Safe Sex & HIV Prevention

The Female Condom

The female condom, like the male condom, is a barrier contraceptive made of latex or polyurethane. The condom has a ring on each end. The ring that is placed inside the vagina fits over the cervix, while the other ring, which is open, rests outside of the vagina and covers the vulva. The female condom is sold over-the-counter.

The Female Health Company - The Female Health Company is the only developer and manufacturer of the female condom. Their website provides information regarding the product, strategic introduction of the female condom, resources and other information.

The FC2 female condom, the second generation female condom, is now available in the United States. The FC2 female condom is a strong, thin, nitrile sheath that is about 6.5 inches long (about the same length as a male condom) with a flexible "ring" at each end. It is inserted into the vagina prior to sexual intercourse and provides protection against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV. The inner ring aids insertion and helps keep the female condom in place during intercourse while the softer outer ring remains outside the vagina.

The female condom:

  • Provides both men and women with an additional choice to prevent unintended pregnancies and protect themselves from STDs including HIV.
  • Is the only female-initiated barrier method alternative to the male condom.
  • Forms a barrier between the penis and the vagina, cervix and external genitalia, thereby providing additional protection.
  • Is made from nitrile, a synthetic latex, and causes no allergic reactions and, unlike latex, may be used with both oil and water based lubricants.
  • Can be inserted up to 8 hours before intercourse so it will not interrupt sexual spontaneity. It is not dependent on the male erection and does not require immediate withdrawal after ejaculation.
  • Conducts/retains heat, so sexual intercourse can feel natural.
  • Is not tight or constricting

The female condom is not difficult to use, but it may take practice to become comfortable using it. It is recommended that women practice inserting and removing the female condom, before using it for the first time during sexual intercourse. The female condom should not be used together with a male condom.


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