When I was younger and not quite so wise, I wanted to experiment with some different novelty condoms to try and impress my girlfriend. Seemed like a fun idea, and I was growing desperate to keep things interesting and prove I was adventurous. So I went to the drug store and picked up some Trojans Fire & Ice condoms. Little did I know, that both of us were a sensitive to something in it; what followed was an entire evening of panicked, raised voices and copious use of baby wipes to try and get whatever it was off of our sensitive bits. Needless to say, I never picked another one of those up again, but it HAS given me a healthy respect of there being less adventurous options for contraceptives.
Dear Mr Promiscuous,
My partner and I aren’t ready to bring a child into this world but we both find using condoms annoying to use properly. Are there any alternatives that are equally effective?
Not Ready To Be A Parent
Dear Not Ready,
There are a lot of ways that you can keep from having a kid and still have an active, healthy sex life. Firstly, you can avoid having P-in-V sex. In the first Adult Conversations post, we talked about the several ways that things you do can be sexy, fun, and leave you satisfied that never have to lead to fluid swapping. If you and your partner are fluid-bonded and STI-free, then oral sex can be done without the use of condoms. Mutual masterbation is also a good choice for connecting and enjoying each other sexually that is almost entirely free of pregnancy worries. Just be careful of where you put your hands afterwards. Anal sex is also safe from pregnancy, but I highly suggest against doing so without some kind of barrier to prevent bacterial exchange.
You mentioned that you and your partner find using condoms to be annoying to use properly. Have you tried a couple of different brands of condoms? I find that, while having the same function, condoms can be more difficult to put on depending on the brand. Also, are you sure you’re able to put them on properly? It may sound silly, but they are very easy to unroll or put on the wrong way. This not only makes them more uncomfortable to use, but increases the chances of it breaking. Here is a nice run-down of condom use by Scarleteen. If condoms just don’t do it for you there’s also the internal condom (also called female condom) that works in something of the same way as the standard condom.
Because you mentioned that birth control was your main reason for using condoms, there are also other methods that can be used to prevent the same thing without barriers. Depending on where you live, hormonal birth control is a good choice that can be readily available. Along with the pill, the common name for the oral contraceptive, there are also patches, insertable rings, IUDs (intrauterine device) and shots that all give regulated hormones to prevent ovulation and, therefor, pregnancy. If you are sensitive to hormones, or the side-effects are too severe, there are also non-hormonal types of birth control. There are copper IUDs that have no hormones in them, but are just as effective as the hormonal IUDs. If you go down the line and you decide that kids aren’t something you are ever going to be ready for, there is also tubal ligation or vasectomy that can allow you to have sex with virtually no chance of pregnancy.
The choice to have kids is a weighty decision, and having the option to choose when/if you get pregnant is something everyone should have. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Some places have made it maddeningly impossible for consenting adults to have access to birth control, either from making it more expensive or not providing it at all. If you and your partner happen to live in such a place, my suggestion for where to get more information locally on birth control is to find a local Planned Parenthood. Not only will they have free condoms, but you can ask about any of the above methods I talked about and see what’s available to you.
Good luck and happy (Baby free) humping,