5 things you really should know about female condoms

They look kinda funny at first...but dual protection from STIs and pregnancy is worth a second glance.

You may or may not realize that the female condom, a.k.a. internal condom, has been revamped in recent years to be more affordable and less, erm, squeaky. The revamped version is called the FC2, standing for—you guessed it—female condom 2. Less squeaking, lower price—and the perks of this underrated method don’t stop there.

1) Female condoms are fun for foreplay.

Putting in a female condom can be a sensual way to set the mood. Rubbing the inner ring around your vulva and clitoris during the insertion process can add some extra arousal—which can be a big turn-on for your partner too. And because female condoms are made of non-latex nitrile (synthetic rubber), they warm up with your body temperature. (Plus, they’re safe to use for people with latex allergies!)

2) Female condoms increase pleasure for both partners during sex.

During vaginal sex, the female condom’s outer ring rubs against the clitoris while the inner ring stimulates the head of the penis. The female condom is extremely wide and pre-lubricated, which some guys say feels better. If you’re looking for a wet and wild time, you’ll be happy to know that the female condom is safe to use with both water- and silicone-based lubes.

3) Female cond0ms provide dual protection from STIs and pregnancy.

Female condoms prevent both pregnancy and STIs and allow women to be in the driver’s seat when it comes to their sexual health. Some women report boosted self-esteem when they use female condoms, which can increase comfort and enhance sex. You can insert the female condom up to eight hours before getting it on, so there’s no need to ask a partner to put on a condom in the heat of the moment. Being proactive about your own condom use ensures that there’s protection—no matter where your sexual adventures take you.

4) Female condoms aren’t just for vaginal sex.

In addition to vaginal sex, you can use the female condom during anal sex as a great option for STI prevention. Some people recommend removing the inner ring before insertion. Don’t forget that both water- and silicone-based lubes are safe to use with it!

5) Insertion doesn’t have to be awkward.

Standing up, lying down, squatting, sitting… no, we’re not talking about sex positions. These are just some of the ways that you can insert the female condom. (Note: It might take a couple tries to get the hang of it!) You can put it in by yourself or with a partner as part of foreplay, or insert it before things heat up so you don’t have to interrupt the moment.

Ready to take the plunge? Some drugstores carry female condoms (shout out to Walgreens!), but they’re not nearly as easy to find as male condoms. Ordering online can be a great option, or you may be able to find a clinic nearby that has them.