What are female/internal condoms?
A female condom is a thin, single-use, soft pouch which fits inside the vagina or anus. It has a ring on each end, which helps with inserting it into the vagina or anus. Female condoms can be used for vaginal or anal sex and they are the only prevention method that will protect you from pregnancy AND from HIV or other STIs. There is also a male/external condom.
When used correctly, the female condom has a high chance of preventing pregnancy.
How do they work?
Female/internal condoms cover the inside of your vagina, creating a barrier that stops sperm from reaching an egg, and prevents pregnancy. The female/internal condom can also be used in the anus, which provides a barrier inside the anus during sex.
There are people who doubt that these condoms work but they actually provide the same great protection from pregnancy and STIs including HIV as the male condom when used correctly and each and every time you have sex.
Learn how to use a female/internal condom here:
Where to get female condoms?
Female condoms are available at government health facilities and some community organisations. Female condoms can be purchased at some stores e.g. pharmacies, supermarkets, and petrol stations. Search for your nearest facility or store here.
- Many women like this option because they can control condom use. You can put in the female/internal condom up to 8 hours before you have sex. This means that you’ll be ready and don’t have to wait for your partner to get a condom or put one on.
- Condoms protect against STIs and HIV as well as pregnancy.
- Female condoms protect both partners.
- Some people say this type of condom makes sex more pleasurable since female/internal condoms are thinner than male condoms. This could make them feel better for you and your partner.
- They are hormone free and don’t change your period.
- Female condoms can be used when breastfeeding.
- Female condoms are safe for people who are allergic to latex.
- Some women find it difficult to insert the female condom.
- Some women feel that the inner ring causes discomfort — always follow the insertion instructions above to ensure a good fit.
Important points to remember when using a female condom
- Some female condoms come pre-lubricated, and others come with a separate packet of lubrication. If you need more lubrication, only use lubricants made of water, silicone, or glycol. You can also use clean water or saliva for extra lubrication.
- Do not use baby oil for extra lubrication as this can cause the condom to tear.
- Do not use a female condom and male condom together at the same time. Using both at the same time can cause condoms to tear.
- Leaving the female condom inside the vagina for a long time after having sex may cause a urinary tract infection.
Using condoms every time you have oral, anal, or vaginal sex is the best way to reduce your chances of getting or spreading HIV and STIs. So even if you’re using another type of contraceptive (like the pill), it’s a good idea to also use condoms to prevent the spread of HIV and STIs. This is called dual protection.
Is the male condom your ideal contraceptive? Take the test!