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Ask the Experts

Question:

I am faithful to my husband, but I think that he is cheating on me and I am worried about getting HIV or another STD from him. I would like to start using condoms with him, but don’t know how since I am on the birth control pill and we have never used condoms before.

Answered by: Theresa Exner

One strategy you could try is to introduce the idea of condoms as an alternative to birth control pills. Many women don’t like to take the hormones in birth control pills for health or other reasons. And it would be possible to say that your health care provider recommended that you stop using birth control pills and start using condoms.

A good option for you could be the female condom, which has a lot of “selling points.” The man doesn’t have to put it on, and the woman can insert it ahead of time so that the sex act doesn’t have to be interrupted. It is made of polyurethane, which conducts body heat and conforms to the contours of the vagina. In fact, several studies have shown that many men believe that intercourse with the female condom feels very natural. And the female condom doesn’t have to be removed immediately after ejaculation, as the male condom does.

If this doesn’t work, there are other strategies you could try, such as reducing the number of times you have intercourse, or increasing other types of of sexual activity that are less risky than vaginal or anal intercourse. But this could be very challenging, and might not work in many relationships.

It seems that there is a larger issue in your relationship: you are having problems communicating with your husband about infidelity, safer sex, and possibly other important issues. These are subjects that it would be helpful to discuss with a professional counselor.