When it comes to choosing the right birth control, it’s a decision that shouldn’t be left to just one partner in a relationship. Although many men might view the subject of contraception as a foreign matter, it is important that they too are educated and engaged on the options available to them and their partner.
Having this conversation BEFORE you and your partner start having sex is ideal. Not only can this discussion strengthen your relationship by opening lines of communication that might have not previously existed but it also helps build a sense of trust, allowing you to be more intimate with your partner. By sharing the responsibility of planning for safe sex, you and your partner would be setting your minds at ease over the thought of having an unplanned pregnancy or possibly getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
So how do you even begin having this conversation with your partner? Here are some quick tips to help you get started.
Plan ahead. Don’t wait to have this conversation at the last minute…in the heat of passion. Start the conversation outside the bedroom and choose a time that is good for both you and your partner. If you have trouble finding the perfect time to bring up the issue, maybe consider talking about a TV show, movie, or pop culture event as a conversation starter and then transition into the subject.
Stay calm. It’s natural to be a little nervous when discussing the subject with your partner, especially if it’s the first time you’re bringing it up. But remember the importance of this discussion. You might even feel better about your relationship, knowing that you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to your plans and birth control.
Educate yourself. Before you start the conversation, read up on the birth control options that are out there and that may interest you. Or better yet, include your partner in this process. Ask them to accompany you to the doctor’s office, clinic or pharmacy so both of you can learn about birth control together and have your questions answered at the same time.
Rehearse. Practice what you’re going to say in front of a mirror or with a close friend who can give you personal advice. Rehearsing beforehand allows you to go through the points you want to get across in preparation for the actual talk.
Be honest. Express your true feelings and be clear with your thoughts. If you are going to have this conversation, you might as well get all your worries or concerns off your chest. If you don’t feel comfortable expressing your opinions with your partner, that may be a sign that you’re not ready to become intimate physically either.
Listen. After you had the chance to discuss your thoughts, allow your partner the opportunity to respond and express how they feel. Respect what they have to say and be open to their point of view.
Continue the conversation. Once you have discussed your plans and birth control with your partner once, that doesn’t mean it will be the last time. Be open to future discussions as your relationship evolves. Over time, you and your partner may desire different things out of your relationship so your method of birth control may also change.
For prompts that you could use to help you get the conversation started regarding birth control, pregnancies, or even STDs, check out the Get Talking interactive conversation starter. The BeforePlay.org website has a lot of great information, memes, and videos about family planning and sexual health.
About the Author: Kevin Vu is a third-year pharmacy student at the University of California San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences.