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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » Who brings the safer sex to the table?

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Author Topic: Who brings the safer sex to the table?
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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If you are or have been in a sexual relationship -- or sexual interactions that aren't ongoing relationships -- what's your safer sex sitch when it comes to who gets, has and presents the stuff?

In other words, do you always have condoms or other barriers you might need or is that something your partner does, or you hope they will? Or do both of you always come prepared (no pun intended, I swear)?
Or neither of you?

How do you work this out, and if you do things differently than you did in the past, what brought that change about?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Alergnon
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If I know sex is in the air, I usually just bring condoms with me, like, how hard is it to keep a few in your bag/purse? I'm been in situations where I had to provide the protective because the guy never had condoms at all, which is fine. I have been in a situation where I had condoms but he had none but the mood was perfect and didn't get one.

Some barriers could be, the guy can put like what 2-3 condoms in his wallet, who cares if someone sees it and makes judgement he can say, I'd rather be safe than sorry, man. So when sex comes and he is undressing he can easily grab a condom from his back pocket and there is a condom waiting in his wallet for his penis. Girls can simply put some in her bag/purse a place where it's easy access for her, or place one in her bra.

For me what I did differently I made sure he had a condom on, if he didn't have one I made sure I did. I kept like 10 condoms on me and re-stocked when it got low.

If there isn't a condom and the girl is on birth control I'm sure it's still safe if the girl took it at right times. Or instead of having sex, there is also oral sex and other methods to have that feeling of, "I just had sex (I think)"

Anyways... my thoughts and I should have thought of these before hand, but I'm glad this questions was asked Heather, made me think more.

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copper86
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This question, for me, is a mixture of answers. I'm on birth control so I always take that in the morning; so at least that method is taken care of if my partner and I have sex later that evening if it happens. I try to always have at least a spare pack or two before I go get refills. However, he and I have taken turns bringing condoms - he would bring some even if we ended up not having intercourse, or I would bring some and give them to him. I've been seriously considering buying lube as well, to make things a little easier.

I used to just depend on my partner for condoms, but I eventually decided to buy some to have on-hand, no matter what (buying them for the first time was a little embarrassing!). I feel better knowing I have some if I need them. I made that change, because I'd be prepared if he didn't have any; and I also wanted to take another leg up when it came to protection.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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Just a quickie because I think it gets misunderstood sometimes: safer sex, as a phrase in sexual health, always refers to things specifically about STI prevention (so, barriers, testing, and any sexual or lifestyle choices specifically about reducing the risk of STIs or STI transmission), rather than pregnancy prevention.

I should have noted that at the start, sorry about that. I forget that some folks don't know or remember that distinction!

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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copper86
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Oops, my apologies! I keep forgetting about that distinction. [Smile]

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Alergnon
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We're not all that well educated as you Heather so you help us understand and teach us better. [Razz]

But regular testing before engaging in sexual relationships with someone can prevent STI's from happening or catching them sooner than later. For me, I only been tested for STI's a few times, but I never asked my partner to be tested. I will now, since I got tested they should so no surprises happen. Which would be hard, bringing back past relationships, me I'd rather not know or care how many partners or any they had.

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Heather
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(Yeah, it's interesting to me that it's become murky for people, and maybe that'd be an interesting discussion sometime. having come of age when that term came about, it's very clear what it means to me and, from what I can gather, people my age, but it seems less clear to younger people. Again: interesting, and we should discuss it sometime! [Smile] )

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Redskies
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I always have condoms with me. I know that seems strange to some people, so to explain: For something else, I often need a pencil. A pen Will Not Do, and you might be surprised at the number of times that No-one around has a pencil! I find it stressful and not-very-successful to try to remember to take a pencil with me every time, so my solution for many years has been to have at least one pencil live in every single bag I own. Works like a charm - I always have one, and never have to think about it. I sort of automatically did the same with condoms. I really like this system, because not only do I never forget, I also never have the awkwardness of wondering whether it's "appropriate" to take condoms or not. I would find it super-weird to have to stop and think "do I take some?... I'm going to the supermarket, for goodness' sake!" I like how it's already been done, how there's nothing remarkable about having them, how I don't have any peculiar kind of maybe/maybe not anticipation when I know I'm meeting someone who I have a sexual relationship with or when I'm just going on a night out.

I carry condoms because there's some kinds of sex that I would absolutely not do without a barrier, so I want to both give myself the option to have those kinds of sex and eliminate any chance of making a very bad decision that I would hugely regret (I know myself, I would be capable of making that bad decision, so I want to make sure that I never do.) Sometimes partners of mine have them, sometimes they don't. The people who don't have them are mostly, but not entirely, the same people who aren't bothered about using them themself. They've all been happy about using them because I want to. If someone with a penis has their own condoms, I always ask if they prefer that brand/type and want to use their own, because brand/type doesn't seem to make any difference to me, and we usually use theirs not mine. So overall, I think condom-providing works out about 50/50, which is ok by me. I don't usually carry dams around because condoms can do the job and fit in slightly smaller pockets.

I have one regular-ish partner who isn't bothered about condom usage and never provides them. That would immediately stop being ok if I couldn't get condoms free from sexual health clinics. Actually, that Is going to happen, and it's going to stop being ok, and I will expect them to provide (mostly, and with clear discussion about it [Smile] ) because they'll still have that access. I've had another partner who didn't have such easy access to safer sex stuff, so we agreed I'd provide them. So, for me at least, access and finance concerns make a difference to decision-making and how I feel about it. If someone was just embarrassed, though, I'd expect them to deal with that sometimes, unless of course their only access was the village shop where they'd be served by their grandma's best mate...

One thing I do notice hugely among (cis) male partners is that most are much, much more bothered about condom usage for pregnancy prevention than they are for health purposes. This seems very wonky to me, and I do wonder if they would agree so quickly to condom usage if they thought I was on some other birth control. Honestly, that really bothers my mind, and I haven't found my own conclusion to it. I suppose it makes me worried and angry for other people, because I'm good with the choices I make, but there are plenty of people whose choices are to use the pill or IUD etc, and do they have a harder time than I do standing up for their sexual health? That's not right at all, no-one should risk trading off their health or having a harder time getting something else they need because they've already chosen one thing.

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The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not.

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Ginseng05
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I have many friends who think it is 'the man's job' to supply condoms.

However, I am always in the frame of mind that I am responsible for myself so I always supply condoms.

Sometimes my boyfriend cannot go and get condoms because where he lives he has to drive to a college campus. Buying condoms is pretty expensive and neither of us can afford that so I often walk down the street and pick up free ones on my campus (we are currently long distance) so I am often the one that brings condoms when we see each other because right now it is easier for me to pick them up.

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Sakura_Darkheart
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I think it should be a shared responsibility. Between my boyfriend and I, he prefers to buy condoms at the drugstore and I take advantage of the freebies on campus. We both generally have them on hand if we're going over to one another's apartments in case someone has run out.
I think he would have been okay with being the one responsible for them, but I don't think it's fair for one person to take on the responsibility when both parties are equally involved. We had kind of a vague conversation when sex first came up, and quickly reached the agreement that we'd both acquire them.

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