When To Stop Using Condoms In A Relationship When You Decide You're Ready

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Full disclosure: I am not great at using condoms. The pull-out method has pretty much been the only method I know. The STD-test and condom talk makes me uncomfortable, and it's difficult to know when to stop using condoms with a partner. However, it's vital for your own emotional and physical health to use condoms with sexual partners and to only stop using them once you've taken the appropriate precautions and you feel comfortable doing so.

Once I got to my 30s, I was hit with a reality check. Almost every single one of my friends had HPV. One of my friends was having an abortion as a result of a sexual slip-up. One of my guy friends had contracted chlamydia three times. How does someone do that?

All of my friends were so used to having unprotected sex that having the condom chat before a one-night stand or sexual encounter with someone we were dating wasn't something that would even occur to us. We were fed the idea that condoms didn't feel good or that bringing them up was embarrassing or would ruin the mood. But none of that is true.

You know what can actually ruin the mood? Contracting an STD from sleeping with some person you hardly know or getting pregnant before you're ready from a dating app match who fed you bad pick-up lines. Raw-dogging is a delicate art that should not be practiced by everyone, much less those who are unprepared. In fact, if you are thinking about having unprotected sex, you should be very prepared — the most prepared.

So here is the only time it's OK not to use a condom during sex. Remember, I'm looking out for you.

1. When You've Both Been Tested For STDs

If you're going to go bare in the bedroom, make sure you've had an STD test first. And when it comes to testing, don't necessarily believe someone at their word. If your partner suggests they don't need testing because "they know they're clean" (a lot of STDs are asymptomatic) or they "have already been tested before," then request they get tested again for both of your safety, and reassure them that you'll do the same.

Not to gross you about, but think of f*cking like a family tree. Every time you have unprotected sex, you're also kind of having sex with every person that person has had sex with, and every person they've had sex with, and so on, and so forth. That's a lot of people, a lot of sex, and a lot of potential infections, diseases, and germs.

According to the CDC, in 2015, there were 1,526,658 cases of chlamydia. That's up 6 percent since 2014. Syphilis showed a 19 percent increase, and according to the American Sexual Health Association, one in six people has herpes.

Those stats alone should encourage you to use condoms. But when your relationship gets to the point where you decide to no longer use them, make sure you take the proper precautions — like testing from a healthcare professional — so that at least your health stays protected.

2. You Understand The Risk

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Condomless sex comes with a lot of risk factors, and some of them can stick with you for a while — even your entire life. Let me lay it out for you clearly: You can absolutely get an STD or get pregnant from sex without a condom. I've had both things happen to people I know. It's real! The pull out method actually does not work most of the time, unless it's executed absolutely perfectly. Major bummer.

Before you decide to take off that condom in the bedroom, ask yourself plainly, "Am I OK with this right swipe giving me an STD for life? Do I want to have a baby with this match?" In the heat of the moment, we might choose pleasure over protection, but it's important to keep the long-term consequences in mind always. Additionally, if you're removing condoms from the bedroom, make sure you're replacing them with something else, such as birth control, an IUD, or spermicide. (Though, it shouldn't always be on you to worry about contraception.)

The risks of unprotected sex are not only physical, but they are emotional as well. Are you, your partner, and your relationship mature enough to handle them?

3. It's A Mutual, Consensual Decision

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If you're going to stop using protection in the bedroom, make sure that both parties sign off on the idea first. If your partner is pressuring you to stop using condoms in the bedroom because they "don't feel good" or they "numb the experience," and you don't feel comfortable having unprotected sex, then don't. You absolutely should not have unprotected sex until both you and your relationship are ready emotionally and physically to take on any consequences that might come from it.

Of course, most relationships get to a level of commitment and exclusivity where you begin to have unprotected sex. When that decision is mutual, and you understand the risk factors, proceed as desired. However, consent also means that you can change your mind at any time. If you start to feel uncomfortable mid-act and decide protected sex is best, then speak up.

So when it comes to sex, your default should always be to stay protected. No harm will ever be done from using appropriate contraception in the bedroom. But if you're ready to take the plunge and throw those condoms out the window, make sure you've taken the proper precautions first.

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