8.3  The female condom

8.3.1  Mechanism of action

A female condom is a thin, loose-fitting and flexible plastic tube worn inside the vagina. It has inner and outer rings (Figure 8.2). A soft ring at the closed end of the tube covers the cervix during intercourse and holds it inside the vagina. Another ring at the open end of the tube stays outside the vagina and partly covers the lip area. The female condom helps protect partners from pregnancy and STIs, including HIV/AIDS. It is the only female-controlled device offering this protection. Like the male condom, the female condom provides a barrier between partners during sexual intercourse, to prevent the sharing of bodily fluids, like semen and blood. This ensures that pregnancy does not occur, and STIs are not transmitted.

Female condom.
Figure 8.2  Female condom. (Source: Family Planning: A Global Handbook for Providers, WHO, 2007, p.212)

8.2.4  Advantages and disadvantages of male condoms

8.3.2  How to use a female condom