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Safer sex

Using protection

Talking about using protection needn't be a passion-killer, and it's important to check you're on the same page. If talking about using condoms and other barriers seems awkward, having to deal with a sexual infection or an unplanned pregnancy is far worse. 

When to talk about using protection

It's easier if you can talk about protection when you’re not caught up in the moment. That way, it won't feel like so much of an interruption − and when you do have sex you'll both know what the other wants. Find the words to start the conversation about safer sex. 

How do I get the 'condom conversation' started?

Saying "I'd like to use a condom" is one way to do it, but there are others. You could get things moving in the right direction by saying:

  • "So, how quickly can you put a condom on?"
  • "Have you tried ribbed ones?" 

Should we always use protection?

Unless you've both been tested, the results were negative and you're sure neither of you have had sex with anyone else since, you should use protection for all vaginal, oral or anal sex.  Otherwise, why not have fun with some of the safer alternatives

Some people may take offence at talk of using protection, saying you should 'trust each other' or that 'they're clean'. If you respect each other, you should both want to reduce the risks as much as possible. 

If they don't want to use protection

There's no reason to put your health at risk because someone else doesn’t want to use protection. If they're still pressuring you to have unsafe sex, you should ask yourself whether you should be with this person at all. Find out more about condoms.

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A fresh start

Find out why some couples opt to get tested for STIs.

Sources of help

More information on over-the-phone and online help.


Guidance on accessing contraception during coronavirus pandemic.