Condoms: Safer is Sexier

Sex can be fun and pleasurable, but it is important that you also think about the risks involved such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy. Condoms are the only method of contraception that protect against both STIs and unplanned pregnancy so it is important you are confident using them.

People will often make excuses about not using condoms, but it may simply be that they are afraid to use them. Perhaps they don't know how to or are embarrassed about talking to their sexual partners. Alcohol also plays a big part in whether or not someone uses a condom as many people report forgetting or not bothering to use condoms when they are drunk.

Condoms offer protection to both partners and using condoms shows trust, respect and care for your partner. Protecting each other from STIs and unwanted pregnancy is a shared responsibility so you both need to be able to talk confidently about condoms. It is best to talk about contraception and condom use before having sex. That way you can develop an understanding of your partner's concerns, overcome your embarrassment and learn how to use them properly before actually having sex.

Here are some tips to help you get ready to talk to your partner about condoms and deal with any resistance

Practice makes perfect

Familiarise yourself with condoms: what they look like and how they work. You can use a cucumber or banana to practice putting one on. If you practice with your eyes shut you know you can put one on safely in the dark.

If your partner says: “Don't you trust me? I thought you loved and trusted me.”

Tell them: "I do love you. It is not about trust, it is about peace of mind, enjoying sex and being protected from STIs and unwanted pregnancy."

If your partner says “But I am on the pill”.

Tell them, "The pill only protects you from pregnancy and not STIs. If we use both we will be safer."

If you think “It does not fit properly”

"Did you know that condoms come in different sizes and brands. It can be fun to look for one that fits you perfectly".

If you or your partner says “It is uncomfortable and does not feel good with a condom”

Tell them: "There are different condom styles which increase sensitivity and enjoyment, also if we use lubricant it'll help to increase the pleasure. Why don't we try them out?"

If you or your partner says “I do not know how to use a condom”

Tell them: "We can both practice putting them on so that we know what to do when we are ready to have sex".

If your partner says “I am allergic to latex”

Tell them: "We can get hold of polyurethane condoms, which are latex-free from sexual health services."

If your partner says “But I do not have one on me”

Make sure you always carry one on you so you can say. "It's ok - I always carry one just in case we need it"

If you think “But we are only having oral sex. Do we really need a condom?”

Remember you can still get some STIs from oral sex. Why don't we try flavoured condoms for oral sex?