Condoms are not just for stopping pregnancy. They are also the best way to avoid STIs (sexually transmissible infections). Make sure you know how to use a condom properly and always have some with you.
Let your partner know that you want to use condoms and why you feel it’s important well before the heat of the moment. If it’s unplanned sex simply say “condom?” before things get too heavy. Drinking alcohol and taking other drugs may affect your ability to make safe decisions.
Anyone who has had previous sexual contact can have an STI, even people with just one or two previous partners. Talking about using condoms doesn’t mean that you don’t trust your partner or that you have something to hide yourself, it just shows that you care about your health – and theirs.
If you are in a long-term relationship and want to have sex without condoms, suggest that you and your partner get tested first. Remember that you may not see any obvious signs of an STI but you or your partner may have one and not know it. If you change partners you will need to use condoms again to stay safe.