Female condoms may also be referred to as universal condoms. The female condom was originally designed for insertion into the vagina for vaginal intercourse. More research is needed to determine the safety, effectiveness, or acceptability of the female condom for use during anal sex.

A female condom is a thin, loose-fitting and flexible polyurethane tube worn inside the vagina or anus. A soft ring at the closed end of the tube is inserted into the vagina or anus and holds it. Another ring at the open end of the tube stays outside the vagina or anus. A female condom provides a barrier between partners to prevent sharing bodily fluids like semen, blood, or saliva. This helps ensure that sexually transmitted infections are not passed.

How does it work?

Some gay men and heterosexual couples use the female condom for anal sex; however this has not been tested and is not yet approved. If you’re considering using the female condom for anal sex it’s important that you use it correctly in one of the following two ways:

1. You can put the female condom over the erect penis, then lubricate and enter slowly.

2. You can manually insert the female condom into the rectum then enter with the erect lubricated penis. To do this you need to:

  • Find a comfortable position.
  • Hold the small ring (at the closed end of the condom) between the thumb and middle finger. (Some men prefer to take out the small ring before insertion to make the condom more comfortable.)
  • Put it into the anus and push it far inside.
  • Put a finger inside the condom to push the small ring inside as far as possible (optional, you may have already removed it).
  • Make sure the part of the condom with the outer ring is outside the body. The outer ring will lie flat against the body when the penis is inside the condom.
  • Immediately after intercourse, take out the condom by gently twisting the outer ring and pulling the condom out, making sure that no semen is spilled.

Precautions

Extra care needs to be taken if the penis is hitting against the end of the female condom. Although reports of female condom breakage are rare, this activity may put stress on the material that it was not designed to withstand. Also, if you are entering the anus with the female condom already in the anus it’s important to make sure the penis is directed inside the female condom and not beside it.

How do I get it?

The female condom is available at Vista Community Clinic, health centers, family planning clinics, drugstores, online, in some supermarkets, and some schools.

How much does it cost?

Nationwide and online, a female condom costs about $2-4. But costs vary from community to community. Many health centers, family planning clinics (including Vista Community Clinic) and some schools distribute them free of charge.

Adapted from Teens Health Condom section: http://kidshealth.org/teen/sexual_health/contraception/contraception_condom.html#

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Appendix E of The Fenway Guide to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health: http://www.acponline.org/acp_press/fenway/how-to-put-on-a-female-condom-for-anal-sex.pdf