The most popular and commonly accessible condom is the male (external) condom. However, female condoms are also available, yet they are not as widely recognised as male condoms. How effective are female condoms, and what are the benefits?

Female condoms are contraceptive devices that function as a barrier to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. The aim is to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

They differ from dental dams since they are put in the vaginal canal, as opposed to a barrier placed just outside of the vagina for oral sex. Female condoms are made from polyurethane – a thin, soft substance, which is sometimes used to make male condoms, too.

How effective are female condoms?

With correct use, female condoms are almost as effective at preventing pregnancy as male condoms, with a success rate of around 95 percent. This implies that 5 out of 100 women who use them correctly will become pregnant in a year. In comparison, just 2 out of 100 women who use male condoms correctly will become pregnant in a year [1].

Although many may regard female condoms as an invalid contraceptive method, statistics highlight that female condoms are still highly effective.

What are the benefits of female condoms?

Whether or not you take birth control, and which method you opt for, is completely your decision. Certain women and couples may prefer female condoms to male condoms for the following reasons:

  • You have up to 8 hours before intercourse to put a female condom in, which can help to prevent ‘interrupting the mood’ unlike male condoms
  • You can take control of your own sexual health, particularly if your partner does not want to use a male condom
  • It is not made of latex, which can irritate the skin
  • It is not essential to remove it directly after intercourse
  • It can be inserted whenever required unlike a male condom which requires an erection
  • It does not require a prescription or fitting.

What are the disadvantages of female condoms?

Female condoms are not for everyone. Some of the same criticisms that are levelled against alternative contraception methods, including male condoms, are also relevant to female condoms. Disadvantages include:

  • It may slip out of place during intercourse
  • It may irritate the skin of either you or your partner 
  • It may cause sex to feel less intense
  • It is not as effective as male condoms in preventing pregnancy and STIs
  • It is often more costly than male condoms
  • There is just one size to choose from.

However, the above should not discourage you from trying female condoms as an alternative to your usual contraception. If you are interested in discovering what female condoms are all about, why not visit our shop and find out for yourself?


[1] WebMD: Female condoms

[2] Clue: Internal (female) condoms 101

[3] Mayo Clinic: Female condoms

[4] NHS: Female condoms

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