- If used correctly, female condoms are 95% effective.
- They protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- A female condom needs to be placed inside the vagina before there's any contact with the penis.
- Always buy condoms that have the European CE mark or the UKCA mark on the packet. This means they have been tested to high safety standards.
- A female condom can get pushed inside the vagina during sex, but it's easy to remove them yourself if this happens.
- Female condoms may not be suitable for women who are not comfortable touching their genital area.
- Female condoms should not be reused. Open a new one each time you have sex.
- Condoms have a use-by date on the packaging. Do not use out-of-date condoms.
How female condoms work
Female condoms are a barrier method of contraception worn inside the vagina. They prevent pregnancy by stopping sperm meeting an egg.
A female condom can be put into the vagina before sex, but make sure the penis does not come into contact with the vagina before the condom has been put in.
Semen can still come out of the penis even before a man has had an orgasm (fully ejaculated).
When used correctly, condoms are the only method of contraception that protects against both pregnancy and STIs.
How to use a female condom
- Open the packet and remove the female condom, taking care not to tear it. Do not open the packet with your teeth.
- Squeeze the smaller ring at the closed end of the condom and put it into the vagina.
- Make sure the large ring at the open end of the condom covers the area around the opening of the vagina.
- Make sure the penis goes in the female condom, not between the condom and the side of the vagina.
- After sex, remove the female condom immediately by gently pulling it out. You can twist the large ring to prevent semen leaking out.
- Throw away the condom in a bin, not the toilet.
Female condoms come pre-lubricated to make them easier to use, but you may also like to use additional lube.
Check the packet to find out which lubricants are suitable.