Time to talk about safe sex.
Few things are more cringe-worthy than interrupting seemingly imminent sex to utter the words, "Do you have a condom?" but one of them is hearing your soon-to-be sexual partner answer, "Uhm... no".
We get it. Talking about safe sex seems safely unsexy, and attempting to do so might lead to awkwardness or–the horror–no sex, so it makes sense to put it off... But putting it off can lead to the scenario mentioned in the first paragraph, aka the worst kind of sexlessness: horny, naked, already in bed.
Don’t worry. Negotiating your way into a wild, fun, super sexy and super safe sex session doesn't have to be (that) awkward, and some might argue* it's a necessary part of having a healthy sex life.
Here's our advice.
1. Choose the right time.
As with all negotiations, approaching the subject at the right moment is half the battle. And when it comes to condoms, it's ideally before taking each other's clothes off.
Whatever the case, and even if you're already naked and ready to go, don't forget you are entitled to be heard and respected, and you can always say no if your request for protection is denied.
2. Always be prepared.
Of course, you don't always have the time (or desire) to talk to your partner before having sex, and that's why prevention is key. Make sure you have a condom with you at all times, or at least when you think some action might occur, to avoid being pressured into not using one just because it's inconvenient.
3. Be clear and decisive.
Take all your facts with you, so you can out-rationalize all arguments. We have some suggestions that might help you.
If your partner says it doesn't feel as good with a condom, suggest trying out a new kind of thinner or texturized ones. Personal experience dictates that those that change temperature can be veeeerry interesting. You can also try dropping (non-oil based) lube in the tip of the condom for added sensation.
If your partner argues that there's no need to use one if you're in a monogamous relationship, thank them for trusting you but explain that the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy would distract you and that would mean less fun for both of you.
If your partner doesn't want to interrupt the sexiness to put a condom on, tell them you can find a way to make that bit just as fun, like putting it on with your mouth.
Be clear about your reasons and emphasize that no condom means no sex. Most of the time they will accept your terms when faced with that possibility.
4. Suggest trying something new.
Be open to experimenting, and show your partner that protection doesn't equal less pleasure. Try different brands and make a game out of testing them out, and include condoms in the fun so it doesn't feel like an interruption.
Above all, remember that consenting to sex implies that you feel safe in the situation you're in, and your partner trying to persuade you to do something you don't want to–like not using a condom–is an indicator of an unsafe situation.
Remember, if your partner is not willing to listen, you can always say “no” and leave! You deserve to have your needs met every-single-time you get in bed with someone. Respect is a non-negotiable aspect of sex, and it's important that you feel absolutely safe... and once you're there, have fun!
*That would be us. We're arguing it's essential for a healthy sex life.
Header image edited by Marcy Gooberman
Pau is a Mexican feminist and journalist living in Madrid. Writing for tabú is a part of her scheme to empower young women through education.