Why Condoms Should Never Be The Enemy Of Romance

(Photo: Daniel Stark)

There are many ways to kill the mood during foreplay.

Maybe the guy you’re with breaks wind at an inappropriate moment. Maybe someone has to extract a hair from his or her mouth during an extended intimate ‘warm-up’ session. Or maybe, just as things are about to get to the main event, he has to hit the pause button and say “hold on, I need to rummage around my bag for a minute to find a packet of rubber tubes so that I can slip one over my penis”.

He starts searching around his overnight bag. He removes a box, and, with his teeth clenched around the plastic covering on the outside, he begins the awkward process of opening a fresh box of condoms whilst trying to look sexy.

Needless to say, he fails.

But wait, it could be worse. Much, much worse. He could rummage around his bag for an excruciating couple of minutes, only to emerge with nothing but the dreaded phrase: “I forgot to bring one…”

Now what?

Well, now you wish he was awkwardly opening that condom box. Because now you have a dilemma. Let’s suppose this guy is your new boyfriend. You’ve both been having sex for a while now, but just this once he hasn’t got protection. Maybe you think: “I trust him. He seems really safe”. Besides, you know he doesn’t sleep around much so there’s little chance he’s carrying an STD.

“What about pregnancy though?!” You suddenly freak out and panic. “But hold on…” you remember, “it’s not the right time of the month anyway. It should be ok…should be…”

Now your resolve is slipping, and you’ve started down the road of having unprotected sex with your boyfriend. Who knows, maybe this time it will be ok, but you know you’re taking a huge gamble with your future. Even if you happen to be taking the pill, you know there’s a chance that ‘just this once’ could still mean you get unlucky and catch something other than a baby you didn’t plan for.

Should You Trust Any Guy With Your Sexual Health?

Now, I’m not against having unprotected sex under safe conditions with someone you love and trust. But recent research undertaken by Trojan™ Brand Condoms has shown that 62 percent of people with repeat partners stop using condoms regularly within two months of a new relationship.

What’s the big deal though? The big deal is that the research also shows that the decision to stop using condoms is being made without exchanging important sexual health information and discussing alternative forms of protection being used. Sixty percent indicated they had not been tested for STDs and two-thirds indicated their partner had not been tested, with more than 1 in 3 not using another form of hormonal birth control.

For me, those are pretty worrying statistics.

See, a lot of people say they have trust and intimacy with their new partner, so why should they be worried? But this isn’t about trust. This is about taking responsibility for your own body. Something everyone has to do. Trust has nothing to do with it when it comes to seeking assurance from your partner that they have a clean bill of health and are fully tested. It’s not a question of trust, it’s a question of both of your safety.

You might get a guy who tries to talk you into it, and tell you how good it feels without a condom. He might even say that he can’t even enjoy sex when wearing one. Or perhaps he’ll just reassure you and say, “I’m not seeing anyone else, and I’m totally healthy. It’ll be fine”.

How do you handle this critical moment?

Maybe you think “Well it’s just up to him to bring a condom. It he doesn’t bring one, then we don’t have sex. That’s the rule.” But do you really want to put yourself in a situation where there’s even a chance you would slip up and have unprotected sex? For me, I know that this is an area of my life where I want to take zero chances.

I’ve known friends staring down the face of STDs and unwanted pregnancies, and I’ve seen how they chide themselves for being so dumb and cavalier with their partner when it came to wearing protection.

See, we assume very quickly in a relationship that we are safe simply because we’ve known our partner for a while. It’s a stupid bias, and truthfully, there’s absolutely no reason to take the chance until you’ve both had a full sexual health test and have considered (and adopted) alternative forms of birth control. For me, as a man, I know a condom is the only way I can feel peace of mind. A condom is the only form of contraception that protects against both STDs and unintended pregnancy.

How To Tell A Guy He Needs To Wear A Condom

For women, insisting that a guy wear a condom is also your best way of having peace of mind, knowing that you can’t catch anything before you know for certain you’ve both been tested.

But of course, it’s all well and good having this standard and talking about it soberly here, but how do you communicate all this to a guy when The Condom Moment arises just before sex?

The best way is to not treat it as a confrontation –there’s no need to say, “it’s your duty to wear a condom, now get your rubber helmet on or get out soldier!”

A better way to approach this is to show that it’s about you, not him. In other words, if he asks whether he can stop using condoms because you’ve been together for a month or two already, and you’re not sure how to handle it, you say “Look, I love having sex with you and being with you, but I just don’t do that. I use condoms when I have sex for my own safety”.

When you say it like this, you are firm, but you’re also communicating to him: it’s not a matter of trust, it’s a matter of safety.

You always have a right to do whatever you need to feel comfortable and safe. And the reason I decided to say yes to this campaign with Trojan™ Brand Condoms is because I wholly believe that you can’t have great sex when you don’t feel secure. Safe sex is indispensable for great sex.

Woman or man, it’s your own responsibility to look out for your own sexual health. If your guy is truly right for you, he’ll respect this completely. A great guy will actually be more attracted when he sees that you take safety seriously (especially since guys worry about this stuff just as much as women!).

I’ve broken many of my own rules before in relationships and made mistakes, but one I never break is perhaps my simplest and abiding principle, one which I recommend making your own: Safety is sexy.

If a guy doesn’t get on board with that, he doesn’t get on board with you ;)


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26 Replies to “Why Condoms Should Never Be The Enemy Of Romance”

  • I love this article, every woman should read it and keep it in mind all the time. It is not a hard thing to ask for, and please protect yourself FIRST. It’s top priority. AND if you woman happens to have sex without protection and not taking regular pills, please take plan B. You are liable for that, don’t blame anyone. Good article Matt

  • How do you address the problem of HPV, which is spread regardless of whether he wears a condom and men cannot be tested for it? A condom doesn’t protect a woman or a man from getting HPV. And there’s currently no test for a man.

  • Greeting Matthew-
    Thank u for providing us with such great questions.
    I for one am a great believer in protection for both of us. I address this issue as it takes 2 to tango n enjoy ourselves without a care in the world for unneccary worry on both of our parts.
    You r the bomb here n thank u again for being there love for us ladies. I soo enjoy you!!
    Chow babe

  • So thankful that I believe in waiting… I believe the freedom from worry, disease and emotional security make marriage worth it! :) If you both waited, probably no disease, if you get pregnant, you’re committed and excited to suffer poverty together and enjoy top ramen and have stories to tell your children of being poor; thus motivating the male to work harder at work and provide. Men who wait too long and have little motivation to provide much or anything or sacrifice anything will struggle down the line. All this having ducks in a row and having everything provided for your children before you have them is ridiculous. Maybe God commanding people to wait and be committed was out of concern and love? just maybe…

    1. Well, that’s gonna be one shitty wedding night then. I am greatful that I made my experiences. Because now, with my current boyfriend who is The One, I can feel comfortable and at ease.
      My first time was tense, painful, embarassing and altogether not very pleasant. So keep that in mind.

    2. Totally agree, Deb. I love most of Matthew’s stuff (even went to one of his events recently!), but this is where we part ways. Waiting until marriage is the safest AND most loving thing to do. I don’t know a single person who regrets making that choice. <3

      1. Thank you Eleanore Strong! I don’t look down on those who don’t wait, many of my fellow LDS friends haven’t, but I believe in waiting. It shouldn’t be taboo to say that…
        I am grateful that there is knowledge out there and women can be prepared for what happens when they do experience sex, but people having so many experiences sexually, with so many, doesn’t seem to have as many benefits as it does consequences.
        As far as having bad sexual experiences, they’re going to come when they’re going to come. Why not have it with someone who’s not going to get annoyed with you and drop you the next day because it wasn’t good? I like that with marriage you’re less vulnerable doing something that inevitably makes you incredibly vulnerable… emotionally, physically and how often does a condom break?? seriously…

      2. Eleanore, that’s your own choice and it’s a good thing if you believe in that. But you will not know if the man you will marry has made that conscious choice too, even if he says so. It doesn’t differ in any way from having sex before marriage. Even then you should use a condom or both get tested. And the HPV virus is spreading wíth the use of condoms. Get educated about that, is my advice. Don’t believe made up stories that make you think you are safe.

        1. Evie, thanks for the concern for Elenlore, but you’re likely needing to direct that towards me. My opinion that abstinence has benefits stands. Getting tested should be done… About every close friend of mine who waited had no problems with HPV, or STDs, cause, wow, shockingly, both of them did wait, it is a good thing to wait and I will always believe that… but how many women are sexually assaulted that wanted to wait, or molested, same with men, sadly, no one can be totally immune to STDs… but again- I agree that knowledge is power and should be out there and if you’re a good interrogator like I am, then you may find out your future spouse splipped up on the path to staying virtuous till marriage. I’d make him get tested, I would pretty much demand it… lol… even if he claimed to have waited! It’s a scary world out there and morals simply protect you from it, that’s a fact… sadly, many stds simply can’t be protected against, like HPV, and even more interesting is using lubricant infact increases your chances of breaking a condom… being on the pill makes women insanely emotional, often times, and what better way to increase your chances for cancer than to be screwing with your hormones (again, fact, I am a never ending college student and have taken a lot of biology classes). I am not stupid, thinking the pro- abstinence groups are ignorant simply for believing in something- oh- so- ancient- is ignorant… I’m just saying getting married, getting a freaking job and having babies isn’t so awful when you look at what people risk when they run around doing whatever they want.

  • Regarding HPV, women should get tested to see if they carry a high risk strain for genital herpes or strain that causes cervical cancer. The HPV vaccine is highly effective in protecting women against high risk strains and is recommended even for women who may have been already exposed to HPV.
    Of course even if you have had a vaccine you should still practice safe sex but rates of HPV infection have fallen dramatically in Australia since the introduction of recommended vaccination for all girls in their early teens.

  • Glad I read this. I have always been very strict out that sort of safety. I was beginning to believe what I thought might’ve been silly. Reading this though it sets me back.

  • Hi Matt, right on
    I actually have this situation right now with the guy I’m seeing. He said he tests himself all the time and we plan to go to the doctors together so we can both be tested. He is one of thous guys (actually almost all of the guys I’ve been with are the same), who says that he can’t feel anything with a condom. He even goes as far as saying that if I say that “we’ll be just friends if doesn’t wear one” then we’ll be just friends (and I’m actually almost %100 sure that he’s true to his words). And he promises that he won’t come inside of me…
    Like I don’t wanna be just friends with him. And I actually understand that he may not feel much with a condom..
    So what now?

    1. Hi Lisa, you both should definitely be using a condom until you’ve both been tested. (and even after to protect against unwanted pregnancies). If he is saying to just be friends then he isn’t worth it. You should be with someone who respects your wishes and is willing to hold out until you get tested together. Simple as that. Hope that helps!! xx

  • Thank you very much for this article, it is really helpful and makes you make rational decisions to avoid future circumstances and the feeling of regret which I am sure we all hate.

    Thanks Matt, you are a star!

  • Thank you very much Matt & Stephen to talk about this matter. I was at your last Retreat and didn’t talk about this question which is in fact essential for me. Recently, I had a confrontation with my boyfriend about condoms. We met 8 months ago and are together for the past 6 months now. He can’t stop saying and showing to me that we are in a serious relationship, we see each other 3/4 times a week. However, because I don’t know anyone of his friends or family, because we see each other at mine all the time cause he lives at his parents for financial reasons and because I stupidly accepted unprotected sex with him from the beginning, I felt so stressed out because of this question that I completely freaked out 2 weeks ago… I was blaming myself so much that I needed to know and went for a test alone. I felt so relieved that I was completely clean that I decided to talk to him about it because I’ve been taught my lesson afterwards. I asked for protected sex from now on. He accepted and seemed to be respecting my wishes because he expressed that he wanted us to stay together despite the fact that for him all this “paranoid idea” was related to my past which is also correct. (Years ago my ex bf cheated on me and I’ve been traumatised because of this health aspect, I was pretty sure he was the kind of guy cheating without condoms… I was lucky that I was clean after the test.) Since this conversation, my current bf blames me for the fact that I took this decision and sex is not the same anymore. He is constantly oscillating between trying to respect my decision and blaming me for the fact that this doesn’t help to build and improve our relationship when I said that I wouldn’t negociate when it comes to my health anymore. He said that he is feeling now like the ex who is having a one-night-stand with one of his ex-girlfriends. Also, I took responsability for my own issues in terms of trusting men when it comes to faithfulness and I’m trying my best no to let the past ruin my future… However, I wonder if it’s so unusual to ask for this at this point of a relationship and wonder if I’m gonna ruin everything this way… In other words, I don’t know if I’m right or not to maintain my position, too stressed out etc…
    I would be grateful if you could drop me a line.
    Thanks again for everything and specially for the retreat which is the best thing I’ve done for ME & ONLY ME in my entire life.

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