The female condom, or Femidom, acts as a barrier to pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like HIV. It is placed inside the vagina and is an alternative to the male condom.
It is usually made from a synthetic material called nitrile (they used to be made from a noisy material called polyurethane) and has two flexible rings at each end; one inside, the other around the opening.
How to use a female condom:
- Find a comfortable position for inserting the condom – either sitting or lying down, squatting or with one leg raised on a chair.
- The condom is already lubricated but you may want to add additional lubricant. If it is made from nitrile you can use any lube, including oil-based ones.
- Carefully tear the pack and squeeze the inner ring between thumb and finger so that it becomes long and narrow, making it easier to insert.
- Holding the inner ring between your fingers, insert the condom as deep into the vagina as it will go.
- Push your middle finger into the Femidom and push the inner ring as far up your vagina as you can – it should be just above your pubic bone.
- Keep the second, outer ring outside the opening of the vagina.
- During sex guide the penis in through the outer ring, making sure the penis hasn’t missed the opening of the condom and entered the vagina at the side of the ring.
- After the man has ejaculated, twist the outer ring of the condom to make it harder for semen to spill out of it.
- Put used female condoms in the bin, not down the toilet (which might get blocked).
- Never use a Femidom and condom together - it's more likely to cause either or both to split.
Why use a Femidom?
- They protect not only against pregnancy but against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
- They can be inserted several hours before sex.
- The woman controls their use and they may be more popular with male partners who find male condoms are too restrictive or reduce sensation.
- They have no side effects and don’t need medical help to use.
Some people use Femidoms for anal sex (although they were not designed for this and there are no studies into how reliable they are during anal sex). NAM have produced some specific advice for people who choose to use them in this way.
Different types of condoms ››