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FEMALE CONDOM /

A female condom is a pouch you insert into your vagina. It's not the prettiest thing in the world (it looks a bit like a floppy, clear elephant trunk) but it is a method that gives you lots of control. Female condoms work the same way that male condoms do, except that you wear one on the inside instead of sticking it on a penis. They keep the guy's sperm inside the condom and out of your vagina. view all methods »

STI protection!

Female condoms protect you from most sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Your partner refuses to wear a condom

If your partner won't wear a condom, but you still want protection against STIs, the female condom is the way to go.

Female condoms take effort and commitment

You have to make sure to use them correctly, every time, no matter what, in order for them to be effective.

No prescription necessary

If you can't make it to the doctor (or don't want to), you can always use a female condom—though they can be a lot harder to find than male condoms.

Cool for people with latex allergies

Unlike most male condoms, female condoms are made of polyurethane (plastic) or nitrile (a synthetic rubber), so you can use them even if you're allergic to latex.

Don't take our word for it. Check out the videos above to hear women and men talk about their experiences with the female condom.

Female condoms don’t make much of an appearance at everyday pharmacies and drugstores, but you'll find them online for sure, and for a consistent price—usually somewhere in the range of $2-4 per condom. They’re not quite as cheap as the male condom, but if cost isn’t the only factor you’re considering, they can be a great option for pregnancy and STI prevention.

Payment assistance: Check with your local family planning clinics and find out if they offer free or low-cost female condoms and other kinds of birth control (most do).

Online Vendors

  • Amazon.com: $1.20 - $3.00
  • Condomania.com: $2.35 - $4.00
  • Condomjungle.com: $1.40 - $3.30
  • Drugstore.com: $2.00 - $3.90
  • LuckyBloke.com: $1.90 - $5.60
  • Walgreens.com: $2.30 - $4.20

Note: These prices are averaged—including taxes and standard shipping costs—from a survey of select online vendors as of October 2014. Prices may change over time.

Female condoms are really pretty easy to use, but it takes a bit of practice and getting used to. And remember, if you're relying on female condoms, you have to use one EVERY SINGLE TIME.

How to insert a Female Condom

  1. Put some spermicide or lubricant on the outside of the closed end.
  2. Get comfy, like you're going to put in a tampon.
  3. Squeeze the sides of the closed-end ring together and insert it like a tampon.
  4. Push the ring as far into your vagina as it'll go, all the way to your cervix.
  5. Pull out your finger and let the outer ring hang about an inch outside your vagina. (Yes, it'll look a little funny.)
  6. If you want to use a female condom for anal sex, follow the same process. But with your anus, of course.

Don't worry if it moves side to side while you're doing it. That's normal. If your man slips out of the condom and into your vagina, gently remove it and reinsert. But if he ejaculates outside of the female condom and into your vagina by accident, you may want to consider Emergency Contraception.

How to remove a Female Condom

  1. Squeeze the outer ring and twist it closed like a baggie, so semen doesn't spill out.
  2. Pull the condom out gently.
  3. Throw it away in a trash can (preferably one that is out of the reach of children and pets). Don't flush it down the toilet! That's just bad for your plumbing.

One final thing. You might think using a male condom along with a female condom doubles your protection. Not true. It'd just make both more likely to rip. So don't do it.

There are positive and negative things to say about each and every method. And everyone's different—so what you experience may not be the same as what your friend experiences.

The Positive

The Negative

  • Helps protect you from STIs
  • The outer ring may stimulate your clit (nice!)
  • No prescription necessary
  • Can be used even if you're allergic to latex
  • Can be used with both oil-based and water-based lube
  • Stays in place even if your man loses his erection
  • Can cause irritation
  • Some people may be sensitive to certain brands of lubricant (If so, try another brand)
  • Can reduce sensitivity while you're doing it
  • The first generation female condom (FC1) can be kinda squeaky sounding (but the newer version, FC2, shouldn't be)
  • Hard to remember to use if you’re drunk

We’re here to get this method working better for you. And if it still doesn’t feel right, we've got ideas for other methods. Just remember: If you change methods, make sure you’re protected while you switch.

  • ...I think it's hard to insert.

    Inserting a female condom should get easier the more you do it and you should try practicing when it's not the heat of the moment.

    Still not working?

    If it doesn't get any easier to insert and you're concerned about STIs, go with male condoms instead.

    If STI protection is not a concern for you right now, you might want to move toward contraception that doesn't require you to insert anything. The IUD and the implant are both inserted in a clinic.

    Try a different method...

  • ...It gets stuck to my partner's penis.

    Lube may be the answer here. Try using a bit of lube and see if he still gets stuck.

    Still not working?

    If he's willing, switch to using male condoms. They also protect you from STIs.

    If you aren't concerned about STI protection with this partner—you've both been tested, right?—then consider switching to a method you don't have to use in the moment. The ring, the patch, or the shot might be good choices for you.

    Try a different method...

  • ...It's squeaky sounding.

    Lube may be the answer here. Try using a bit of lube and see if it gets any quieter. The newer version of the female condom (FC2) should also be less squeaky, so try to get your hands on that version.

    Still not working?

    If he's willing, switch to using male condoms. They'll protect you from STIs as well.

    If STIs aren't something you're concerned about right now, then consider switching to a method you don't have to use in the moment. An IUD, the ring, the patch, or the shot might be good choices for you.

    Try a different method...

  • ...My partner says he can feel the inside ring.

    If your partner can feel the inner ring, you may not have it pushed far enough into your vagina. So try pushing it in a little farther.

    Still not working?

    If he's willing, switch to using male condoms. They'll protect you from STIs as well.

    If you're not worried about STIs with this partner, you might want to move toward a non-barrier method that your guy won't be able to feel. The shot and the implant are both really effective and he won't feel anything but you during sex.

    Try a different method...

  • ...I heard the pill is bad for the environment.

    Any form of birth control is better than no birth control when it comes to the environment. Still some people insist on “green” contraception. We say: Any effective method of contraception is green since the impact of birth control pales in comparison to the impact of another human.

    Still others say, “green contraception” means “hormone free.” We don’t dispute that that is one way to look at the issue. And fortunately, there are many contraceptives already on the market that are hormone free: condoms (male and female), ParaGard IUD, diaphragms, cervical cap, and the sponge.

    But a lot more goes into a green stamp of approval. The ParaGard IUD is generally thought to be the “greenest” contraceptive. It’s hormone-free, long lasting (up to a decade embracing the reduce portion of the "reduce, reuse, recycle" mantra), made from small amounts of cheap, plentiful metal (copper), and 99% effective. If for whatever reason you don't feel like the IUD is right for you, choose another method. Because when it comes to having sex, the greenest thing you can do is use birth control.

    Still not working?

    There are lots of hormone-free methods to choose from: male condom, female condoms, ParaGard IUD, diaphragm, cervical cap, fertility-awareness methods, and sponge.

    Try a different method...

  • ...I was thinking about using two condoms to make sure I'm extra safe from pregnancy and STIs.

    Still not working?

    Try a different method...

  • ...I'm worried about getting an STI

    Yes, although using a condom every time you have sex and getting tested is the best thing you can do, the CDC has come out with a list of risky behavior to avoid if you want to avoid HIV. You can check out the list here.

    Still not working?

    Try a different method...

  • ...My female condom sticks out when I stand up.

    Fun fact: You can insert the female condom up to eight hours before having sex. Not so fun fact: if you stand up with it in, the female condom will hang slightly out of the vagina giving you ‘vag tail.’ If you want to insert it early but avoid the tail, try wearing a snug pair of underwear when out and about to hold the external part of the condom closer to your body.

quick facts /

  • Give women more control and are good for those with latex allergies.

  • So-so the way people typically use them—better when used perfectly; more effective with spermicide.

  • Usually none, but could cause a little irritation to your or your guy's parts.

  • You have to use one EVERY time.

  • Can find them at clinics and online, and in some drugstores and supermarkets.

  • Depending on where you get them, $0-$5 a piece. Read more about costs.

effectiveness

Perfect use
95%
Typical use
79%
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