Communication and Condoms: A Romantic Pair
Originally Published: August 9, 2007
Revised: September 9, 2014
“When you’re ready to have sex, you must talk to your partner about using a condom.” That’s what my mother has been telling me since I was 14. I never thought I would take my mother’s advice on anything to do with sex, but sure enough, the day came when I needed to talk to my partner about condom use.
I did not expect it to be pleasant. I was waiting to hear his cries of protest, waiting for a fight. His pleasure would be gone! The romance would be killed! Fortunately, I was completely wrong.
My boyfriend was just as adamant as I was about using condoms, and to this day, protecting ourselves is an important part of our relationship. We always split the cost of buying condoms, and if there isn’t one available, we simply don’t have sex. We’ve made these decisions together, and in the long run, it has brought us closer as a couple. We are able to talk openly, ask each other questions and feel secure knowing that we each want the other to be safe.
Presents and flowers are romantic, but really knowing your partner, respecting his or her body and protecting yourself—now that is truly beautiful.
Safer Sex: A Shared Responsibility
Discussing protection does not have to be awkward or intimidating. Think of it as a bonding experience for the two of you: your shared responsible decision, followed by your trip to the store to buy condoms (or some other barrier method, like a Sheer Glyde dental dam, if the sex you’re having doesn’t involve a penis), and then, the best part, getting to use them!
Chances are you both have a similar desire to protect yourselves. So if this will be your first time approaching your partner on the issue, you’ll likely find that he or she agrees with you and is happy you brought it up.
However, if you are met with resistance, you’ll want to resolve this problem before deciding to have sex. Your partner could have a million reasons why he or she doesn’t want to use protection: embarrassment over buying condoms, fearing lessened sexual sensation, thinking the sex will seem planned or unromantic. But I, for one, think that a boyfriend or girlfriend who accepts your desire to protect yourself is making a very romantic gesture. If your partner refuses to protect you and himself by wearing a condom, then maybe he or she isn’t the right one. Learn how to ask your partner to use a condom.
STD Testing: No Longer Taboo
When you talk about condom use and protection, it is also a good time to discuss getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV. Many STDs have no symptoms. So, if you or your partner have had oral, anal or vaginal sex without a condom or had more than one partner, you should be tested. Again, this does not have to be scary.
Perhaps you could go together to get tested, to make the process feel less threatening. We no longer live in an age where it’s taboo to be tested on a regular basis, and to share this with someone can be a bonding experience. Planned Parenthood currently offers low-cost screening for STDs, including HIV. You can also get tested at most local hospitals and health clinics. Remember that you should be tested for all the most common STDs, not just HIV. Get more information about getting tested. If you find out you have an STD or already know you have one, find out how to talk to your partner.
It’s important to know where your partner stands when it comes to STDs (and it’s just as important for him or her to know about you). It might seem daunting to introduce such a serious topic into an otherwise lighthearted relationship, but knowing your test results can make all the difference and can prevent worry in the future.
On the Same Page as Your Partner?
It is not always easy to be in a relationship, especially in high school or college. It takes time, patience and lots of work. In the long run, for things to work out, the two of you ideally have to communicate and be on the same page when it comes to using protection and getting tested. Such an open discussion may seem hard, but you will find that it brings you closer and strengthens your relationship. So remember that presents and flowers are romantic, but really knowing your partner, respecting his or her body and protecting yourself—now that is truly beautiful.
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