Internal Condoms

What is an internal condom?

  • An internal condom, also known as a female condom, is a soft, loose-fitting polyurethane (synthetic rubber or latex free) pouch.
  • It has two flexible rings. When inserted, the smaller ring fits inside the vagina and covers the cervix. The larger ring hangs outside the vagina and part of it rests on the vulva.
  • The inside of the condom is lubricated.
  • An internal condom can also be used for anal sex.

How does the internal condom work?

  • The condom is a barrier. When used correctly, it can stop sperm from getting to the cervix during sexual intercourse. The internal condom will prevent pregnancy 79-95% of the time.

Can the internal condom protect me from STIs and HIV?

  • Yes. The condom offers protection against most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV.
  • Consider using condoms or other barriers every time you have sexual intercourse to protect yourself from STIs and HIV.
  • It offers more protection from genital warts and herpes than the external (male) condom, because it covers more of the genital area. Care still needs to be taken to avoid skin-to skin contact.

Where can I get the internal condom?

  • You can buy the internal condom at some drug stores and get it for free from some community health clinics.
  • The internal condom costs a lot more than external condoms. If cost is a problem, talk with your health care provider or visit your community health centre or teen clinic.

How do I use the internal condom?

  1. To put the internal condom in, pinch the smaller ring at the closed end of the condom between your thumb and middle finger. Put the condom in as far as it will go. Make sure the condom does not twist and that the outer ring is hanging outside the vagina or anus.
  2. Put water-based lubricant on the tip of your partner’s penis, on a sex toy or at the opening of the internal condom. This helps prevent bunching up and slipping. It may also make using the condom more comfortable.
  3. Be sure to guide the penis or sex toy inside the internal condom. The condom twists easily.
  4. Sometimes the penis or sex toy can slip in next to the condom instead of inside the condom – be mindful and careful. Never use more than one condom of any type at one time.
  5. Have sexy times!
  6. When finished with sexy times, lie down to take out the internal condom. If having penis-vagina sex, squeeze and twist the outer ring. Doing this prevents fluids from leaking out. Do this before standing up.
  7. Pull the internal condom out gently. Throw it away in the trash can. Do not flush the condom down the toilet.

What if the internal condom slips or breaks?

If the condom slips or breaks during penis-vagina sex, there may be a chance of pregnancy. Consider using emergency contraception as soon as possible, up to five days after sex. See your health practitioner, a pharmacist or a community health centre for emergency contraception.

Can I reuse an internal condom?

No. You must use a new condom every time you have sex. Never reuse a condom.

Where can I get more information?

  • From your health care provider, community health clinic, or public health nurse. If you need a regular health care provider, call the Family Doctor Finder at 204-786-7111 or toll-free at 1-866-690-8260, or go to www.gov.mb.ca/health/familydoctorfinder.
  • From the Facts of Life On-Line: e-mail your questions to thefactsoflife@serc.mb.ca.
  • From a teen clinic if you are under 22 years old.

If this method fails, and if you don’t want to get pregnant, see a health care provider or pharmacist for emergency contraception as soon as you can.

Glossary:

Cervix – The lower part of the uterus that opens into the vagina.

Emergency Contraception – A method used to avoid pregnancy after sex because a birth control method failed or was not used.

Ejaculate/Ejaculation – The release of semen from the penis. “Ejaculate” is sometimes known as “cum”.

Genitals – The external sex organs (vulva on a female and penis and scrotum on a male).

Vagina – The muscular tube that connects the cervix to the outside of the female body; where the menstrual blood comes out from the uterus, where a baby comes out from the uterus during childbirth, and where a penis or sex toy can go in for vaginal intercourse.

Vulva – The external female sex organs (genitals).

SERC believes that all individuals have the right to access unbiased sexual and reproductive health information and services. They must also have the opportunity to explore their values and attitudes in making informed choices that are most appropriate for them, and have those choices respected and supported. SERC supports and defends a pregnant person’s right to choose parenting, adoption, or abortion.

Developed in collaboration with Klinic Community Health and Literacy Partners of Manitoba 2007
Sexuality Education Resource Centre 2016