What exactly is an internal condom and how do you use it?

If September 16 came and went without looking at your calendar, you might be kicking yourself to learn that you missed celebrating the Global Female Condom Day. Fret not, you can pop in the diary for next year and order the cake ahead of time.

In 2023, options for contraception are vast and inclusive meaning that wider groups of people now have access to safe ways of protecting themselves during sexual intercourse. For many, the idea of a female condom or an internal condom is still a foreign one which is exactly why much more work has to be done on educating people.

What is an internal condom?

While the name may sound pretty self-explanatory, it's always best to give people all the information when it comes to painting the whole picture so to speak. The internal condom is the counterpart to the male condom and acts as a barrier method for safe sex


The internal (female) condom is made from a thin non-latex nitrile material designed to prevent semen from entering into the uterus. The pouch is around 17cm long and has two rings at the base and top of the joining material. It is also a preventative measure you can take to protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

How do you use an internal condom?

The internal condom works by covering the cervix and lining the vagina in serving as a barrier between the penis during penetrative sex. Already lubricated, the internal condom is good to go once you remove it from the packaging - love the efficiency.

To insert the internal condom, pinch the edges of the inner ring (the closed end) and push it into the vagina before releasing. Once you've inserted the internal condom, you will need to take your fingers and place them inside the pouch to push further into your vagina. It's important to note that the outer ring (the open end) should sit outside the vulva while resting against the labia. Once you've correctly inserted the internal condom, she's good to go.

After you have finished using the internal condom simply twist the outer ring to remove, place in a tissue and pop it in the bin. Remember not to flush it down the toilet.

Watch: What else you need to know more about internal condom. Post continues after video.

Video via YouTube/Planned Parenthood.

Who can use an internal condom?

Anyone who has a vulva can insert the internal condom to be used as contraception or a preventative measure against sexually transmitted diseases. It has also been designed to fit all vaginas in whatever shape or size they come in — this is a one size fits all situation.

What are the benefits of using an internal condom?

The good news is that when used correctly the internal condom has a 95% effectiveness against preventing pregnancy. It is also growing in popularity for those who have a latex allergy meaning most condoms are off the table — hooray! The internal condom also has some additional pleasurable pros including the fact you can put it inside your vagina up to eight hours before you have sex which can often help the flow of things when you're ~in the moment~. And the outer ring has been known to stimulate the clitoris while in use — win, win.

What are the downsides of using an internal condom?

We're all about promoting safe new forms of contraception, it would be remiss of us not to give you all the tea. Currently, the female condom is slightly more expensive than male condoms and it isn't always as readily available. Hopefully, in the coming years as it grows in popularity the price and availability will be more accessible for all.

How long does it last?

While you can insert the internal condom up to eight hours before sexual intercourse it's important to note that this form of contraception is effective and safe for one-time use. If you're keen on stocking up be sure to visit a family planning clinic or pharmacy to purchase.

Listen to Sealed Section, Mamamia's podcast on everything about sex.

Feature Image: Getty.

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