My girlfriend doesn't want me to wear a condom... but I do


I am a guy, and well, me and my girlfriend want sex, but she says she wants me to not use a condom so I can get the real feeling. But, I don't want a child at my age and at this point. How can I tell her that I want to use condoms?

Dear Reader,

It sounds as though you and your girlfriend each have thoughtful concerns about your use of condoms. While it's nice that she wants to consider your pleasure in the experience, it's worth mentioning that pleasure doesn't have to come at the expense of not using a condom. Furthermore, it's also equally valid that you're not interested in becoming a parent at this time. Given it's not exactly clear how much you both have talked about this, this may be a good opportunity to either start or continue the conversation. Practicing safer sex takes the cooperation of both partners for it to be successful, so being on the same page about how each partner will contribute and what each of your concerns are is key. By being open and honest about your feelings in a non-judgmental setting, you may find that you’re able to open the lines of communication a lot more in your relationship!

While many people who use condoms have healthy sexual relationships, those assigned male at birth sometimes report that wearing a condom during sex diminishes sensation. However, using a dab of lube inside and outside of the condom can help when it comes to increasing sensation. In addition, while some report that using a condom slows down their urge to orgasm, it could also make sex last longer, which can be fun for you and your girlfriend!

When it comes to pregnancy prevention and sexually transmitted infection (STI) protection, condoms are a great option. To make them more appealing, you could try different sizes, shapes, textures, thicknesses, and colors to find the kind that suits you both. You could also try shopping for them together to see if there are condoms that you both like. There’s also the option of using an internal (female) condom. Are you and your girlfriend monogamous? Have you both tested negative for STIs since getting together? If you have, then you may consider other non-barrier birth control methods if you both feel comfortable with the idea. That being said, if you choose to go that route, routinely getting tested for STIs together can ensure that using a non-barrier method of contraception doesn't increase your risk of STI transmission. You and your girlfriend can research the advantages and disadvantages of different methods to determine which one best meets your needs. The Go Ask Alice! Sexual Health & Reproductive Health archives have a lot of great information about safer sex and contraception.

If you would still feel more comfortable using condoms after considering these alternative options, then it’s probably a good idea to talk with your girlfriend more specifically about why using them is necessary for you. You can start by telling her how much you care about and value your relationship with her. Then you can explain your desire to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and ask if that's a concern for her as well. When talking with her, using "I" statements (e.g., "I don't feel ready to have a child right now.") can be helpful to ensure that you're only speaking from your perspective. You can also take some time to learn more about how she feels about using condoms. Taking some time to learn more about her views may help provide insight into your seemingly different feelings. Based on her response, you can talk about the ways you can enjoy being intimate with one another while also practicing safer sex. Additionally, it might be helpful to reinforce that you would still enjoy having sex with her, even with a condom. In any case, it’s probably best to talk with her when you both are able to sit down in a private space, while not in the heat of the moment, and where you won’t be distracted or interrupted. 

The point of all this is to open up options for both of you, not just when it comes to being intimate, but also for other steps you take in your relationship moving forward.

Last updated Oct 29, 2021
Originally published Mar 14, 2003

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