Talking about condoms with your partner

It’s important to talk to sexual partners about using condoms so you can look after your sexual health, and the health of other people. However, these conversations can feel a bit tricky. Here are some ideas that may make it easier.


There’s no ideal time to talk about condoms. But generally, the sooner you bring the subject up, the sooner you’ll be able to sort it out. This will make it easier for you to relax and will mean you’re more likely to use them when the time comes.

How to bring it up

Each situation and person is different so you’ll have to work out the best way to bring the subject up. It also depends on whether you and your partner(s) would like to use external condoms (also known as ‘male’ condoms) or internal condoms (also known as ‘female’condoms). Some ways of starting the conversation about condoms are to:

  1. Talk about it generally: “Do you use condoms when you have sex?”
  2. Say it directly: “If we are going to have sex, we’re going to use condoms.”
  3. Work it into a conversation: “My friend was telling me how they were with this guy and he wouldn’t use a condom…”
  4. Ask about the other person’s preferences: “Is there a particular type of condom that you like to use during sex? I’ve heard [insert condom type here] feel really good.”

It might be tricky bringing it up at first, but it’s a lot more likely that you will use condoms if you talk about them before you start to have sexual contact rather than leaving it until the moment arrives.  

Take responsibility

Be confident and responsible for your own health. You shouldn’t leave the decision to use condoms up to someone else – if you want to use them then take the lead. It’s your body and you’re right to want to look after your health.

If someone makes a big deal about you wanting to use condoms, consider if this is the sort of person you want to be having sex with. If you still feel shy or embarrassed talking about condoms, there are some things you can do to feel more comfortable.

Talk to yourself

It might feel strange or awkward saying these things out loud but it is a very good way to get more comfortable with talking about condoms. Saying out loud what you might say to someone can help clarify what you think and how you want to express yourself.

Talk with a friend

It can help if you run through what you want to say with a friend first. It might sound a bit strange, but some people who feel really nervous find it helps to role play. This is where you get a friend or someone you trust to pretend to be the other person.

Rehearse the conversation

Running through things beforehand often makes it a lot easier to do them when the time comes. Think through the conversation in your head and imagine what the other person might say. This can help you feel more prepared for the conversation when it happens.