Skip to page content

Female Condom Fact Sheet

What is the female condom?

The female condom is a thin, lubricated pouch that fits inside and lines the vagina.

How do I get female condoms?

You do not need a prescription to buy female condoms.  You can find female condoms at drug stores, family planning clinics, and many grocery stores. To search for a family planning clinic near you, use our Clinic Locator.

How effective are female condoms?

Of 100 women who use this method each year, about 20 will likely get pregnant. You can lower your risk of getting pregnant by using female condoms each time you have sex.

Download pdf, (144 kb)

Quick Facts

Effectiveness in Preventing Pregnancy

  • About 20 women out of 100 using this method for one year will get pregnant.


  • Place inside vagina before any sexual contact occurs (up to eight hours before).
  • Twist outer ring and remove carefully after sex.
  • Use a new female condom each time you have sex.

STI Protection

  • May provide some protection against STIs with vaginal sex.

Clinic Visit Required

  • No

How do I use it?

The female condom prevents sperm from entering a woman's body. The condom is a pouch with a soft ring on each end, one end fits inside the vagina to keep the female condom in place and the other end stays outside the vagina.

  • Squeeze the inner ring of the condom. Put the inner ring and pouch inside the vagina.
  • You can insert a female condom several hours before you have sex.
  • After sex, twist the outer ring and carefully remove the condom.
  • Use a new female condom each time you have sex.
  • Don't use a female and male condom at the same time, as this may cause both condoms to break or tear.

Advantages of the female condom

  • You don't need a prescription to buy female condoms.
  • Female condoms are safe and effective to use.
  • You may insert female condoms up to eight hours before having sex.
  • Female condoms are a good choice if you do not use a male condom.
  • Female condoms may provide some protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) during vaginal sex.

Drawbacks of the female condom

  • It isn't known exactly how well female condoms may protect against STIs
  • Some people experience skin irritation with female condoms.
  • Female condoms are usually more expensive than male condoms.
  • A female partner has to agree to use female condoms.


Office on Women's Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention