Some of us are not very good at having uncomfortable conversations. We develop the symptoms of a panic attack, like fear, heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, feeling of choking, dry mouth, sweating, chills, shaking, tingling, nausea, headache, and feeling faint. Discomfort can hit us hard, especially if we’re discussing a delicate situation, like birth control.
It’s a meaningful discussion to have, especially if you’re with a new partner. You may have different expectations around starting a family.
Here are a couple of tips to help you have the birth control conversation with your new significant other.
Figure Out What You Want First
It’s first important to figure out how you feel about pregnancy, and how that will change your approach to birth control. If you’re in a same-sex relationship, you might think that you don’t have to worry about the birth control conversation. However, what if you’re taking it for health reasons, such as painful periods, acne, or irregularities? You should be practicing safe sex, like using condoms or dental dams and continue getting tested.
General Conversation Guide
It’s time to have a more in-depth conversation with your partner about birth control. Kick it off by asking how your partner feels about kids. Questions such as “Do you like kids, in general?” and “Could you see yourself having children in the future?” are great ways to ease into the conversation gently.
If you are both ready to start a family, but perhaps not right at this minute, then you turn your conversation to shorter-term birth control options. If you’re already on the pill, that’s perfect! Something along the lines of “Hey, I’m on the pill, but I’d like to have children soon” is a great place to start. Talking in terms of short term contraception options is a good fit because these are types that can be easily reversible with little to no fertility effects.
If you’re unsure if you’d like to have kids, or if you and your partner are unsure, a more medium-lasting birth control option would be a better fit. IUDs like Mirena are useful for up to 5 years – Skyla is suitable for 3. The shot is also long-lasting. These set-it-and-forget-it options are great for leaving the door open for kids in the future. In this case, try a conversation that’s more along the lines of, “I’m not sure if I want children, so I am on the shot. What do you think of potentially having kids in the future?”
If you are sure you do not want kids in the future, make sure to lay that out early in the relationship. Explaining to your partner that you have an IUD, vasectomy, or tubal ligation early-on will help you to avoid potentially hurt feelings in the future. Conversations that take the tone of “I am not interested in having children, and so this is the form of birth control I am on” will help to avoid ambiguity.
It might be useful for you to prepare yourself before you have the birth control talk. You could try sketching out some opening lines or trying to come up with potential objections or questions that your partner may have. If you are using a form of birth control that is not as common as others, such as an IUD or the shot,   preparing some answers to frequently asked questions (such as “how does it work?”) might help to put you and your partner more at ease.
Plan a time in which you and your partner are comfortable. You’ll want privacy, where you’ll be able to talk and not feel rushed. However, it’s pretty important to be sober, as you’ll both want clarity.
Experts at Thinx suggest suggesting that you begin your conversation out of the bedroom. Talk about sex can feel uncomfortable, and it’s important to address important topics, such as the need to wear a condom and birth control methods, before you’re too distracted and skip the conversation entirely.
InStyle suggests using slogans, InStyle suggests using slogans, if you need, such as “No Glove, No Love,” which may make it easier. They also recommend having the “Define the Relationship” talk before you begin getting intimate with your partner – especially if you wish to forgo condoms for a hormonal birth control option.
Finally, ask your partner what is important to them. Having a frank discussion will avoid issues in the future.