For the correct use of female condom, consider these key things below before we proceed.
- A female condom is a thin pouch that can be placed in the vagina or anus before sex.
- The condom forms a barrier to protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, and unplanned pregnancy.
- Some men and women find the inner and outer rings of the internal condom make sex more pleasurable.
A female condom is worn inside the vagina or anus to create a barrier to stop bodily fluids and semen from entering the body. They are made from a soft plastic material called nitrile.
Though these are called female condoms, they can be used by people of any gender for protection during anal sex.
You can often get female condoms free from sexual health clinics or healthcare professionals, and they are sold in some shops and pharmacies. If you can’t find these condoms locally, they are available online. There are different types of female condoms, common brands include Femidom, Dominique, Femy, Myfemy, Protectiv, Elegance, Della and Care.
Why should I use them?
They work really well.
When used correctly, condoms provide excellent protection against HIV, pregnancy and most STIs. In fact, they are the only type of contraception that also stops you getting or giving STIs (including HIV).
If you use a condom, you can relax and enjoy sex knowing that you and your partner are protected.
Consider the following while using a female condom:
- Condoms only offer protection against STIs, HIV and pregnancy if you use them every time you have sex.
- Don’t double up! Using an internal condom at the same time as an external (male) one does not make sex safer. Instead it causes friction and the condom may break.
- Use a new condom every time you have sex or if you move between vaginal, anal or oral sex.
How to use a female condom
Though they may seem daunting at first, female condoms are easy to use with a bit of practice.
Before you begin
- Check the condoms are within the date on the packet and make sure you use ones with a mark (FDA, CE, ISO or Kitemark) that guarantees they meet safety standards.
- Keep the condoms somewhere close to hand (like in your bag or next to your bed) but not in a pocket or anywhere they can get hot, crumpled or damaged.
- Take the condom out of the packet carefully so you do not rip it – don’t use your teeth or scissors and be careful with sharp fingernails or jewellery.
There are instructions in the packet and you can get advice on how to insert a condom from a sexual health professional. These are the steps:
- Sit, squat, lie or stand in a comfortable position, similar to how you would insert a tampon. Squeeze the smaller ring at the closed end of the condom and insert it into your vagina as far as it will go, making sure it doesn’t twist. The large ring at the open end of the female condom will cover the area around the vaginal opening – this part will sit outside your body.
- When you have sex the penis should enter into the condom, rather than between the condom and the side of your vagina. You can help guide your partner to ensure it goes in the right place.
- After sex, twist the large ring to prevent semen from leaking out and gently pull the female condom out.
- Always use a new condom each time you have sex.
Female condoms can be used by a person of any gender to protect against STIs, including HIV, during anal sex. If you’re using the condom for anal sex you wear it like a male condom. Put lubricant inside the condom and place it on the penis, put plenty more lube on the outside of the condom and around the anus before inserting the penis gradually. You can also place the condom in the anus before sex, as you do for vaginal sex. To do this follow these steps:
- Use lube around the anus first, then squeeze the inner ring of the condom to form an oval shape and push it into the rectum.
- Put your finger inside the condom and push it as far up as you can. The outer ring should stay outside the anus. Do not try to remove the inner ring, you may break the condom.
- After sex, when you are ready, withdraw the penis. Then twist the external ring a few times and gently pull the condom out ensuring no semen is spilt.
Make sure you use plenty of lubricant during sex, because the anus doesn’t create its own. Lube also help to reduce the chance of passing on STIs and HIV.