Female condoms 101: What you need to know

how do female condoms work

There’s nothing worse than not having a condom in the heat of the moment. While male condoms (condoms that go over the penis to prevent ejaculate from entering a partner) are one of the most common forms of contraception, female condoms (condoms that go inside the vaginal canal to prevent ejaculate from entering) also exist and pose many different advantages that have us thinking about making the switch.

What are female condoms?

A female condom is a form of contraception used for vaginal sex that prevents sperm from reaching the uterus. Sometimes referred to as internal condoms, female condoms are inserted into the vagina and act as a barrier during sex. FC1 was the original type of female condom approved by the FDA and was made out of plastic. However, FC1 is no longer produced and was been replaced by FC2. FC2 is an FDA approved female condom made of synthetic latex that is safe for those with rubber latex allergies. 

Why use a female condom?

There are many advantages to using a female condom. First of all, they allow anyone with a vagina to have full control of contraception use during sex to prevent STIs and pregnancy. Unlike male condoms, female condoms don’t require an erection before inserting them and can be inserted up to 8 hours before sex. Likewise, female condoms don’t have to be removed immediately after sex.

Female condoms are usually bigger and wider than male condoms, as they cover a wider area. Like male condoms, female condoms come pre-lubricated and you can add more on your own. In terms of protection, female condoms are 95% effective when used correctly while male condoms are 95% effective when used correctly. 

Where to buy female condoms?

As there is only one FDA approved brand of female condoms, they can be harder to find than male condoms. The FC2 Female Condom can be found on the brand’s website, at any Planned Parenthood, and at most drugstores.  They are usually sold in packs of 12 and are more expensive than male condoms, typically $2-$3 per condom while male condoms range from $0.20 to $2.50 each.

How to use a female condom

Most female condoms have two rings: one that holds the condom inside of the vagina and one to prevent the condom from going too far up the vagina. To insert the condom, pinch the inner closed ring together making it long and narrow. Using your fingers, insert the closed end of the condom into the vagina as far as possible. It helps to put one of your fingers inside the condom and push the inserted ring all the way up to the cervix with the open end about 1 inch outside of the vagina. Double-check that the condom is not twisted. Once the condom is inserted, you shouldn’t be able to feel it in you.  

During sex, the penis should go inside the open ring of the condom. Do not use a male condom while using a female condom as the friction between the two can cause tears. To remove it, grasp the outer ring of the condom and twist it gently to close off any semen inside of it. Then, gently and slowly pull the condom out of the body and dispose of it. As with any condom, it’s best to check for holes before and after intercourse and be sure to read the instructions.

We hope this was helpful information for practicing safe and enjoyable sex. For more like this, For more information and resources on all things health, head to the Stix Library or send us your questions at hello@getstix.co

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