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Sexual and Reproductive Health

Internal condom

​​​​What’s a internal condom?vaginal-condom-1.png
  • An internal condom is a soft, plastic (non-latex) sleeve with two flexible rings, one on each end. It’s sometimes called a female or vaginal condom. The closed, inner ring goes inside the vagina. The outer ring stays outside the​ vagina to cover the genitals.
  • The internal condom is used for vaginal sex. It decreases the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by stopping semen and body fluids from passing between partners.​

How well does an internal condom work?

  • With typical use (this means not following the exact directions) an internal condom is 79% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • With perfect use (this means you follow the exact directions all the time) an internal condom is 95% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • Condoms used with other forms of birth control give the best protection from pregnancy.
  • Internal condoms give good protection from STIs and HIV.

How do I use an internal​ condom?

  • Put a condom on before you have any sexual contact. Use a new condom every time you have sex.
  • You can put an internal condom in the vagina up to 8 hours before sex.
  • Never use an external (male) and internal condom together. It increases the risk of both condoms breaking.
  • Never reuse condoms.
  • An internal condom can be used with any type of lubricant.
  • An internal condom might make noise during sex – this is normal. Using more lubricant may help.
  • Anyone can buy condoms. Many sexual health clinics give out condoms for free.
  • Watch this video on using an internal condom.​​

How do I put in an internal condom?

  1. Check the expiry date—don’t use it if it’s expired. Squeeze the package to make sure it’s sealed—no air should come out.​
  2. Rub the outside of the sealed package to spread the lubricant evenly.
  3. Open the condom package carefully. It comes with lubricant on it, but you can add more to the condom, penis, or sex toy.
  4. Find a comfortable position to put in the condom (like lying down, squatting, or standing with one foot up on a chair).
  5. Squeeze the flexible inner ring at the closed end of the condom. Leave the open end hanging down.​
  6. A hand squeezes the inner ring of the internal condom.
  7. With your finger, push the inner ring and sleeve into the vagina as far as it will go. The outer ring should be hanging outside the vagina about 2 to 3 cm (1 inch).
  8. A finger pushes the inner ring of the internal condom into the vagina. The open end is outside of the vagina. The open end of the internal condom is outside of the vagina.
  9. ​Guide the hard (erect) penis or sex toy into the condom. Make sure it goes inside the condom, not beside or under it.
  10. Right after sex, twist the outer ring to keep the semen (cum) from spilling. Pull the condom out gently.
  11. A hand twists the outer ring of the internal condom, which is filled with semen (cum), before pulling it out. 
  12. Tie a knot in the end of the condom and throw it in the garbage (don’t flush it down the toilet).

What if a condom breaks?

  • ​​If an internal condom breaks or is left inside the vagina, or the penis enters the vagina under or beside the condom, get emergency contraception as soon as possible to help prevent pregnancy. Think about keeping an extra pack of emergency contraception pills at home.
  • Think about getting tested for STIs.​

What else is important to know about consent, sexual activity, and birth control?

  • You have the right to decide to have sex or not. Talk with your partner or partners about consent.
  • There’s an 85% chance of becoming pregnant within one year, if no birth control is used for vaginal sex.
  • Use a condom or barrier every time you have sex (oral, vaginal, anal). Condoms help prevent pregnancy, STIs, and HIV.
  • You can lower your risk of HIV by taking an HIV prevention pill every day. Many Albertans can get it for free. Visit HIV PrEP to find out more.
  • Transgender and gender diverse people who have a uterus can use hormonal birth control. It can help prevent pregnancy and make periods lighter and less painful.

Where can I find more information?

If you have questions, need to find a sexual health clinic near you, or want more information, call Health Link at 811 anytime, day or night, to talk to a registered nurse.

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