Illustrations: Global Public Sector Team, Female Health Company
- Always check the expiry date on the packet; if the date marked has passed, the condom should not be used. The female condom comes pre-lubricated with a non-spermicidal silicone-based lubricant. While the female condom is still in the unopened packet, spread the lubrication around with your fingers by squeezing or rubbing the packet to ensure even coverage. Tear open the packet carefully with clean hands, and avoid the use of sharp objects.
- The female condom has a ring at each end. Pinch the inner ring (at the closed end of the condom) with your thumb and middle finger so that it becomes long and narrow in order for you to insert it, a bit like one does with a diaphragm.
- You should find a comfortable position for insertion, such as squatting or sitting with one leg raised or lying down. Next, insert the female condom into the vagina. The vaginal opening should be relaxed.
- Then, place your finger inside the female condom and push the inner ring as far as it will go up into the vagina, ensuring that the pouch does not get twisted during insertion. The inner ring should be at the cervix, and the outer ring (at the open end of the condom) should remain on the outside of the vagina, covering part of the external genitalia. The female condom will line the inside of the vagina, whose natural shape, along with the inner ring which sits against the cervix when inserted properly, holds the condom in place.
- It is now safe to have penetrative sex. Note that the man's penis need not be fully erect for penetration with use of the female condom. Be sure that the penis goes inside the female condom in order that the surface of the genitals of the male and the female are protected. You are not protected if the penis goes between the outside of the female condom and the wall of the vagina.
- After sexual intercourse, squeeze and twist the outer ring and gently pull the condom out to remove (you don't have to remove it immediately after the act). Do this before standing up, to prevent ejaculate from leaking out. Like the male condom, the female condom is a one-time use product; it should not be reused. Wrap the used condom in a tissue and dispose of it in a responsible and appropriate manner, remembering the '3 Bs': Bin, Burn or Bury. Never flush it down the toilet, as it will block the plumbing system.