The internal condom is sometimes knows as the 'female condom' – however, this is misleading as they can be used by any gender for vaginal and anal sex. Condoms, both internal and external (i.e. the more common kind that goes over a penis), remain the only contraceptive method that can also protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, and they have a whole lot of other benefits too.
Internal condoms are underused due to misunderstanding of how they are used, who can use them, higher prices and difficulty in accessing them. IPPF is working to change that – advocating and providing a wide range of contraception options (including internal condoms) for the world’s most vulnerable people who need them most.
The effectiveness of the internal condom can range from 79% to 95% depending on use. Most internal condoms are non-latex and no, doubling up on an external and internal condom does not increase effectiveness – in fact, it’s strongly advised not to use both of these condoms at the same time as this may cause them to rip.
10 more facts about the internal condom
1. You can insert the internal condom ahead of time, so there’s no need to interrupt sexual activity.
2. While older versions of the internal condom put some people off because they could be quite squeaky, they are now far more discrete, and are available with or without lubricant.
3. The internal condom can actually increase pleasure for both partners as it adjusts to body temperature during sex, creating a natural and intimate feel, and increased stimulation from the outer ring.
4. Unlike external condoms, internal condoms can be used even when the penis isn’t erect. This allows people to stay close after climax, which can enhance intimacy.
5. In fact, there are many benefits for people with penises – using internal condoms for vaginal sex can take pressure off to 'perform' or put a condom on correctly on an erect penis. They are also for people with penises of any size.
6. The internal condom can offer increased protection against STIs by partially covering the external genitalia.
7. Internal condoms have no side effects and most are latex-free.
8. Internal condoms do not require a prescription or clinician involvement and provide non-hormonal dual protection from unintended pregnancy, and STIs, including HIV.
9. internal/female condoms provide more options for safer sex and with this variety can actually contribute to higher rates of protected sex.
10. Pre-lubricated internal/female condoms may offer a solution to vaginal dryness, and can enhance pleasure.
Learn more in our video: