When someone chooses to be in a monogamous relationship, they might start thinking about stopping the use of condoms during sex. It might be for reasons of trust, lust, or simply convenience. But – whatever the reason – saying no to using condoms isn’t a decision that should be taken lightly.
If you’ve decided that it might be the right move for you in your relationship, here are some things to consider.
If it’s a new relationship and you’re still in the ‘what are we?’ stage it’s always better to keep using condoms and regularly get tested.
If you have moved into full-blown ‘It’s just you and me baby’ territory, have a forthright and honest conversation about what that means and the implications when it comes to your sexual health. No sneaky one night stands without telling the other person/people and putting them at risk.
Even if you love and trust your partner mistakes happen and it’s important to know and accept the risks if you are planning to stop using condoms. There’s also a risk that – even if you get tested first and remain monogamous – STIs might still emerge. That’s because some STIs like herpes and genital warts aren’t part of regular STI testing.
If you have decided it’s the right move for you and your partner/s, it’s super important to get a full STI test before you stop using condoms. Go for the full works, which usually includes a blood and urine test, and sometimes additional swabs (your GP/sexual health clinic will advise). Find your nearest STI clinic here.
Some STIs like HIV and syphilis can take up to three months to show up in an STI screening, so keep using condoms for at least three months after either of you had sexual contact with another person, then go and get tested.
While condoms are there to protect against STIs, they’re also there to protect against unplanned pregnancy. If you’re going to stop using condoms, make sure you have a plan so pregnancy is not a worry. Speak to your GP about the best contraception options for you.
If you’re a guy who has sex with guys, or a person of any gender who thinks they may be at risk of HIV, talk to your doctor about whether PrEP is right for you. PrEP is a medication you take every day that can protect you from HIV even if you don’t use condoms.
Even if you’ve made the decision to ditch the latex, it might not be the right decision forever. Talk to each other regularly about how you’re feeling and assess if it’s still the right choice for you.