Female condoms are really effective when they are used properly and they minimise the risk of pregnancy and protect against most (but not all) sexually transmitted infections. It takes a little practice to use one properly - read the package instructions carefully and check out the tips below:
- Be careful that condoms don’t tear when opening the packet – be careful of long nails and jewellery.
- Condoms should be put in before there is any genital contact or penetration. The female condom can be inserted hours before having sex. If there’s a chance you might have sex you could put one in, just to be sure. Female condoms can be used at any stage of your monthly cycle.
- Squeeze the small inner ring between your thumb and forefinger. Insert the condom into the vagina and push inside as far as you can
- Put your finger inside the condom until you can feel the bottom of the inner ring. The larger outer ring will stay outside your vagina
- Oil and water-based lubricants can be used with the female condom and should be used inside the female condom
- When sex starts, guide the penis into the outer ring to make sure that it does not go on the side, passing by the condom
- After ejaculation you must remove the condom by twisting the outer ring (to keep the semen inside) then gently pull it out
- There will still be semen (fluid that spurts out of the penis at ejaculation) on the penis so keep it away from the vagina
- Wrap the condom and dispose of it safely and hygienically (not down the toilet).
- Condoms can only be used once.
Condoms offer the best protection from sexually transmitted infections and HIV but no method of contraception can provide 100% protection from sexually transmitted infections, HIV or pregnancy.
Never use a condom after its expiry date. Ensure the condom has a kite or CE mark. If there is a kite or CE mark on the pack of condoms, this means that the condoms are of a high quality. This mark will be located on the back of the condom pack and/or on back of the condom wrapper. Never use a condom more than once. It is advised that condoms not be stored directly in a person’s pocket unless it is in a protective box. This is due to the flexing and movement within the pocket that may cause damage.