Female condom

Female condoms are like male condoms except they fit inside the vagina instead of covering the penis. They are 95% effective in preventing pregnancy if used correctly every time you have sex.


Female condoms are very similar to male condoms, except they fit inside the vagina instead of over the penis. They are made of polyurethane and are slightly wider than a male condom. They are held in place with a ring that lies outside the vagina.

Spend a bit of time looking here and finding out more about female condoms. If you have any questions, get in touch with Ask Brook. Ask Brook is confidential. That means we won't tell anyone you contacted us unless we think you're in really serious danger.

How do female condoms work?
How do you use a female condom?
Good things about the female condom
Things to watch out for with the female condom
How effective is the female condom?
What makes the female condom less effective?
Who can use female condoms? 

How do female condoms work?

The female condom lines the vagina and stops sperm getting into it. Look for instructions with the packet which you should read carefully before using female condoms for the first time. 

How do you use female condoms?

Always read the packet instructions, as they will contain a diagram of how to insert the condom but just in case, here's our step by step guide...

  • Take the female condom out of the packet, checking the use-by date on the packet first and making sure there are no rips in it. Watch out for sharp nails, jewellery and teeth!
  • Lie or squat down.
  • Squeeze the ring at the closed end of the condom between your thumb and finger.
  • With your other hand separate the labia (the lips of the vagina).
    Gently push the squeezed ring of the condom into the vagina as far as it will go.
  • Now with your middle finger push the inner ring as far up into the vagina as you can so that it rests just above the pubic bone. The outer ring should hang outside the body.
  • Don’t worry if the condom is a bit loose – that’s how it’s meant to be.
  • It can help if you guide the penis into the vagina so that it goes into the condom and doesn't risk rolling it up into the vagina.
  • After the man has ejaculated twist the outer ring of the condom to keep the semen inside the condom and gently pull it out.
  • Wrap the condom in tissue and bin it (not down the toilet).

It's a good idea to put the condom in before the penis touches the vagina or genital area.

You can put the condom in when you are lying down, squatting or with one leg on a chair. It's worth experimenting with putting the condom in to find the position that suits you best.

As with male condoms you should always use a new condom every time you have sex and check the 'use by' date on the packet. 

Great reasons to use a female condom

  • They protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as well as pregnancy.
  • They can be put in any time before sex.
  • You can use an oil based lubricant without damaging them.. 

Things to watch out for with the female condom

  • They can slip or get pushed up into the vagina if not used properly
  • Need to make sure the penis goes into the female condom and not between the condom and the vagina.
  • They are not always available at contraception and sexual health clinics and are expensive to buy. 

How effective is the female condom?

If it is used properly the female condom is 95% effective, which means that 5 in every 100 women who use female condoms will get pregnant each year. 

What makes the female condom less effective?

  • If it slips or gets pushed out of place.
  • If it is not put in properly. 

Who can use the female condom?

Female condoms are suitable for most women. As they are made from polyurethane, they do not usually cause allergies.

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