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.

How are female condoms different from male condoms?

The main difference between male and female condoms is the size. Female condoms are much larger than a male condom. They are designed to coat the vagina and the external part extends over the vulva to minimise the skin-on-skin contact.

Like male condoms, female condoms have a top, or closed end, and an open end. A difference between the two types of condoms is that internal condoms don’t have a teat end to gather semen. Instead, the closed end has a sort of cap consisting of a piece of synthetic latex and a flexible rubber or silicone ring.

This cap is designed to fit over the cervix, enhancing the condom strength and preventing the semen from entering the womb.

The open end also finished with a ring, but this ring is larger and its role is only structural. The larger ring and a portion of the condom should protect your vulva from coming in contact with your partner’s penis. In this way, the condom protects you against sexually transmitted infections.

How do internal condoms feel?

Unlike male condoms that fit snugly on the penis, female condoms are not tight at all. They don’t inhibit blood flow or the movement, nor do they provide the dull sensation many external condoms provide. Thus, it is believed that female condoms feel more natural than male condoms.

Most female condoms are made of polyurethane – there are some exceptions, but you can expect most options to be latex-free.

In other words, everyone can use female condoms without worrying about latex allergies or sensitivity.

Polyurethane is a type of plastic similar to cling wrap. Male condoms made of polyurethane often feel too synthetic, but in the case of female condoms, the material is a much better choice than natural rubber latex or polyisoprene.

Polyurethane’s main advantage is that it conducts heat better. This characteristic will help you increase the sense of intimacy between you and your partner.

Because female condoms are silky smooth and lubricated, and because polyurethane is thinner than polyisoprene and latex, many people using female condoms compare the sensation with bare skin sex. The main reason why female condoms are not as popular as male condoms is because they’re slightly trickier to use – although the advantages they bring might outweigh the downsides.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Make sure the large ring at the open end of the condom covers the area around your vagina.
  4. Guide your partner’s penis inside the condom. Make sure the penis doesn’t go between the condom and the side of your vagina.
  5. After sex, twist the larger ring to prevent semen from leaking out and remove the condom immediately by gently pulling it out.
  6. 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 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:

Pros and Cons of Using Female Condoms

Female condom advantages

Female condoms may seem complicated, but in reality they are a cinch to use and come with many advantages.

Female condom disadvantages

Like everything else, female condoms also have some drawbacks, too.

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.

Which is safer male or female condoms?

Male condoms are slightly more effective than female condoms – 98% versus 95%, respectively. However, both condom types protect you from STIs.

Are there any male condoms I can use to satisfy my partner?

Not sure if you want to give female condoms a try but would like to use a special condom to satisfy her? There are plenty of options.

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:

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: