An internal (a.k.a. female) condom 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.
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
If you can't make it to the doctor (or don't want to), you can always use an internal condom—though they can be a lot harder to find than other condoms.
Cool for people with latex allergies
Unlike most condoms, internal condoms are made of polyurethane (plastic) or 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.
Internal condoms don’t make much of an appearance at everyday pharmacies and drugstores, but you'll find them online for sure, and for a consistent price—usually somewhere in the range of $1.75 - $3.50 per condom. They’re not quite as cheap as the condom, but if cost isn’t the only factor you’re considering, they can be a great option for pregnancy and STI prevention.
Payment assistance: Check with your local family planning clinics and find out if they offer free or low-cost internal condoms and other kinds of birth control (most do).
- Amazon.com: $1.30 - $3.50
- Condomania.com: $3.00 - $3.40
- Condomjungle.com: $1.75 - $2.40
- CVS.com: $1.85 - $2.50
- Drugstore.com: $2.00 - $2.10
- LuckyBloke.com: $1.90 - $2.10
- Walgreens.com: $2.00 - $2.20
Note: These prices are averaged—including taxes and standard shipping costs—from a survey of select online vendors as of June 2016. Prices may change over time.
How to 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
- Put some spermicide or lubricant on the outside of the closed end.
- 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 about an inch outside your vagina. (Yes, it'll look a little funny.)
- 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 man slips out of the condom and into your vagina, gently remove it and reinsert. But if he ejaculates 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.
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 man loses his erection
- Can cause irritation
- Some people may be sensitive to certain brands of lubricant (If so, try another brand)
- Can 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