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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. The condom holds the sperm so the sperm can't get into the vagina.

A female condom, also called an internal 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.
  • Find a comfortable position to insert the condom. Some women stand with one foot on a chair. Other women sit on the edge of a chair or lie 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, the penis should be inside the condom.
  • 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 before you stand up.

How do you buy and store female condoms?

  • Female (internal) 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.
  • Store the condoms at room temperature. Check the expiration date on the package before using one.

What else do you need to know?

  • Don't use a female (internal) condom with a male (external) condom as it increases the risk of both breaking.
  • If 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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