Nelson, on the finer points of the device. Nelson, 50, is the last stop in the female condom’s long activist conga line—a system set up to distribute the condom from the D.C. government, down through five local nonprofits, and finally out to hundreds of local businesses, where the device can be casually promoted to the public through trusted neighborhood fixtures. Theoretically.

“This is really new,” says Nelson. “We’re still in the stage where we’re trying to see if women will be receptive to this or not.” So far, Nelson and Cecelia Woodland, 49, the other Jasmine’s stylist to soak up the demonstration, haven’t yet tested out the female condom themselves. They haven’t found the right opportunity to raise the topic with any of their customers. And no one’s plucked a device from their tidy stack on the Jasmine’s shelf.

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