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Did you know that when used correctly, condoms are very effective at preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection? About 98%! And using condoms with another form of birth control (pill, shot, IUD, or patch) provides that extra layer of protection against unplanned pregnancy, which means you can have more fun and less stress!

It’s important to talk to your partner about the importance of using condoms and how condoms can actually benefit your sex life. Need some help getting that conversation started? Keep reading

How do I talk to my partner about using condoms?

It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been dating or exactly how you define your relationship, you should always discuss your boundaries and comfort levels with your partner before engaging in sexual activity. 

The best way to start the conversation: just cut to the chase. Let them know you care about your (and their) sexual health and want to use condoms. Being direct and honest with your partner can help prevent miscommunication and misunderstandings.

It’s a lot easier to talk about safer sex and using condoms before you start getting hot and steamy. It can help you keep a clear head and help you both be actively present in the conversation. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about personal preferences (brand and type), so you can have a stash of your favorite condoms already on hand and nearby so you don’t have to pause the fun to go searching for one in the moment.

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

It’s important to explain to them why using protection is important to you. Once they understand how serious you are about staying heathy and avoiding pregnancy, they might be more inclined to agree. And let them know that using condoms together can actually strengthen your sexual relationship because you’ll be able to let loose and fully enjoy yourselves together without worrying about pregnancy or STIs. Condoms also come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, so if you try one kind and don’t love it — you have options! There are even flavored condoms, which are perfect for oral sex. Finding the perfect fit doesn’t have to be boring.

We’ll be frank: if your partner seems angry or resistant to using condoms, despite your conversation, consider this a red flag. 

Your sexual partners should always respect your boundaries and care about your pleasure as much as they do their own. Sex should never feel one-sided and consent should always be enthusiastic and freely given. You should never be coerced into having sex without a condom and it’s okay to stand your ground and say no if you don’t feel completely comfortable. Honestly, there’s nothing sexier than someone who prioritizes their health and safety just as much as they do pleasure.

This conversation is going to be so awkward? Do I really have to have it?

Yes. Because it’s often considered taboo, it’s understandable that you might feel vulnerable or awkward talking openly about sex with your partners. That’s not your fault. Talking about sex can be a bit awkward, but it can also be really great!

Starting an open conversation with your partner can feel intimidating, but once you’ve done it, you’ll quickly see how it can build trust and deepen the mutual connection between you. And that connection may carry over into the bedroom and make sex even more fun.

So, dive in, start that conversation, and let your partner know how you feel. You deserve to feel safe, connected, and respected.

We’ve had sex without condoms before. Can I change my mind on this?

The short answer: YES. Absolutely.

The long answer: Using condoms is a personal decision and there are a lot of reasons why people do and do not choose to use them. That’s nothing to be ashamed of. As mentioned above, consent should always be enthusiastic — it is also reversible. If you and your partner have had sex without condoms before, that doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind. You absolutely can — at any time before or even during a sexual encounter. And each time you have sex is a new opportunity to make decisions about your personal health and boundaries that make you feel safe and happy.

If you and your partner choose to not use condoms together, that’s your call. But make sure you are getting tested regularly for STIs and that both of you are being deeply honest with each other about your status and any other sexual relationships you may have, so that everyone involved is able to make fully informed decisions about their personal health and well-being. 

This is all great, but I still have questions. Can y’all help?

Of course we can! Planned Parenthood of Illinois is always here to make sure you get the facts and resources you need to stay on top of your sexual health.

Schedule an appointment now or swing by to pick-up free condoms at a PPIL health center near you today!

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