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Female Condom

What is it?

A female condom is intended to be worn by women during sex. It can help prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS.

A female condom is a soft, loose fitting plastic pouch that lines the vagina. It has a soft ring at each end. The ring at the closed end is used to put the device inside the vagina and holds it in place. The other ring stays outside the vagina and partly covers the lip area.

How do you use a female condom?

1. Before you insert female condom

Find a comfortable position. Try standing with one foot up on a chair, or sit with knees apart, or squat down.

Be sure the inner ring is at the bottom, the closed-end of the pouch.

If you wish, add a drop of extra lubricant to the closed-end outside tip of the pouch or to the outside ring for extra comfort before you insert female condom.

2. To insert female condom

Hold the pouch with the open end hanging down. While holding the outside of the pouch, squeeze the inner ring with your thumb and middle finger.

Place your index finger between the thumb and middle finger and keep squeezing the inner ring.(a)

Or squeeze (b) - whichever is easier for you.

Still squeezing the condom with your hand, insert the squeezed female condom. Take your time. If the condom is too slippery to insert, let it go and start over.

Now push the inner ring and the pouch the rest of the way up into the vagina with your index finger, check to be sure the inner ring is up just past the pubic bone. You will feel the pubic bone by curving your index finger when it is a couple of inches inside the vagina.

Make sure the condom is inserted straight into the vagina. It is also important that the outside ring lies against the outer lips.

About one inch of the open end will stay outside your body. This part of the condom helps protect you and your partner during sex.

3. During Intercourse

You may notice that the condom moves around during sex.

Movement side-so-side of the outer ring is normal.

Sometimes the condom may slip up and down in the vagina, ‘riding’ on the penis. If you notice the condom is slipping, add lubricant to the penis or inside the pouch.

If you begin to feel the outer ring being pushed into the vagina, STOP. If the penis starts to enter underneath or beside the sheath, STOP. Take out the condom. Put in a new female condom, and add extra lubricant to the opening of the pouch or on the penis. Make sure the outside part lies over the lip area.

4. After Intercourse

To take out the condom, squeeze and twist the outer ring to keep the sperm inside the pouch. Pull out gently. Throw away in a trash can. Do not flush. Do not reuse.

When to use a female condom?

The condom can be inserted up to 8 hours before sex. However, most women insert a condom between 2 to 20 minutes before sex. The condom should be removed after sex and before you stand up. It is for one-time use. Use a new condom with each sex act.

Problems using a female condom

Some women have reported problems using female condoms. One of the problems is the outer ring can be pushed inside the vagina during sex. Some women have also reported that the penis slipped to the side of the device on entering the vagina. Other problems include difficulty inserting female condom, minor irritation, discomfort and breakage.

Storage Instructions

Store condom at normal room temperature. Do not use condom beyond its expiration date because it will not work as well.

FAQ - Female Condom

Questions you may have about the proper use of female condom

Q: Will female condom always protect against pregnancy and STDs?

A: No method is 100 percent effective. Latex condoms for men are highly effective at preventing sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, if used properly. If you are not going to use a male condom, you can use a female condom to help protect yourself and your partner.

Q: How do I know when condom is up further enough?

A: Using your index finger, push the device so that the lower ring of the device is against the public bone. You will find the public bone by curving your index finger when it is a couple of inches inside the vagina.

Q: What do I do if the outer ring is pushed inside the vagina?

A: STOP. Remove the condom device. Insert a new condom according the directions. This problem can occur if there isn’t enough lubricant or if the inner ring isn’t in the proper position.

Q: Will a female condom be noisy during sex?

A: If properly lubricated, there should be little noise. If you experience noise during sex, add extra lubricant.

Q: Will I feel the female condom once it is in place?

A: Some people may feel the condom and some may not if it is properly in place and lubricated.

Q: Will the condom rip or tear while I am using it?

A: Studies show that female condoms rips or tears less than 1% of the time. If you think condom has been ripped or torn, remove it right away, and insert a new condom device.

Q: What does the outer ring feel like during sex?

A: While aware that the outer ring is there, most women say that once they become comfortable with how it looks, they forget about it and don’t feel during sex.

Q: What do I do if condom does not stay in place during sex?

A: If condom moves around the vagina causing discomfort, either push it back up or remove the condom. If you push it back up, add lubricant. If you remove it, use a new one and add extra lubricant.



Updated: July 2006
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