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Learning How to Use a Female Condom

How to insert a female condom

What is a female condom?

Condoms can be used to prevent pregnancy or to help protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You must use a new condom each time you have intercourse.

Condoms prevent pregnancy by keeping sperm and eggs apart.

An internal condom, also called a vaginal or female condom, is a tube of soft plastic with a closed end. Each end has a ring or rim. The ring at the closed end is inserted deep into the vagina over the cervix to hold the tube in place. The ring at the open end remains outside the opening of the vagina.

How do you use a female condom?

  • Use a new condom each time you have intercourse. You can insert it up to 8 hours before intercourse.
  • Spread the lubricant by rubbing the sides of the condom together. You can also add lubricant or spermicide.
  • Find a comfortable position to insert the condom. Try standing with one foot on a chair, sitting on the edge of a chair, or lying down.
  • Insert one finger into the condom. With your other hand, squeeze together the closed end of the condom and place that end into your vagina. Use the finger inside the condom to push the closed end as far into the vagina as it will go.
  • The open end of the condom will hang about 2.5 cm (1 in.) outside your vagina.
  • During intercourse, make sure the penis is inside the condom, not beside or under it.
  • After ejaculation, remove the condom right away.
    • Twist the open outside ring to close off the condom and hold the semen inside before the condom is removed.
    • Pull the condom out gently.
    • Throw the condom away in the garbage. Never reuse condoms.

How do you buy and store female condoms?

  • Internal (vaginal) condoms may be available for free at family planning clinics. You can buy them without a prescription at drugstores, online, and in some grocery stores.
  • Check the expiration date on the package before using one.

What else do you need to know?

  • Don't use an internal (vaginal) condom with an external (male) condom.
  • If the condom breaks or you think sperm may have leaked into the vagina during intercourse, you can use emergency contraception to help prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraception can be prescribed by a doctor and may be available, without a prescription, at pharmacies and sexual health clinics. Emergency contraception can include the copper IUD (inserted by a doctor) or a prescription pill.
  • You may put spermicide or lubricant on the outside of the closed end of the condom.

Where can you learn more?

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