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Condom Negotiation
Condom Negotiation
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Condom Negotiation

This video discusses ways a person can talk to their partner about condoms; including the responsibility of protecting the health of you and your partner, the benefits of using condoms, and how to make a plan to get condoms.

Youth

Abstinence, or choosing to not have or delay having sex, is the most effective way to prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancy. As people grow up, they may decide to have sex with a partner who cares for and respects them. If people choose to have sex, using condoms and birth control (if neccessary) every time they have sex is the best way to prevent an unplanned pregnancy and reduce the risk of STIs, including HIV.

Condoms are the most commonly used form of birth control and STI prevention (besides abstinence). Condoms are a great way to protect yourself no matter your sexual orientation, the gender of the person you’re in a relationship with, or what type(s) of sexual behavior you’re thinking about sharing together.

There are two types of condoms: an external condom fits over an erect penis, and an internal condom goes inside of a vagina or anus. Both types of condoms create a barrier that prevents the exchange of body fluids like semen (which includes sperm and is sometimes called cum) and vaginal fluid. This barrier helps reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy. External condoms are available at drug stores or grocery stores without a prescription. In many places, external condoms are available for free, like at health clinics. A person can buy or receive free external condoms no matter their age. In some places, internal condoms require a prescription from a medical provider; a trusted adult can help you make an appointment at a clinic or with a doctor.

If you’ve made the important decision to use condoms when you engage in sexual behaviors, its important to talk to your partner about this decision. Talking to your partner, in an open and honest way, can help you build trust in your relationship. Have your conversations about condom use before you begin sexual activity, when you’re in the moment and feeling excited or nervous it can be hard to pause and have a serious talk. This will make it easier to discuss any questions or concerns you and your partner might have. It also feels good to know that in the moment, you and your partner have made a decision together and can trust each other to make sure you stay responsible, and confident in that choice. Some people even practice putting a condom on their fingers or in their body before engaging in sexual activity, so they better understand how it’s done.
Negotiation means coming to an agreement with someone about an important decision. We negotiate lots of things in our life, for example what movie to see, what to eat at a restaurant, or where to go on a date. Condom negotiation is similar to other negotiations we make in life and is a necessary part of sexual consent.
The first step to negotiating condoms is to be confident in your decision and be able to tell your partner that you want to use condoms every time you engage in sexual behaviors. It is important that you be direct, you may say something like ‘I want to use condoms and would like to talk to you about what this means for us’. Next, clearly explain what behaviors are ok for you and what is not, for example ‘I want us to use condoms every single time we have sex (be specific about oral, vaginal, anal), and learn how to use them correctly together’. Then tell your partner why this is important to you.
You can share any knowledge you have about STIs and pregnancy prevention (if it’s relevant), how to use condoms, and how well condoms work. If you don’t know a lot, this is a great time to do some research together; you can visit a clinic, search some reliable websites, or ask a trusted adult, like a parent, teacher, counselor, or nurse.
Once you have shared your thoughts and boundaries, ask your partner how they think and feel about condom use. Make sure to listen respectfully, give them a chance to ask questions, and do research together if needed. Although it is important to listen respectfully to your partner’s feelings, do not give up your right to protect yourself from STIs and pregnancy or any other reason you wish to use condoms.
Next, make a plan to get condoms together: who will pay for them, who will get them and where, what kind will you get, where will you keep them, etc. In many countries, like the US, young people have the right to purchase condoms from any store, without a parent or guardian permission, sometimes you can even get them for free at a health clinic or community center-do an internet search to find where they are available in your community. Whatever type of sex you are going to have, there is a condom that will work for you.
Once you have negotiated all the details, make an agreement with your partner to keep each other confident in your decision, and check-in with each other if you have more questions, or want to make changes in your plan. If after all your negotiations, your partner still refuses to use a condom, be prepared to say NO to sexual behavior. Stay firm and confident in your choice to use condoms. If your partner tries to convince you that using condoms is not a good idea or says that they won’t like how it feels, remind them that engaging in sexual activity comes with a responsibility to protect your health.
If your partner is worried about how a condom might feel, let them know that condoms come in all sorts of sizes and styles, they can find one that works with their body-you can even do this part together! If your partner continues to pressure you, this is a red flag of an unhealthy relationship, condom negotiation is part of consent for sexual activity, and your partner should respect your right to protect your health. Seek the support of a trusted adult if you are afraid your partner may have a negative or dangerous reaction.

FAQs

Can someone my age really get pregnant or get someone pregnant?

There are a lot of myths out there about if, how and when someone can or can’t get pregnant. The truth is, once you start to go through puberty, it’s possible to get pregnant or get someone pregnant. That’s why it’s so important to know how pregnancy happens and how to prevent it if you or your partner are not ready.

Do condoms really work?

Internal and external condoms are the best way for someone who is sexually active to prevent the transmission of STIs, and one of the many ways to prevent unwanted pregnancy. When condoms are used correctly, every time you have sex, they are extremely effective.

What if a condom breaks?

To prevent condoms from breaking, make sure to check the expiration date and put the condom on correctly. If the condom does break, which is rare when used correctly, follow these steps; make sure to remove the condom from the body, use a new condom, and if you are concerned about STIs or pregnancy, talk to a medical provider who can guide you through testing.

Should I use 2 condoms to be extra safe?

Never use 2 condoms at the same time. Use either 1 new internal condom, or 1 new external condom each time you have sex. If you want additional pregnancy prevention, use a second method like birth control pills or the patch.

Test your knowledge

Try this Kahoot quiz after watching the video

Parents

Birth control, or contraception, is a medicine, a medical device, or a barrier like a condom to keep a sperm and an egg from uniting. Some birth control methods, like hormonal methods, work to keep the ovary from releasing an egg or ovum, while others help create a barrier at the opening of the cervix to keep sperm from getting inside the uterus to find an egg. Abstinence, or choosing to not have or delay having sex, is the most effective form of birth control and STI prevention.

Condoms are the most commonly used forms of birth control and STI prevention (besides abstinence). There are two types of condoms; an external condom fits over an erect penis, and an internal condom (sometimes called a female condom) goes inside of a vagina or anus. Both types of condoms create a barrier that prevents the exchange of body fluids like semen (which includes sperm, and is sometimes called cum) and vaginal fluid. This barrier helps reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy. When used correctly, every time a person has sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, and oral) they are highly effective.

A person putting a condom on incorrectly is the most common reason that a condom might break, slip off a penis, or come out of the vagina or anus. This is why it is important to talk to young people about condoms, how to use them, and how to talk to their partners about them. When young people have the communication skills to talk to their partners about condoms, even if they aren’t currently sexually active, it supports them in having conversations about safer sex, consent, and many other topics in the future.

External condoms are available at drug stores or grocery stores without a prescription. In many places, external condoms are available for free, like at health clinics. In some places internal condoms require a prescription from a medical provider. There is no age requirement to buy condoms, receive free condoms, or receive a prescription.

Conversation Starters

Parents, caregivers, and families can start talking with their children about pregnancy and STI prevention before their children become sexually active. When parents and caregivers talk with their children about these topics, children learn that they can come to their parents if and when they have questions. Below are some ways to start these conversations:

If you’re watching a show when a young person is discussing sexual activity, is pregnant, or concerned about STIs.

Ask your young person their thoughts on the scenario. What could the person do to prevent unwanted pregnancy or STI transmission. Talk about different methods of birth control and condoms, and your family values around safer sex, abstinence, and pregnancy and STIs.

If your young person asks about condoms.

Talk to your young person about condoms without shaming them, or accusing them of sexual behaviors. Instead you could say something like, “I’m so glad you came to me to ask, what made you think about this?”. Often, young people might hear something on TV, social media, or at school, and they are curious to learn. If they come to you, that is a sign they have trust in your relationship. You can watch some of the AMAZE videos below together, and give your young person time and space to ask questions.

Educators

Birth control, or contraception, is a medicine, a medical device or a barrier like a condom to keep a sperm and an egg from uniting. Some birth control methods, like hormonal methods, work to keep the ovary from releasing an egg or ovum, while others help create a barrier at the opening of the cervix to keep sperm from getting inside the uterus to find an egg. Abstinence, or choosing to not have or delay having sex, is the most effective form of birth control and STI prevention.

Condoms are the most commonly used forms of birth control and STI prevention (besides abstinence). There are two types of condoms; an external condom fits over an erect penis, and an internal condom (sometimes called a female condom) goes inside of a vagina or anus. Both types of condoms create a barrier that prevents the exchange of body fluids like semen (which includes sperm, and is sometimes called cum) and vaginal fluid. This barrier helps reduce the risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and unwanted pregnancy. When used correctly, every time a person has sexual intercourse (vaginal, anal, and oral) they are highly effective.

A person putting a condom on incorrectly is the most common reason that a condom might break, slip off a penis, or come out of the vagina or anus. This is why it is important to talk to young people about condoms, how to use them correctly, and how to talk to their partners about them. When young people have the communication skills to talk to their partners about condoms, even if they aren’t currently sexually active, it supports them in having conversations about safer sex, consent, and many other topics in the future.

External condoms are available at drug stores or grocery stores without a prescription. In many places, external condoms are available for free, like at health clinics. In some places internal condoms require a prescription from a medical provider. There is no age requirement to buy condoms, receive free condoms, or receive a prescription.

It is important for young people to know their rights regarding their sexual and reproductive health care. Talking to young people about how and where to access health care products like condoms, and services like STI and pregnancy testing is essential as they begin to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive health.

National Sex Ed Standards

SH.8.CC.3 - Methods of Contraception

List at least four methods of contraception that are available without a prescription (e.g., abstinence, condoms, emergency contraception, withdrawal)

View all SH.8.CC.3 Videos

SH.8.SM.1 - Steps to Using Barrier Methods Correctly

Describe the steps to using barrier methods correctly (e.g., external and internal condoms, dental dams)

View all SH.8.SM.1 Videos

SH.8.IC.1 - Ways to Communicate Decisions about Whether or When to Engage in Sexual Behaviors

Demonstrate ways to communicate decisions about whether or when to engage in sexual behaviors and how to reduce or eliminate risk for pregnancy and/or STDs (including HIV)

View all SH.8.IC.1 Videos

SH.8.GS.1 - A Plan to Eliminate or Reduce Risk of Unintended Pregnancy or STDs

Develop a plan to eliminate or reduce risk of unintended pregnancy or STDs (including HIV)

View all SH.8.GS.1 Videos

CHR.2.CC.3 - Consent
CHR.5.CC.2 - The Relationship between Consent, Personal Boundaries, and Bodily Autonomy

Explain the relationship between consent, personal boundaries, and bodily autonomy

View all CHR.5.CC.2 Videos

Discussion Questions

After watching the video with your class, process it using the following discussion questions:
  • What are some reasons a person might want to use condoms?
  • Why is condom negotiation an essential part of sexual consent?
  • Where can a person get condoms in your community?
  • What are some ways to overcome barriers to accessing condoms?
  • How can you talk to your partner about using condoms?
  • What are the steps to correct condom use?

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