All About Internal Condoms


Did you know there are other types of condoms other than external condoms? There are, in fact, condoms on the market that can be used by people with vaginas, providing similar efficacy to other birth control methods. This article will discuss the various birth control options, focusing specifically on internal condoms.

Are there condoms for people with vaginas?

Condoms are one of the most popular birth control methods as they help to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). When most of us think of condoms, we think of a typical condom worn around the penis. But there are other types of condoms that people with vaginas can wear, some of which are very effective (internal condoms or dental dams) and some of which are less popular (bikini condoms).

You likely have not heard of a bikini condom before – so what is it? We have made many strides over the years in developing safe and effective birth control methods, but not all of these have been successful. The bikini condom hit the market in the United States back in 1991. It mimicked the appearance of a G-string; however, it included a condom pouch that was automatically inserted into the vagina with penis-in-vagina intercourse. Despite its efficacy, it proved to be unpopular due to its appearance, inconvenience, cost, and interference with foreplay (2).

Although the bikini condom did not work out, there is another alternative to male condoms: the internal condom. The internal condom can be worn by both sexes, providing yet another way to engage in safe sex.

What are internal condoms?

When most of us think of birth control, we think of the most common types, such as condoms, the birth control pill, and the IUD. But as mentioned above, there are a multitude of options other than just the basic birth control you would normally think of. One such method is the internal condom, also known as a “female” condom. The internal condom is not as popular; but, nevertheless, it’s effective.

Internal condoms are an alternative to normal condoms, preventing both STIs and pregnancy. However, while a standard condom goes on the penis, an internal condom is placed either inside the vagina or anus. When placed inside the vagina, it protects against STIs and pregnancy. When placed inside the anus, it protects against STIs. While traditionally internal condoms have been referred to as “female condoms,” they can actually be used by any gender.

Internal condoms work by covering the inside of the vagina. They block sperm from fertilizing an egg, preventing pregnancy. They also provide an external barrier to protect against STIs (3).

For internal condoms to be effective, you must use them correctly. They are used slightly differently depending on whether you are using them in the vagina or anus.

  • Vagina: If placing an internal condom in the vagina, leave the ring of the condom inside. Squeeze the sides of the ring in the closed part of the condom. Place it as far as possible into the vagina, like a tampon, up to the cervix.
  • Anus: If using it in the anus, take the inner ring out of the condom. Simply push it into the anus with your finger.

Manually hold the condom open when inserting the penis or sex toy to avoid it slipping outside the condom (4).

Types of birth control

Although condoms are the only contraception method that protects you against STIs and prevents pregnancy (if pregnancy is not your goal), there are other contraceptive methods out there, so you can find a method that works for you based on your own individual preferences. Some options include:

  • the birth control pill;
  • an intrauterine device (IUD) – either the hormonal or copper IUD;
  • a birth control patch;
  • a vaginal ring;
  • the shot;
  • the implant (long term and effective);
  • the emergency contraception pill (one-time usage, not on a daily basis);
  • a cervical cap;
  • a diaphragm;
  • spermicide;
  • condoms;
  • internal condoms;
  • the sponge; and
  • surgical sterilization – vasectomy and tubal ligation.

There are a few things to consider when choosing what birth control is right for you. For example, consider the following:

  • when in the future you plan to get pregnant, if at all;
  • the side effects;
  • efficacy of the given method;
  • how many partners you have;
  • how often you have sex;
  • convenience; and
  • other health conditions (1).

When selecting your method, consider the above factors in addition to whether you want protection against STIs, pregnancy, or both. Your doctor or health-care provider can help you select what option is best for you based on your preferences and personal health history. You can learn more about all contraceptive methods at

What to do when birth control fails

Although condoms, including internal condoms, are generally effective at protecting against pregnancy and STIs, they can still fail. If a condom breaks during use, you are at increased risk for pregnancy and possible STIs. If you suspect that you or your partner might have STIs, contact a medical provider. If your birth control method fails and you end up pregnant, know that you have options. If you decide you do not want to carry the pregnancy to term, the option of abortion is available. For information on abortions and accessing abortion care, visit the safe2choose website to connect with an abortion counselor.

  1. “Birth Control Methods.” Office on Women’s Health,,from%20getting%20to%20the%20egg. Accessed November 2023.
  2. “Female condoms scheduled to reach U.S. market this year.” NIH, Accessed November 2023.
  3. “Internal Condom.” Planned Parenthood, Accessed November 2023.
  4. “How do I use an internal condom?” Planned Parenthood, Accessed November 2023.