A female condom or femidom, also known by the brand name FC2, is a flexible pouch that is inserted into the vagina or anus before sex. They can help prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

During intercourse, the thin silicone-coated, polyurethane or nitrile sheath collects ejaculated semen.

The female condom looks different from the male condom. Female condoms are pouches with a soft, flexible ring on each end.

Used correctly, they are 95-percent effective in preventing pregnancy, compared with male condoms, which are 98-percent percent effective.

Fast facts on the female condom:

  • Used correctly, a female condom is 95 percent effective.
  • Female condoms do not usually contain latex.
  • They protect a wider area of the body than male condoms.
  • Female condoms can usually be purchased over the counter at pharmacies.
  • An office visit with a healthcare provider is not usually necessary.
  • Do not use oil-based lubricants with female condoms.

For a female condom to be effective in preventing pregnancy, it must be used correctly.

Female condoms are 95-percent effective in preventing pregnancy when used correctly, with a 5-percent failure rate.

However, statistics show that, due to incorrect use, they are 79-percent effective. Every year, 21 women in every 100 who use a female condom become pregnant.

Male condoms, in comparison, are 85-percent effective.

It is important to follow the instructions when using any type of condom.

The condom can be inserted up to 8 hours before intercourse.

Here are some step-by-step instructions: