Communication about sex and sexual safety is essential in any relationship. Talking to your partner about safer sex and condom use can be difficult but there are tips that can help.
Why is communication important in a relationship?
Communication is one of the most important parts in a healthy relationship.
It means being able to tell your partner how you feel. It’s about reading and understanding your partner’s feelings, needs and desires.
What should we talk about around sex?
Great sex happens when there is trust, you are relaxed, feel safe and can communicate your desires.
It’s important to talk about sex and sexual safety.
There is nothing sexy or romantic about being worried that you are being pressured into doing things you don’t really want to do, or at risk of infection or pregnancy.
When you start a new relationship you should talk about:
- what you enjoy doing sexually, and what you are comfortable exploring
- preventing unwanted pregnancy
- using contraception/ārai hapū
- getting sexual health checks for sexually transmissible infections (STIs).
You and your partner can relax and enjoy sex when you know you both understand these things. This also shows your partner that you care about your health, and theirs, and are not willing to compromise these things.
How do I talk to someone about safer sex?
Here are some tips for talking about safer sex.
- Having a “sex plan” well thought out before you are in a relationship is a good idea, e.g. planning not to have sex without condoms.
- Talk about safer sex before you get into a sexual situation. When the heat is on you may not be thinking clearly.
- Talk about safer sex before you drink or use other drugs.
- Make sure you have privacy and time to talk.
- Tell your partner you would like to find a time to talk about sex and safety.
How do I communicate consent or get consent?
Consent is a must. Consent is when both people say and show ‘yes’ to the activity.
Silence doesn’t mean consent. If you are in any doubt about whether your partner wants what is happening, ask them.
If you want to say ‘no’ make it clear you don’t want something. You can say things like:
- I like this kissing but I don’t want to do anything else.
- I really like you but I don’t want anything else.
- This doesn’t feel right just now.
- Can we slow down?
- I want to do this with you, but right now is not the time.
How do I talk about using condoms?
People can give lots of reasons for not using a condom. Here are some suggestions what you could say:
- they say..."It doesn’t feel so good." You say..."It does feel different, but it can still feel good."
- they say..."Trust me, I haven’t got anything." You say..."It’s not that I don’t trust you, but this way we can be sure we are both safe."
- they say..."I don’t have any condoms." You say..."I do” or “We can buy some at the dairy/pub/supermarket."
- they say..."But you’re on the pill, why do I need to use a condom?" You say..."The pill doesn’t give any protection against STIs."
- they say..."I hate them." You say..."That’s a shame, because I won’t have sex without one."
- they say..."Condoms are boring." You say..."I’m sure we can think of ways to make them fun."
Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.