SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Female (internal) condoms can be used as an alternative to male (external) condoms. They are worn inside the vagina to prevent the exchange of body fluids (such as sperm, vaginal fluids or blood) between partners.
- When worn correctly, female (or internal) condoms are an effective barrier method of contraception. Other barrier methods include external (male) condoms and diaphragms.
- Female (internal) condoms prevent sexually transmissible infections (STIs). They can be used during sexual contact (including oral, anal and vaginal sex) and with sex toys.
- Female (internal) condoms can only be used once. Use a new condom each time you have sex.
- Female condoms are most effective if they are used correctly every time
What are condoms?
Other forms of barrier contraception include:
What is a female (internal) condom?
Their soft pouch is made of nitrile (synthetic rubber). It has flexible rings at each end, and one end is closed. It is inserted into the vagina or anus before having sex.
How female (internal) condoms work
Female (internal) condoms are also used for because they block the exchange of body fluids during any form of sexual contact. This includes anal, , vaginal, some skin-to-skin contact and sharing of sex toys).
To prevent STIs use a new condom each time you have sex and when switching to a different kind of sex (such as from anal to vaginal).
How effective are female (internal) condoms?
If used correctly, every time you have sex, female condoms are 95% effective at preventing pregnancy.
However, mistakes may happen (such as the condom slips or breaks), their effectiveness at stopping you from getting pregnant reduces to 79%.
Female (internal) condoms can be used with other forms of contraception including:
Potential problems with using female (internal) condoms
Female (internal) condoms might not work if they are:
- used incorrectly – not inserted properly, break or slip
- past their use-by date
- torn when opening the packet
- kept in the heat for a long time (such as a vehicle glove-box).
How to use a female (internal) condom
Always check the use-by date first.
If you are unsure how to use the condom, follow the instructions on the packet.
How to use female (internal) condoms:
- Open the packet slowly, making sure not to tear the condom with anything sharp (such as jewellery, teeth or fingernails).
- Once open, squeeze the closed end of the condom and insert it into the vagina or anus.
- The opening of the condom spreads outside the vagina or anus and over part of the genital skin.
- Guide the penis or sex toy into the condom making sure it does not slip under the condom. If the penis slips under the condom, there is no protection from pregnancy or STIs.
- If the condom slips or bunches up when the penis goes inside, use more lubricant (lube). You can use internal (female) condoms with water, oil or silicone-based lubricants. Lube is a jelly or liquid-like material that and stop the condom from breaking and can make sex more enjoyable by reducing friction.
- Female (internal) condoms are for single use only. Once a condom has been used, wrap it in a tissue and throw it into a bin (not down the toilet).
- Be careful when taking the condom out. Gently twist the opening and slide it out of the vagina avoiding any spillage of body fluids.
- If you use lubricant with sex toys (especially any made of silicone), check the product label – some lubes can damage sex toys and may increase your risk of STIs.
- Do not use female (internal) condoms at the same time as male (external) condoms as they can move out of place.
Where to get female (internal) condoms and lubricant
Female (internal) condoms can be difficult to get and are more expensive than male (external) condoms. They are available at family planning clinics, sex shops, some pharmacies (chemists) and online.
Lubricant (lube) is available at supermarkets, pharmacies, convenience stores, petrol stations, sexual health clinics, community health and youth services.
Advantages of female (internal) condoms
Female (internal) condoms:
- protect against sexually transmissible infections (STIs)
- are easy to use
- have little or no side effects
- can be bought without a script
- can be used with any type of lubrication
- can be inserted hours before having sex
- can be used after giving birth
- can be inserted hours before having sex.
Potential health risks from female (internal) condoms
There are no known serious health risks from using female condoms.
In some people, they may cause irritation.
What to do if you have unsafe sex
- Don’t douche (wash out the vagina or rectal areas with water or other fluids). It may irritate delicate tissues and increase the risk of infection.
- You may need to take (known as the ‘morning after pill’) as soon as you can (up to 4 days is best, but it can occur no later than 5 days (120 hours). Check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.
- Or have a surgically inserted within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected sex.
- See your GP or sexual health clinic and get tested for STIs. STI checks a recommended at least annually for anyone who is sexually active.
- If you think you may have been exposed to , see your GP or call the Victorian PEP information line on to assess whether you need – a course of antiviral medication used to prevent HIV. It must be taken within 72 hours (4 days).
Information in community languages
- Chinese (simplified)
- Farsi (Persian)
- Khmer (Cambodian)
- Serbian (Cyrillic)
Where to get help
- Your school nurse or school welfare coordinator.
- Your school nurse or welfare coordinator. Some secondary schools provide access to an adolescent health trained GP on site
- Your local community health service
- Your pharmacist (including after hours )
- – Victoria’s sexual and reproductive health information and phone line service Tel. 1800 My Options ()
- – or call Melbourne CBD Clinic: , Box Hill Clinic: or (free call): (Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm). These services are youth friendly.
- (Monday to Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm) Tel. or or National Relay Service (for people with a hearing impairment)
- Tel. or (toll free)
- , St Kilda Tel.
- (Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm) Tel. or email:
- Clinic for men who have sex with men. Book online or Tel. Tel.
- – book online or Tel.
- – book online Tel. or
- , Wodonga (Monday to Friday 9 am – 5 pm) Tel. and Wangaratta Tel. or email:
- Mildura (Monday to Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm) Tel. or email to:
- (no GP referral, walk-in service Tuesdays 2 pm – 6:30 pm) Tel.
- Fitzroy: Tel. and Preston Tel. (Monday to Friday 10 am – 4 pm) and after-hours locum service Tel. or Epping: Tel. (Monday to Thursday 9 am-5 pm, Friday 9 am-4 pm)