What is it?Female condoms are made from polyurethane. When used correctly during vaginal sex, they help to protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Condoms (male or female) are the only contraception that protect against pregnancy and STIs.
How does it work?
The female condom is worn inside the vagina to stop sperm getting to the womb. It needs to be placed in the vagina before there's any contact between the vagina and penis.
To use a female condom:
How effective are female condoms?
If used correctly and consistently, female condoms are 95% effective. This means that five out of 100 women using female condoms as contraception will become pregnant in a year.
Always buy condoms that have the CE mark on the packet. This means that they've been tested to the high European safety standards. Condoms that don't have the CE mark won't meet these standards, so don't use them.
By preventing the exchange of bodily fluids, female condoms help to protect against many STIs, including HIV.
Whatever your age, even if you're under 16, you can get free condoms from community contraceptive and sexual health (CaSH) clinics, sexual health and genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics, some young people's services, and some GP surgeries. You can also buy condoms in pharmacies and supermarkets.
What else should I know?
Female condoms can get pushed too far into the vagina, but it's easy to remove them yourself.
Although female condoms (when used correctly) offer reliable protection against pregnancy, you need to use another method of contraception as well. This is to protect you against an unintended pregnancy if the condom splits or comes off.
If a female condom slips or fails, you can use emergency contraception to help to prevent pregnancy. This is for emergencies only, and shouldn't be used as a regular form of contraception.
If you've been at risk of unintended pregnancy, you're also at risk of catching an STI.
Female Condoms are freely available from Contraception Clinics. Use the Service Finder to find a clinic that’s most convenient for you. Or call our Central Booking line 01772 401140 for more information on this method or to book an appointment.
Female condoms are sold in some chemists, the cost approx. £4.80 per pack of 3.