When people think or talk about condoms, they usually mean the male condom. It is called a male condom or sometimes called an external condom because it goes on the outside of the penis and is used externally. The female condom or “internal condom” goes inside a person’s body – either their vagina (if they have one!) or anus for use during anal sex.
What is it?
The female/internal condom is a thin pouch. There is an outer ring on one end that helps to keep the condom from sliding inside the vagina or anus. There is an inner ring that sits inside the condom and helps to keep the condom inside of the vagina or anus. It is a barrier method of birth control and protects against pregnancy and STDs. It always come covered in lubricant. The female/internal condom covers more surface area then the male condom and can help protect against skin to skin transmission of STDs. It is disposable and each one should only be used one time. Because they are made of nitrile and not latex, they can be good for people with latex allergies who are looking for a barrier method.
How is it used?
The female/internal condoms is easy to use once you get used to it. As with a male condom, you first want to check the expiration date. Then open the condom carefully. To use the female/internal condom for vaginal sex, squeeze the inner ring and slide it into the vagina like a tampon. Once it is inserted you can used two fingers to help push the condom in place inside the vagina. The condom can be inserted hours before sex but be sure the penis goes inside the condom and not to the side. Everyone’s body is different so it may hang out of the vagina a little bit. To use the condom for anal sex, remove the inner ring and use your fingers to insert the condom, leaving the other ring hanging out. It can also be placed over an erect penis and then inserted into the anus, similar to a male condom. To remove the condom, twist the outer ring and gently pull it out. Remember to throw it away.
Where can I get it?
Female/internal condoms can be harder to find and more expensive then male condoms. Sometimes they are available at drug stores or online and people of any age can buy them. But, many clinics give them away for free or can write a prescription so you can get them for free at a pharmacy. Find a clinic near you to get free condoms or female condoms! The Female Condom website also has more information about how to find them.
- The female/internal condom helps protect against STDs and pregnancy.
- A female/internal condom should not be used with a male condom. Using two condoms together can make them more likely to break.
- A female/internal condom can be used with another method of birth control like the pills or an IUD.
- The female/internal condom comes lubricated but you can always add more lube.
- Female/internal condoms should be thrown away after use, they cannot be disposed of in the toilet and cannot be used more than once.
Find out about other methods you may have never heard about but that could be right for you if you want to safely and effectively prevent pregnancy!