Words and feature image by SHINE SA
What is romance in the bedroom? Cliché rom-coms give us this idea that it might involve flower petals on the bed or even a candlelit bubble bath. What might be forgotten in the heat of this on-screen action? The C-word: Condom. Many people think that talking about condoms before sex kills the romantic mood. False. Respect is key to romance and key to preventing unplanned pregnancy or an unwanted sexually transmitted infection (STI).
Whether you’re in a relationship or enjoying the casual vibe, using condoms is a great way to tell someone, “Hey, I really like you a lot! In fact, I like you so much that I value your sexual health and don’t want to put you at risk of STIs or unplanned pregnancy.”
Condoms, like sexual partners, are not a one size fits all deal. Maybe you feel like condoms aren’t for you because you tried a $2.50 franger out of a dispenser in the toilets when you were 17 and it pinched a bit. Well, remember that there are hundreds of options out there. This can range from different sizes, materials and shapes, to different types of condoms altogether.
Don’t love having to stop and roll on a condom? Consider the internal condom that can be slipped on up at any time and used for front and back hole sex! In a same sex relationship that doesn’t involve penises? Dental dams are a great way to enjoy oral sex without the risk of STIs.
Feel like condoms don’t turn you on? Consider adding a cheeky bit of extra lube into the mix (you really can never have enough lube). Sex with condoms doesn’t have to be awkward or uncomfortable, it’s just about finding the right option for you, and having an open conversation about your expectations around sexual health with your partner.
With STIs on the rise nationwide it’s easy to feel like romance is truly dead. A recent study by SAHMRI into youth sexual health found that only 36% of young South Australians used a condom with a casual partner in the last 12 months! Chlamydia, and some other STIs, can be completely asymptomatic in up to 70% of cases, meaning that even if you can’t see anything funky happening downstairs there might be a hidden visitor that you can pass on without even knowing it.
So, the next time you start questioning whether your romantic life is dead, rest easy knowing the most affectionate act is caring about you and your partner/s sexual health. That is genuine romance.
SHINE SA provides free condoms at the front desk of all clinics. SHINE SA also provides free sexual health checks to people under 30 with a Medicare card at the SHINE SA Hyde Street Practice and Woodville clinic.
For more information about condoms, safer sex and other sexual health information, visit shinesa.org.au.
This piece was originally published in Edition 33 of Verse. View the original piece via ISSUU.
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