What are female condoms?
Female condoms are flexible pouches designed to be inserted inside the vagina (or anus) before intercourse. Similar to male condoms, they protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.
Also called internal condoms, female condoms are not as popular as male rubbers. They may feel complicated to use; however, they are often more comfortable and can make sex more pleasurable for both partners.
Female condoms are also an excellent alternative for couples who can’t use external (male) condoms for one reason or another. For instance, they come in handy if you can’t find a condom in your size or if you need a snug fit or king size latex free condom.
What are female condoms made of?
Like male condoms, female condoms can be made of natural rubber latex or non-latex materials. That said, the vast majority of female condoms are made of synthetic latex or polyurethane – two materials safe to use by people with latex allergies.
The choice of non-latex materials is based on the material resistance. Polyurethane and polyisoprene are stronger than natural rubber latex. Condoms made of these materials are also thinner than latex condoms, heightening the sensations and allowing for a more natural feel.
Are female condoms reliable?
Female condoms are safe, but not as safe as male condoms. With perfect use, internal condoms are 95% effective. With normal use, their effectiveness drops to around 75% - 82%. By comparison, male condoms are 98% effective with perfect use and about 88% effective with normal use. Perfect use means using the condom exactly as instructed.
Similar to male condoms, female condoms protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Female condoms can fail for the same reasons as male condoms, including:
- The condom is broken or gets damaged before or during intercourse.
- You fail using a condom each time you have intercourse.
- You do not use the condom properly (the penis is inserted between the condom and the vagina, not into the condom).
- The penis has touched the vagina before you’ve put on the condom.
- The contents of the condom is spilled as it is being removed.
- The condom has manufacturing defects. Although this is rare, you should always inspect the condom before use.
Female condom advantages
Female condoms may seem complicated, but in reality they are a cinch to use and come with many advantages.
- You can plan ahead: Putting on a condom in the heat of the moment can be dreadful, but female condoms allow you to plan ahead. You can place them up to eight hours before intercourse, and even if you may not want to go about your business with a condom inside your vagina, it’s still nice to know that you can insert it when getting ready for sex, then enjoy the moment without interruptions. Planning ahead also makes it less likely to damage the condom in the rush of the moment.
- They give women freedom: Female condoms give women the freedom to protect themselves from pregnancy and sexually transmitting infections without relying on their partner for protection.
- They can enhance intimacy: Female condoms are thinner than most male condoms and have a more generous diameter. It is less likely to feel these condoms during intercourse, and they will never constrict the penis. Thus, they can make safe sex more pleasurable.
- Female condoms are safe to use in delicate situations: You can use female condoms during menstruation or pregnancy, after recent childbirth, or after a miscarriage.
- They can be used by all couples: Female condoms were designed for women, but can also be placed inside the anus and protect you from STIs during anal sex. These condoms can be used by heterosexual and same-sex couples alike, and are an excellent choice when you can’t find male condoms in the right size.
Female condom disadvantages
Like everything else, female condoms also have some drawbacks, too.
- They may reduce clitoral stimulation: Female condoms are larger sheaths with an external part that should cover the vulva. The external ring of the condom could end up being placed on top of the clitoris and its rubbing action may make intercourse less enjoyable for her. Extra lube could help reduce friction and transform discomfort into pleasure. Since each woman will experience the sensation differently, you have to try to figure out whether it’s pleasure or discomfort.
- The condom may be pushed inside the vagina during intercourse: Unlike male condoms, female condoms are very easy to remove from inside your body if they get pushed in. However, if most of the condom gets pushed, you may be at risk of sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.
- The condom can make awkward noises: Whilst noises don’t cut off the condom’s effectiveness, they might distract you. Using plenty of lube will usually help solve this issue.
- Female condoms are more expensive than male condoms: You will also have fewer options to choose from.
Are female condoms right for me?
Unlike male condoms – most of which are made of latex— female condoms are made of polyisoprene or polyurethane. These materials are safe for people who are allergic to natural rubber latex. An advantage of female condoms over male condoms is that they are not affected by changes in temperature or dampness. In other words, you can store them in a handbag or wallet. In addition, some women like that the condom’s external ring touches the clitoris, finding it stimulating.
However, female condoms are not appropriate for everyone. You may consider using other contraceptive methods if:
- You are not comfortable with the insertion technique or are not comfortable touching your genital area.
- You are at high risk of pregnancy and vaginal barrier contraceptive methods have already failed you. Women considered high risk are younger than 30, have sex three or more times a week, and are not likely to consistently use the female condom.
- Have vaginal abnormalities that interfere with the placement, fit or retention of the female condom.
- Are allergic to polyurethane or synthetic latex. These allergies are rarer than having a latex allergy, but they can still affect some people.
How to use female condoms?
Female condoms are easier to use than you might think. Before using a female condom, read its instructions carefully and inspect the packet. Do not use a condom that is past its expiration date. Never use a female condom and male condom at the same time. The friction between the layers of latex can damage both condoms. Using two condoms at the same time increases the risk of pregnancy and contracting or transmitting STIs.
- Open the package carefully and remove the female condom; pay attention not to tear or damage it. Inspect the condom for damage before using it. If you notice any tears or small holes, discard it and use a new condom.
- Squeeze the small ring at the closed end of the condom and insert it into the vagina. The ring will usually open up once inside, but you can use your fingers to adjust the condom – you should avoid manipulating the condom with your fingers if you have long nails or if you’re wearing jewellery that could damage the condom.
- Make sure the large ring at the open end of the condom covers the area around your vagina.
- Guide your partner’s penis inside the condom. Make sure the penis doesn’t go between the condom and the side of your vagina.
- After sex, twist the larger ring to prevent semen from leaking out and remove the condom immediately by gently pulling it out.
- Throw the used condom in a bin; never flush the condom down the toilet.
Most female condoms are lightly lubricated to make them easier to use, but you may also like to use additional lube. If you decide to use additional lubricant, always check the condom packet to see what lube is compatible with your condom.
Like male condoms, most female condoms are safe to use with water-based and silicone-based lubricant. Polyurethane condoms may also be safe to use with oil-based or petroleum-based products, such as massage oils, body creams and lotions, Vaseline, and even kitchen oil. However, oil and petroleum products can damage polyisoprene condoms.
Are dental dams and female condoms the same?
No, dental dams and female condoms are two different sexual health products. Female condoms are used to protect yourself from pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections during penetrative sex. Dental dams protect you from sexually transmitted infections during oral sex (mouth-to-vagina or mouth-to-anus).
Dental dams are thin sheets of latex or polyisoprene designed to cover your vulva or anus area. They make oral sex more hygienic and safer. Oral dams can also be used for fellatio, although it is easier to use male condoms for the purpose.
You can find plain or flavoured oral dams. Flavoured oral dams often have the same taste as flavoured condoms. To increase pleasure, you may use dental dams with a few drops of lubricant.
Tips to using female condoms
If you’ve never used female condoms before, check out the tips below to make the process easier and more fun.
- Practice in advance: If putting on a male condom requires practice, so does using a female condom. Read the instructions and do some practice before using a female condom for sex with your partner. If you want to test how it works, try using a female condom with a dildo or vaginal massager.
- Add lube on both sides: The friction between the condom and your vaginal walls can reduce natural lubrication. You can heighten the sensations and make sex more pleasurable by adding a few drops of your favourite personal lube. Extra lube inside the condom can make intercourse more pleasurable for your partner.
- Never reuse the condom: You should never clean and reuse the condom. Like male condoms, female condoms are disposable and should be thrown away immediately after use.
Where can I buy female condoms?
Female condoms are not as readily available as male condoms. Luckily, you can buy them right here at Condoms.uk. Here are a few reasons to browse our range and buy female condoms from us:
- Genuine condoms only from trusted brands: At Condoms.uk, we only sell genuine condoms by trusted brands. All products in our shop carry the European CE mark or British BSI Kitemark, which means they have meet or exceed the required safety standards.
- Much more than female condoms: At Condoms.uk, we stock a wide range of condoms for women, male condoms, personal lubricants, and accessories. There is no reason to keep scouring the web aimlessly. You can find all the products you need for a fulfilling and satisfying sex life in one place.
- Discreet delivery: We know you don’t want the whole neighbourhood to know what you’ve ordered. Things could get even more awkward if you want to have the parcel delivered to your workplace. That’s why we’ll deliver everything in generic, non-branded packaging. The envelopes and cardboard boxes we use make no reference to condoms, sex toys, or lube. You won’t even find our website’s name on the label. The only things written on each package is your delivery address and a harmless, P.O. Box return address.
- Free/super cheap Royal Mail delivery: At Condoms.uk, we strive to bring you the best sexual health products at the best prices, and that means very cheap or free delivery. Spend £25 or more to unlock free nationwide delivery. Delivery fees are as low as 99p is you spend less than that. Could it get even better? Yes. You can benefit from free next-day delivery if you spend £50 or more.