Everyone has heard of (external) condoms – but did you know there are also ‘female’ (internal) condoms too? They are much bigger, fit inside the vagina and if used correctly – they provide a much higher percentage of protection from pregnancy and STI development.
This barrier method is preferred by many women because it gives you a sense of safety knowing that you are in control of your sexual and reproductive health.
If you’re curious to learn more about the female condom – stick around and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about this protective tool!
How Do They Work
The female condom can be inserted into the vagina up to eight hours before having sex. Most commercially available models have a flexible ring on both ends. The internal ring holds the condom up inside the vagina, and the external ring prevents the condom from being pushed up into the vagina (and also covers part of the vulva).
However, there is another type of female condom known as the ‘bikini condom’. These are underwear with an opening in the crotch with fasteners that female condoms can attach to so that the condom is not pushed completely into the vagina. Another type of bikini condom is underwear that has a condom attached in a sealed compartment in front of the vulva, which can be opened before sex.
Additionally, this internal condom can be used for anal sex to prevent STI development.
Why Use A Female Condom
Most female condoms are made of polyurethane or nitrile material so, it is safe to use for people with latex allergies. Another benefit to polyurethane or nitrile female condoms is that they can be used with most types of lubricants.
Additionally, the internal condom does not require an erection to be put on. Some people find that stopping to find, open and put on the (external) condom can disrupt an erection and put a damper on the mood that’s why the female condom is the perfect alternative! In fact, inserting an internal condom can even contribute to foreplay.
SOME MORE BENEFITS
- Female condoms offer high protection from pregnancy and STIs.
- Barrier methods like female condoms are immediately effective.
- Generally affordable and often available without prescription.
- Female condoms can be inserted up to eight hours before sex.
- Rarely causes allergic reactions and has minimal risk of side effects
If used correctly, the female condom is over 95% effective. But many people do not follow instructions correctly, so realistically, female condoms are around 79% effective. In layman’s terms, 21 out of 100 people who use internal condoms as a main birth control method will get pregnant every year.
Some other mishaps that can occur during female condoms are:
- The condom can break
- The condom slips out of the vagina
- The penis slips between the vagina and the outer surface of the condom
- The outer ring of the condom gets pushed into the vagina during sex
Although these factors may put you off from using female condoms, keep in mind that no known method of birth control are 100% effective – so, many medical practitioners recommend using the oral contraceptive pill in addition to barrier methods (such as condoms) to increase protection against unwanted pregnancy as well as STIs.
How To Prepare
If you haven’t used a female condom before, read the instructions carefully. Additionally, ALWAYS check the expiry date and for any signs of damage like small holes or tears.
Before using it for the first time, practice inserting the female condom. Additionally, make sure the condom stays in place upon insertion.
Don’t use a female condom at the same time as a male condom as they can stick together and cause friction resulting in one or both condoms to break. Lastly, never reuse an internal or external condom.
How To Use The Female Condom
- Open the package with your hands carefully, using your teeth or nails could tear the condom.
- Insert the internal condom. Pinch the ring at the closed end of the pouch with your middle finger and thumb and insert it into your vagina. Then, place a finger inside the condom and push the ring up as far as it will go.
- Make sure the condom doesn’t twist and the outer ring remain outside the vagina.
- When you are ready, guide the penis into the female condom. But ensure the penis doesn’t slip between the vagina and the outer surface of the female condom. During sex, make sure the outer ring of the condom doesn’t get pushed into the vagina.
- After sex, remove the female condom carefully. Twist the outer ring so that the semen is contained in the condom and gently pull it out of your vagina. Lastly, do not dispose of the condom in the toilet – neatly throw it in the trash.
Explore your body and the best ways to prevent pregnancy by reading more interesting blogs!