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Thinking About Going Condom-Free? Read This Before You Do.
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Thinking About Going Condom-Free? Read This Before You Do.

A couple of weekends ago, I caught up with some friends from back in the day. Because most of the people in my world know that I write about sex and relationships a lot, it never fails that the topic of sex is gonna come up in some shape, form, or fashion. And while my threshold is actually pretty high when it comes to how graphic things can get (check out “Working For A Porn Ministry Got Me Over Watching Porn”), if there’s one thing that will definitely get me going (and not in the way that you think), it’s when people talk about engaging in casual sex…without a condom.


For those of you that that doesn’t apply to, it might surprise you how many folks actually get down that way. How many exactly? Reportedly, only one-third of men and one-fourth of women consistently use rubbers, and hell, some research says that as much as 42 percent of men don’t use them from start to finish (SMDH) — which, in some ways, can defeat the point of having one on at all.

And why does all of this irk me so much? For one thing, I used to be a teen mom director for the local chapter of a national nonprofit organization, and almost every time one of my “daughters” (which is what I called them) would tell me how they got pregnant, “Liking it raw” (or their boyfriend preferring it that way) would always come up in the conversation.

Listen, back in the day, I had PLENTY of unprotected sex (check out “14 Lessons I've Learned From 14 Sex Partners” and “Why I Named The Children I Aborted”), so by no means am I saying that I don’t get where the mindset comes from. I’ve been there. I’m just saying that it literally took blood, sweat, tears, and a long bout of abstinence to get free from the psyche that unprotected sex requires way more forethought, discussion, and serious consideration than a lot of people are choosing to do these days.

So, here’s my contribution — my “beauty for ashes,” so to speak. If, for whatever reason, you’re contemplating going without a condom in this season, please consider all of what is said here, share it with your potential partner, and have a long and serious conversation. ‘Cause, if I can spare you a lot of what I went through (because I couldn’t find an article like this one) — I most certainly will.

Let’s Recap What Condoms Are Designed to Do

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I’m pretty sure that you took some sort of sex education in school (right?), so it’s not like you don’t know what I’m about to say on some level. However, when you sit and ponder the fact that nearly half of the pregnancies within this country are unplanned (the United States is about the highest one to have this finding, by the way) and that of the 20 different types of STIs/STDs that exist, 1 in 5 Americans currently have one — yes, it’s critically important that we revisit what condoms are created to do.

That said, another word for condom is prophylactic, and it literally means “a course of action intended to prevent disease”. Well, since condoms arethe only (current) form of birth control that can prevent pregnancyand STIs/STDs, yes, it’s important to take them very seriously — they can literally keep you from the life-altering experience of having a pregnancy you don’t want or aren’t prepared for, and they can prevent infections of which some have a cure while others (currently) do not. So, aside from the only 100 percent surefire way to avoid either of these things (which would be abstinence), the next best method is going to be a condom; no wiggle room.

And that alone should make you have at least one box of them in your house…somewhere.

Yet let’s keep going.

Yes, Fluid Bonding Is a Very Real Thing

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I’m not gonna go too deep on this, yet it really does floor (and slightly trigger) me whenever I hear people say that sex is nothing more than a physical experience. Do you really think that something that can totally alter your life — hell, something that helps to create life — is nothing more than a physical release?

How is that even remotely possible when there are plenty of articles out in cyberspace that say things like sex can light up different parts of your brain, relieve depression, improve your memory, literally put you into a trance, and, thanks (or sometimes “no thanks” — LOL) bond you to someone, just from the help of the oxytocin boost that comes with it alone? And don’t even get me on what sperm can do (in a good way — check out “Do You Swallow? The Unexpected Health Benefits Of Sperm”). I promise you, science couldn’t care less if you think that sex is inconsequential. It knows otherwise — and when you decide to not use condoms, fluid bonding is something that definitely comes into play.

If you’re not exactly familiar with the term, fluid bonding is what happens when people have “barrier-less sex.” To be honest with you, even if you just kiss or participate in oral sex without intercourse, by definition, some fluid bonding has taken place. Yet ain’t nobody is out here getting pregnant from kissing or giving (or getting) head (you can get an STI/STD from oral sex, though…please don’t forget that) — that comes solely from sexual intercourse.

So, why is fluid bonding an intentional act for people? It’s convenient. It can make sex feel more pleasurable (especially for the guy). It’s a way to connect with someone with “nothing in the way” (so to speak). Ideally, when you’re married or in a very serious long-term commitment, it’s the ideal kind of sex to have because you and your partner are fully sharing yourself with one another on a physical level; it cultivates an uncanny and somewhat indescribable experience.

In my opinion, fluid bonding is a beautiful and sacred kind of thing — a thing that shouldn’t be taken lightly or casually by any stretch of the imagination because, while it can make you feel as close as you physically can with someone else if you and your partner are not on very solid footing, the backend of the experience could be potentially devastating.

This brings me to my next point.

What Is the Integrity Level of Your Partner?

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Not too long ago, someone asked me in an interview about what I thought was the greatest cause of breakdowns in (romantic) relationships. The very first thing that came out of my mouth was “a lack of integrity.” The way people will make commitments and just break them…make promises, and not keep them…assure people one day that they are “in it” and then emotionally rationalize their way out of it the next. It takes character to have integrity. A lot of people simply lack in that area.

And just what is integrity? Dictionaries define it as being “adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty.” Some signs that you have integrity include doing what you say you’re going to do, taking responsibility for your actions, being empathetic, putting the needs of others first (within reason, of course), and having humility.

Okay, so keeping all of this in mind, when it comes to the person you’re considering having “raw sex” with, are they a beacon of integrity? And let me just say this — if you haven’t known them for very long, there’s no way that you can quickly say “yes.” Integrity is something that has to be evaluated after going through some things with an individual.

You’ve got to be able to provide instances of when they followed through on their word, owned up when they did something wrong, and when they chose to put you first. If instances of these actions do not immediately come to mind, you most certainly should wait before you take the risk (on some level, unprotected sex is almost always a risk) of participating in an act that could totally alter your life…if you’re not careful.

Yeah, integrity has to be highly prioritized when it comes to having sex without a condom. No debates here. Not a one.

Even If He’s Had a Vasectomy, Keep This in Mind…

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Speaking of risks, what if your partner has had a vasectomy? Off the rip, let me just tell you that I’ve been in this working with married couples thing for quite some time now, and you’d be surprised how much infidelity can go up for some once a man has been “snipped.” Amazing how, even though a vasectomy can prevent pregnancy, folks will be out here, literally all willy-nilly and acting like it can stop a sexually transmitted infection or disease. ABSOLUTELY NOT.

Not only that but although it is rare, something known as recanalization (the process of restoring flow to or reuniting an interrupted channel of a bodily tube such as a blood vessel or vas deferens) can happen up to seven years after a vasectomy has taken place. So, you know what that means, right? Yes, there is a slight possibility that your partner can still get you pregnant, even if he has gone “under the knife.”

How much of a chance? From what I’ve checked out, it’s somewhere around 1-2 pregnancies per 1,000 within the first year of a man having the procedure done; after five years, it goes to between 2-10 per 1,000. So, while vasectomies are one of the best things going as far as avoiding pregnancies are concerned, there is still a risk of conceiving — not to mention that vasectomies have NOTHING to do with preventing STIs/STDs. Just something else to take special note of.

Condom-Free Feels GREAT. Now What Else You Got?

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There’s a married couple I know who are totally against going on the pill (or doing any form of birth control that deals with the wife putting significant amounts of hormones in her system). I’ve studied what the pill (and other kinds of birth control) can do and so, while I totally get where they are coming from, when they told me that they were using condoms, my immediate response was, “Y’all are married and having ‘college sex’? Whew-whee.” College sex is how I describe protected sex because, if there is EVER a time when you need to wrap up, it’s on a college campus, chile. Anyway, when the wife decided to tie and burn her tubes, you could see the pure joy on her husband’s face. After years of using rubbers, now he could go condom-free — and they both said that it made sex so much more enjoyable.

As a doula, it’s another message for another time how a lot of women say that they are able to “get bucker” after their tubes are tied, they have gone through menopause, or their man has gotten a vasectomy because, when you know you can’t get pregnant anymore (and you don’t want to), raw sex is nothing to worry about. Also, it’s not like women can’t tell the difference between not using a condom and using one (I recently read a LinkedIn article entitled, “Women Don’t Like How Condoms Feel Any More Than Men Do”).

Going without condoms can intensify the sensitivity of genital-to-genital contact, and it can sometimes make sex feel more comfortable (if rubbers are something that irritates you on some level), too.

Still, when you factor in the risks that come with not using a condom, if you’re thinking about going that route, Imma need you to have more reasons than “It feels better.” I’ve had unwanted pregnancies. I’ve had chlamydia before (and it was actually dormant in my system for a couple of years; a bout of mono and strep “activated” it).

Did the unprotected sex that led to all of that feel amazing? Sure. Was it worth all of the drama and trauma? ABSOLUTELY NOT. So, that’s the next thing to really sit in — what other reason, other than how it feels, is a good enough one to keep the condoms in your nightstand?

Going Condom-Less Doesn’t (Automatically or Necessarily) Make You “Special” 

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I promise you that I have absolutely no idea how I missed Black & Sexy TV’sChef Julian series when it originally aired. Oh, but I have enjoyed it since and refer to it often these days (Courtney Burrell is a cutie, and it’s been dope to see Javicia Leslie soar). That said, the reason why I’m bringing the show up in relation to this particular topic is because there’s an episode (here) where (count ‘em) three of Julian’s (played by Burrell) women got together because his ex, Mo (played by Leslie) wanted to know if she was the only one who he was having condomless sex with. Something that Wendy (played by Khalilah Joi) said definitely came back to mind as I was laying this article out: “She wanted to make sure she was special.”

Hmph. I used to fall for that line of thinking back in the day. My first? I don’t think we ever used a condom, and yet the number of women who I found out he was having sex with while we were together on the back end? Chile…CHILE. While I was out here thinking that us being unprotected meant that I too was “special,” really, he was the one benefitting because he knew that I was too deep in to even consider sleeping with someone else. That line of thinking led to my first pregnancy and abortion, a lot of heartache, and sometimes low-key paranoia about my health status.

Besides, when you really stop to think about it, the women he was wearing a condom with are probably who he cared more about if we’re gonna stop romanticizing the whole “special” thing. I say that because, while he was protecting himself, he was also protecting them — I was the one who was out here all vulnerable. So yeah, while I might have been “special” from the angle of “being set apart,” I wasn’t really special when it comes to him doing what some synonyms of the word are — doing what was “proper,” “appropriate” and treating me in an “extraordinary” way by going above and beyond to make sure that I would remain healthy and safe.

So sis, if a part of you is thinking about going without a condom because you think that it will make sex with your partner special — it can if you’ve already fully taken into account all of what I’ve already said. Beyond that, please don’t romanticize the word. Watch that episode that I linked and really give “being special” some serious thought and consideration. Thank me later.

Keep in Mind That Condom Quality Keeps Improving

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Final point. If there are two things that have improved, considerably so, over time, it’s (period) pads and condoms. And although, in a perfect world, we’d all probably like to avoid both of them — in this world, we, in fact, need them.

When it comes to condoms, specifically, the internet has plenty of referrals for condoms that feel like your partner is barely wearing anything at all (like Men’s Health’s “The 15 Best Condoms for Pleasure, Tested by Sex Experts”). I’ve done my own unofficial interviewing on the topic, and one brand that keeps coming up is Kimono MicroThin Condoms. If you add to that an article that I penned for the platform a while back (check out “10 Ways To Make Using A Condom So Much More Pleasurable”), I’m pretty sure that you and your partner can find a rubber alternative that can be almost as good as using nothing at all. And you can have peace of mind by using it.

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Listen, you’re grown. You’re gonna do what you want to do. I just hope that the time that you put into reading all of this helped you to (further) see that going condom-free shouldn’t be a flippant decision. Please put some real thought into it — physically, emotionally, and relationally. If there was ever a time when the saying, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” would most certainly apply, it would be when it comes to how you approach sex. Including when it comes to whether or not you’re gonna use a rubber.

Choose wisely. On the front end, please. You won’t regret it. Ever.

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