Condom (Women)

THE BASICS

What is it?


The condom for women (female condom) is a tube with a flexible ring at the open and closed ends. It’s made of synthetic rubber and covered in a silicone-based lubricant. You slide the closed end into your vagina and push the ring into place over the cervix. The ring at the open end should hang outside the vagina.

How well does it prevent pregnancy?


While very important for preventing sexually transmitted diseases or infections, this is one of the least effective forms of birth control. It has one of the highest pregnancy rates of all birth control methods.

About 21 out of 100 women using female condoms get pregnant in a year of use.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Blocks sperm from entering the vagina.

WHAT ARE SOME PRODUCT NAMES?

FC2 is the only brand available in the United States.

PROS

  • You control this method. You don’t have to ask your partner to wear a condom.
  • No need to interrupt sex to use the female condom. You can put it in hours ahead of time.
  • Small and easy to carry, so you can always be prepared.
  • Hormone-free.
  • To protect against STIs and increase effectiveness, can be used with some forms of birth control (such as the pill or shot), though not all (cannot be used with diaphragm or sponge, for example).
  • No latex involved. You can use this method if you or your partner has a latex allergy.
  • Reversible. Stop using the female condom if you want to try to get pregnant.

CONS

  • One of the least effective forms of birth control.
  • You have to use a condom every time you have sex.
  • Inserting the condom may interrupt sex unless you put it in earlier.
  • Can slip out or break. If this happens, you could get pregnant.
  • Correct use is important. You’ll need to guide the penis into the opening of the female condom and make sure it doesn’t slip around the opening during sex. Right after sex, you should twist the opening of the condom, remove it and throw it in the trash.
  • Can tear or get tiny holes.
  • Need a prescription to buy at a drugstore or online (or you can get a prescription online through the FC2 website).
  • Best to choose another method if you don’t want to put your fingers in your vagina or have problems inserting or removing the condom.