It was at a restaurant that I saw him. As I climbed a flight of stairs, I couldn’t help but notice him sitting to my left. Sipping on a beer, he was well-built, but with a slight nerdy aesthetic that made him all the more attractive. My heart pounded when our eyes met. He responded to my gaze with a warm and inviting smile. I went up to him and we spent the next few hours chatting, unaware of how fond we were growing of each other.
We invited him over to my flat, without really thinking about what I was getting into. His charming ways and the rush of hormones was too intoxicating to resist. The heat rose between us. Heavy breathing, hands touching, limbs intertwining. I suddenly became aware that this was uncharted territory. I had only just met him. Since I knew nothing about his sexual health status, I inquired about protection. This should be a regular and normal part of sex, but the mood suddenly changed. He acted like he had been bitten by a snake when I mentioned of condoms. He threw emotionally charged statements at me. “So you don’t trust me?”
The emotional tantrum quickly escalated into excuses like “it ruins the mood.” Irritated, I said that I would rather go and fetch it from the nearest pharmacy, rather than rush into this. But he still refused, and tried to convince me otherwise. Of course, he was not successful. My priorities are crystal clear.
I will always choose my sexual health and hygiene over pleasure.
This sort of prioritizing is essential, and a sign of common sense and maturity. Men who avoid using condoms go against this, and are a big turn off for me.
Later I wondered about what makes men so reluctant to use condoms during sex. After all, condoms are the only form of birth control that prevent both STIs and pregnancy! Initially I thought that my experience was an aberration, a one-off anti-climactic end to an erotic night. But as I explored this further, I found many more women who have been on the receiving end of a ‘sex-sucks-with-a-condom-on’ conversation.
This is absolutely exhausting when you have you to defend your right and entitlement to something that is completely justified and necessary- safe sex. Like me, these women too were subjected to emotional manipulation, bargaining, negotiating and desperate pleading for simply insisting on condom use.
That moment of rising intimacy is incredible! The foreplay, heat and heavy breathing. And now, in the middle of this, if he neither has a condom on him, and has no intention to go out and get one, it leaves one completely dumbstruck. Now that I’ve experienced this myself, I’ve put together a little conversational guide on how to respond to stubborn men who are reluctant to wrap it-
He: “It ruins the mood.”
She: “Having unsafe sex puts me out of the mood.”
He: “If you really love me, you should trust me.”
She: “It is because I love you that I want to make sure that we’re both protected.”
He: I don’t want to use a condom. I want to feel closer to you!
She: If you want to feel closer to me, we can cuddle after sex. Cuddles too are an intimate a sex position.
He: I can’t believe you’re suggesting I may have a sexual disease!
She: If one has been through multiple sexual relationships, there could be a chance of contracting a sexual disease, and why just you, it can be even me.
He: You are a rare girl/woman I have dated who has ever made this an issue.
She: This means that either you’ve taken too many unprotected sexual risks in your life or you’re trying to emotionally manipulate me by making me seem like a whack for insisting on protection.
He: Sliding on a condom puts the fun on hold.
She: We can minimize the interruption by keeping condoms within arm’s reach.
Some men are way too melodramatic when it comes to using condoms, even claiming that it feels more intimate without a condom. I mean, you’re already inside someone, you’re as close as you can be, why does a thin sheet of rubber threaten you so much? And if someone is asserting that condoms ‘ruin the moment,’ then they probably have deeper problems in their sex life. It’s not the condoms that are the issue, the anxiety about ‘ruining the mood’ is probably a cover up for something else.
People mistake intimacy and trust for safety, and they’re really not the same thing. Trusting someone doesn’t mean that they cannot have an undiagnosed disease. Especially for people in new or casual relationships, or for those having one night stands, this is absolutely necessary to keep in mind.
And of course, it’s not necessary that only men need to have protection on them at all times. A sexually intelligent woman can absolutely stock up on condoms for herself. Sure, some men might be intimidated by the fact that a woman is not shy about sex, and has condoms at her place. But think again! These men should be relieved that this woman is sexually responsible and cares about health and safety.
Bottom line? We all need to talk about condoms more—openly and honestly. It’ll make you and your relationships healthier, happier and safer. Condoms are not an interruption to pleasurable sex, they make sex better, because what could be better than safe sex!