The female condom is now available in several retail outlets. The female condom offers the potential of giving women the chance of more control over their own protection. Like the male condom, proper use is crucial to its effectiveness.
The female condom is a sheath that lines the vagina, with two flexible plastic rings at either end. The closed end is inserted in the vagina and the open end hangs outside the body against the outer lips of the vagina. The condom comes with a water-based lubricant to make insertion easier and to allow comfortable movement during sex. It may be inserted into the vagina up to eight hours before intercourse.
- Do not use damaged, discoloured, brittle, or sticky condoms.
- Check the expiration date.
- Carefully open the condom package; teeth or fingernails can tear the condom.
- First, inspect the condom and make certain it is completely lubricated on the outside and the inside.
- The female condom is inserted into the vagina with fingers, much like a tampon that has no applicator. To do so: hold the condom at the closed end and squeeze the flexible inner ring with thumb and middle finger so it becomes long and narrow. With the other hand, separate the outer lips of the vulva.
- Gently insert the inner ring end as far into the vagina as possible, using the index finger to push up the inner ring until the finger reaches the cervix (similar to how a diaphragm would be inserted).
- Before intercourse, make certain the condom is in place.
- Add a water-based lubricant onto the penis and/or the inside of the female condom. Be sure that the penis is not entering the vaginal canal outside of the condom.
- To remove the condom, twist the outer ring and gently pull the condom out to avoid any spillage.
- Dispose of the condom.
- Do not use a male condom along with a female condom. If the two condoms rub together, the friction between them can cause the male condom to be pulled off or the female condom to be pushed in.