Communicating About Safer Sex

By Allyson Sandak


By the end of this lesson, participants will be able to:

1. Demonstrate an understanding of passive, aggressive and assertive communication styles.

2. Increase their comfort in talking about safer sex with a partner.

3. Practice negotiating skills for safer sex.


Young people often receive factual information about the proper use of safer sex methods such as condoms, female condoms and dental dams. However, skills development is necessary to negotiate using such safer sex methods. Knowledge of safer sex methods does not automatically transfer to behavior — knowing how a condom works does not necessarily mean that one will use a condom and/or feel comfortable discussing condom use with a sexual partner. Skills development and self-efficacy (the belief that one is capable to put those skills into practice) are key components to social learning theory, which informs much of current comprehensive sexuality education. Research indicates that pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection prevention programs that include skills development, including condom negotiation skills, have strong impact on teenagers’ intention to use condoms. Additionally, participants indicate that they need more information about negotiation and communication skills. This lesson will provide participants with an opportunity to develop comfort and skills around communicating assertively about safer sex.

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