Psychologist Chris Hart's take on why your boyfriend may be reluctant to use protection [Freepik]

Hi Chris,

When my boyfriend and I started having sex together, we were very cautious and always used a condom. But now, six months later, he’s becoming reluctant to use one. Is that alright, or should we still be careful?

Careful

Hi Careful!

Surprisingly few steady couples use condoms, because deciding to use one is much more complicated than it might seem.

That’s largely a result of lifestyle and trust issues. For example, while most women want to use protection for a one night stand, they’re much less bothered with a steady partner. So most couples stop using protection once she starts feeling that she’s in love with her partner.

Because once you start loving someone, you believe you can trust them. And also because once a relationship starts getting serious, using condoms become associated with suspicious behaviour.

Quite often couples don’t even make a conscious decision to stop using them, ‘it just happens.’ But once it does, it’s difficult to go back.

The same’s also true for men. A young man about town is only too aware that you can’t trust a stranger, and so he’s perfectly happy to use a condom for a ‘hook up’. But once he’s been with a girl for a few months, his feelings start to change. He wants to stop using them and to build trust. So if she still insists, his reaction is likely to be: ‘You accusing me of sleeping around?

What makes it even more difficult for young men is that they’re psychologically inclined to take risks, and tend to downplay issues relating to their sexual health. In fact they’re genetic programmed to prefer unsafe sex, because it increases their chances of becoming fathers.

Which means talking about condoms brings up all sorts of trust issues, especially for couples who aren’t actually sure whether they’re being completely faithful with one another.

So talk to your boyfriend about monogamy. And if that conversation goes well you can stop worrying.

But if it doesn’t, maybe you should be asking yourself some serious questions about your relationship?

All the best,

Chris