How to Use the Female Condom

Woman holding female condom, Close-up of hands, (Close-up)
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The female condom has several advantages over the male condom. Its use is controlled by the woman. This provides a nice option in a world where most STD prevention technologies are controlled by men. It covers more surface area. This allows it to protect more thoroughly against STDs that are spread through skin-to-skin contact. It can also be inserted earlier on during foreplay, or even up to 8 hours before you have sex, since it doesn't require an erect penis to use.

In fact, that's another advantage. The female condom is a great option where the insertive partner has trouble maintaining an erection.

All in all, it's a bit surprising that more people don't use the female condom. Its biggest disadvantage is that it's different. It can be a bit intimidating to figure out how to use the female condom the first time. Here's what you need to do.


  1. Check the expiration date on the condom, and open the package.
  2. Unroll the condom and find the ring on the closed end.
  3. Find a comfortable position, such as squatting, sitting on the toilet, lying down, or standing with one leg raised. Squeeze the ring (on the closed end) together with your thumb and middle finger. Then, insert the closed end of the condom into your vagina.
  4. Put your index or middle finger into the condom. Push the ring you've inserted as far into your vagina as it will go. The ring at the open end should remain outside of the vagina.
  1. Make certain that the condom isn't twisted inside the vagina.
  2. During intercourse, guide the penis into the outside, open ring of the condom. (If the outer ring slips into the vagina during intercourse, take a break. You should remove the female condom and replace it with a new one.)
  3. After intercourse, twist the outside end of the condom gently to close it off. This holds in any ejaculated semen. Gently pull the condom from the body.
  1. Wrap the twisted condom in some tissue, or the package it came in, and throw it away in a garbage can. Do not flush the female condom.


  1. Using the female condom properly requires the cooperation of both partners. During penetration, it is important for the man to make certain that he is inserting his penis into the condom. Some men find that there's better tactile feedback if they penetrate between the outside of the condom and the vaginal wall. However, that defeats the purpose of using the condom.
  2. Practice makes perfect! People get better at using the female condom over time.
  3. Putting lubricant both inside and outside the condom can make the experience more pleasurable. It is safe to use oil-based lubricants with these condoms. Unlike with latex condoms, oil-based​ lubricants will not cause female condoms to degrade..
  4. The female condom can be inserted early during foreplay. Even better, it does not need to be removed immediately after intercourse. This can provide extra flexibility during sexual play.
  5. Do not use the female condom with a male condom. The friction between the two condoms can cause one or both of them to tear.
  6. The female condom is made of polyurethane or nitrile, not latex. Therefore it can be used by people with latex allergies.

    Note: Some people enjoy using the female condom for anal sex, usually after removing the inner ring. There is not much data on whether this is a safe and effective use of the female condom.


    Beksinska M, Smit J, Greener R, Piaggio G, Joanis C. The female condom learning curve: patterns of female condom failure over 20 uses. Contraception. 2015 Jan;91(1):85-90. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2014.09.011.

    Rodriguez K, Ventura-DiPersia C, LeVasseur MT, Kelvin EA. Inconsistencies on U.S. Departments of Health Websites Regarding Anal Use of the Female Condom. AIDS Behav. 2015 Jul;19(7):1141-9. doi: 10.1007/s10461-014-0933-6.