Having trouble talking about contraception?

Whether you’ve been together for 3 weeks or 3 years, it’s important to talk through the options to make sure you choose the best method to suit your body and lifestyle. Choosing the best method will mean you can enjoy your sex life and forget about the worry of an unplanned pregnancy!

Although you may be planning to have sex with your new partner, contraception may be lower down on the list of things to plan. To protect yourself from unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), it’s important to make it a priority. So how do you bring it up?

Top tips to get talking

Be prepared – Make some time to discuss it before you start having sex. By talking through contraception including your likes and dislikes, experiences and anticipations with your partner, you will ultimately feel more comfortable and have a more enjoyable and stress-free sex life.

Be comfortable – Plan a time and place that is comfortable, where you will both feel at ease, without the worry of interruptions or feeling rushed.

Be practical – With around 12 different methods to choose from, there's a good chance you will find one which is right for you and your lifestyle. Talk to your partner about your sex life, work life and family life to make sure you choose an option that fits with your relationship.

Be confident – Don't be embarrassed! Contraception is a normal part of life but we probably aren't talking about it enough. Keep the conversation relaxed and to the point, and make sure you’re happy with the decision you make. You could print out some information for your partner in advance of the chat to make sure you've got all the information to hand.

Be honest – Talking about your sexual histories can be tricky, but it is important to consider them when choosing the best method of contraception that suits you both. STIs including syphilis, chlamydia, genital warts and herpes have been on the increase in Ireland for a number of years. If an STI goes undiagnosed, it can lead to more serious, permanent consequences, including infertility in women. With this in mind, it’s important to talk to your partner. Is there a possibility that either you or your partner has been exposed to a STI? If so, it's worth visiting your local genito-urinary medicine (GUM) or family planning clinic for peace of mind.

Some key conversation starters

  • "How many people have you had sex with?”
  • “Have you ever had an STI?”
  • "Do you feel ready to have sex with me?"
  • "Shall we pick up some leaflets from the clinic and look at them together?”
  • "What kind of condoms do you like?”
  • “Do you use condoms when you have sex?”
  • “My friend was telling me how she was with this guy and he wouldn’t use a condom”.

Remember: Condoms offer protection from many STIs, so if you are planning to stop using them, make sure you both have a sexual health check at your local Sexual Health Clinic first.

The information on this website is educational only and is not intended to be used for any self-diagnosis purposes nor to replace the advice of your doctor or healthcare professional. Please consult your doctor or healthcare professional for further information on your contraceptive options. This website is intended for use by residents of the Republic of Ireland only. This website is developed and maintained by MSD Ireland (Human Health). See www.msd.ie for more information.

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Registered Address: MSD Ireland (Human Health), Red Oak North, South County Business Park, Leopardstown Dublin 18. 
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All people depicted on this site are models and are used for illustrative purposes only.

Job code WOMN-1178118-0000 Date of preparation: July 2016