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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.

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STI protection!

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.

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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).

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

  1. 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.
  2. Get comfy, like you’re going to put in a tampon.
  3. Squeeze the sides of the closed-end ring together and insert it like a tampon.
  4. Push the ring as far into your vagina as it’ll go, all the way to your cervix.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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

  1. Squeeze the outer ring and twist it closed like a baggie, so semen doesn’t spill out.
  2. Pull the condom out gently.
  3. 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.

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.

The Positive

The Negative

  • 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)

We’re here to get this method working better for you. And if it still doesn’t feel right, we’ve got ideas for other methods. Just remember: If you change methods, make sure you’re protected while you switch.

  • ...My female condom sticks out when I stand up.

    Fun fact: You can insert the internal condom up to 2 hours before having sex. Not-so-fun fact: if you stand up with it in, the internal condom will hang slightly out of the vagina. The part that sticks out does serve a purpose (it helps the internal condom stay in place and helps protect you from skin-to-skin transmission of STIs). If you want to insert it early, you might want to try wearing a snug pair of underwear when out and about to hold the external part of the condom closer to your body if it bothers you.

  • ...It gets stuck to my partner's penis.

    Lube may be the answer here. Try using a bit of lube and see if it still gets stuck.

    Still not working?

    If he’s willing, switch to using condoms. They also protect you from STIs.

    If STI protection isn’t a concern for you right now then consider switching to a method you don’t have to use in the moment. The ring, the patch, or the shot might be good choices for you.

    Try a different method

  • ...I think it's hard to insert.

    Inserting an internal condom should get easier the more you do it. You should try practicing when it’s not the heat of the moment.

    Still not working?

    If it doesn’t get any easier to insert and you’re concerned about STIs, go with male condoms instead.

    If STI protection is not a concern for you right now, you might want to move toward contraception that doesn’t require you to insert anything. The IUD and the implant are both inserted in a clinic.

    Try a different method

  • ...It's squeaky sounding.

    Lube may be the answer here. Try using a bit of lube and see if it gets any quieter.

    Still not working?

    Switch to using condoms. They’ll protect you from STIs as well.

    If STI protection isn’t a concern for you right now, then consider switching to a method you don’t have to use in the moment. An IUD, the ring, the patch, or the shot might be good choices for you.

    Try a different method

  • ...My partner says he can feel the inside ring.

    If your partner can feel the inner ring, you may not have it pushed far enough into your vagina. So try pushing it in a little farther.

    Still not working?

    Switch to using condoms. They’ll protect you from STIs as well.

    If STI protection isn’t a concern for you right now, you might want to move toward a non-barrier method that your partner won’t be able to feel. The shot and the implant are both really effective and your partner won’t feel anything but you during sex.

    Try a different method

quick facts /

  • Give women more control and are good for those with latex allergies.

  • So-so the way people typically use them—better when used perfectly; more effective with spermicide.

  • Usually none, but could cause a little irritation to your or your guy’s parts.

  • You have to use one EVERY time.

  • 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.

effectiveness

Perfect use
95 %
Typical use
79 %
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