Times when you might consider not using condoms
If you are both HIV negative, you might consider that you have nothing to protect each other against. But to be absolutely certain of your HIV status you have to take a test at least three months after your last risky sex; just guessing isn't enough. And even if neither of you has HIV, you might expose yourself to other STIs. You'll need to be completely honest with each other about whether or not you've had sex with anyone else, and this requires a very high level of commitment and trust. Think ahead and talk it through: how would one of you feel if the other had unprotected sex with someone else?
If you are both HIV positive, you might decide not to worry about the risks to your health from reinfection with other strains of HIV.
If you fit into either of these scenarios and accept the risks that they involv then, in theory, you could have unprotected sex with your partner. However, there are times we don't use condoms when we feel that we should. So what can be done? Here's a step-by-step guide:
- Ask yourself 'Do I really want to put myself at risk?'
- If you answer no, you are halfway there, you've made a commitment to the idea of safer sex.
- Now, think of occasions when you've had unsafe sex. What were your thoughts, and feelings at the time? What events lead you to think and feel that way?
- Are there any situations when you find it more difficult to have safer sex? For example, out cruising or with someone you really care about.
- Now you know some of the things that might cause you to have unsafe sex. If any of these feelings or thoughts surface when sex is on your mind, you could be heading toward an old pattern where unsafe sex is more likely.
- Think about how you would feel if you or your partner became HIV positive because of that sex. Would it really be worth it?
- When you're about to fuck, remember your thoughts and feelings about unsafe sex. Either tell your partner that you want to stay safe, or go right ahead and get the condoms and lube ready, make sure he sees what you are doing, or knows what you are up to.
- Put the condom on (him or you) before you get close to fucking, that way you'll be ready in the heat of the moment.
- If you have unsafe sex, don't hate yourself - learn from it. Think about what happened and see how you could change this in the future.
- Finally, if you find it too difficult to make your sex safer on your own, speak to a health adviser at a sexual health clinic. Many clinics offer counselling and support sessions for men in your situation.
There are all sorts of reasons why we end up having unsafe sex, but it's nearly always our choice. Our reasons are totally understandable but, at the end of the day, who is responsible for your health if it isn't you?