Female Condom

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.

Proudly made in Sheffield by Preventx (CQC), and in partnership with local providers.

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