Bargaining for your life: condom negotiation skills

Behind the blinds - condom negotiationsPeople like me who teach negotiation like to tell our audiences that everything is negotiable. But I suspect that most of us still understand negotiation as an activity conducted at workplaces, in board rooms, in law offices, in union halls. We imagine negotiations over salary, over working conditions and benefits, over contracts, over stock options, over cash.

In doing so, we overlook the daily transactions that quietly make up life’s most important negotiations. And there’s one kind of negotiation in particular that holds serious consequences for those who lack the skill to succeed in it.

It takes place in private. It proceeds behind closed doors, when the shades are drawn, in halting steps or in haste.

It’s a kind of negotiation that demands self-agency, the ability to advocate zealously for oneself and also to walk away if you can’t get to yes:

Condom negotiations.

These are negotiation skills every sexual active teenager and adult should possess: the ability to negotiate safe sexual practices with a partner. The web, that confidential, sometimes dependable refuge for the embarrassed or the self-conscious, offers advice and links to resources. These include:

These are negotiation skills on which life and death can depend. It’s time at last to throw open the shades, let in the light, and talk about them openly.

4 responses to “Bargaining for your life: condom negotiation skills

  1. Diane, that has to be one of your best titles ever! I had to read it three times to make sure I was seeing it right, and then, of course I had to read the article immediately.

    What a hoot.

  2. Diane Levin

    Tammy, thanks for your comment! Glad I made your day.

    I would have to say that my own personal favorite when it comes to the blog post titles I’ve come up with is “Premature negotiation: how to get rid of performance anxiety at the mediation table“, prompting our pal Bob Ambrogi to christen me the “Dr. Ruth” of the mediation world. I like to think that this post on condom negotiations continues in that tradition.

  3. Thank you so much for this… I have started a business to bring a tool to women to carry their own protection.
    When you bring your own condoms, negotiation is unnecessary… if the answer is no, that’s a deal-breaker.
    Bravo to you for tackling this subject in a very different venue!

  4. Diane Levin

    Cool idea, Rachael. Thanks so much for your feedback. I agree…”no” should indeed be a deal breaker.