Finger Cot or Finger Condom

A finger cot is a condom for your finger. They can be purchased or made from latex or nitrile gloves.. Photo © Elizabeth R. Boskey

What is a Finger Cot?

A  finger cot is a "glove" that covers only one finger. It is basically a "finger condom."

Finger cots are often recommended as a safer sex device for fingering. Finger cots can be purchased online and in some drugstores. You can also make them yourself by cutting a finger off a latex or nitrile glove.

Finger cots can be a nice barrier method, if you're only using one finger for sex.

They can potentially reduce fomite transmission of STDs such as HPV from under fingernails. They may also be more comfortable than gloves for people with large or unusually shaped hands. However, for most people, gloves are usually both easier to find and easier to use. If nothing else, they're less likely to roll up or fall off during use.

Also Known As: finger glove, finger condom

Do People Use Finger Cots?

Although recommending finger cots was a standard part of HIV education in the 1980s and 90s, they're not commonly used. Why? Because finger cots are both difficult to find and not particularly useful. Gloves work far better at protecting skin. They're also much easier to access, particularly now that they're stocked at most drugstores.

The one exception is for people who want more sensitivity in their hands when they're inserting fingers (or small toys) somewhere that would benefit from protection.

Gloves can be somewhat restrictive feeling, particularly for people who aren't used to wearing them. Although that can usually be remedied by buying larger gloves, that's not always immediately practical. In such cases, it might be easier for someone to cut a finger off a glove to use as a finger cot in the moment

The other downside for using finger cots on fingers or toys is that they ARE small. That means they may be easier to lose track of than condoms (which can also fall off if used improperly) or gloves. That's less of a tragedy in the vagina than in the rectum. After all, the vagina is a closed system. If necessary, the person in whom the finger cot has been lost can fish around with their own fingers to find it. That's more of a problem in the rectum. (It's also been reported as a problem when finger cots are improperly used to cover medical devices. The more you know...)


Barras JP, Bigler P, Czerniak A. A rare complication of the use of a finger cot to protect the cuff of a tracheal tube during nasotracheal intubation. Intensive Care Med. 1993;19(3):174-5

Fu TC, Hughes JP, Feng Q, Hulbert A, Hawes SE, Xi LF, Schwartz SM, Stern JE, Koutsky LA, Winer RL. Epidemiology of Human Papillomavirus Detected in the Oral Cavity and Fingernails of Mid-Adult Women. Sex Transm Dis. 2015 Dec;42(12):677-85. doi: 10.1097/OLQ.0000000000000362.

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