Introducing Female Condoms
Female condoms: one of the best-kept secrets of contraception. Made from nitrile and silicone, female condoms are one of the only forms of contraception that offers protection against both sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. While most people are already familiar with other methods of contraception, little is often known about the female condom. Here we’ve addressed the most pressing questions: What are female condoms? How do we use one? And what happens if they break?
What are female condoms?
Female condoms, or internal condoms as they are sometimes known, are a barrier type of contraception that offers dual protection from both sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy. While being 95% effective with perfect use, they have been designed to stop sperm coming into contact with the vagina and preventing any sexual fluid from being transferred.
Latex-free, female condoms are already pre-lubricated and are safe to use with other types of condom-friendly lubricants if you prefer. (Never use baby oil or other types of oil as they can damage the condom.)
Female condoms are also non-hormonal, so are great for people that are unable to take hormonal methods of contraception. They are single-use only, so don’t be tempted to wash it out and re-use!
What size are female condoms?
How to use a female condom?
All condoms should come with a CE-Mark. This means they have passed the safety standards necessary. While you’re checking for the CE-Mark, also remember to check the expiry date.
- Before using a female condom, read the instructions sheet that can be found inside the packaging.
- Open the condom wrapper using the easy-tear edges. (Never use your teeth or scissors as this can damage the female condom or leave a hole in it.)
- Find a comfortable position (just like you would if you were inserting a tampon). Some people like to squat, others like to raise one leg or lie down. You’ll find a way that’s easier for you.
- Make sure the female condom is the right way around. The smaller inner-ring is the part that goes inside you. The larger outer-ring stays outside your body.
- Squeeze the inner-ring using your thumb and middle finger and gently slide the condom inside of you. Push it in as far as you can while leaving the outer-ring on the outside, close to your vagina.
- The condom can now be used. Make sure your partner slides inside the condom and doesn’t accidentally enter the vagina from the side.
- To remove the condom, pinch the outer ring together and twist it around a few times to prevent the sperm from escaping and pull it out gently.
- Wrap it in a paper towel or tissue and discard it in the bin (never throw condoms down the toilet).
- Practice makes perfect. It’s best to practice with one before you have sex, so you can become familiar with them before using it as a form of contraception.
Who are female condoms perfect for?
- Anyone with a latex-allergy
- Anyone sensitive to hormonal methods of contraception
- Anyone wanting to be in control of their own barrier contraception
- Anyone comfortable touching their vagina
What to do if a female condom breaks?
This very rarely happens if the condom is used correctly, but if the female condom does break during or after sexual activity, then you can use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy. You can pick up emergency contraception at your local pharmacy, Contraception and Sexual Health clinic or your GP. It’s also a good idea to take an STI test too as you may have been exposed to an infection when the condom split.
Where can I pick one up from?
You can order directly from us, or you can pop along to your local Contraception and Sexual Health Service for a free supply.
- Always check the expiry date and make sure the female condoms holds the CE-Mark.
- Always use the easy-tear slip on the side of the condom. Never use your teeth or scissors.
- Only use condom-friendly lube.
- Single-use only.
Download this blog as a PDF for teaching and learning purposes.