Frequently Asked Questions about the Female Condom
The following FAQs address some of the most common questions about using female condoms as a tool for STI and pregnancy prevention. If you have a question that’s not answered, please email us with your question.
Who is the female condom for?
Can I use the female condom if …
Can I use the female condom if I am menstruating?Can I use the female condom if I am pregnant? Why would I use the female condom if I was pregnant?
Can I use the female condom if I have had a hysterectomy?Can I use the female condom with contraceptives like the NuvaRing, diaphragm, or cervical cap?
Can the female condom be used in different sexual positions?
What if …
What if the penis pushes the female condom to the side?
What if the penis pushes the female condom inside the vagina or anus?
What if the female condom rides up on the penis?
Will the female condom disappear inside my body?
The following FAQs refer to the FC2, the only female condom available today in the U.S.
How do I use the FC2?
When can I insert the female condom?
How do I insert the female condom correctly?
How will I know if the female condom is inserted correctly?
Should the female condom hurt when inserted?
Can you use a male and female condom at the same time?
Can I reuse the female condom?
What type of lubrication can I use with the female condom?
How should I dispose of the female condom after sex?
What about the inner and outer rings on the FC2?
Q: Who can use the female condom?
A: The female condom is a safer sex tool that can be used by anyone: women, men, young people, transgender people, LGBT people, straight people, and people living with HIV.
Q: Can I use the female condom when I’m menstruating?
A: YES! The FC2 does not interfere with menstruation. However, the FC2 should be inserted just before sex and removed soon after because blood may flow over the condom.
Q: Can I use the female condom if I’m pregnant? Why would I use the female condom if I am pregnant?
A: YES! The FC is safe to use when you are pregnant. It does not interfere with pregnancy because it cannot move beyond the cervix. The female condom provides dual protection against unintended pregnancy and STIs and HIV. While you’re not trying to prevent pregnancy while pregnant, you can still contract STIs and HIV if you have unprotected sex while pregnant. You want to remain healthy during your pregnancy, and that includes remaining STI and HIV free! You can also use the FC if you’ve recently given birth.
Q: Can I use the female condom if I’ve had a hysterectomy?
A: YES! The FC is designed to line and take the shape of the vagina. A hysterectomy does not affect your ability to use the FC. However, if you have had a complete hysterectomy with removal of your cervix, the inner ring of the FC may cause discomfort in the vaginal canal.
Q: Can I use the female condom with contraceptives like the NuvaRing, diaphragm, or cervical cap?
A: NO. The female condom cannot be used with the NuvaRing, diaphragm, or cervical cap because the inner ring of the FC fits into the same place (over the cervix) as these contraceptives.
Q: How does the female condom provide protection?
A: When used for vaginal sex, the female condom covers the vagina, cervix, and part of the external genitalia, offering partners barrier protection against bacteria and viruses that cause STIs, including HIV, as well as unintended pregnancy. When used for anal sex, the female condom lines the rectum and covers the anal opening, providing a barrier protection method against bacteria and viruses that cause STIs, including HIV.
Q: What is the difference between nitrile and polyurethane?
A: The original female condom (FC1) was made of polyurethane. The newest version of the female condom (FC2) is made of nitrile, a synthetic rubber. Both are non-latex and safe for people with latex allergies; however, nitrile is softer, thinner, quieter, conducts heat better, and is less costly to produce.
Q: What if the penis pushes the female condom to the side?
A: It is important that you hold the FC in place and guide the penis into the vagina or anus through the FC, not to the side. If the penis enters incorrectly, STOP and start over with a new condom. Use additional lubrication if necessary.
Q: What if the penis pushes the female condom inside the vagina or anus?
A: If the outer ring gets pushed inside the vagina or anus, you should STOP, have your partner pull out, remove the FC, and insert a new FC before having sex again.
Q: What if the female condom rides up on the penis?
A: If the female condom starts to ride up on the penis during sex, you should STOP, have your partner pull out, and apply additional lubricant to the penis or inside the female condom before continuing.
Q: Will the female condom disappear inside my body?
A: If used for vaginal sex, no, there is no way for the female condom to disappear inside your body. The female condom covers the cervix. The diameter of the opening to the cervix is 1 mm to 3 mm, and the female condom cannot fit through the cervix. If used for anal sex, the muscles of the rectum could pull the female condom inside the body if it is inserted hours before anal sex. Because of this, female condoms should only be inserted immediately before anal sex.
Q: When can I insert the female condom?
A: For vaginal use: The female condom can be inserted right before or minutes in advance of vaginal sex.
For anal use: For anal sex, the female condom should only be inserted right before sex, as there is a risk of the female condom being pulled inside the body by the muscles of the rectum.
Q: How do I insert the female condom correctly?
A: Click here for a page about how to use female condoms.
Q: How will I know if the female condom is inserted correctly?
A: For vaginal use: The FC2 is inserted correctly when the inner ring is pushed past the pubic bone and covers the cervix. You can check that the condom is in place by inserting your index or middle finger into the vagina past the pubic bone. (You can feel your pubic bone by placing your finger a couple of inches inside your vagina and curving your finger upward.) If the inner ring is past the pubic bone, the condom is smooth against the walls of the vagina, and the outer ring and part of the condom is lying flat on the outside of the vagina, the FC is inserted correctly.
For anal use: If using the inner ring for anal sex, the FC2 is inserted correctly when the inner ring is pushed past the sphincter muscle, the condom is smooth against the walls of the rectum, and the outer ring and about 1 inch of the condom is hanging out of the anal opening. If you are removing the inner ring for anal use, the FC2 should still be smooth against walls and about 1 inch of the condom should remain outside of the anal opening.
Q: Should the female condom hurt when inserted?
A: NO. If the FC2 is inserted correctly, it should not hurt or cause discomfort. If you feel pain or discomfort because of the FC2, try repositioning it or remove it and try again with a new one.
Q: Can you use a male and female condom at the same time?
A: NO. Using a male condom and a female condom at the same time increases the chance of one or both condoms breaking and does not increase protection.
Q: Can I reuse the female condom?
A: NO. The FC2 is not approved for re-use. Re-use decreases the effectiveness of the FC2 and increases the chance of condom breakage and of STIs being passed from one partner to another. Use a new condom with each sex act.
Q: What type of lubricant can I use with the female condom?
A: The FC2 comes pre-lubricated with a silicone-based lubricant. Water-based, silicone-based, or oil-based lubricants can be added to the inside and outside of the FC2. However, oil-based lubes cannot be used with latex condoms. Oil-based lubricants destroy latex.
Q: How should I dispose of the female condom after sex?
A: FC2 should be disposed in the trash bin; not down the toilet. FC2 does not have to be removed immediately after a man ejaculates, unlike the male condom, but should be removed prior to standing to avoid the contents from spilling out.
- Twist the outer ring to seal the condom to prevent the contents from spilling out.
- FC2 may be pulled out and wrapped in the package it came in and/or in tissue.
- FC2 should be disposed of in waste containers; not in the toilet.
Q: How does the inner ring feel during sex?
A: Most men and women report that they cannot feel the inner ring during sex. However, some men report that the inner ring increases stimulation and pleasure for them during sex. If the inner ring is uncomfortable during anal sex, it can be removed. It cannot be removed if the female condom is being used for vaginal sex.