How to Negotiate Safer Sex
Condoms, condoms, condoms… yes, you’ve heard it before: condoms are the best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections. But sometimes, no matter how many you’ve stashed away in your rez room from frosh giveaways, it can be hard to break one out when you really need it.
A healthy sexual relationship is based on consent. Giving consent means that you’ve openly communicated that you’re comfortable with what’s going on. You’re the only one in charge of your sexual health, so it’s important that you feel comfortable with the precautions you and your partner are taking against STIs and/or pregnancy. Basically, talking about using protection or contraception is an important part of consent.
But let’s face it – you might suddenly find yourself in a really hot situation where bringing up the condom discussion just isn’t sexy. So be prepared! Here are some tips for making safer sex easier:
- Keep condoms and lube in view and within reach of where you’d have sex. For example, keep them on your bedside table. Not only are they just an arm’s-length away, but having them out in the open sets the expectation that you use these when you have sex.
- When the time is right, pull out a condom and unwrap it. Put it on yourself or your partner (with consent, of course). The idea is that now that the condom’s out of its package, it’ll be harder for your partner to reject the idea of wearing one.
- If you know you’re going to be getting drunk or high and might behave riskier than usual, keep a condom with you and promise yourself that you’ll use it.
- If none of these precautions work out, and you end up in a condom-less situation, think about having another kind of sex than intercourse! Mutual masturbation has very little risk for transmission of STIs, and can be just as hot.
What about the actual negotiation…what if my partner doesn’t want to use a condom? Pull out one of these comebacks:
If your partner says:
“Using condoms doesn’t feel as good,” suggest using some lube to reduce friction, and say, “Let’s figure out how to make it feel really great together!”
“I have no symptoms, so I’m clean,” suggest going to get tested for STIs together – remember, the most common symptom of an STI is no symptoms.
“Safer sex is too expensive,” suggest sharing the cost of contraceptives or barrier methods, find places to buy less expensive products (like the Shag Shop!), and say, “our sexual health is priceless,” or, “safer sex is cheaper than a baby!”