- Birth control
- Internal condom
What is an internal condom?
An internal condom (also sometimes called a female condom), which has the brand name FC2, is a pouch you insert into your vagina. It’s not the prettiest thing in the world (it looks a bit like a floppy, clear elephant trunk), but it is a method that gives you lots of control. Internal condoms work the same way that condoms do, except that you wear one on the inside instead of sticking it on a penis. They keep sperm inside the condom and out of your vagina.
So-so the way people typically use them—better when used perfectly; more effective with spermicide.
Perfect use: 95% effective
Typical use: 79% effective
What does perfect vs typical use mean?
Usually none, but could cause a little irritation to your or your guy’s parts.
You have to use one EVERY time.
Easy to get
There are three possible ways to get the internal condom. One way is to get a prescription from a health care provider (in person or online) and fill it at a pharmacy. You can also get it without a prescription on the FC2 website. The third way to get it is from nonprofit organizations, clinics, or health departments.
Depending on where you get them, whether you have a prescription, and whether you have insurance, $0-$2.41 a piece.
It might be for you if…
Internal condoms help protect you from most sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
Internal condoms take effort and commitment
You have to make sure to use condoms correctly, every time, no matter what, in order for them to be effective.
Your partner refuses to wear a condom
If your partner won’t wear a condom, but you still want protection against STIs, the internal condom is the way to go.
No prescription necessary
You don’t need a prescription if you buy through the FC2 website or get it from a clinic, nonprofit, or health department. But getting a prescription for the internal condom is probably the cheapest way to go—if you have insurance, you may be able to get it for free with a prescription.
If you can’t make it to the doctor (or don’t want to), you can always use an internal condom, but since you can’t get them over the counter like condoms, you do have to plan in advance to order online or find a clinic or other that has them.
Cool for people with latex allergies
Unlike most condoms, internal condoms are made of nitrile (a synthetic rubber), so you can use them even if you’re allergic to latex.
Don’t take our word for it. Check out the videos above to hear people talk about their experiences with the internal condom.
How do you use it?
Internal condoms are really pretty easy to use, but it takes a bit of practice and getting used to. And remember, if you’re relying on internal condoms, you have to use one EVERY SINGLE TIME.
How to insert a Internal Condom
- There is already some lubricant on the internal condom, but you can add more on the outside of the closed end. You could also put some spermicide there if you wanted.
- Get comfy, like you’re going to put in a tampon.
- Squeeze the sides of the closed-end ring together and insert it like a tampon.
- Push the ring as far into your vagina as it’ll go, all the way to your cervix.
- Pull out your finger and let the outer ring hang outside your vagina. (Yes, it’ll look a little funny, but on the plus side, the outer ring helps keep the condom in place and helps protect you from STIs that are transferred through skin-to-skin contact.)
- If you want to use a internal condom for anal sex, follow the same process. But with your anus, of course.
Don’t worry if it moves side to side while you’re doing it. That’s normal. If your partner slips out of the condom and into your vagina, gently remove the internal condom and insert a new one. But if they ejaculate outside of the internal condom and into your vagina by accident, you may want to consider Emergency Contraception.
How to remove a Internal Condom
- Squeeze the outer ring and twist it closed like a baggie, so semen doesn’t spill out.
- Pull the condom out gently.
- Throw it away in a trash can (preferably one that is out of the reach of children and pets). Don’t flush it down the toilet! That’s just bad for your plumbing.
One final thing. You might think using a condom along with a internal condom doubles your protection. Not true. It’d just make both more likely to rip. So don’t do it.
How much does it cost?
The cheapest way to get internal condoms is to get a prescription from a health care provider. Most of the time, if you have insurance, and you get the internal condom prescribed, you can get it for free. If you can’t visit a provider in person, you can also get internal condoms prescribed through the online providers Hey Doctor and The Pill Club. (It’s only available through The Pill Club when you’re also getting the pill or patch from them.)
If you don’t have insurance, your insurance doesn’t cover the things you need, or you don’t want to see a provider, internal condoms are available for purchase on the FC2 website for $1.99-$2.41 a piece (sold in 12-packs or 24-packs).
Payment assistance: Check with local clinics, health departments, and nonprofits to find out if they offer free internal condoms and other kinds of birth control (most do).
What are the side effects and benefits?
There are positive and negative things to say about each and every method. And everyone’s different—so what you experience may not be the same as what your friend experiences.
- Helps protect you from STIs
- The outer ring may stimulate your clit (nice!)
- No prescription necessary
- Can be used even if you’re allergic to latex
- Can be used with both oil-based and water-based lube
- Stays in place even if your partner loses their erection
- May cause irritation
- May reduce sensitivity while you’re doing it
- The first generation internal condom (FC1) can be kinda squeaky sounding (but the newer version, FC2, shouldn’t be)
- Hard to remember to use if you’re drunk (but you can put it in up to 2 hours before having sex, if that helps)