The Condom Decision



    So You Prefer Sex Without a Condom

    Here are a couple of ways to make that safe.

    Mar 18 · 6 min read
    condom, or not to condom — that is a frequently asked question. Usually posed in the heat of the moment when body parts are wet and hard. There is no doubt that having sex with a condom is safer. However, there are measures we can all take to enjoy sex sans-latex and not feel like you may have compromised your health.
    #1. Get Your Test Before a Night of Zest
    Love having barrier-free sex, regardless of your relationship status? Often times when we don’t use condoms people fall into one of two categories.
    You’ve been in a partnership for a while, monogamous or poly, and feel secure enough to no longer incorporate barriers. Or, you are unattached but may feel like you’d rather not use a condom or dental dam with a casual sex partner.
    Regardless of where you fall on the spectrum, there is a way to leave barriers at home, and still feel safe. However, it will require most people to get out of their comfort zone.
    Before you are going to have condomless sex, discuss getting tested for STIs. It can be a nerve-wracking conversation to have, especially considering that many of us aren’t taught to discuss sex at all; even while we’re having it.
    Once everyone is tested show each other your results. This is the key to have fun, safe, condomless sex.
    Just getting tested is not enough, you must play show-and-tell.
    This practice requires two skills we may not be used to channeling during sexy times: open communication and patience while tests are completed.
    Laugh about how awkward the conversation is if you need to, but remember this peace of mind is worth the wait. If you have a sex partner who is not willing to wait for tests to be completed, then you don’t owe her, him or them any more of your time. That is elusive and suspicious behavior.
    For me, I try to remember that in standing up for my boundaries, I am also building stronger communication skills. Which are great to flex during sex.
    Finally, before engaging in the barrierless sex all parties involved are required to have one final open discussion. If anyone starts dating someone new or plans to sleep with someone new, everyone must be informed. Make this commitment, and remember, if you don’t trust your sex partner for any reason you have the right to say no to sex, condom or not.
    #2. Time for Table Sex
    We often equate sex with penetration, actually, sex is open to your unique definition. Here is a really fun way to have sex that doesn’t involve any barriers. The best part, this works for group sex too.
    All you need is a dining room table. Invite everyone involved to sit at the table. Sometimes it is fun to have everyone arrive at the table naked. Others choose to wear lingerie and sexy underwear. I know one couple that does this in their business suits, because why the fuck not?
    Stare at each other from across the table, but do not touch each other. Instead, you each get to watch as everyone touches themselves. You can use any form of stimulus like you like. One couple I know always uses vibrators because they don’t need to focus on what their hands are doing, and can freely look around the table.
    Pro tip: It can be distracting if several people are using buzzing sex toys at once. To set the mood, play some sultry music in the background. A great playlist is Love, Sex, & Water. Don’t let the music get too loud, half of the fun is hearing your sexual counterpart(s) moan.
    Now, who is ready to work up an appetite?
    #3. Get Kinky
    While I was at Berkeley I studied porn and BDSM. It was quite exhilarating that my homework often resulted in hours of, erm, note-taking while watching these videos.
    One trend I noticed was that the incorporation of kink often results in both parties not needed to be physically penetrated to feel satisfied.
    One of the mainstream myths about sex that I already mentioned is that penetration is sex. While sex is whatever you define it as, it is still not uncommon to feel like “real sex” didn’t happen without something phallic entering into a bodily orifice.
    When kink is involved, many people feel like a hole is being filled. Whether it is emotionally, physically, or psychologically. I know a woman who is a Mommy Domme with two submissives. With one of her submissives, they rarely incorporate penetrative sex.
    The sex is the role play. The electricity of the interaction is what creates fulfillment and arousal.
    When it is time for the couple to touch one another, Mommy gives her submissive a slow, teasing handjob. Then her submissive performs oral sex on her. Sexual acts are still happening, and during the oral sex fluids are being exchanged. So this couple makes a point to stay up to date on all STI testing, and maintain open communication about any new romantic partners.
    Often, feeling like you “had sex” is just that, a feeling. I feel like I had sex because I orgasmed. I feel like I had sex because I put my penis inside her, him, or them.
    Kink is diverse, but it is also intense. Play around with kink and let the intensity of an interaction fulfill you. You may find that you still want penetration afterward, though you may also find that all you really need after a BDSM session is some hot chocolate and cuddles.
    There Are Many Reasons Someone May Not Use A Condom
    It could come from a latex allergy or a personal preference. I had a lover who had trouble climaxing while wearing a condom. In 2017 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released statistics about condom usage between consenting adults. They interviewed 11,300 women and 9,321 men.
    During 2011–2015, 14.8% of women and 19.0% of men aged 15–44 used a condom “every time” they had intercourse in the past 12 months. [Additionally], 59.9% of women and 47.3% of men aged 15–44 during 2011–2015 did not use a condom during any intercourse in the past 12 months.
    This study does not confirm if any of the people were in relationships, how folks sexually identified, and the stats do not include genders outside of the gender binary. Still, this research does show a trend: most people surveyed didn’t use condoms every time they had sex.
    While we don’t know everyone’s individual circumstances, this is an important piece to consider when you are deciding to use barriers or not. Perhaps you realize that using condoms is non-negotiable for you. Perhaps it is time to forget your self-doubt, and have blunt conversations about getting tested.
    Either way, the most important tip I can give anyone is learning how to communicate your boundaries and needs. Remember that sex is an umbrella term encompassing anything from masturbation to penetration.
    Don’t feel shameful about your preferences, feel empowered. Sex is meant to feel good, emotionally and physically. To condom or not to condom is your question. Pick the answer that is right for you, and do so knowing that you can feel safe as well as sexy.
    Nadège is an ex-academic who spec