Healthy lives for young people

Condom excuses (and comebacks!)

Some people don’t use condoms because they think they don’t need to or because they don’t want to. But, 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Condoms spoil sex for me

    This is a common excuse, but safe sex can be good sex! 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
    Enhances pleasure condoms: 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)
  3. 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, not everyone will experience symptoms so you can have an STI for a long time without even knowing. And if they’re not treated, they can cause serious problems such as infertility.
  4. Sex feels so much better without… it’s worth the risk

    Unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy. If you’re not ready for this, you may regret that ‘heat of the moment’ unprotected sex. 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.
  5. 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. That means they could pass it on to you without even knowing.
  6. 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, 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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. 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: and stick to it!
  9. 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.
  10. I can’t afford condoms

    Condoms are free on the NHS. You can get them for free from any sexual health clinic – including Brook clinics. Find your nearest service 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.

“If I know I’m going to have sex…THEN I will get a condom out, ready for sex”


    Other Stuff you might find useful…

    9 common mistakes when using condoms
    Talking about condoms with your partner
    External (or male) condoms
    Internal (or female) condoms


    Find a Service near you