Condom excuses (and comebacks!)

Some people don’t use condoms because they think they don’t need to or because they don’t want to. But, condoms are the only method of contraception that protect you against both pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so using them is a really good habit to get into.

So whether it’s you making the excuses or whether it’s your partner, here are the most common ones we’ve heard, together with a comeback:


"I only use condoms if I think someone has an STI."

You can’t tell who has an STI by the way they look or behave. You can’t even tell whether someone has an STI by knowing who they’ve slept with or how many people they’ve slept with. Remember, you only need to have sex once to catch an STI.


"Condoms spoil sex for me."

This is a common excuse, but safe sex can be good sex! The type of condom is important though, so think about the following:


Condoms that are the wrong size can be uncomfortable and make sex less pleasurable. They can also be more likely to break or slip off. Try different sizes of condoms to see which ones suit you best.

Thinner condoms

Some condoms are thinner than others, which can give increased pleasure and sensation.

Non-latex condoms

These are good if you have an allergy to latex. However, they can also feel more natural, as the allow you to feel heat through them and they’re very thin. This can make sex more pleasurable.

Flared condoms

Some condoms are flared at the end, meaning there’s more room for the end of the penis. This can make them easier to put on, and more comfortable.

Enhanced pleasure condoms

Some condoms are ribbed, and some have lubricant on them that gives a tingling or warm sensation.

Flavoured condoms

These can make oral sex taste better, and sometimes smell better than regular condoms.

Condoms with extra lubricant

These can also make sex more pleasurable (or you can add lube to condoms).


"Why bother? STIs can be cured with antibiotics."

This may be true for some STIs, but others (like HIV) can’t be cured at all. Also, not everyone will experience symptoms so you can have an STI for a long time without even knowin, and if they’re not treated, they can cause serious problems such as infertility.


"Sex feels so much better without… it’s worth the risk."

Unprotected sex can lead to pregnancy. If you’re not ready for this, you may regret that ‘heat of the moment’ unprotected sex. And that’s not the only thing you have to worry about or regret; you need to think about getting tested for STIs, too.

It’s simple: to enjoy sex without worry or regret, always use a condom.


"No one would have unprotected sex if they had an STI."

Chances are, you think this because you wouldn’t have unprotected sex if you had an STI but not everyone will think like this. And even if they do, they may not even know that they have an STI. Two of the most common STIs, chlamydia and gonorrhoea, don’t have any symptoms. That means they could pass it on to you without even knowing.


"We use another method, so we don’t need to use condoms."

Even if you’re using another method of contraception, such as the pill, you’re still at risk of STIs, which can have serious long-term consequences. Also, contraception is never 100% effective, especially if you don’t use it perfectly (like forgetting to take your pill). It’s always wise to use condoms too, to have the best chance of preventing both pregnancy and STIs.


"Condoms make me lose my erection."

There are lots of different reasons why someone might lose their erection. Some people find that using a condom makes their erection last longer, but for others using a condom has the opposite effect. The first thing to recognise here is that not being able to “get hard” or “stay hard” is very common, and is not unusual. Here are some tips that might help with condom-related erection loss:

  1. Check you’re using the correct size: Sometimes people lose their erection because the condom is too small.
  2. Have a “posh wank” to practise: Try practising putting on a condom on your own. Masturbating with a condom on can help you get used to the feeling of wearing a condom during sex.
  3. Try different types of condoms: If your partner has a Vagina then you could suggest trying internal condoms. Internal condoms can be inserted into the vagina to protect against pregnancy and STIs AND they’re latex-free.

Remember – you can have great sex without an erection (try exploring other types of touch that might lead to pleasure), but if erection loss is worrying you then you can talk to a professional about it. Brook, other sexual health services, or counselling services should be able to help. Find out more about erections and staying hard.


"It’s SO hard to stop in the heat of the moment."

Sometimes, even if you plan to use condoms, it can be difficult to stop and put one on in the heat of the moment. Here are some tips to help stop this from happening:

  • Talk about condoms: doing this before you have sex means you’re much more likely to end up using them. Find out more about how to talk about condoms here.
  • Put the condom on during foreplay: this way, the condom is part of the moment, it isn’t interrupting it.
  • Have condoms ready and nearby: this way you’re always ready for sex, whenever you get lucky. Have some near your bed, such as in a bedside drawer (just make sure they are easy to find and not buried at the bottom) and always carry condoms with you, in your wallet, pocket, or bag (make sure you don’t store them here for more than one month – they can get damaged).
  • Make a plan to use a condom: and stick to it!

"I forget when I’m drunk or high."

People often feel in the mood for sex after drinking or taking drugs, but sex when you’re drunk or high isn’t always the best idea because if someone is drunk or high, then they may not have the capacity to consent to sex. This includes any kind of sexual activity, like kissing or fondling. Any sort of sexual activity without consent is illegal whatever the age of the people involved and whatever their relationship. If someone is too drunk or high, then do not engage in sex with them – look after them.

Drink and drugs can also make sex less pleasurable. People often experience less sensation in their genitals when they have been drinking alcohol. Some people also experience vaginal dryness, find it difficult to maintain erections, and struggle to orgasm.


"I can’t afford condoms."

Condoms are free on the NHS. You can also get free condoms from Brook Southend, as well as any other sexual health service.

If you’ve had unprotected sex, you can get tested online or visit Brook Southend. Clinic staff won’t judge you or your behaviour, they know that you’ve done the right thing by going to get tested.