How to start the conversation about birth control

When it comes to sex, many things go into deciding whether or not to do it. But when it comes to contraception – arguably one of the most critical aspects of safe sex – many people find themselves tongue-tied.

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Talking about contraception can be awkward, but it's important. Not only can it be an important component of preventing unplanned pregnancies, but it can also be vital for protecting yourself from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


How do I talk to my partner about birth control? 

1. Talk to your partner about what you are thinking of doing and why

This is probably the most important thing you can do early in your relationship. Both partners must be on the same page when it comes to contraception. This conversation should be seen as a first step, as we can get pregnant or contract something unpleasant the first time we have sex together.

2. Be open and honest

If you have broached the subject, this isn't the time to hold back about what your thoughts are. You both have a right to be heard and make the right decisions for you. Also, you wouldn't go into any other relationship, such as starting a new job, without knowing exactly what you were signing up for.

3. Don't be shy, but don't go overboard

This is the time for a balanced and straightforward conversation. It is perfectly OK to ask when the last time a potential partner had an STI, had sex or the contraception they used. It is far better to both have clarity about where you are at the beginning of a relationship before you have already fallen for the person.

4. Know it's never too late

If you already have a partner, then it should never be too late to address any part of the relationship causing concern. This applies as much to sex as any other part of the relationship.

4. Be willing to compromise

Both partners should be willing to compromise and discuss options that won't make you break a sweat. There are different options, so approach conversations within the spirit of open discussion.


What to do if your partner is resistant to birth control?

Ultimately, whether you have a relationship, sexual or otherwise, is a choice for you. However, if you are going to have a sexual relationship or already have one, then the question of birth control must be navigated. So here are a few things to consider:

1. Communicate

If you have got to the point where you are talking, help the other person understand how you feel. They may not realise just how important this is. It is helpful to have a conversation before reaching the bedroom, where hormones can easily trump reason. Try to keep the conversation as emotionally neutral as possible. The aim is not to fall out but to find a way forward. An excellent method of doing this is to use "I" statements. This helps us convey a sense of ownership of the situation without the other person feeling attacked.

An example might be, "I know you don't like the idea of contraception, and I wanted to understand better how this can be approached in a way that works for everyone." What is their objection to birth control? If you can understand this, there may be room to move the conversation forward. For example, some partners equate birth control with a lack of commitment. Sometimes by addressing the underlying question, you can naturally segue into the birth control question.

2. Research together

Sometimes, partners may not understand the realities. Doing some research together or even inviting them to a doctor's appointment may be helpful.

3. Stick to your guns

Ultimately, it is OK to stick to your guns. However, if you have been clear and a partner isn't prepared to respect your choices, sometimes the right thing can be to walk away.


Finding a counsellor 

How can Hope Therapy and Counselling Services help?

Hope Therapy and Counselling Services have a team of experienced and fully qualified relationship counsellors. We often help facilitate conversations of a wide variety of conflicting opinions. If you and your partner are struggling to discuss things or if you would like to work through various issues on your own, get in touch.

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Wantage OX12 & Rickmansworth WD3
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Written by Ian Stockbridge, BSc. (CBT), PGCert (Clinical Supervision), BACP (Accred)
Wantage OX12 & Rickmansworth WD3

Ian Stockbridge is the founder and lead counsellor at Hope Therapy and Counselling Services. 

As an experienced Counsellor, Ian recognised a huge societal need for therapeutic services that were often not being met. As such the 'Hope Agency'was born and its counselling team now offers counselling and therapeutic support throughout the UK.

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