Female Condom, General Contraception Information

What is it?

  • Very thin, soft tubing made of polyurethane that is inserted into and loosely lines the vagina.

How does it work?

  • It acts as a barrier between the penis and vagina so sperm doesn’t enter the vagina and reach the egg.

What’s great about it?

  • Quite effective. 5 out of 100 women using them will get pregnant each year. If not used properly more women will become pregnant (21 in 100).
  • nyone can buy them in a store – does not need a prescription
  • Does not contain hormones so no side effects and periods are not affected.
  • Just use it when you have sex. Can be put in any time before sex so as to not interrupt it.
  • Protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Can use it with any lubricant – not affected by oil based lubricants.

What’s not so great about it?

  • It is less effective than most methods but better than using nothing.
  • It can fail because: penis enters you between the condom and the vagina, not inside the condom; condom can be pushed too far into the vagina – the open end should always be outside the vagina; it slips out
  • Needs to be used every time you have sex.
  • Can “interrupt the mood” during sex if not inserted beforehand.
  • Can cause vaginal/penile irritation.
  • More expensive than a male condom.
  • Can make sex noisy, but adding extra lubricant can help.

Where can I get it?

  • Sexual Health clinics
  • Family planning clinics
  • Buy it at pharmacies and supermarkets.

Additional Links

SH.UK offers a range of free sexual health service such as STI testing, treatment and contraception across the UK. Simply register then complete an online consultation to order your free STI test kit.

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