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It’s important to talk to sexual partners about using condoms so you can look after your sexual health, and the health of other people. However, these conversations can feel a bit tricky. Here are some ideas that may make it easier.
There’s no ideal time to talk about condoms. But generally, the earlier the better. The sooner you bring the subject up, the sooner you’ll be able to sort it out. This will make it easier for you to relax and will mean you’re more likely to use them when the time comes.
Each situation and person is different so you’ll have to work out the best way to bring the subject up. It also depends on whether you and your partner(s) would like to use external condoms (also known as ‘penile’ or ‘male’ condoms) or internal condoms (also known as ‘female’condoms.) Some ways of starting the conversation about condoms are to:
It might be tricky bringing it up at first, but it’s a lot more likely that you will use condoms if you talk about them before you start to have sexual contact rather than leaving it until the moment arrives.
What if pregnancy isn’t a concern?
If neither you or your partner have a penis OR if you both do OR if you are using another method of contraception then you should still be discussing safer sex and using condoms. Condoms are not only used to prevent pregnancy – they also help prevent STIs.If you are using sex toys then a condom should be used to reduce the chances of STIs being transmitted. If condoms are not an option for you, then you should discuss STIs with your partner. Do you both know your STI status? Remember: not all STIs have symptoms.Find out more about getting tested for STIs.
Be confident and responsible for your own health. You shouldn’t leave the decision to use condoms up to someone else – if you want to use them then take the lead. It’s your body and you’re right to want to look after your health.
If someone makes a big deal about you wanting to use condoms, consider if this is the sort of person you want to be having sex with. If you still feel shy or embarrassed talking about condoms, there are some things you can do to feel more comfortable.
Condoms and consent
You shouldn’t ever feel pressured to have sex without a condom in the same way you shouldn’t ever feel pressured to have sex. It doesn’t matter if you are using another method of contraception or if you have had sex with the same person before without a condom – you have the right to choose to use condoms every time.If you have agreed to use condoms, but during sex your partner removes the condom without telling you, this is considered non-consensual condom removal – otherwise known as “stealthing”. Stealthing is a form of sexual assault and is illegal. If this happens to you, then you can contact Brook or another sexual health service for support and help with next steps. Find out more about sexual assault and how to get support.
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