Can You Risk Not Using Condoms?

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Switching out condoms for a more intimate form of birth control is a big step in your relationship. But knowledge is your best defense against unwanted consequences.


Switching out condoms for a more intimate form of birth control is a big step in your relationship. But knowledge is your best defense against unwanted consequences.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to feel closer to the person you love. Perhaps you’ve been dating for a long time and share an unshakable emotional connection and an intense sexual chemistry. Maybe, after spending so much time together, both in and out of the bedroom, that little rubber barrier that stands between you is beginning to feel like an unnecessary nuisance. For many couples, choosing a non-barrier method of birth control in lieu of condoms is a totally natural event in the formation of a long-term relationship. However, before taking the plunge, there are facts you should know, precautions you should take, and conversations you should definitely have with your partner.

The ABCs of STDs

The spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. One in three men and women has contracted at least one STD by the age of 24. While new medical treatments and tests have given many people a new lease on life after having such illnesses, the fact remains the same: Most STDs are lifelong conditions, some of which can have very serious long-term effects, especially for women, whose sexual organs are largely internal.

Just because you can’t see the symptoms of an STD doesn’t mean it isn’t there. For example, each year, an estimated three million people are infected with chlamydia, which is sometimes referred to as the silent STD because often it produces no symptoms. As a result, many men and women don’t know they have it. Furthermore, up to 40 percent of women with untreated chlamydia will develop pelvic inflammatory disease, which can result in infertility. Complications in men are rarer.

Know your partner. Sit down with your partner and have a discussion at length about your sexual histories. Depending on what kind of a dynamic your relationship has, this may feel awkward. However, it is absolutely necessary for you to know who your partner was with before you and vice versa. If there were any strange physical symptoms or sexual anomalies during sexual experiences either of you have had in the past, now is the time to be open with each other.

Discuss the consequences. What will be your course of action if you become pregnant? Regardless of what choice you’d make, would your partner be supportive of that choice? Even with another form of birth control, removing the barrier method heightens your likelihood of conceiving, and it’s always important to be clear in your communication with your partner.

Get tested together. Set up an appointment to get tested together and keep that box of condoms handy until you receive the results. When you do hear from the doctor, show your results to your partner and ask him to do the same. As an act of trust, it will bring you emotionally closer together, and seeing test results is the only way for sure to know what you’re signing up for when you’re not using condoms.

It’s wonderful to trust your partner, but it’s even better to know the two of you are safe and healthy. Get tested — and free your mind form other things 


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