THE INTERNAL CONDOM
A TWIST ON A CLASSIC.
ONE SIZE FITS ALL
The internal condom (also known as the female condom) works in much the same way as the external condom – the main difference is who’s wearing it. While an external condom is rolled over the erect penis, the internal 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 sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and requires no hormones or additional birth control methods to work.
Like all condoms, you need to use a new one each time you have sex. The internal 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
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The cervix’s tiny opening makes it impossible for the internal condom to disappear inside your body.
The number of internal condoms provided through international and nongovernmental funding sources in 2009.
Like external condoms, the internal condom is hormone-free.
- Protects against HIV and other STIs.2
- Self-administered – you can fit and remove it yourself.2
- No need to wear it all the time – it only needs to be used when you want to have sex.2
- Not the most effective in preventing pregnancy with typical use.
- May not be the right option if you are uncomfortable with fitting and removing it from your vagina.2
- Can tear or split if not placed properly.2
- UNAIDS. Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2010. Geneva: UNAIDS. Return to content
- NHS. Female condoms. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/female-condoms/ [Accessed September 2022]. Return to content
- NHS. Which method of contraception suits me? https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/which-method-suits-me/ [Accessed September 2022]. Return to content
- NHS. Using birth control. https://www.nhs.uk/start4life/baby/feeding-your-baby/breastfeeding/can-i-breastfeed-if-im/using-birth-control/ [Accessed September 2022]. Return to content
- American Pregnancy Association. Female condom. https://americanpregnancy.org/unplanned-pregnancy/birth-control-pills-patches-and-devices/female-condom/ [Accessed September 2022]. Return to content