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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
“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.
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?
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:
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.
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 clinics. Clinic 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