#AgonyCant Should I be making guys use protection during anal sex?
"I've started seeing a new guy and we recently started sleeping together.
"We've been having a good bit of anal sex, without protection, and even though it's never been something I'd usually worry about, a couple of people have told me that I definitely should be using condoms.
"The guy has sort of flippantly told me we don't have to worry about it because he got tested earlier this year but I'm assuming he's slept with people since then.
"I've never used condoms for anal before because pregnancy has always been my primary worry, but should I start saying I want to use them now?"
As we all know, the only way to be absolutely certain that you won't catch an STI, is to avoid any form of vaginal, anal, or oral sex.
For most people though, the above isn't something they're willing to commit to so they're going to go ahead and do it anyway - which is literally so grand as long as you're using protection.
And that does include anal.
Condoms won't provide 100 percent protection from sexually transmitted infections (again, only abstinence will), but they do massively reduce the risk of you catching something.
Because yeah, you might not be able to get pregnant from anal sex, but you can absolutely get an STI.
Girls growing up in Ireland were taught to be afraid of a lot of different things.
One of those things was lads who drove around in white vans asking if you wanted a lift home. Another was going out with wet hair.
And another was pregnancy.
Sex ed urged us to not have sex because we'll get pregnant and have to have a baby... But if we were going to have sex we had to make sure that we used protection so we didn't get pregnant and have to have a baby.
For most of us, having sex was an inevitability and avoiding pregnancy was the goal. Which is all well and good except when you consider that, for the most part, the threat of STIs pretty much took a backseat.
Sure, we all knew that we didn't want to catch one, but things like chlamydia and gonorrhoea just weren't as terrifying as discovering that you'd missed your period - not here, anyway.
But when you actually consider the implications and after effects of either of these STIs, you release that yeah, actually these things are absolutely worth worrying about.
Chlamydia can not only cause infertility in women, it can also lead to future ectopic pregnancies, pelvic pain, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Untreated gonorrhoea can also lead to all of the above, as well as the risk of scar tissue build-up that can then block the fallopian tubes, causing serious health issues.
The risk of contracting both of these STIs - as well as a load of others including herpes, HIV, and AIDs - is greatly decreased by wearing a condom.
It just is.
And while this guy has told you that he probably, might've, maybe got tested a few months back, if this is something that's worrying you, you might as well address it.
You'll not only save yourself a lot of stress, but you'll be reducing your risk of catching anything - which really should always be a prime concern when it comes to having sex with new people.
Barrier protection is, unfortunately, something so many of us tend to overlook - whether intentionally or not.
Objections like "Ah, I'm on the pill, it's grand" or "I was tested last year, don't worry" can be powerful convincers, especially when things have already got going.
But when you're sleeping with someone new, you really might as well be as careful as you can.
Worried about going on a first date with someone new? Got some lad onto you who won't take the hint? Are you being ghosted, breadcrumbed, or some other new form of dating trend? Just need somewhere to vent about everything that's wrong with your love life? Same, to be honest.
Don't worry though because at Her we've been there, we are still there, and we can maybe even give you some decent advice. At the end of the day, #ShiftHappens to all of us.
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