The female condom is a lubricated polyurethane or nitrile sheath, closed at one end in order to cover the cervix and open at the other in order to line the vagina. The woman slips the internal ring inside her vagina before sexual intercourse. Once it is applied, it lines the vaginal wall and prevents sperm coming in contact with the vagina. In the same way as the male condom, it may be necessary to try it on in a relaxed environment at home before it is first used. It has a number of advantages. It can be positioned a few hours before sexual intercourse and it protects against sexually transmissible infections and HIV infection.
Female condoms are purchased without prescription and are not reimbursed in France. They are occasionally difficult to obtain although you can ask your pharmacist to order them. There are a few female condom dispensing machines in the Paris region in France. They are also available in family planning and education centres. They can be used with any type of lubricant provided it is placed inside the female condom (not outside, as this would make it slip out of the vagina). Like the male condom, the female condom is single use and disposable.
It is not recommended that a female condom is used at the same time as a male condom as the rubbing may cause the condom to slip outside of the vagina.