The female condom is made of pre-lubricated nitrile (a type of soft plastic), which is inserted into the vagina before sex.
It has a flexible ring at each end to hold it in place when it is inserted into the vagina.
How does it work?
Female condoms provide a barrier which collects the semen (fluid that contains sperm) and stops the transfer of fluids to a partner.
How well does it work?
Female condoms are 95% effective at preventing pregnancy when used perfectly, but in real life they can be less effective (79%) because condoms can break and are not always used correctly.
Condoms (including female condoms) are the best protection against STIs but are less effective at preventing pregnancy than some other types of contraception.
What are the benefits?
Condoms are the only form of contraception which help protect against STIs.
Female condoms can be used at the same time as other effective types of contraception such as the implant or the Pill, although they shouldn’t be used at the same time as male condoms.
Female condom use is controlled by the woman.
There is no need to see a doctor to get them.
The external ring of the female condom may stimulate the clitoris, making sex more pleasurable.
What are the downsides?
- You need to use a new female condom each time you have sex.
- Female condoms are more expensive and not as effective as male condoms.
- Female condoms can be hard to find in Australia.
The female condom is another choice for STI protection.
Are there side effects?
There are no side-effects and it’s very rare that someone is allergic to nitrile or the lube.
Can anyone use a female condom?
Anyone can choose to use female condoms.
Where do you get it?
Female condoms can be difficult to find but are stocked at Family Planning NSW clinics, some chemists and online.