Talking to your partner about using condoms to prevent STIs can be uncomfortable, but safety is sexy as heck. No matter how awkward you might feel about it, getting it done can save you from an even more awkward chat later on. The best sex always starts with killer communication, right? Read on to learn how to navigate those tricky bits and come out feeling heard and ready for a good time.
Condoms are a thin tube made to cover the shaft of a penis and commonly made of latex, polyurethane, or lambskin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, using a condom every time reduces the risk of sexually transmitted infections. Think of a condom as a barrier against the mixing of fluids, keeping excited sperm from getting into the vagina. To prevent breakage during ejaculation, you’ll notice a little bit of extra material right at the head of the condom to hold it in.
Picture this: you’re walking with your date after a night out that went really well, so well in fact that you’re taking them back home with you. You’ve barely entered through the door before clothes start sliding off your bodies onto the floor, and the next thing you know, you’re confronted with the knowledge that you haven’t yet had the condom talk.
Before opening up the conversation about sex and protection with a new potential partner, you’ll want to check in with yourself first. The most important thing here is that you feel safe and heard, which is pretty much the best foreplay ever. Run over the following questions with yourself to get a better feel for where you’re at and what your expectations and boundaries are.
Having all the chats about protection is useless unless you’ve got it. There seems to be a popular idea that it’s the responsibility of the “man” to bring protection when really, it should be up to any and everyone that is sexually active. Taking it upon yourself to stock up on condoms (no matter your gender or lack thereof) helps to shatter the narrative that the “man” or penis-owner is in charge. You are in charge of your body and, therefore, responsible for your sexual health. Say it loud and proud people! Walk into that drug store and buy those condoms with pride.
After you’ve decided that yes, you do want to take this step and are stocked up with the goods, it’s time to get them in on the conversation. Instead of waiting until the last possible moment to talk protection (which, let’s face it, can be a total mood killer), do yourself a favour and have the chat while your clothes are still on. Springing the conversation between steamy kisses runs the risk of your genitals making the decision for you, which isn’t usually how the best choices are made.
So you’ve got them ready and willing to chat about staying safe, but what should you say? Make sure that you get the basics covered. And remember that how you talk can be just as important as what you say, so speak kindly. Some people can get offended by this chat, so be sure to remind your partner that this has nothing to do with them personally and everything to do with safety.
If you are met with any resistance from your new potential partner, it’s better you know now before you’re in a vulnerable (and horny) state. Any hesitation from them serves as a red flag that’s best you see sooner rather than later. If they don’t want to use a condom with you, have they not been using protection in the past? Because the nature of this conversation can be difficult, it’s best to have this initial chat somewhere that you feel safe just in case.
If your partner asks or says:
Remember that YOU are in charge of your body. Adamantly remind your partner that you practice safe sex and that it is non-negotiable (if it isn’t) and that you do this not just for yourself but for them as well. Don’t forget that it’s never too late to back out and that just because you’ve started having a conversation about sex doesn’t mean you have to go through with it if you don’t 100% feel like it.
Even once you’d had the talk, putting the condom on (especially with a new partner for the first time), can be awkward. A possible solution might be to make the act of putting it on a part of the fun. Try any of these out:
And just as a general rule, keep condoms close by, like really close by. No running out of the room to grab some rubbers nonsense.
Of course, you could walk into any drug store, grocery store, sex shop, or convenient store and grab yourself a box of condoms. If you’re feeling a little antsy at the thought of this, you can always purchase your protection online at any sex store, specific condom retailer, or even an online retailer like Amazon.
To make protection more accessible, most sexual health clinics will give you condoms for free. And while you’re there, you might as well get tested! You can also try searching “free condoms” followed by your city name and see what comes up.
Here are some online resources to score some condoms for free in the following cities:
Give yourself the freedom of your body by taking control of your sexual health. Be mindful of red flags, and remember to check in with yourself about your boundaries. All of this serves as a fantastic foundation for a healthy and pleasurable sex life.
If you’re looking for support for your sexual health needs, you can start an online visit to connect with one of the Felix doctors.
The views expressed here are those of the author and, as with the rest of the content on Active Ingredients, are not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider.