Female condoms

What is it

What is it?

Female condoms are a type of barrier contraception and also protect both partners from STIs and HIV during vaginal or anal sex. These condoms are sometimes known as the 'Femidom' and have a very high success rate at preventing both pregnancy and the transmission of STIs and HIV.

How does it work

How does it work?

The female condom is a tube of latex or plastic material placed inside the vagina and works in the same way as male condoms in providing a barrier between sperm and the womb. They look like a large male condom and are inserted before sex without the need for any prior preparation. As they are a barrier method they also protect against HIV and STIs.

Advantages

Advantages

The female condom puts a woman in charge of her contraception while also providing protection from HIV and STIs. It can be inserted up to 8 hours before sex, so there is no interruption during sexual activity. The female condom is 95% effective at preventing pregnancy when used correctly.

Disadvantages

Disadvantages

Some people may be allergic to the materials used to make the female condom, but you can try different brands or materials is this affects either partner. Putting the female condom in immediately before sex can interrupt the flow of sexual activity, but many women prefer to insert it sometime before sex takes place.

Some women do not like the fact that one end of the condom is visible outside the vagina. They are also more expensive and harder to find in the shops than male condoms. The condoms are flexible but tough, although they can tear if inserted incorrectly.

Who can use them

Who can use them?

Most women can use female condoms safely and there are no medical side-effects. They may, however, not be the best method for women who feel uncomfortable with touching their own genitals or who are uncomfortable with their appearance outside the vagina.

How to use them

How to use them?

The female condom may look difficult to use upon first appearance, but they are very simple to use once you have had a little practice. It is inserted into the vagina much like a tampon, after applying spermicide or lubricant. The inner ring is pushed into the vagina as far as it can go, while the outer ring should hang about one inch outside the vagina and be visible. You can also use the female condom for safe anal intercourse, inserting it into the anus in a similar manner.

Like male condoms, the female condom should only be used once. To remove the female condom, simply twist and squeeze the outer ring to keep the sperm inside. In the end you need to gently pull it out before throwing away.

Last updated April 28, 2018