Just in time for Valentine’s Day, HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) is publishing an online guide with top tips on how to use condoms and protect your sexual health without killing the romantic mood.

A recent study found 43% of men and 38% of women didn’t always use a condom when having sex with a new partner¹. Some argue that safer sex and romance just don’t mix, with worries that condoms are uncomfortable, ruin the sensation, or even interrupt those tried and tested seduction techniques.

THT’s new guide (www.tht.org.uk/romance) aims to challenge some of these old-fashioned attitudes, with easy-to-follow advice on how to protect yourself and your partner from unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) without spoiling the intimacy. Tips for men include exploring the different sizes available to find the most comfortable fit, and investing some time in a ‘dress rehearsal’ to make sure you can tackle your tackle with total confidence. Women should find the guide useful too, with advice on the hidden benefits of flavoured condoms, plus a special hands-free technique for getting your partner ready for action.

Terrence Higgins Trust’s spokeswoman Lisa Power said: “Our guide shows how, with just a little preparation, protecting yourself and your partner doesn’t have to be a passion killer. Yes, there was a time when condoms were like inner tubes, but now we’re in the 21st Century and the technology has changed considerably.”

“There are plenty of tricks you can use to keep the rhythm going without relying on the rhythm method. And remember, it doesn’t get much less romantic than an unplanned pregnancy or an STI.”

The guide can be found online at www.tht.org.uk/romance.

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