An internal condom is usually made from a synthetic material called nitrile and has two flexible rings at each end: one inside, the other around the opening.
Why use an internal condom?
- They protect not only against pregnancy but against HIV and other STIs.
- They can be inserted up to eight hours before sex.
- People may enjoy sex more because they feel safe knowing that they are in control of their sexual and reproductive health.
- Partners who find that external condoms are too restrictive or reduce sensation may prefer them.
- They have no side effects and don’t need medical help to use.
Some people use internal condoms for anal sex (although they were not designed for this and there are no studies into how reliable they are during anal sex). There is some specific advice for people who choose to use them in this way.
How to use an internal 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’s 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 condom 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 ejaculation, twist the outer ring of the condom to make it harder for semen to spill out of it.
- Put used condoms in the bin, not down the toilet (which might get blocked).
- It's worth mentioning that using two different types of condom together (internal and external condom) is not recommended – it's more likely to cause either or both to split.