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Sexy Time: Bareback Mountin’

There are a lot of decisions to be made in a long-term relationship — whose friends to hang out with more often, if and when to cohabit, whose place to crash at more often, and what you’d both like the future to look like. Once sex enters the relationship – whether if it’s on the first date or on the first night of marriage, there comes a whole new set of decisions to make.

For most couples, I think it’s fair to say that the go-to contraceptive plan usually involves condoms and some form of birth control (we were always told that two methods are better than one). Once that decision has been made and acted upon, the following months of getting-to-know-each other getting it on are usually passion-filled and use enough latex to make David Suzuki’s earth-loving head explode.

But regardless of what we’ve been taught, and regardless of how much we know we should be using condoms every single time no matter what, there does typically come a time in which the “should we go bareback” conversation will inevitably arise. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge proponent of safe sex, and I would never suggest going condomless outside of an LTR or without a backup form of birth control, but let’s be real here – it feels better and it’s just so much more convenient.

Yeah, I went there.

That said, there are some major issues to think about before you can even consider ditching the ‘domers.

Condoms are the only thing that protect against STIs. If you’re seriously considering removing condoms from your sex life (or at the very least, not making them an every-single-time necessity), you and your partner should consider being screened for any detectable infections. Yeah, that’s right, the detectable ones. Not all STIs can be screened for. Herpes, for example, can only be detected during an outbreak, and many other infections show no symptoms. Going condomless is a risk, and before doing so you need to seriously consider the repercussions.

Birth control, birth control, birth control. Unless you are hoping to start a family, going without a condom and not using another form of BC shouldn’t be an option. Acquire a form of birth control you feel comfortable with and can reliably take when you’re supposed to. Remember, taking that pill at the same time every day can be the difference between a pregnancy and a fetus-free uterus. Women’s Health has a great page that details the success/failure rates of different forms of birth control, which is a great place to start if you’re looking for a contraceptive that’s right for you.

Plan ahead. Even if you take your pill every day, or pull out right on time, or hell, even if you’re still using condoms, sometimes accidents happen. And by accidents I mean pregnancy. I think having sex with anyone needs to be prefaced with the conversation of what would be done if such an accident were to happen – and when you completely remove the semen-vagina barrier, that conversation becomes even more crucial. Are you and your partner on the same page as to what would happen in the case of an unplanned pregnancy? Do you know where to go to procure an abortion, or who to talk to about adoption? What would your life look like if you had a child now? All important things to figure out.

Like any other risky behavior, there’s a way to go about condom-free sex in a responsible way. It’s a personal choice, since the consequences are going to have to be dealt with by you and your partner. But what do you think — is going condomless worth it?

    Comments

    Comments

    1. mkdc says:

      Not true that herpes can only be detected during an outbreak, sorry. Since the virus can shed at any time, a culture may test positive for HSV-2 even without an outbreak. And a blood test will for sure show a positive or negative result. It's possible to have HSV-2, never ever have an outbreak, and still transmit the virus to your partner, which is why it's important to have a blood test.

      A lot of places recommend getting tested every three months, some places do an automatic chlamydia and gonorrhea test with your annual exam if you're under 25. It's a good idea to get a full panel done (blood and cultures) every so often, depending on the style of your sex life. It's definitely a good idea for both partners to have a full panel before you start having unprotected sex. Easier said than done, I know, but so so important.

    2. Megs says:

      Sex without condoms is totally worth it- provided you're with someone who you trust and who can handle the potential consequences with you.

    3. Mary says:

      @mkdc I think by detected they meant visibly notice it…

    4. LB says:

      I personally think going condomless in my relationship has been totally worth it, but let me say: I think it's important for young women to realize that when you're trying to decide whether or not to ditch condoms during sex, you have to take care of yourself first.

      That means weighing all of the factors in the relationship you're in (I say that because hopefully people understand that casual encounters without condoms is a recipe for potentially unfortunate consequences) – how sexually comfortable you really are with your partner, whether you can handle the possibility of pregnancy or an STI/STD, and if you're going to be responsible enough to inherently remember to take that little pill every day. And if you know you're the kind of person who's a little absent minded, you have to think about that too – and get a patch or the NuvaRing or some other form of contraceptive.

      If everyone thought about those things before they made that decision, I think they'd be as satisfied as I am. Going without the latex feels better – but the best feeling comes from being self aware and confident in the choices you make.

    5. LO says:

      I just want to thank you for writing this article! This is a topic that has recently come up between my boyfriend and I and I was having mixed feelings but this really helped.

    6. […] At what point in a relationship can you forgo condoms? […]

    7. Liz says:

      My boyfriend and I started having sex a year and a half in to our relationship (high school relationship, if that clears anything up) and we've had sex sans condom much more frequently than with for the past 2 years. I'm on NuvaRing continuously, so I trade out every 3 weeks for a new one, don't have a period, and it controls the horrible cramps I used to get (AKA Dysmenorrhea). I think I have a sensitivity to latex- even when we use lube, condoms rub me the wrong way (heh). It's hard to remember because I think, "Maybe this time it won't hurt!" and it does. I remind myself that we should try latex-free, but we're so used to going without at this point…and I haven't gotten pregnant yet?

    8. M says:

      Don't forget that some kinds of temporary medications can make the pill not effective for that period of time (antibiotics)…

    9. Jena says:

      It's not true that herpes can be detected at any time. When the virus is in its latency period, it is COMPLETELY undetectable in the blood stream. It is residing in nerve ganglia and is NOWHERE in the blood stream. When it gets reactivated, it can move down from the ganglia and cause an outbreak that is visible– this is when it is able to be detected in the blood. Otherwise, you can't tell.

    10. Johnson says:

      Yeah going condomlessis totally worth it if you don't mind the possibility of getting pregnant ( you can get pregnant using BC) or an STD. The person who wrote the article is a bonehead.

    11. wacawaca says:

      a real man will love his woman in every way but sex until he marries her, no while dating her or being engaged to her. overall less heartache if not sexually intimate before marriage. that passion button, ladies, guard it, until the right man comes to be married to you then you can release it…. go crazy with or without condoms.

    12. steph says:

      some people feel safer wearing a condom because they aren't worried about getting pregnant, but if you're confident and on top of your birth control (and have a back up plan in case you do get pregnant…not to get to politically controversial here, but in that .01% chance the pill wouldn't work, I know what I would do) then I say going without condoms is totally worth it. I hate them, personally, and I trust my boyfriend and we're both STI/D free. It's one less barrier to having sex, which I think is great for relationships. But girls…don't do it outside of a long-term relationship. I did it once with my summer fling and I've always regretted it; we didn't have that sort of trust that my boyfriend and I have, and it was stupid. Trust me on this one.

    13. Mike says:

      like the old saying goes " Why buy the cow when you can get the milk FREE"

    14. Ben says:

      With my girlfriend, we do it both ways. When sober, condoms reigned supreme, though sex is about 1000% better without condoms. When drunk or tipsy, however, my cute, careful, nympho girlfriend always wants it bare. I always want it bare too, but the fear of pregnancy kind of takes away the fun…that is until insertion when I'm once again reminded that condom-less sex is the only way to go. Am I setting myself up for trouble? Maybe, but it sure feels amazing.

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    16. […] I thought so. Let’s stop with the hickeys and practice safe sex, shall […]

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