Speak Up for Safer Sex

Jane Neff Rollins, MSPH

 

It's important to insist on using a condom even if your partner resists.

Is Safer Sex Really Necessary?
"There are still some people who think only gay men or IV drug users get HIV" says Chuck Hand, coordinator of the Safe, Hot and Damned Erotic Sex (SHADES) program of the AIDS Service Center in Pasadena, California, "There is a lot of misinformation out there."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Bethesda, MD, nearly one of every six people reported with HIV in the U.S. were between the ages of 13 and 24. And 49 percent of those teens and young adults with HIV were female.

If that's not scary enough, the CDC estimates that five to ten percent of all American teenagers are infected with chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease that can go undetected for years in men and women. Herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis are other possible risks. And, of course, most teens and young adults don't plan on bringing a child into the world. For all of these reasons, using a condom consistently and correctly ever time you have sex is vital.

 

Practice Makes Perfect
So what can you use as a snappy comeback to the partner who uses the "raincoat in the shower" objection to sporting a rubber?

"Most kids know they should wear condoms, but they don't. They're not comfortable having that exchange," says Judd Winick, author of Pedro and Me: Friendship, Loss and What I Learned (Henry Holt, 2000), and former cast member on MTV's The Real World.

What's the solution? Winick suggests a practice run of the exchange. That way, first time the words "Here, put this on" come out your mouth, you won't be naked and/or excited.

Try role-playing with a friend before your next big date. Have your friend pretend to be a balky lover, then try out the scenarios below. Then switch roles, so that your friend can get some practice, too.

If he says, "It's uncomfortable" or "It doesn't fit," try saying:

  • "Let's try this other brand. It may fit better."
  • "Let's try this flavored brand. I'll help make it feel better."
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