How can I convince my partner to use condoms

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Using condoms is one of the easiest ways to prevent infections and unwanted pregnancy. But many people do not want to use them at first. Here are responses to some common complaints about condoms:

“I tried them before and didn’t like them.”

Sometimes condoms just take time to get used to. Try to agree that you will use them for a couple of weeks. Usually, both partners will realize that sex can be just as enjoyable when using condoms.

“I can’t feel anything with a condom on.” Use plenty of water-based lubricant. This helps sex feel better for both partners. Try putting a drop of lubricant inside the tip of the condom before putting it on. It’s true that sex feels a little different with a condom. But most people agree that it is better to have sex with a condom than not to have it at all! A condom can also help some men stay hard longer.

“We never used condoms before. Why should we start now?”

Explain that now you know more about the risks of unprotected sex, it seems like a good idea for you to protect each other. As an excuse, you can say that you need to change your family planning method.

“I don’t like to stop what I’m doing to put one on.”

Keep a supply of condoms within reach of the places you usually have sex so that you will not have to get up to find one. You can put the condom on as soon as the man’s penis is hard, then continue touching and playing with each other. If they are available and you can afford them, consider using the female condom, which you can put in ahead of time.

"I can’t afford to buy condoms,” or condoms are not available.

Many health centers and AIDS prevention organizations give condoms away for free or very cheap. It is better to use a new condom each time, but re-using a condom is better than no condom at all. If you must re-use condoms, wash them carefully with soap and water, dry and re-roll the condoms, and store them in a cool, dark place. Use other ways to reduce risk. For example, it is safer for both the woman and the man if the man withdraws his penis before he comes (ejaculates). If you cannot get condoms, try covering the penis with thin, flexible plastic wrap.

"It doesn’t feel as intimate.”

Try to make using condoms sexy. Practice different ways of putting a condom on, then make it part of your play before sex. If you can trust your partner’s self control, and tests for HIV and other STIs are available, you can make a plan to stop using condoms in the future. Both of you should be tested, continue using condoms for 6 months, and then get tested again. In the meantime, discuss the importance of safety, honesty, being faithful, and always using condoms if either of you ever has sex with another person.

  • Burns, A. A., Niemann, S., Lovich, R., Maxwell, J., & Shapiro, K. (2014). Where women have no doctor: A health guide for women. Hesperian Foundation.
  • Audiopedia ID: en010512