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Condom excuses

Some people don’t use condoms because they think they don’t need to or because they don’t want to. But the thing is, condoms are the only method of contraception that protect you against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so using them is a really good habit to get into.

So whether it's you making the excuses or whether it's your partner, here are the most common ones we've heard, together with a comeback:

I only use condoms if I think someone has an STI

You can't tell who has an STI by the way they look or behave. You can't even tell whether someone has an STI by knowing who they've slept with or how many people they've slept with. Remember, you only need to have sex once to catch an STI.

Condoms spoil sex for me

This is a common excuse, but safe sex can be good sex, we promise! The type of condom is important though, so think about the following:

  • Size: condoms that are the wrong size can be uncomfortable and make sex less pleasurable. They can also be more likely to break or slip off. Try different sizes of condoms to see which ones suit you best
  • Thinner condoms: some condoms are thinner than others, which can give increased pleasure and sensation
  • Non-latex condoms are good if you have an allergy to latex. However, they can also feel more natural, as the allow you to feel heat through them and they’re very thin. This can make sex more pleasurable 
  • Flared condoms: some condoms are flared at the end, meaning there’s more room for the end of the penis. This can make them easier to put on, and more comfortable
  • Some condoms are designed to make sex more pleasurable for both partners: some are ribbed, and some have lubricant on them that gives a tingling or warm sensation
  • Flavoured condoms can make oral sex taste better, and sometimes smell better than regular condoms
  • Condoms with extra lubricant can also make sex more pleasurable (or you can add lube to condoms)

Why bother? STIs can be cured with antibiotics

This may be true for some STIs, but others (like HIV) can't be cured at all. Also, you can't rely on the fact that you'll know you have an STI as not everyone will experience symptoms. This means that sometimes you can have them for a long time without even knowing. And if they're not treated, they can cause serious problems such as infertility (being unable to have children) for both men and women.

Sex feels so much better without... it's worth the risk

Let’s weigh up the pros and cons here; your enjoyment for a few minutes, or dealing with worry and regret for days, weeks, or even years?

Unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy. If you’re not ready for this, you may regret that ‘heat of the moment’ unprotected sex. Is that moment of improved pleasure worth the worry of an unplanned pregnancy? And that’s not the only thing you have to worry about or regret, you need to think about getting tested for STIs, too.

It’s simple, to enjoy sex without worry or regret, always use a condom.

No one would have unprotected sex if they had an STI!

Chances are, you think this because you wouldn't have unprotected sex if you had an STI but not everyone will think like this. And even if they do, they may not even know that they have an STI. Two of the commonest STIs, chlamydia and gonorrhoea, don't have any symptoms. And consider this, 1 in 4 people with HIV (perhaps the most serious STI there is) don't actually know that they have it. That means they could pass it on to you without even knowing.

We use another method, so we don't need to

Even if you’re using another method of contraception, like the pill, you’re still at risk of STIs, which can have serious long-term consequences. Also, bear in mind that contraception is never 100% effective, especially if you don’t use it perfectly (like forgetting to take your pill). It’s always wise to use condoms too, to have the best chance of preventing both pregnancy and STIs.

But condoms make sex crap!

It's not just about making sex safer, condoms can actually make sex better! For example, wearing a condom can often make a man last longer during sex, which means more pleasure for both partners.

Condoms also make sex less messy. When you don’t use condoms, the come (semen) is not contained so it can end up on the bed (creating the dreaded ‘wet patch’), or dribbling out of yours or your partner’s vagina or anus. 

It's SO hard to stop in the heat of the moment

Sometimes, even if you plan to use condoms, it can be difficult to stop and put one on in the heat of the moment. Still, if you want to use condoms, you can and even if you're really turned on, you are in control. Here are some tips to help you stay in control:

  • Talking about condoms before you have sex means you're much more likely to end up using them. Find out information on how to talk about condoms here
  • Putting the condom on during foreplay. This way, the condom is part of the moment, it isn’t interrupting it
  • Having condoms ready and nearby. This way you're always ready for sex, whenever you get lucky. Have some near your bed, such as in a bedside drawer (just make sure they are easy to find and not buried at the bottom) and always carry condoms with you, in your wallet, pocket, or bag (make sure you don’t store them here for more than one month – they can get damaged)
  • Make a plan to use a condom. Try this tried and tested way to help you remember. For example, your plan might be:

“IF I’m having foreplay with someone…THEN I will ask my partner about condoms” Or: “If I know I’m going to have sex…THEN I will get a condom out, ready for sex”

Set a plan that suits you, and write it down. Repeat it to yourself until you can remember it.

I'm not a dirty person, why should I use condoms?

People don't use condoms because they're dirty, they use condoms because they’re an adult who cares about looking after themselves, and their partner.

If you care about your partner enough to want to have sex with them, do you really want to put them at risk? And if you really do care about being ‘clean’ and free of STI and unwanted pregnancy, why would you not use condoms? 

I forget when I'm drunk or high

People often feel in the mood for sex after drinking or taking drugs but sex when you're drunk or high isn't always the best idea because:

  • You might regret it: the next morning you might regret the person that you’ve slept with, or be worried about STIs or pregnancy
  • Your partner might regret it: do you really want someone to regret having had sex with you?
  • It might not be the best sex: men often struggle to get or keep an erection after they’ve been drinking. Sometimes it’s better to wait!

But you can stay safe and reduce regret by using a condom. Take condoms with you when you go out drinking – even if you're not planning to have sex.

I can't afford condoms!

This is never a valid excuse since condoms are free on the NHS. You can get them for free from any sexual health clinic – including Brook clinics. Find your nearest Brook clinic here.


If you've had unprotected sex, you can get tested for STIs at lots of places, including Brook clinicsClinic staff won’t judge you or your behaviour, they know that you’ve done the right thing by going to get tested. If you're anxious about it, you can read all about what happens when you visit a Brook clinic, here.

Page last reviewed: September 2015
Next review due: September 2017