Female condoms or 'femidoms' work in the same way as male condoms by creating a barrier between partners against semen and other bodily fluids.
They offer good protection against sexually transmitted infections.
The difference between a female condom and a male condom is that with a female condom the woman inserts this into the vagina rather than the man wearing the condom (as is the case with a male condom). In addition, female condoms are also often more expensive to buy than male condoms and may be harder to find.
Female condoms can also be used with sex toys.
One major advantage of using female condoms is that it puts the person wearing them in control – you don't have to rely on a partner using other protection methods properly.
Female condoms are only used during sex, they are removed afterwards and thrown in the bin. Always use a new condom each time you have sex.
Female condoms are up to 95% effective at preventing pregnancy if used correctly.
Female condoms are available for free from your sexual health clinic and from sexual health organisations. They may also be available from your GP.
Pharmacies and supermarkets sell condoms usually in packs of 3 or 12. Some will sell female condoms but not all supermarkets may stock these. Don’t be embarrassed about buying them, people who work in these shops are used to selling them and it’s nothing to be shy about – in the supermarket you could use the self-service if you prefer.
Some NHS Boards offer schemes where you can register for access to free condoms. Some are only available to people aged under 25, but others are open to anyone. Often you won’t need to give your name or personal details, but they may give you a card so that you can access condoms from a variety of locations quickly and easily.
Click on the areas below to find out about condom schemes in your area