At a glance: facts about female condoms

  • The female condoms are found to be about 95% effective if used properly.
  • It proffers protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • For it to function, it has to be placed or inserted into your vagina, before penetration (vaginal sex).
  • Any female condom you buy must have the CE mark or the BSI kitemark on the pack. This indicates that the condom has been scrutinized and is completely safe for use.
  • During the sex, it is possible for the female condom to get pushed deep into the vagina, but you can easily have it removed.
  • This form of contraceptive may not be a good option for women who aren’t comfortable touching their genitals.
  • These condoms should never be used more than once. Always get a new one when you want to have sex.

How the female condoms work

The female condom is one of the barrier methods of contraception and is to be worn inside your vagina. It prevents pregnancy by preventing the entry of sperm into your womb in order to avoid fertilization of the egg.

This contraceptive device has to be inserted into your vagina before sexual intercourse. Ensure that the penis of your partner does not come in contact with your genital area before it is fitted. This is because it is possible for semen to be released from a man’s penis even before he has attained orgasm.

Condoms are the only known form of contraception that can proffer protection against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

How to use a female condom

  1. Take it out of the accompanying pack and be careful not to damage it whilst removing it. Avoid opening its container or pack with your teeth as this can damage or tear the female condom.
  2. Locate the closed end of the condom, then identify the smaller ring located here and squeeze it between two fingers and gently insert it into your vagina.
  3. Ensure that the larger ring which is located at the open-end of the condom is covering the opening of your vagina properly.
  4. During sex, ensure that the penis doesn’t go anywhere else except into the condom- your partner should be careful not to insert it between the side of your vagina and the condom.
  5. Take out the female condoms carefully, immediately after sex- to prevent semen from pouring; you can also twist the open end a little before pulling it out.
  6. Dispose of it in a bin, never flush it down a toilet.

Using lubricant with female condoms

Most female condoms are usually lubricated prior to packaging to make its use smoother and easier, but you can also make use of extra lubricants (lube).

Make sure you check the packs while buying, to ensure that the lubricant out is suitable for you.

Advantages with female condoms

  • The proffer protection to both partners from STIs such as HIV
  • They are able to adequately protect you from pregnancy if used in the right way
  • This form of contraception only needs to be used when you intend to have sex.
  • It causes no serious side effects.

Disadvantages with female condoms

  • For some couples, fixing a condom might disrupt the flow of sex. If you happen to be one of them, you can easily solve this by fixing the condom at any time prior to sex or making it a fun part of the foreplay.
  • The condoms are usually very durable but can be damaged if used wrongly or handled without care.
  • They are not easily accessible as compared to the male condoms and are more expensive.

Can anything make the female condoms less effective?

The condom is made to serve as a barrier to the sperm, but sometimes the sperm may get through. This can happen if.

  • The penis is allowed to touch any part of the genital area before the condom is inserted.
  • The female condom gets pushed in the deeper part of the vagina.
  • The penis enters between the side of the condom and the wall of the vagina, unintentionally.
  • The female condom gets torn or damaged by the teeth, nails or jewelry

If you suspect that semen may have gotten into your vagina by any means, you may need to make use of emergency contraception immediately. This can be used even up to 5 days after you have had unprotected sex.

You might also need to conduct an STI test and this can be performed at:

  • Any sexual health or genitourinary (GUM) clinic
  • A contraception clinic
  • Any young people’s clinic

Where to get female condoms

You can always get access to female condoms at no cost; regardless of your age (even under 16). You can get from:

  • All community contraception clinics
  • Certain Genitourinary (GUM) clinics.
  • Sexual health clinics
  • Young people services

You can locate a sexual health clinic closet to you here.

Female condoms are not always easily accessible in all contraception and sexual health clinic, therefore you will need to make enquires first.

However, you can purchase female condoms from:

  • Websites
  • Pharmacies
  • Supermarkets

Ensure that whatever brands of female condom you by has the European CE mark or the British BSI kitemark as this indicates that the condom has been thoroughly tested and is completely safe for use.