Q: How Do I Ask My Partner To Wear a Condom?

Q: How do I ask my partner to wear a condom? I am nervous about asking my partner to use a condom. We never have before because I am on the pill, but we aren’t exclusive and I don’t know if he’s doing things with other girls, or if they’re clean…

He says that he doesn’t like the way that condoms feel and I’m nervous that if I ask him to wear one, he won’t want to have sex with me anymore.

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A: First of all, kudos to you for recognizing the risks associated with unprotected sex, even though you’re using birth control. Not only are you still at risk for STDs, but hormonal birth control is not 100% effective at preventing pregnancy. Using an additional method, like a condom, is always recommended.

The best way to go about it is to take the situation into your own hands.

Here’s how it goes down:

You go over to his place and things start to get hot and heavy. Right as he’s pulling down your jeans, you decide to broach the topic.

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“I think we should use condoms from now on,” you say, making your health and safety non-negotiable. “Since we aren’t exclusive and we haven’t recently been tested together, it would really give me some peace of mind.”

“Ok,” he says, “but we’ll do it next time because I don’t have any on hand.”

“Well, how lucky is that? I brought some over just in case,” you say, whipping out a package from your purse.

“Oh,” he says, and you can tell he’s disappointed because he totally thought that was going to work. “Well, I don’t really think they’re all that comfortable. I can’t come as well with one on.”

“That’s a pity,” you say, sadly, “because I can’t come without one. I get very anxious over the possibility that you have STDs or that my birth control won’t work and I just kind of freeze up. Hey, did you know that the main reason men find condoms uncomfortable is because they haven’t found the right condom size or brand yet?”

“What?” he says.

“I had no idea. That’s why I bought Condom Depot’s sampler pack. They have all kinds of ultra thin ones, and ooh! These condoms by Durex are supposed to be extra sensitive! I thought maybe we could have fun figuring out which one works best for us,” you wink, slyly.

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“Look,” he says, “that’s great and all, but I’m clean, and I’m kind of offended that you don’t think so.”

“Oh no, it’s not your fault,” you say, pulling your pants back up, “It’s just that most STDs are asymptomatic for men but can have drastic consequences for women, such as sterility and even cervical cancer. How about we go to the clinic right now and get tested together?”

“I just got tested. I promise, I’m clean,” he says.

“But I haven’t been in a while, and I want to prove that I’m clean too. I’m very worried about your health, you know,” you say. “Plus, if we do it together, it’ll be a fun date!”

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“That doesn’t sound like a fun date at all,” he says, glumly.

“You’re right,” you say. “That probably wouldn’t be any fun at all.”

You start making out. He thinks he’s in the clear and starts to take off your pants again. But after he removes your panties: SURPRISE! You have a female condom in. You put it in before your date because they’re kind of a hassle, but they’re safe to keep in for up to 8 hours (although it’s not safe to pair a male and female condom together).

“Hey,” you say, “it came in the sampler pack! I thought I’d put it in before things got heated in case I forgot.”

OK, maybe that was a little over-the-top assertive, and chances are, your guy will be a lot more likely to accept the no-condom-no-boinking rule. But these are some potential protests that he might have and some ways you can answer him while still being sensitive to his needs, but assertive for your own sake.

Sex needs to be an open conversation, and if you feel like he might get angry or refuse to have sex with you, weigh the risks: is it worth having sex with someone who doesn’t respect your need for safety?

Because this is the bottom line: it’s your body. And you don’t have to put anything in it that may potentially hurt you. If you don’t feel safe about your partner’s STD status, there’s no reason you should have him inside of you unprotected.

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