What is a female condom?

A female condom is a birth control device that is placed in the vagina to stop sperm from reaching the uterus. 

It is made out of synthetic latex and is worn by a female to prevent pregnancy and STDs.  But you should know that it has only been proven to be 79% effective against pregnancy.  Meaning that 21 out of 100 women who used it for a year, ended up getting pregnant. 

There are more effective ways to prevent pregnancy than a female condom, including birth control and male condoms.

The female condom is a soft, loose-fitting pouch made of latex that has a ring on each end.  One ring goes inside the vagina to hold the condom in place.  The ring at the open end of the condom stays outside the vagina. The outer ring helps keep the condom in place and is also used to remove the condom.

Some of the benefits of a female condom is:

  1. It’s immediately effective when used correctly. Unlike birth control you don’t have to wait for the medicine to start working.
  2. You don’t have to rely on your male partner to wear a condom to protect yourself
  3. It will protect you from sexually transmitted infections
  4. Female condoms are available without a doctor’s appointment, prescription, or special fitting
  5. It can be inserted up to eight hours before sex
  6. It doesn’t need an erect penis to be used like a male condom does

But remember that a female condom isn’t as good as other kinds of birth control.  Don’t use a female condom for birth control if you are:

  • younger than age 30
  • if you have sex three or more times a week
  • if aren’t going to be consistent with using the female condom EVERY time you have sex
  • aren’t sure you can insert the condom correctly

The female condom has a higher failure rate than the male condom, meaning that it is easier for you to get pregnant or get a STI when using a female condom than using male condoms. 

A female condom will not give you protection against pregnancy or STIs if the condom breaks or slips out, if the penis slips between your vagina and the condom, or if the outer ring gets pushed into the vagina during sex. 

If you decide to use a female condom, here is what you should know:

  • Practice inserting the female condom before the first time you use it for sex.
  • Make sure it stays in place during sex.
  • Never reuse a female condom.
  • Don’t use a female condom at the same time as a male condom. They can stick together and break.   
  • When you insert the condom, squeeze the ring at the closed end of the pouch with your middle finger and thumb and put it in your vagina like a tampon. Place your index finger inside the condom and push the ring up as far as it will go.
  • Don’t allow the condom to twist. Make sure the outer ring remains outside the vagina, extending about 1 inch. You can place the female condom inside your vagina up to eight hours before sex.
  • When you are having sex, guide the penis into the female condom. Make sure the penis doesn’t slip between your vagina and the female condom.
  • During sex, make sure the outer ring of the condom doesn’t get pushed into the vagina.
  • After sex, remove the female condom carefully. Twist the outer ring so that the semen is contained inside the condom and gently pull it out of your vagina.  Throw it away in the trash, not the toilet. 

It’s important to talk to your doctor or your parent about the best forms of birth control and protection from sexually transmitted diseases.  Remember that you need protection every time you have sex.

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