Do I really need to use condoms if I’m using other birth control? Yes. Here’s why.

There is such a thing as healthy, responsible sexual behavior – it may not be what we see on TV, hear politicians argue about or even what we learn about from our parents or school, but it exists. Lots of people practice responsible sex, and it makes a huge difference in the amount of health risks associated with having sex. Usually we get messages that sex always has to be totally spontaneous and totally out-of-control. How often do you see a hot sex scene where the couple talks about birth control, condoms, and recent STD testing? Well, on this issue, it’s time to have a reality check and realize life is not what you see on TV or in the movies. Sex can and absolutely should be great for you and your partner, but there are some basics that you need to cover before you get there

So why do you still need to use a condom if you are using birth control? Well, for one you will be using a back up way to prevent pregnancy (the condom keeps the sperm from getting inside you in addition to your other birth control method). And two, you are protecting yourself from infection. If you use the condom correctly with every act of oral, anal, and vaginal sex, then you are 99% protected from getting any of the bacteria or viruses in the body fluids (blood, semen) of your partner.

A lot of people say, “Well, it’s not 100% so it’s not really worth the hassle.” Are you kidding me? Without it, you have 0% (zilch, nada) protection and you are increasing that to 99% protection from STDs. Not to mention, there are other reasons to use condoms. Don’t like to swallow? Great, you don’t need to if you use it for oral sex. Don’t like to have semen dripping out of you the next day? Great, you don’t have to worry about that either because the condom takes care of that.

But what do you do if you think you are allergic to latex condoms? The truth is that usually you are not allergic- it’s just that you get sore because things get dry and the friction (rubbing) causes rawness and pain. How do you fix it? Well, of course foreplay helps a lot because things will be wetter. And, you should have a tube of lube – like KY jelly personal or Astroglide- that you and your partner can keep putting on when things start to get dry again. (Really, lube is an essential, not an optional, part of good sex.) If you still really think you are allergic, go see an allergy doctor to get evaluated for a latex allergy, and in the meantime, use polyurethane condoms.

Some guys say that they have less feeling when they use a condom. Really? Well, a recent study showed that guys have no less pleasure with sex when they are using a condom, but they do take a few seconds longer to ejaculate (cum). I think this is one of these myths that get passed down from a guy to another guy. Encourage your male friends/partner(s) to have an open mind, and consider the reality that that using condoms is part of an amazing- and responsible- sex life.

The other thing to consider is that if you feel weird talking about this with your partner, and/or they are not willing to give it a try, you might want to think further about whether this is a healthy relationship, or maybe you just need a little help in figuring out how the start that conversation – so give the Get Talking tips a try. Sometimes having conversations about sex is the best way to figure out how you really feel about someone…and, isn’t it pretty much common sense that if you can’t even talk about it, you probably shouldn’t be doing it?