Excuses aren’t as strong as the reasons to use condoms
A considerable proportion (39%) of sexually active students reported they only used condoms ‘sometimes’ when they had sex, and a small (13%) but nonetheless notable proportion ‘never’ used condoms.
Some people may intend to use them but not have any in the heat of the moment. Studies show that 42% of young people don’t always carry condoms. Many others find it difficult to ask partners to use them, either through embarrassment or because they don’t know how to handle the more common excuses.
Your best protection from STI
Other than not having sex at all, condoms offer the best protection from STI. Always be prepared by carrying condoms with you. However, a condom is only effective when it covers the infected area. That’s why it’s important to also swap sexual histories with your partner (including whether you’ve had an STI or been tested for one) and to discuss whether you should be tested as a couple.
Do I need to use condoms in a long -term relationship?
If you are in a long-term relationship and want to have sex without condoms, we suggest that you and your partner get tested first. Remember that you may not see any obvious signs of an STI but you or your partner may have one and not know it. If you change partners you will need to use condoms again to stay safe.
Types of condoms (Condoms for males and females)
Condoms aren’t just for males to wear. The female condom is a thin sheath or pouch inserted into the vagina prior to intercourse. It lines the vagina and helps to prevent pregnancy and STI. Female condoms are a good option for people with latex allergy because they are made of polyurethane. Female condoms are available from pharmacies, family planning clinics, and some sexual health and female health clinics.
Using condoms properly
Should lubrication always be used with condoms?
Adequate lubrication makes sex more comfortable and helps prevent the condom breaking. Using a lubricant is recommended for anal sex. Water based lubricants are best. Oil-based lubricants like Vaseline and massage oil weaken latex condoms quickly, making them much more likely to leak or break.
Is wearing two condoms better than one?
No. Wearing two condoms creates tension and friction between the two layers, causing both to break. Wearing two condoms will also mean they don’t fit properly, making them more likely to slip off. Female condoms should also not be used at the same time as a male condom because of the potential for breakage.
Feeling confident about condoms
Let your partner know that you want to use condoms and why you feel it’s important well before the heat of the moment. If it’s unplanned sex simply say “Condom!” before things get too heavy.
Will my partner think I don’t trust them?
Anyone who has had previous sexual contact can have an STI, even people with just one or two previous partners. Talking about using condoms doesn’t mean that you don’t trust your partner or that you have something to hide yourself, it just shows that you care about your health – and theirs.
Staying in control and handling excuses
Some partners may be reluctant to use condoms at first. Talk about it together but be clear and firm about the reasons why you want to be safe and use a condom.
If your partner still says no to condoms you should ask yourself if you’re prepared to risk your health by having unsafe sex. Your answer can be no too.
Drinking alcohol and taking other drugs may also affect your ability to make safe decisions.