I find it hard to talk about condoms
It can feel hard to start a conversation about condoms. It gets easier with practice.
The best time to talk about using condoms is at a time when you’re not having – or about to have – sex.
You could ask a partner what type of condom they like to use. Or just let them know that when you have sex with them you want to use condoms.
Remember your partner may be in the same situation. Often, no one wants to be the first person to mention condoms but is glad when the other person did.
If you haven’t had a chance to talk about condoms before you start having sexual contact, it’s not too late.
A good time can be when it’s obvious things are going further but before genitals get anywhere near each other. You could ask a partner if they have a condom. Or ask them if they want to use your condoms or their condoms. Or if it feels really hard to say anything – just offer them a condom if you have one.
Most of the time, a partner will be OK with using a condom and glad that you were the one who mentioned it.
More tips on talking about condoms
What if your partner doesn’t want to use a condom?
I don't like the feel of condoms
This could mean that you haven’t found a condom that suits you yet.
Condoms come in different shapes and sizes. You may have tried condoms that are too loose, too tight, or too thick.
Order a selection pack and try out the different types to see which ones feel best for you.
All the condoms you can get from the C-Card service have been designed to help sex feel good.
Many people prefer a thin condom. Or a textured condom like the ribbed and dotted one can increase pleasure for some people.
Try using plenty of lube as well. All condom orders include 5 sachets of lube.
My partner doesn't want to use a condom
If your partner doesn’t want to, but you do, then it’s time to talk about it.
Ideally, you want to talk about it before you have sex. Let them know that using a condom is important to you.
If they still don’t want to use one or they agree but act like it’s a big problem, it can be a sign that they don’t care about you and your health. You may want to consider if they’re someone that you want to have sex with or be in a relationship with.
If you’re about to have sex and a partner says they won’t use a condom, then you have a right to say no to sex and not be pressured into doing anything that you don’t want to do.
If you’re in a relationship with someone and you both want to stop using condoms then there are some things to think about first. When can I stop using a condom?
I’m using contraception, why do I need condoms?
Having contraception sorted is great. Contraception can stop you from getting pregnant, but most types of contraception won’t help protect you from STIs. Condoms are the only type of contraception that can help stop pregnancy andSTIs.
It’s a good idea to use condoms or dams any time you have sex with a new partner. If you’ve been in a relationship for a while and want to stop using condoms, have a look at our advice here. When is it OK to stop using condoms?
I can afford my own condoms - I don't need free ones
If you’re happy buying your own condoms that’s great.
But we know that sometimes the cost can make it harder to get and use condoms. Looking after your health should never depend on whether you can afford it.
We’re also here for you if you’d just rather spend your money on other things.
I feel like I'll be judged if I carry condoms
A lot of people worry about this, especially if you’ve had a bad experience in the past.
Wanting to have sex is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. It’s a normal part of life.
If you’re having sex, or think that you might, then carrying condoms is a responsible way to look after your health.
If don’t carry your own condoms, you can end up in a situation where you want to have sex but have no condom. This might mean you make choices that you regret later.
Most people will be happy to have sex with a condom. If someone judges you for wanting to have sex safely – or wanting to have sex at all - then consider whether they’re the type of person that’s worth having sex with.
My partner never has condoms
If you’re having sex, it’s a good idea to make sure you have condoms.
Always get your own condoms, so that you don’t need to rely on someone else.
And as long as your partner is under 25, let them know that they can order condoms from C-Card too.
My partner wants to stop using condoms now they know I'm using contraception
This is a personal decision that depends on how you feel about a few things.
Firstly, is it only your partner who wants to stop using condoms, or do you want to as well?
It’s important to listen to each other but you have to do what’s right for your own body and health.
Don’t feel pressured if you’re not ready to take that step yet. It’s OK to say no to any type of sex you don’t want – including sex without a condom.
If you think it might be an option for you then consider how you feel about pregnancy and about STIs. Have a look at When is it OK to stop using condoms?
I’m worried condoms will ruin the mood
One of the best ways to stop condoms killing the mood is to practise using them. It might sound and feel a bit silly – but go with it. Try using them on your own when you’re masturbating or try putting them on a sex toy if you have one.
The more you practise the more confident you feel and the more quickly and smoothly you can get one on the penis or in the vagina.
Being prepared can help. Looking around frantically for a condom can definitely affect the mood you’ve got going on. Try and have condoms nearby and ready to go.
It also really helps if you’ve talked about and agreed to use condoms before having sex.
If you’ve got a penis, it’s not unusual to start losing your erection when putting a condom on. And if it happens to you once, you can start to worry about it happening again. Again, practising on your own can really help. Find out other tips.
You can also try making it part of foreplay. For some people, it can feel really sexy having a partner put the condom on the penis or in the vagina for you.
You never see condoms in porn
It’s true, porn and other fantasies rarely show people talking about or using condoms. But this is because porn is a fantasy designed to make people feel sexually excited.
People who make porn usually discuss and agree to the sex they will have before they start filming. They also have regular STI tests and use contraception to protect their health.
Watching porn can make it seem like satisfying sex doesn’t involve condoms. But in real life you can use condoms and still have satisfying and pleasurable sex.
The condoms you can get from C-Card are all designed to help sex feel good.
I don't want people to know I'm carrying condoms
Carrying condoms is something to be proud of. But not everyone is comfortable sharing. And unless you choose to share, it’s no one else’s business except you and whoever you have sex with.
If you’re worried about people seeing your condoms, try keeping them inside something else, like a small sweet tin or a spare glasses case. This also helps them stay in great condition.
It’s OK to carry them in your wallet on a night out. Try and keep them in a separate compartment to anything else. Try not to keep in a wallet for a long time as they can gradually get damaged.
I end up not using condoms when I’m drunk or high
Using alcohol or drugs can affect the decisions we make. There’s no easy answer to this.
You can give yourself the best chance of using condoms by carrying some with you. If they’re easily available you’re more likely to use them.
It can help to know your limits and know when it’s time to go home. On a night out, ask your friends to look after you if it seems like you’re making choices you wouldn’t make when you’re sober. And do the same for them.
If you’ve made decisions, you weren’t happy with in the past, think about how you’d prefer things to go next time and what positive steps you could take to make that happen.
It’s also really important to know that no one can consent to sex when they’re very drunk or high.