Condoms: Talking With Your Partner

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  • Young men's version of this guide

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 partner, you should be able to talk to them about anything.

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

You can reassure your partner that it’s not that you don’t trust them, but that you would feel a lot safer and less stressed if you used a condom every time you have sex. You can let them know that your health care provider wants you (and your partner) to protect yourselves from any sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Often STIs may not initially cause symptoms so people may not even know that they have one either.. Aside from protection from STIs, condoms can also prevent unwanted pregnancy if you are at risk. Even if you take oral contraceptives, it’s always 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 using birth control.

If you’re using birth control, you can tell your partner that although they’re usually 91-99% effective, birth control is not 100% effective and you don’t want to be one of the 1-9% that gets pregnant while on birth control.

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 them 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 and/or that you should think about if you feel comfortable having sex with your .

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

Sexual 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” or explain that if they want to have sex with you they will respect your decision to use protection.

How can I respond to my partner’s excuses?

  • If they says: “If you love me, you’d let me have sex with you without a condom.”
    You can: Make it clear to them 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 they says: “Stopping to put on a condom will ruin the mood.”
    You can:Tell them 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 they 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 larger sizes. You can even offer to buy a pack for him or buy a few different types to try!

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 and unwanted pregnancy if this is a possibility. If your partner really cares about you, they won’t have a problem with agreeing to use condoms every time you have sex.