Female condoms, or internal condoms, are a type of birth control that prevents pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They’re also 79 percent effective at preventing STIs and unwanted pregnancies if used correctly.
Made of polyisoprene, which is a lab-made iteration of latex that people with latex allergies can use, these LifeStyles Skyn condoms have a smooth texture and heat to body temperature for pleasurable sensation.
1. FC2 Condoms
FC2 Condoms are a thin, soft sheath inserted into the anal canal (or vagina) to protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. They’re made of nitrile compound, so they are completely latex-free and more effective than male condoms in preventing both STIs and HIV infection (3).
The sheath and outer ring are made of flexible synthetic rubber (nitrile) and the inner ring is made of polyurethane. The sheath is pre-lubricated with a silicone-based lubricant, but additional lubrication can be used as well (4).
It’s important to note that it’s a good idea to insert the FC2 Condom a few hours or even an hour before sex to ensure it stays in place and is fully in contact with the penis (1). This is also because the nitrile sheath can warm up during sex and cause it to slip out of place.
Although newer female condoms such as Woman’s, Cupid, Velvet, and Pheonurse may be non-inferior to the FC2, no studies have yet been published comparing their efficacy against HIV or STIs compared with the original FC2. You can buy FC2 Condoms on their website, at most pharmacies, or through family planning and health clinics where you can get them with a prescription — which is often covered by insurance.
2. Sustain Condoms
If you’re a fan of the female condom but want something a little more durable, Sustain’s natural latex female condoms are a great option. They’re fitted at the base and widen towards the tip for added security, and they’re available in a variety of sizes. These condoms are sustainably sourced, free of dyes and fragrances, and contain no nitrosamine or casein, making them vegan-friendly as well.
While many women find that a female condom provides the best protection, they can have some disadvantages: They may make noise during sex (and some couples find it annoying), they’re not always as easy to insert, and they may require more lube than male condoms. (1)
If you’re looking for a more traditional condom that is still eco-friendly, the black latex from b condoms is a solid choice. The natural latex is derived from trees instead of animal products and the company works to close the gap on health disparities, including HIV, unplanned pregnancy, and sexually transmitted diseases in the Black community. They’re also free of spermicide, dyes, fragrance, and gluten.
3. Sustain Natural Latex Condoms
Sustain’s natural latex condoms are Fair Trade, vegan, and free from toxins and fragrance. They’re also sustainably produced and hypoallergenic, which means they won’t irritate your penis (or the planet). They come with pre-lubrication for comfort and pleasure, too.
These internal condoms are 95 percent effective at preventing pregnancy and most STIs when used properly. They are shaped like a regular male condom, but slightly wider at the base to prevent slippage. They also include ribs for added stimulation during penetration and orgasm.
Internal condoms are best for women who are comfortable inserting them, but can also be used by men. They don’t require an erect penis for use, but should be inserted several hours before foreplay and sex to ensure full protection. They also don’t contain hormones or spermicide, which is why they are the most trusted and effective form of birth control available. That said, women still should seek a medical opinion from their gynecologist for the most up-to-date information. A lot of women are still unprotected, and internal condoms can help address that issue.
4. Sustain Natural Latex Heat Condoms
Glyde, a female-owned B Corp out of Australia, is bringing sustainability into the bedroom with these ethical and fair-trade condoms. They’re made from natural latex and lubricated with water-based premium lubricant to optimize comfort. This brand isn’t suitable for those with latex allergies, though.
These female condoms, also known as internal condoms, fit inside the vagina to collect pre-cum and semen and act as a barrier against sperm. They’re 79 percent effective at preventing pregnancy and STIs, and can even heat to body temperature for a pleasurable sensation. The outer ring is meant to be kept outside of the body during use, but you can also pull it out when you’re finished.
Made from polyisoprene, a lab-made iteration of latex without the plant proteins that cause most allergy reactions, these condoms are considered latex-free. They’re also vegan, fragrance-free and free of glycerin, which can irritate the vagina. Plus, they’re Goop-approved for those who prefer their sex to be as pure as possible. They’re available at most major drugstores.
5. Sustain Natural Latex Ultra Thin Condoms
If you’re going for a barely-there feel and a little extra sensation, these vegan condoms are the way to go. They are sustainably sourced, slip-proof, and free from harmful chemicals (including spermicide) and odor. Plus, they’re FDA-approved and electronically triple-tested for safety.
Made by the same team that created our top-rated condom picks, these condoms are silky soft and extremely sensitive. They’re also the thinnest natural latex condoms available in the US. They work well for people with slim penises and those on the wider end of the average-size range.
This mail-order condom service delivers prophylactics right to your door, and it’s eco-friendly, too! Its all-natural, non-latex condoms are silky smooth and 40 percent thinner than the average condom. Plus, they’re free from milk-based casein and irritant spermicides. The company also uses a synthetically manufactured polyisoprene material to provide a super-sensitive feel.