1 Female Condom or Internal Condoms


1 Female Condom or Internal Condoms

Female condom

The female condom, also known as an “internal condom,” is a lubricated sheath worn by the female inside of her vagina during sex. The FC2 is made of nitrile (a type of synthetic rubber). The FC2 is latex-free, so this is a good option if you or your partner has a latex allergy. The FC2 is pre-lubricated and is the only female condom that has been approved for vaginal sex by the United States Federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These condoms have been used by women and men, for vaginal sex and anal sex. There are other condoms sold outside of the United States that are made of natural rubber latex (Cupid®, l’Amour® and Jeitosa®

The female condom acts as a barrier to sperm and many sexually transmitted infections by completely lining the vagina. The female condom has a ring at each end. The inner ring, at the closed end of the sheath, lies inside the vagina. The outer ring, at the open end of the sheath, lies outside the vagina after the female condom has been inserted. The female condom provides protection against pregnancy and some protection against STIs

?Where can I get the internal  condom

You can get the FC2 internal condom without a prescription in most pharmacies and grocery stores in the United States. You can also buy the FC2 online or ask for it at family planning centers. An FC2 condom costs between $2.00 and $4.00 each however, you can also buy them in multiple packs of three or more

?What if I need more lubrication

The female condom is already lubricated when you buy it, but if you need more lubrication, you can use a vaginal lubricant, such as K-Y Jelly, on the inside of the female condom or on the penis

?How effective is the female condom

If women use the female condom every time they have sexual intercourse and follow instructions every time, it’s 95% effective. This means that if 100 women use the female condom all the time and always use it correctly, 5 women will become pregnant in a year

Although it’s obvious that the female condom is most effective against pregnancy when it is used all the time and always used correctly, perfect use hardly ever happens. If women use the female condoms, but not perfectly, it’s 79% effective. This means that if 100 women use the female condom, 21 or more women will become pregnant in a year

You can use the female condom with other forms of birth control including the pill, patch, implant, and IUD, to further decrease chances of getting pregnant. It is important never to use the female condom with a male condom

When wearing the female condom in the vagina, it protects against HIV and other STDs just as effectively as the male condom. The female condom is more effective at protecting against STIs than the diaphragm (another barrier method)

?How do you use the female condom

You can plan ahead and insert the female condom before foreplay and penetration, so you don’t have to stop when you’re ready to have sex

Wash your hands first and find a comfortable position, perhaps squatting with knees apart or lying down with legs bent and knees apart. Hold the female condom so that the open end is hanging down. You may put lubricant on the outside of the closed side of the condom to help insert it smoothly. Squeeze the inner ring with your thumb and middle finger

Insert the inner ring and pouch inside of your vaginal opening. With your index finger, push the inner ring with the pouch way up into your vagina, so that the inner ring is up past your pubic bone. You can feel your pubic bone by curving your finger towards your front when it is a couple of inches inside of your vagina. Be sure to go slowly and be patient. Make sure the female condom is not twisted at all. The outside ring of the female condom should lie against the outer lips of your vagina. About one inch of it should be outside of your body

You need to guide the male’s penis into the female condom so that it doesn’t enter the vagina during sex. Once the penis enters the female condom inside your vagina, the vagina will expand and the condom will fit better

After intercourse, the male does not need to withdraw immediately. To remove the female condom after intercourse, squeeze and twist the outer ring gently to keep the sperm inside the pouch. Pull the female condom out gently and throw it away in a waste container. Don’t flush it, and don’t reuse it

To use the female condom for anal sex, you may want to remove the inner ring of the condom before inserting it into your anus with your finger. The outer ring should be left outside of your body. It is OK to leave in the inner ring for insertion

?What if the female condom slips out of place during intercourse

Stop intercourse immediately! Take the female condom out carefully, so that the sperm stay inside the pouch. Use a new female condom if you continue having sexual intercourse. Add extra lubricant to the opening of the pouch or on the penis and then insert the new female condom. Contact your health care provider and discuss emergency contraception

?Are there any complaints about the female condom

Some people complain that the female condom can bother the skin of the genitals (adding more lubricant can help with this), that it limits feeling during intercourse, and that the penis can slip out of the condom during sex

On the other hand, some men say the female condom is more comfortable because it isn’t as tight on their penis as male condom. Additionally the inner ring may stimulate the penis and the outer ring can stimulate the clitoris, increasing pleasure during sex. Women also like that they can play an active role in protecting themselves and their partners by using the female condom during sex

?Can I use a male condom with the female condom

No. You should never use a male condom at the same time that you are using a female condom!

Female condoms are safe and effective. You don’t need to get fitted for them and you can buy them without a prescription. If you choose to use female condoms, it’s very important to use them according to the package directions EVERY time you have sex

The Right Way To Use A Female (Internal) Condom

Female (Internal) Condom Use Fact Sheet

Female (Internal) Condom Dos and Don’ts

DO use a female (internal) condom from start to finish, every time you have vaginal sex

DO read the condom package insert and check the expiration date

DO make sure there are no tears or defects

DO use lubricant to help prevent the condom from slipping and tearing

DO store condoms in a cool, dry place

*Female (Internal) condoms can also be used for anal sex and follow the same general guidelines as those for vaginal sex outlined below

DON’T use a male (external) condom with an female (internal) condom, as this can cause tearing

DON’T reuse a condom

DON’T flush condoms as they may clog the toilet

How To Insert and Remove a Female (Internal) Condom

Hands holding female condom and wrapper

Carefully open and remove the condom from package to prevent


Hands holding female condom at the thick, inner ring.

The thick, inner ring with closed end is used for placing in the vagina and holds condom in place. The thin, outer ring remains outside of body, covering vaginal opening

Find a comfortable position. While holding outside of condom at closed end, squeeze sides of inner ring together with your thumb and forefinger and insert into vagina. It is similar to inserting a tamponFinger inserting female condom into vagina.

Using your finger, push inner ring as far up as it will go until it rests against cervix. The condom will expand naturally and you may not feel it

.Hands positioning female condom in place to cover vulva.

Be sure condom is not twisted. The thin, outer ring should remain outside vagina

Female condom in place with penis inserted into vagina.

Guide partner’s penis into opening of the condom. Stop intercourse if you feel penis slip between condom and walls of vagina or if outer ring is pushed into vagina

Hand removing female condom.

To remove, gently twist outer ring and pull condom out of vagina

Throw away used female condom in trash.

Throw away the condom in trash after using it one time. Do not reuse

Seven Secrets of the Female Condom

They may be the best kept secrets in reproductive health. Use these seven secrets to increase your knowledge of the female condom

Female condoms may be one of the best kept secrets in reproductive health. Even though the first female condom product was introduced about two decades ago, female condoms are still not well-known or widely available to most women and men worldwide. Use these seven secrets to increase your female condom knowledge and to advocate for improved access to this powerful tool for protection in your community

1. The female condom has a unique place in the prevention toolkit

The female condom is the only available woman-initiated method designed to provide “dual protection” from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and could go a long way in addressing unmet need among women

A woman shows her support for the female condom at a Global Female Condom Day event. Photo: PATH/Scott Brown

2. Men also favor the female condom

It’s true that female condoms are designed for women to wear. But it takes two to tango, and research shows that men like female condoms. Female condoms aren’t tight on the penis, and they don’t inhibit or dull sensation like male condoms. Some men appreciate the opportunity to share responsibility for dual protection and not always have to be the person wearing the condom

A health worker shows a man the FC2 female condom.

A peer educator with Pathfinder International/Mozambique discusses the benefits of female condoms with other young men. Photo: PATH

3. The female condom can increase sexual pleasure

One “sexier” secret about female condoms is that many women and men find that the product can enhance intimacy and pleasure. The female condom can be inserted prior to sex, so as not to “ruin the moment” to put on a condom. Some female condom products are made of heat-transmitting materials, which can feel more natural than latex condoms. And unlike male condoms, female condoms do not need to be removed immediately after sex so couples can stay in the moment together

4. There are several different female condom products on the market

There are many different types of female condoms that exist. Some are latex-free, and all are hormone-free. The most well-known female condom is the FC2®, which is available in more than 130 countries worldwide, including the United States. Other products are beginning to enter the market that are designed to improve acceptability and/or reduce costs. One example is the Woman’s Condom, a female condom developed by PATH, CONRAD, and local research partners through a user-centered process to be easy to use and comfortable to both partners

PATH and our partners developed the Woman’s Condom, a second-generation female condom. Photo: PATH/Patrick McKern

5. Female condoms can be a cost-effective form of protection.

Female condoms are often decribed as “expensive.” But as the saying goes, a pound of prevention is worth a lifetime of cure. In fact, female condoms are a cost-effective public health intervention when compared to the costs of HIV treatment. Mathematical models have shown substantial cost savings to the health sector in several countries including Brazil, South Africa, and the United States (Washington, D.C.). A recent analysis of the Woman’s Condom as a dual prevention method (family planning and HIV prevention) in 13 sub-Saharan African countries found the product to be very cost-effective in 11 countries and cost-effective in the other two

6. When female condoms are added to male condom distribution, couples have more protected sex

More types of condoms means more protected sex? You bet! Studies in several countries have found that levels of protected sex increase when female condoms are added to the method mix, potentially reducing the risk of HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies. When both types of condoms are available, consistent users often switch between female and male condom use—boosting the overall number of condoms used. But remember, never use a female and male condom at the same time because this can lead to one or both condoms breaking

Ten women pose in colorful dresses that incorporate condoms.

PATH held a Global Female Condom Day fashion show to bring attention to female condoms through lighthearted condom fashions. PATH/Danny Ngan

7. There is an international day dedicated to the female condom

To celebrate the female condom, PATH, the National Female Condom Coalition, the Universal Access to Female Condoms Joint Programme, and the Center for Health and Gender Equity launched Global Female Condom Day (GFCD) in 2012. GFCD is an annual day of education and advocacy recognized on September 16 to increase access, awareness, and use of female condoms. Since its inception, Global Female Condom Day has mobilized thousands of supporters across more than 50 countries. Raise your voice for female condom access and join our movement today

Female Condom

Female Condom

What is a Female Condom

The female condom helps protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections including HIV. A female condom is a thin, loose-fitting and flexible plastic tube worn inside the vagina. A female condom provides a barrier between partners to prevent sharing bodily fluids like semen, blood, or saliva. Female condoms are 79-95% effective

How to Use

Female condoms can be inserted up to 8 hours before intercourse and are only effective when placed in the vagina prior to sex. At first, female condoms can be awkward to use, but become easier with practice. Take your time and try inserting the condom before sexual play. You can stand with one foot up on a chair, sit with your knees apart, or lie down. Lubrication can help keep the condom in place and lessen noise during intercourse. Adding spermicide before or after insertion can reduce the risk of pregnancy

To insert the condom, squeeze the ring at the closed end of the tube. Use one hand to spread the outer lips, and insert the squeezed condom into the vagina. The inner ring should be pushed just past the pubic bone and over the neck of the womb (cervix)

After insertion, make sure the condom is not twisted. About one inch of the open end will stay outside the body. The outer ring of the female condom will need to be held in place when penetration takes place. After intercourse, twist the outer ring to keep all fluids inside the condom. Gently pull it out, place in a tissue and discard in bin (not in toilet)

There are no physical side effects associated with the use of female condoms. However, there is a chance that a female condom could break or slip during sex. If this occurs, women may consider taking emergency contraception

Female condoms may not be as readily available as male condoms but you should still be able to get them free from contraception & sexual health services and from your GP. They are non-latex and are an alternative to non-latex male condoms for those with latex allergy


Prevents the spread of sexually transmitted infection Protects the vagina and vulva

Does not reduce a male partner’s stimulation

No hormonal side effects

Can be used by people with latex sensitivities

Prelubricated and can be used with oil and water-based lubricants

Can be inserted before foreplay begins

Insertion can be part of foreplay

Erection not necessary to keep condom in place

Does not affect future fertilit


Noticeable during sex

Sometimes difficult to insert or use

Does not contain spermicide

Can break or leak

About three times more expensive than male condoms