For many couples, sex is an integral part of their relationship health and satisfaction. Sex allows us to connect with our partners, understand them and ourselves better, and experience intimacy in new exciting ways.
But sex isn’t just fun and games. Being sexually active comes with the responsibility of taking care of your and your partner's sexual health. The good news is that practicing safer sex (aka safe sex) doesn’t have to be a buzz kill.
Protecting each other against sexually transmitted infections (formerly called sexually transmitted diseases) and unwanted pregnancy allows couples to grow closer through mutual care and respect. I mean.. there’s nothing sexier than giving a eff about each other, right? That’s what healthy relationships are all about!
Partners in sexual relationships must decide together how they’ll be safe during sex. While there are several birth control options, many choose to use condoms for their easy accessibility (no doctors required) and disease protection. Deciding to use condoms is a great first step, but many other questions follow.
When will you use condoms - just for penetrative sex, or oral as well? Who will purchase the condoms? What type will you buy? Is there a backup plan if the condom fails? The list goes on and on. We recommend couples spend time going through questions like these together.
Using condoms is an incredible gateway for couples to have raw and honest conversations about sex, their relationship, and more. Here are a few ways condoms can help you and your partner's relationship in and out of the bedroom.
We’ve all heard the age old saying, “communication is the key to a healthy relationship.” As much as we hate to be unoriginal, this old cliche is undeniably true for creating a healthy sex life - and is good for your mental health, too!
Condoms help couples have intentional sex by igniting more communication. Having a pre-spicy time conversation with your partner about what condom to use and how to use it is the perfect way to show you care about one another’s experience, and ensure you're on the same page about the encounter.
You may be wondering, how can you talk to your partner about incorporating a new protective measure into your sex life? Or, what if wanting to use condoms sets off your partner's alarm bells? Here’s the thing, it’s a total myth that condoms are only used in non monogamous sexual encounters.
Monogamous couples (people only having sex with one another) choose to use condoms as their main form of protection for so many reasons other than STIs. Maybe one partner had a poor experience with birth control in the past and doesn’t want to be on a hormonal contraceptive. Maybe they struggle with anxiety, and want the reassurance that using condoms provides.
Whatever the reason, wanting to practice safer sex is nothing to be ashamed of and any supportive counterpart will be happy to explore the option with you. Still nervous they won’t be receptive? Use the conversation to reconfirm your commitment to each other and discuss your emotional boundaries. We have some tips on how to talk to your partner about sex, and how to make that conversation feel safe & comfortable.
In general, the best thing you and your partner can do is talk, talk, and talk more. Learning to talk openly with one another, especially about the uncomfortable stuff, will help you build a solid foundation for a long term relationship. Condoms help couples practice good communication before, during and after sex, creating an experience of trust instead of just lust.
We understand that sex can be tricky to talk about. In relationships, we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings – but do want to get our own thoughts heard. People often want to share likes and dislikes when it comes to sex, but might be nervous how their partner will react. Here’s some tips to help with that!
Timing: We always recommend people to find dedicated times to talk about sex, contraception, and sexual health. It’s always trickier to talk about sexual health topics in the heat of a sexual experience. You could tell your partner “Hey tonight I’d love to chat about our sex life, and here’s a few topics I’d like to cover.” This can also give your partner time to think through their thoughts.
- Write Stuff Down. We’re a condom company, so we’re all about being prepared! If you’re the kind of person that can get a little nervous during deep conversations, jot down some notes ahead of time! You could include the topics you want to talk about, any key things you want to get across, etc.
Listen. Try to understand your partner(s) points of view. Ask them questions like: “Tell me more about that” or “How does that make you feel?” “What do you think about what I just said?” Focus on listening deeply (taking a pause to think is great!), instead of waiting for them to stop talking so you can start talking again.
- Using “I” Statements. Try to share your thoughts in a thoughtful way that opens up conversation. Explain how you feel, and what you think and why. Ask them to share how they feel. Use “I” statements for this, such as:
- “What I’d like to try…”
- “What makes me feel like I’m taking care of my sexual health and wellness is..”
- “In my opinion…”
- “I feel upset when…”
Consent & Respect. When it comes to sex, always respect someone’s boundaries. When it comes to condom use, for example, do not try to convince someone why not to use condoms. If your partner wants to use condoms as part of their sexual health, discuss why you disagree on that. Focus on solutions, like finding a perfect condom together. When both people feel respected, protected, and heard – that makes for some magic sex!
Making Safety Spicy
While we’re here, we might as well debunk the absolute LIE that condoms aren’t hot. Wrong. Putting on a condom as a joint mission (instead of a one-man show) is way sexier than unprotected sex . Working together and incorporating it into your foreplay can be a great way to make safety sexy. Still worried it will be awkward? Use this time as an opportunity to praise your partner, tell them how excited you are for what’s to follow, or even give them a show…
With so many styles of condoms available, from studded, glow-in-the-dark, hyperthin and even custom fit condoms – make it a science project! Test condoms together, talk about what you liked and didn’t like. And then experiment some more, wink wink.
Also, did you know that there are condoms specifically made for pleasure? Yep. We’re not in the eighties anymore and thank goodness for that. ONE has a great selection of pleasure enhancing condoms for you and your partner to play with. Check out our Super Studs, Ultra Feel, Tattoo Touch condoms and more to discover your favorite sensations.
Overall, regular and consistent use of condoms can contribute to a more satisfying and confident sexual experience. Couples who use condoms can be confident in their safety and trust in the relationship, as well as know they are taking care of each other. Learn more about the health benefits of sex over all, here.