How to use a female condom

The female condom is a tube of soft plastic with a closed end. Both ends have a ring or rim. The ring at the closed end is inserted deep into the vagina over the cervix, like a diaphragm, to hold the tube in place. The ring at the open end remains outside the opening of the vagina.

A new female condom is used with each act of sexual intercourse. It can be inserted up to 8 hours before sexual intercourse. A female condom contains lubricant on the inside—it is not used with spermicide.

Do not use a female condom at the same time as a male condom. The female condom is removed immediately after intercourse, before the woman gets up. The outside ring is twisted to close off the condom and hold the semen inside before the condom is removed.

How effective is it?

A female condom may prevent sexually transmitted disease infection, depending on how carefully you use it.1

Among the average population of female condom users, 21 per 100 become pregnant in one year.2


  1. Hatcher RA, et al. (2004). Choosing among available methods. In A Pocket Guide to Managing Contraception, pp. 36–39. Tiger, GA: Bridging the Gap Foundation.
  2. Trussell J (2004). The essentials of contraception: Efficacy, safety, and personal considerations. In RA Hatcher et al., eds., Contraceptive Technology, 18th ed., pp. 221–252. New York: Ardent Media.

Last Updated: December 11, 2008

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