Communicating with your sexual partner(s)

Having a conversation about how to prevent unplanned pregnancy and STIs should happen way before having sex because sexual and reproductive health is not just about girls, it’s about boys, transpeople and intersex people too.

If you cannot talk to your partner about contraception, STIs, and sexual histories then you should rethink if you are ready to have sex with this person. Healthy relationships are based on trust and communication, so you and your partner(s) should be able to talk about how you both feel. If you’re worried about how your partner might react, it may be a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Here are some reasons why people find contraception conversations tricky:

  • Worry that bringing up the topic may seem like you’re expecting sex from a new partner,
  • Anxious that talking about it frankly may be a turn off,
  • Believing that ‘nice’ people shouldn’t talk openly about sex,
  • Unsure about appropriate words for sex, genitals, protection, or pleasure,
  • Worry that it may raise issues about trust, relationship status, and where you stand.

Know your contraception choices

Before you raise the topic, get to know the methods of contraception available in the ACT and you can choose which one would suit your lifestyle, relationship and other needs.

Start the conversation outside the bedroom

Discussing your body and future can be way more revealing than having sex, so talking about protection from unplanned pregnancy and STIs can increase intimacy. The conversation would also encourage mutual and active contribution to deciding on a suitable contraception.

Some communication is better than none, so if you don’t want to discuss face-to-face, then writing what you want via SMS, email, or over the phone is fine. Agreeing to always use a condom beforehand is much easier than trying to have the conversation in the heat of the moment!

Talking about condoms

Using condoms and dental dams means protection from STIs and extra protection from unplanned pregnancy if used with another contraceptive method.

“If it’s not on, it’s not on!”

“No glove, no love.”

If your partner refuses to use a condom even after you’ve discussed the possible negative outcomes with them, then you should think hard about what their true feelings for you might be. Here are the worst excuses for not wearing a condom and how you can respond to them. Practicing these can help you feel more confident about insisting that your partner use condoms and dental dams.

Further information

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Play Safe All you need to know about sexual health logo

Play Safe: How to talk about condoms

Having the “Condom Conversation” can seem a bit difficult, or even a bit embarrassing. But it doesn’t have to be.

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