THE FEMALE CONDOM
A TWIST ON A CLASSIC.
ONE SIZE FITS ALL
The female condom works in much the same way as the male condom – the main difference is who’s wearing it. While a male condom is rolled over the erect penis, the female condom is slipped inside the vagina where it creates a thin, yet lubricated, polyurethane barrier that stops sperm from reaching the cervix. It also protects against STIs, and requires no hormones or additional contraceptive methods to work.
Like all condoms, you need to use a new one each time you have sex. The female condom has a ring at the closed end, which keeps it in place inside the vagina. To put the condom in, simply squeeze that flexible ring and place the condom as you would place a tampon. Push it in as far as you can – the closed end should cover the cervix and the open end should hang a couple of centimeters outside your vagina. After you've had sex, carefully grab the open end, twist to close it, and carefully remove the condom without spilling anything. Then simply throw it away and make sure you have a new condom for the next time.
HOW IT MEASURES UP
CAN THE FEMALE CONDOM AND THE MALE CONDOM BE USED AT THE SAME TIME?
No. Two condoms should not be used at the same time. Friction caused when they rub together during sex can lead to a condom break. Using one condom (either male or female) provides protection to both partners. Another form of contraception should ideally be used in addition for extra precaution.
CAN THE FEMALE CONDOM BE REUSED AFTER SEX?
No. A new condom should be used each time you have sex.
WHY DOES THE FEMALE CONDOM SEEM SO LARGE?
A female condom is similar in length to a male condom, but it is wider because, once placed, it lines the walls of the vagina and allows the erect penis to move inside the sheath during sex.
CAN THE FEMALE CONDOM GET LOST INSIDE ME?
The female condom covers the cervix. The opening of your cervix (the neck of your womb) is very small so it unlikely for the condom to get lost inside your body. If you have concerns about placement, please speak to your doctor or nurse.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS TO USING A FEMALE CONDOM?
Allergic reactions to female condoms are rare, though some women may experience mild irritation. Make sure you read the label to check if you are allergic to the condom’s material before using one.
WHAT DOES A FEMALE CONDOM LOOK LIKE?
Female condoms are similar in appearance to male condoms, but are larger.
HOW DO YOU PLACE A FEMALE CONDOM?
Squeeze the condom’s flexible ring and place the condom in as you would a tampon. Push it in as far as you can – the closed end should cover the cervix and the open end should hang a couple of centimeters outside your vagina.
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
Make an appointment with your doctor or nurse today.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The cervix’s tiny opening makes it impossible for the female condom to disappear inside your body.
The number of female condoms provided through international and nongovernmental funding sources in 2009.
Like male condoms, the female condom is hormone free.
- It’s self-administered and used on demand.
- It can be used when breastfeeding.
- It is hormone-free and can be an option for women who experience unwanted effects from hormones.
- It provides protection against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Can be used with spermicides to increase effectiveness.
- Using a female condom can take some practice.
- It can tear if not placed properly.
- Some people experience allergic reactions to latex condoms.
Is It Okay?
KNOW YOUR OPTIONS
The Hormonal Coil is a small, soft T-shaped plastic frame that releases low levels of a progestin hormone for up to 3 to 6 years. It is given with a prescription and placed in your womb by a doctor or nurse.
The Hormonal Coil is a small, soft T-shaped plastic frame that releases low levels of a progestin hormone for up to 3 to 5 years. It is given with a prescription and placed in your womb by a doctor or nurse.
A small, flexible silicone rod that releases hormones for up to 3 to 5 years. It is given with a prescription and placed under the skin of your upper arm by a doctor or nurse.
A small tablet containing one hormone, or a combined pill containing two hormones, that is self-administered with a prescription and needs to be swallowed at the same time each day.
A shot containing hormone(s) that is given with a prescription and administered by a doctor or nurse every 1 or 3 months.
A small, thin, skin-colored plastic square that sticks to the skin and releases hormones. It is given with a prescription and can be self-administered once a week.
A silicone cup placed in the vagina that prevents sperm from reaching the womb. Though some are fitted by a doctor or nurse, most are self-administered with a prescription up to 24 hours before sex.
A small, flexible ring that is self-administered with a prescription and placed in the vagina, where it releases hormones for 3 weeks.
An internal condom that works in the same way male condoms do, though it is placed in the vagina. It is self-administered and bought over the counter.
A sheath placed over the erect penis to stop sperm from reaching the vagina, it is also the only method that helps lower the risk of STIs. It is self-administered and bought over the counter.
A small, round piece of foam with a nylon loop that is placed in the vagina right before intercourse. It is bought over the counter and is self-administered.
Self-directed methods of avoiding pregnancy that include menstrual cycle tracking and body temperature measurements to identify fertile days.
Creams, films, foams, gels and suppositories that contain chemicals to stop or kill sperm. These are bought over the counter and are self-administered.
Also known as ‘the pull-out method’, this self-directed method involves withdrawing the penis prior to ejaculation to avoid pregnancy.
A medical procedure performed by a doctor or nurse that blocks the tubes carrying sperm.