Alice,

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. It's nice that she wants to consider your pleasure in the experience, but also equally valid that you're not interested in becoming a father at this time. It's also worth mentioning that pleasure doesn't have to come at the expense of not using a condom. It's not clear how much you both have talked about this, but it may be a good opportunity to 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 to much 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. While some report that using a condom slows down their urge to orgasm, it might 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 condom. Are you and your girlfriend monogamous? Have you tested negative for STIs since getting together? If you have and both feel comfortable with the idea, then you may consider other birth control methods. 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 has a lot of great information about safer sex and contraception.

If after considering these alternate options you still would feel more comfortable using condoms, it’s probably a good idea to talk with your girlfriend. You can start by telling her how much you care about and value your relationship. Then you can explain your concerns about preventing an unwanted pregnancy and ask if that's a concern for her as well. Based on her response, you can talk about ways you can enjoy being intimate with each other while also practicing safer sex. It might also be helpful to reinforce that you would still enjoy having sex with her, even with a condom. This conversation can play out in many ways, so it's impossible to script the entire conversation, but 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.

Alice!

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