Condoms: Talking With Your Partner

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male condom

Having a conversation about how to prevent sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy should come way before sex, but sometimes it’s not discussed because one or both partners feel too embarrassed to bring it up. However, if you’re thinking about having sex (or are already having sex) with a male partner, you should be able to talk to him about anything.

My partner thinks I don’t trust him because I want to use condoms. What can I tell him?

You can reassure your partner that it’s not that you don’t trust him, but that you would feel a lot safer and less stressed if he used condoms every time you have sex. You can let him know that your health care provider wants you to protect your cervix from HPV, herpes, and other STIs. Aside from protection from STIs, condoms can also prevent unwanted pregnancy. Even if you take oral contraceptives, it’s better to use 2 methods to prevent pregnancy. You can talk about how you don’t want to get pregnant and would rather not stress about the possibility of getting pregnant after having sex or if your period is late.

My partner said that we don’t need to use condoms because I’m on the Pill.

If you’re taking birth control pills, you can tell your partner that although they’re usually 97-99% effective, the Pill is not 100% effective and you don’t want to be one of the 1-3% that gets pregnant while on birth control pills.

What if I feel uncomfortable talking about condom use?

Talking about condoms may seem a little uncomfortable at first, especially if you don’t know how your partner will react. However, healthy relationships are based on trust and communication, so you should be able to talk about how you feel.

Having a face to face talk about using condoms shouldn’t be a big deal, but if you feel that it would be easier to chat about it over the phone or via text message, do that instead. Any communication is better than none at all.

What if I’m afraid of my partner’s reaction when I tell him I want to use condoms?

In healthy relationships, when partners have problems, they discuss them and work together to find a solution. If you’re afraid of how your partner might react, it might be a sign that you’re in an unhealthy relationship.

What if I already know my partner doesn’t want to use condoms?

Relationships involve two people, so why should your partner get to make the decision regarding condom use? Even if you already know that your partner doesn’t want to use condoms, you need to have a conversation about it. Be honest and state your concerns and the reasons you want to use condoms. You can also say “No glove, no love”.

How can I respond  to my partner’s excuses?

  • If he says: “If you love me, you’d let me have sex with you without a condom.”
    You can: Make it clear to him that this isn’t a valid reason. For instance, you could have used the same line and said “If you love me, you’d use a condom,” but you didn’t. You came up with mature, valid reasons regarding your health and wellbeing.
  • If he says: “Stopping to put on a condom will ruin the mood.”
    You can: Tell him that this doesn’t have to be true. If you keep condoms nearby and/or come up with a fun way of putting them on, it can actually add to the mood instead of taking away from it.
  • If he says: “My penis is too big for condoms.” (Some guys actually say this, but it’s not true.)
    You can: Tell him that condoms stretch to accommodate different sizes. If he’s putting the condom on correctly and it really is too tight, there are brands of condoms that come in extra-large. You can even offer to buy a pack for him.

What if my partner still says no to condoms?

If your partner still says no to using condoms after you’ve made it clear that it’s very important to you, you have an important decision to make. Ask yourself if you’re willing to take the risks that unprotected sex involves, and think long and hard about whether you really want to be with someone who doesn’t respect what is really important to you.

Talking to your partner about condoms may seem awkward at first, but it’s too important not to have the conversation! Try your best to get past your anxiety and talk to your partner, because you both need to be protected against sexually transmitted infections. If your partner really cares about you, he won’t have a problem with agreeing to use condoms every time you have sex.