When we think about condoms, many people only thing about the external condom - and external condoms can be easier to find. You can even find them for free. Although they are more widely known and used, external condoms are not the only option. The internal condom, sometimes called the female condom, goes inside the body and protects against pregnancy and STIs.
Why are internal condoms important?
Condoms (both internal and external) are the only method of birth control that protect against both pregnancy and STIs! Condoms are easy to use and can be found for FREE.
Who can use internal condoms?
Anyone can use an internal condom during vaginal or anal sex. During oral sex, someone would use an external condom (on a penis) or dental dam (on a vulva or anus).
Getting internal condoms
Unlike the external, internal condoms can be harder to find. The easiest way to get them is from a doctor or clinic. They may give you a prescription to pick up internal condoms at a pharmacy or may give them to you at a clinic. Get female condoms from doctor or a clinic near you. You might also be able to get a prescription for the internal condom through a telehealth, or virtual, visit. You can also purchase them yourself online from the company that makes them, fc2, but that requires a credit card. Internal condoms may cost $2-3 each but are free from a doctor or clinic!
Storing the internal condom
Internal condoms should be stored in a cool, dry place similar to the external condom. No types of condom should be stored in a car or glove compartment because they can get too hot. It is also important not to store them with sharp objects because they can be punctured.
How to use the internal condom
Like all condoms, internal condoms have an expiration date. Check the expiration date and the package. Like external condoms, the internal condom should have an air bubble, though it can be harder to feel. You also want to look over the package and make sure it does not have any damage. Once you open the package and take the internal condom out, you will find it covered with lubricant. It will look like a plastic pouch with a plastic ring on the inside and a ring on the edge of the condom or outside. To insert the condom into the body, either the vagina or anus, squeeze the inner ring and use it to guide the condom into the body. The inner ring will help hold the condom in place inside the body and the outer ring will help keep the condom from slipping inside the body. You may need to use two fingers to push the condom into place inside the body. During sex, it is important that the penis goes inside the condom itself to be protected. To remove the condom, twist the outer ring and then slide the condom out. Internal condoms should be thrown away after being used, and each internal condom should only be used once.
- The internal condom is made out of a plastic called nitrile so it is safe for people with latex allergies.
- The internal condom comes covered with lubricant but you can add more water based, silicone based, or other condom safe lubricant with the condom.
- The internal condom can be used with another type of birth control like the pill or IUD for added pregnancy prevention.
- Only one condom should be used, that means one external condom or one internal condom. Not one of each!
Learn more about condoms (both internal and external) and other methods of birth control on TeenSource.