How to Use the Female Condom

The female condom has several advantages over the male condom. Use of female condoms is controlled by women. This provides a nice option in a world where most STD prevention technologies are controlled by men. Female condoms cover more surface area. This allows them to protect more thoroughly against STDs that are spread through skin-to-skin contact. Female condoms can also be inserted earlier on during foreplay, or even up to 8 hours before you have sex, since it doesn't require an erect penis to use. In fact, that's another advantage. Use of a female condom is a great option where the insertive partner has trouble maintaining an erection. Female condoms can also be more comfortable for uncircumcised men who do not like their foreskin being squeezed by the male condom. 

All in all, it's a bit surprising that more people don't use the female condom. Its biggest disadvantage is that it's different. It can be a bit intimidating to figure out how to use the female condom the first time. Here's what you need to do.

Close-up of couple holding condom against white background
Supreeya Chantalao / EyeEm / Getty Images


  1. Check the expiration date on the condom. Then open the package by tearing along one edge. There is usually a notch in one of the upper corners to make opening the package easier. Tearing along the edge makes it less likely that you'll damage the condom while opening the package. 
  2. Rub the pouch of the condom to make certain that the lubricant is well spread around the inside of the condom. You can also add more lubrication from the package to the inside or the outside of the condom. 
  3. Unroll the condom and find the ring on the closed end. This is also known as the inner ring as the condom, because it goes inside you. The outer ring stays on the outside of your body. 
  4. Find a comfortable position, such as squatting, sitting on the toilet, lying down, or standing with one leg raised. Squeeze the ring (on the closed end) together with your thumb and middle finger. This will make the ring long and narrow and easier to insert. Use the fingers of your other hand to spread the lips of your vagina. Then insert the closed end of the condom into your vagina as far as possible.
  5. Put your index or middle finger into the condom. Push the ring you've inserted as far into your vagina as it will go. It should be pushed all the way up to your cervix, above your pubic bone. Once the condom is in place, you shouldn't feel it anymore. The ring at the open end should remain around 1 inch outside of the vagina.
  6. Make certain that the condom isn't twisted inside the vagina. You will probably be able to feel with your fingers if the condom is twisted when you are pushing it inside your vagina. In addition, the open ring should rest, relaxed on the labia. 
  7. During intercourse, guide the penis into the outside, open ring of the condom. (If the outer ring slips into the vagina during intercourse, take a break. You should remove the female condom and replace it with a new one.)
  8. After intercourse, twist the outside end of the condom gently to close it off. This holds in any ejaculated semen. Gently pull the condom from the body.
  9. Wrap the twisted condom in some tissue, or the package it came in, and throw it away in a garbage can. Do not flush the female condom.


  1. Using the female condom properly requires the cooperation of both partners. During penetration, it is important for the man to make certain that he is inserting his penis into the condom. Some men find that there's better tactile feedback if they penetrate between the outside of the condom and the vaginal wall. However, that defeats the purpose of using the condom.
  2. Practice makes perfect! People get better at using the female condom over time.
  3. Putting lubricant both inside and outside the condom can make the experience more pleasurable. It is safe to use oil-based lubricants with these condoms. Unlike with latex condoms, oil-based​ lubricants will not cause female condoms to degrade. It is also safe to use the same water and silicone-based lubricants you use with male condoms. 
  4. The female condom can be inserted early during foreplay. Even better, it does not need to be removed immediately after intercourse (if ejaculation does not occur). This can provide extra flexibility during sexual play.
  5. Do not use the female condom with a male condom. The friction between the two condoms can cause one or both of them to tear.
  6. The female condom is made of polyurethane or nitrile, not latex. Therefore it can be used by people with latex allergies.

Note: Some people enjoy using the female condom for anal sex, usually after removing the inner ring. There is not much data on whether this is a safe and effective use of the female condom.

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