Breaking Barriers: When Should You Decide to Have Unprotected Sex?

53 comments
February 16, 2012 ‐ By Toya Sharee

Whether it’s 6 months into a relationship or 6 years, there comes a time when partners may question if it’s even necessary to use condoms anymore. Unfortunately, this is a decision that is often made casually and unclothed in the heat of the moment, but there are some people who invest the consideration and thought into this major health decision that it deserves.

Whether it’s lack of access, relationship status or the most popular reason, “It just feels better,”  the decision not to use protection opens a sexual relationship to a variety of risks.  Many women feel that as long as they’re on birth control if they’re in a monogamous relationship with a man they trust there’s nothing wrong with losing the latex after some time.  Others simply don’t ever take the thought of using condoms that seriously whether they are having sex with someone they’ve known for a day or a decade.  In fact, in 2010 an article published by Reuters entitled, “Condom Use Routine for U.S. Teens, not Adults”, states that teens are more likely to use condoms than adults over 40.  In a study, public health officials found that one in four acts of vaginal intercourse involves condom use, and among single adults that figure is one in three.  Condom use is higher in African-Americans and Hispanics than whites, and lowest among all races for people over the age of 40.

Many are quick to assume that single people are the only ones who are gambling with their sexual health by choosing to have unprotected sex and for most people it’s almost a given that there’s no point in using condoms when you’re married.  The truth is that exchanged vows and a wedding band can only protect you so much from sexually transmitted infections.  Like any relationship, some partners are asymptomatic and without being tested are unaware that they have anything to infect their partner with, whether that partner is a wife or a girlfriend.  And while we’re being honest, marriage doesn’t guarantee monogamy, which means that even in a marriage the decision to not use protection is something that involves a lot of factors, namely trust.

So how much do you trust that your partner is only sexually active with you?  One of the first steps you can take is any sexual relationship is having open, honest communication about sexual history and values.  While we all know that “men lie, women lie, numbers don’t.” Give your partner an opportunity to tell the truth about the number of partners he/she has had in the past and keep in mind that the more partners someone has had, the more likely it is that he/she has been exposed to an STI.  The next important step is to get tested together.  It’s important to not just take things at face value; all too often, people rely on the fact that someone “looks” healthy and become too complacent to take an active step to get tested.  By getting tested together (and hopefully receiving negative results) you both start off with a clean slate; this way if STI symptoms do appear, you know that somewhere along the line someone was unfaithful.   Before getting tested, talk about how the results (whether negative or positive) will affect the relationship.  The last step that a woman can take is making sure that even if she is protected against unintended pregnancy by choosing a form of birth control that works for her particular lifestyle.

Since marriage itself can’t always guarantee fidelity, is there ever a right time to not use condoms? When it comes to sexual health we are often bombarded with messages of safer sex that place emphasis in using condoms correctly and consistently, but it’s important to remember that it’s not enough just to use condoms, you also have to make a well-informed decision about the person with whom you choose to have sex as well.  Also, don’t fall victim to the belief that once you’ve had sex without a condom there is no turning back.  Relationships and people grow and change, and although you may have initially agreed to not use condoms, this decision should be addressed from time to time to make sure both partners still feel the same way.

Regardless of what type of relationship you’re in and for how long, by choosing not to use condoms you are placing your health at risk.  Essentially, you’re leaving your sexual health in the hands of someone else.  Hopefully that person is someone you trust, and for most people trust is built throughout a long length of time and based on more than the physical pleasure and sexual attraction.

Consider the following before making the decision to break down your barrier method:

  • What kind of relationship am I in?  You may think you’re in an exclusive relationship, but your partner may have other ideas about exactly what qualifies as monogamy and/or cheating.  You may think cheating is doing anything sexual with anyone besides your partner, but he may believe 0-ral sex doesn’t count as cheating, leaving your health at high risk.  Be clear and specific about what’s expected in the relationship.
  • What type of birth control works for me?  Some women may find that after they’ve made a decision to not use condoms, they experience difficulty in finding a method of birth control that works for them.  Some women experience uncomfortable side effects with some hormonal methods.  If pregnancy is an issue for you, make sure to give your body time to adjust to a method that you are sure you can use correctly and consistently BEFORE choosing to not use condoms.
  • Do I trust my partner?  If you’re in a relationship where you feel constantly compelled to check his social networks and cell phones for signs of infidelity, you probably shouldn’t be thinking about losing the latex just yet.
  • How long have I known my partner?  Although time doesn’t necessarily guarantee trust, you definitely increase your chances of making well-informed decisions about sex and contraception when it’s with someone you’ve known for several years as opposed to several days.
  • Am I being pressured to not use condoms?   The decision to not use condoms should be something that both partners agree on.  Partners shouldn’t feel pressured because one partner feels like condoms mean they aren’t “trusted” or because they think condoms are uncomfortable.
  • Can I communicate honestly with my partner?  A conversation about sexual values and history can quickly turn uncomfortable, and you may hear things that you don’t like.  Although your partner may reveal some questionable things about their sexual beliefs or history, try to appreciate their honesty.  A tense and touchy conversation about sex is always better than a non-existent one.

Toya Sharee is a community health educator who has a passion for helping young women build their self-esteem and make well-informed choices about their sexual health. She also advocates for women’s reproductive rights and blogs about everything from beauty to love and relationships. Follow her on Twitter @TheTrueTSharee.

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  • Jason d

    If I gotta still use condoms when I’m married then what’s the point of getting married in the first place?? I’ll be damned if I gotta bang rubber for the rest of my life… Yall women crazy lol..

  • DennisCLatham

    After The I DO’S have been EXCHANGED LEGITIMATELY ….

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  • Idiot

    Lots of this stuff borders on paranoia.  You probably have a better chance of dying from a car accident than getting an STD from your spouse.  Let’s be honest the vast majority of people who get STD’s are sleeping with multiple partners. If you marry someone you trust then you should be able to take it off.  Obviously the lady who wrote the article is not married because I don’t know ANY man who will agree to get married and never go raw for the rest of his life.  I know I would not.  I don’t plan on wearing anything on my wedding night.

  • Idiot

    No wonder so many marriages fail.  If you go into a marriage unable to trust someone and expecting them to cheat, the relationship will probably fail.

    • lisa jones

      I did not expect my husband to cheat….and he did….I now realize how foolishI was to trust a man simply because I was married to him. People do change meaning what.was agreed upon at first may not be desired later. As my aunt says, love but love snart

  • http://www.facebook.com/RosarioRed Rosario Stefania Scarsci

    Women: Let’s say you’ve been married for…idk 7 years. You and your husband don’t use condoms because you “trust” each other. Meanwhile, he is having sex with every thing that has a hole. After a while you get sick and find out you’re hiv+. If you both have it, who’s gonna look after your health? your husband? Lol well the marriage is over.

    you see, you can’t be too careful even with marriage. Oral $ex is one thing that is murky. Guys never use any barrier with me because it’s just easier for to go down there that way. I will admit that in recent times, I’ve only used a condo during oral w/ one guy. Oral is still risky. (HERPES on your LIPS!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/RosarioRed Rosario Stefania Scarsci

    I don’t think I’ll ever be okay with not using condoms because 1. I don’t want kids at all. 2. I don’t want HIV or anything else. I’m being honest. Just because you’re married does NOT make you immune to this. Also, birth control such as the pill can fail. I just feel like I may never enter a LTR with a man because after say a year he’s like “We still gotta use them?” Granted, it DOES feel better w/o them but it’s not worth the risks.

  • Slapboxxboy

    The funny part is most woman want you to bang them raw. after you been with the person for a while (i.e. two weeks) you just wanna feel the juice, AND TRUST ME.. IF YOUR HUSBAND IS USING A CONDOM ON YOU HE FOSHO BANGING SOMEONE ELSE. WHO THE HELL WOULD USE A CONDOM WITH THEIR WIFE?? I understand not wanting more kids, but someone better get fixed. Be it me or her. That is the only pleasure a husband gets. EVERY NIGHT I SKEET BUTTER. I would punch my wife in the throat she ever told me to put on a condom. 

    • http://www.facebook.com/RosarioRed Rosario Stefania Scarsci

      You would punch her? Wow you would hurt someone that you’re supposed to love and appreciate? 

    • Idiot

      This dude is hilarious.  His obviously joking.  Lighten up.

      • Slapboxxboy

        yes I was joking. I would never hit my wife. but I would never put a rubber on with my wife also

  • OH MY!

    This article was way too overly cautious. It was way over the top. “Use a condom. Use a condom. Even if your married use a condom.”

  • Ook

    When ur married. That’s when.

  • KIR12

    I have come to the realization that this is one subject on a blog that you will never get black women to comment on truthfully. Here are the facts 50% of every black pregnancy is terminated. That’s 50%, half of all black pregnancies are aborted! In addition, 72% of the remaining black pregnancies carried to term are illegitimate. Maybe 2 black pregnancies out of 10 is truly planed. So what does that tell you about protection properly and consistently?

    Black women aren’t having unprotected sex any more nor less than women of other races. The only difference is they (especially white and Asian women) take female contraceptives properly and consistently and their women and men have health insurance to get checked out before passing something on to someone else.

  • KIR12

    I have come to the realization that this is one subject on a blog that you will never get black women to comment on truthfully. Here are the facts 50% of every black pregnancy is terminated. That’s 50%, half of all black pregnancies are aborted! In addition, 72% of the remaining black pregnancies carried to term are illegitimate. Maybe 2 black pregnancies out of 10 is truly planed. So what does that tell you about protection properly and consistently?

    Black women aren’t having unprotected sex any more nor less than women of other races. The only difference is they (especially white and Asian women) take female contraceptives properly and consistently and their women and men have health insurance to get checked out before passing something on to someone else.

  • YOUTOLDHARPO2BEATME

    The condom stays on until you and your partner hold hands and skip down to the clinic with bells on and get tested together for everything that may cause you to itch or leak

  • YOUTOLDHARPO2BEATME

    The condom stays on until you and your partner hold hands and skip down to the clinic with bells on and get tested together for everything that may cause you to itch or leak

  • figoliu

    Don’t upset by herpes .it is just a minor virus, come to
    “herpesdateonline?c   o m”many herpes people there .Just feel free to chat, share
    stories, make? friends in your local area.You can find someone to talk to or
    offer help and advice there.

  • figoliu

    Don’t upset by herpes .it is just a minor virus, come to
    “herpesdateonline?c   o m”many herpes people there .Just feel free to chat, share
    stories, make? friends in your local area.You can find someone to talk to or
    offer help and advice there.

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  • HansiCabo

    In this day and age having unprotected sex should not be taken lightly.  I’ve been celibate for 6 years and am thinking about finally venturing back into the dating scene.  Consequently, I don’t plan to take any chances with my health and life, therefore before I sleep with ANYONE, I will require that we BOTH take STDs and AIDS tests.  I need to physically see his results and I will offer up mine.  This is the only way I will feel safe and secure having unprotected sex. Women need to take back their power and this is a great way to start!

  • HansiCabo

    In this day and age having unprotected sex should not be taken lightly.  I’ve been celibate for 6 years and am thinking about finally venturing back into the dating scene.  Consequently, I don’t plan to take any chances with my health and life, therefore before I sleep with ANYONE, I will require that we BOTH take STDs and AIDS tests.  I need to physically see his results and I will offer up mine.  This is the only way I will feel safe and secure having unprotected sex. Women need to take back their power and this is a great way to start!

  • Pivyque

    You should make that decision once you are married, both of you have been tested at least 4 times in a 24 month period and you two decide you are ready to have children. Otherwise, just wrap it up to be safe. You never know what others are doing.

  • Pivyque

    You should make that decision once you are married, both of you have been tested at least 4 times in a 24 month period and you two decide you are ready to have children. Otherwise, just wrap it up to be safe. You never know what others are doing.

  • GlenCoco

    Omg these comments  0__o  The answer is never! You should never consider it unless you want a child. Period.  Marriage will not protect you from a trifling husband/wife.  Wrap it up people!  

  • GlenCoco

    Omg these comments  0__o  The answer is never! You should never consider it unless you want a child. Period.  Marriage will not protect you from a trifling husband/wife.  Wrap it up people!  

    • Idiot

      Sounds like you have trust issues.

    • lisa jones

      True. My ex hudband who I trusted deeply and had unprotected sex with had sex with 14 women while we were married. Never felt like I could not trust him .Marriage is not even safe. I wont ever marry again.Celibate for life.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AC75YB6DK4BIB6BU7GLXQBJNA4 Twelve

    I got a girl and jumpoff. I hit both raw…its been 3 years and its all good

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AC75YB6DK4BIB6BU7GLXQBJNA4 Twelve

    I got a girl and jumpoff. I hit both raw…its been 3 years and its all good

    • Smacks_hoes

      Gross…you should get tested

    • Smacks_hoes

      Gross…you should get tested

    • HansiCabo

      Real nice way to be a sleazebucket! I hope you’re proud that you’re putting these girl’s health at risk….as well as your own, MORON! smdh

    • HansiCabo

      Real nice way to be a sleazebucket! I hope you’re proud that you’re putting these girl’s health at risk….as well as your own, MORON! smdh

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_AC75YB6DK4BIB6BU7GLXQBJNA4 Twelve

         No. They’re both only fvcking me. Its cool.

        • Slapboxxboy

          I feel you cuz. I bang both my baby momma raw. They taking all my money at lease I can enjoy something. Why didn’t someone write this article 3 years ago..lol

          • Pivyque

            You are going to mess around and get another kid…maybe a STD too. Have fun with that.

        • Pivyque

          As far as you know. You jumpoff could be doing her thing since you have a girl. Your girl could be messing around while you are with your jumpoff.

        • Idiot

          These trolls always have the funniest comments. I can’t believe some of you think they’re being serious.

    • http://www.facebook.com/RosarioRed Rosario Stefania Scarsci

      I hope you’re getting tested every six months.

  • Tee

    If you are married and have to consider whether it is okay to have unprotected sex with your husband. It is time to let that marriage go.

    • http://www.rishona.net/ Shona

      These were my thoughts as well!

    • http://www.rishona.net/ Shona

      These were my thoughts as well!

    • Lalatarea

      why? at the end of the day ain’t nobody gonna have ur back like u! i know married ppl who use condoms and promote other ppl to do so as well its not abt a lack of trust its just being smart! the only person you should ever blindly put ur faith and trust in its GOD and he ain’t fkucking

    • Lalatarea

      why? at the end of the day ain’t nobody gonna have ur back like u! i know married ppl who use condoms and promote other ppl to do so as well its not abt a lack of trust its just being smart! the only person you should ever blindly put ur faith and trust in its GOD and he ain’t fkucking

    • Pivyque

      That’s not true. My husband and I use condoms every time. We do not want anymore children.

      • Tee

        Yes because that is your choice. Notice u said because u don’t want anymore children, not because u don’t trust him being faithful or that he is going to give you an STD. There is a difference between wrapping it up because that is what you want vs wrapping it up cuz you don’t know if you can trust him. My point is as a married couple if I can’t trust him to protect me and do the right thing then I don’t need to be in the marriage because what if we wanted kids??? How does that happen with protection? Its true nobody looks out for you like you but if that is what you believe then marriage is not the type of relationship to be in. But nowadays we all get married with the expectation of divorce and cheating so maybe your right but I don’t need that so if I can’t be completely free with my hubby, I don’t need a hubby!!!!

        • Pivyque

          I feel you. In a marriage both parties should be faithful and honest so that unprotected sex doesn’t become a problem. I was just making a point that just because you wrap it up with your husband doesn’t mean that you two don’t trust each other. 

      • Tee

        Yes because that is your choice. Notice u said because u don’t want anymore children, not because u don’t trust him being faithful or that he is going to give you an STD. There is a difference between wrapping it up because that is what you want vs wrapping it up cuz you don’t know if you can trust him. My point is as a married couple if I can’t trust him to protect me and do the right thing then I don’t need to be in the marriage because what if we wanted kids??? How does that happen with protection? Its true nobody looks out for you like you but if that is what you believe then marriage is not the type of relationship to be in. But nowadays we all get married with the expectation of divorce and cheating so maybe your right but I don’t need that so if I can’t be completely free with my hubby, I don’t need a hubby!!!!

    • Pivyque

      That’s not true. My husband and I use condoms every time. We do not want anymore children.

No thanks