Having the Chat About Safe Sex

Dear Karen,

I’ve been dating the most wonderful, kind, sweet, sincere man I’ve ever met.  We’re getting close to being intimate – I know we’re ready for it on so many levels, but I have a huge problem: how do I bring up the topic of having safe sex without hurting his feelings?  I’m afraid that, because he’s pretty inexperienced in this area, he’ll really have an issue and either disappear completely, or just feel terrible that I don’t trust him, and that will hurt our growing relationship.  How should I handle this?  – Bonnie, NJ

Dear Bonnie,

I’m so glad you asked this question – it’s a topic I talk about with my single clients all the time, and yet I don’t think anyone’s ever asked me about this subject in all the years I’ve been doing this newsletter!

The first point I want to make: until you’re able to talk with a man about absolutely anything, you’re just not ready to have sex with him!  I’ll delve into this more thoroughly in a future newsletter.  For now, let me answer your question…

There’s only one possible situation where you wouldn’t need to talk about having safe sex with a new partner, and that’s if both of you are virgins, and pregnancy is not possible.  If you don’t fall into that specific category, then you simply must talk about protecting both of you.

Approach your sensitive new man from that perspective, and it can’t be personal.

Now, if you think he wants you to be a virgin, that’s another story.  But if either of you have ever had a sexual partner prior to getting together, it’s a no-brainer; there’s no way of knowing how many people you’re connecting with, because you’re not just sleeping with the person you’re dating, but with everyone you’ve both been with, and everyone they’ve been with, and on it goes.

I suggest you broach the subject by letting him know that you’ve got something important you need to talk with him about. Also share with him that you’re worried it will upset or hurt him, or that he’ll pull away from you.  That will help him get ready for the chat, and will also let him know that you care about his feelings.

I can’t imagine that, with both these things in place (that you always have safe sex with a new partner (unless you both meet the criteria we’ve covered), and that you’re concerned about the impact the conversation will have on him), he’d react the way you’re afraid he will.

If, however, he does have a problem with this, you’ve got some serious thinking to do, Bonnie.  It will be important information for you, as you continue to evaluate him.

It’s very important that you go into a relationship being willing – no, make that committed – to seeing the real truth about a man you’re dating, and not what you wish were true.

Women get themselves in trouble all the time because they’d rather see what they want to see, instead of what is right there to see (and I’m not suggesting that is true for you with this man, by the way.).

Given what you shared in your question, it sounds like you’re off to a great start in this budding relationship.  Keep up the great work!