Why is it that so many men (and women) feel like it’s ok to avoid using condoms? Listen up people, the rates of STI’s and HIV are rapidly rising in Australia, and yet many of us still think it’s OK to waltz around the bedroom naked without even the thought of using protection.
I know, I know, excuses, excuses…I’ve heard them all before - “It was all going so well that I just didn’t want to spoil the moment”, “If I use a condom it just doesn’t feel as good as it could”, and “They looked so clean, I could just tell they didn’t have anything.” Stop making pathetic excuses and start putting your health first. If you don’t, the chance is you’ll end up with a nasty infection and/or virus that may stick around for the rest of your life.
Condom negotiation is about self-respect, self-love and self-esteem. If we respect our bodies enough, and love ourselves enough, then the last thing we want to do is compromise our (and our partner’s) health, safety and physical wellbeing. Initiating condom usage shows that you are a strong and amazing person who respects yourself and the health of your partner. And note: if you think putting on a condom is awkward, consider having to call your sexual partner a few days later announcing an STI discovery on the end of your penis.
On the topic of safe sex, I’d like to make the point that using condoms isn’t the only thing you have to consider. Consent is pretty damn important too, alongside knowing that if at any time you want to stop, that’s completely ok. Consent is about both parties saying a big YES to sex. If you’re not in the mood, or you simply don’t want to have sex with that person, then it’s ok to say NO. Mutual respect is essential when it comes to negotiating any type of sex. If you’re a parent reading this, then this is something that you can begin teaching your kids from a young age (to ensure that when they are/aren’t ready, they know how to communicate that).
So, be prepared, purchase condoms and keep them stocked up in a handy place (I prefer HERO condoms - for every condom purchase of a HERO condom in Australia, one is donated to Africa to combat HIV). And remember the importance of communication with sexual partners…there’s nothing worse than awkward, silent sex. Speak up and ask for what you want.
This article was published in Juliet's regular Saturday column in the Gold Coast Bulletin 4th July 2015