You’d be surprised how many young adults don’t just engage in safer sex but have safer sex ingrained in their practices. For some, the condom moment in a relationship is the first time ever a couple experiences flesh on flesh in the most private of areas. Go off condoms? Whaa? You mean I can stick my dick in there and come out alive?

But there comes a time in most serious relationships when you face an ethical and moral dilemma: to condom or not to condom. This usually happens when there’s a penis involved (most of my gals-who-like-gals pals admit to forgoing dental dams and other barriers).

A few years ago, one of my colleagues suggested I write a column about deciding to drop condoms. As a columnist who strove to entertain and to promote safer sex, I politely declined. Besides, I always used condoms, silly! That was before my relationship got serious. Like pee-in-the-same-room serious.

Couples have to have the maturity to switch back to condoms for a partner’s health/safetyBut now I know. Deciding to drop condoms marks a moment of trust in your partner…you trust that he won’t give you HIV, HPV, or the clap. You both have accurate and current test results, and you’re not lying about them either. If you’re a straight couple, the male half has to trust that she’s always going to be reliable us using her pill/ring/patch, because, for some, babies can be even worse than STIs.

There are gradients of safer sex, and sometimes condoms don’t factor into the safer sex you’re having. And that’s okay as long as you’ve got your bases covered.

1. Some form and extent of exclusivity
2. STI testing, with presumably acceptable results
3. Certain length of time together, which varies
4. Reliable contraception for hetero couplings

It’s hard for these younger types (i.e. people like me) to accept that condomless sex is not morally wrong. I already feel like I’m treading in deplorable sex column behavior here. I’m endangering the public good!

But, as I previously mentioned, it all boils down to trust. A trust in healthy sex.

With condoms as effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies and transmission of certain STIs as they are, it’s a privilege for couples to step back to au naturel. You’ve got to plan and perhaps pay extra for birth control. It takes an incredible amount of responsibility to carefully cross the condomless border because–let’s face it–not everyone can do it or do it right. Most importantly, couples have to have the maturity to switch back to condoms because of a contraceptive misstep or simply for a partner’s sanity/health/safety.

So, sure, use a condom every time. But if this time is your 60th time with your longterm partner and neither of you is boning anyone else etc. etc., maybe you don’t have to drop a buck every time you f–ahem, engage in coitus.

Image by superkimbo in BKK.

The Sexual Manifesto is Christine Borden’s weekly column on sex in the city, sex and culture, and, well, sex. Got a tip for Christine (and it’s not in your pants)? Email her at

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