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Dear Demetria:

Me and my guy were out to have sex for the first time. He pulls out a Magnum condom. Not to sound “thotty,” but I’ve seen big ones before, and he’s not a gold member … at all. I asked if he had a regular-sized one and he seemed upset. My reasoning was for safety. I was concerned it would slip off. I told him that, too. Was I wrong? —Anonymous

If you were standing in front of me, I would scream and give you a rocking hug. We’d high-five. We might even chest-bump. I am super proud of you for putting your health first and for speaking up about your concerns about your safety.

I’ll tell you why I’m so proud. Ten years ago, I was in your shoes—and said nothing. I’d waited months, until “we were official,” to have sex with my new boyfriend. Like yours, he broke out the gold package and I was nervous because I knew Magnums were for the extra large, and he didn’t fit that description. I thought the same thing you did—about safety, about health—but I didn’t want to do anything that would make him not like me. So I put his ego first and hoped for the best, i.e., that the condom stayed on.

It didn’t. After sex, instead of cuddling, he had to not-so-delicately search for the condom and get it out without it leaking or spilling. Talk about a mood killer! I was afraid I’d just been impregnated and wound up at the pharmacy counter that night to get a morning-after pill. Less than a week later, I was in stirrups at my OB-GYN getting tested for every sexually transmitted infection possible—because I’d also neglected to get tested with him before sex—and then, three months later, I got an HIV test, months before I was “due” for my next one.  

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All of that drama that I brought on myself could have been avoided if I’d spoken up in the moment, like you. This is the worry and drama that you just avoided by being responsible and having a healthy self-esteem and not ignoring your common sense. So yeah, I’m still applauding you—for speaking up.

That said, how you spoke up may need some work. You were up front and honest, and that’s awesome. But you also hurt the feelings of someone you likely care about a lot. In general, men are notoriously sensitive about the size of their penises, especially when they’re naked and vulnerable in front of someone they care about. A lot of guys may not show their feelings as much as or in the same way women tend to, but they have them. Your question to him, though valid, was about the equivalent of if he had commented that your breasts or booty appears smaller when you’re naked. You’d probably be insulted, and if you actually had sex with him after that comment, you likely wouldn’t be on your A-game.  

I recommend that, going forward, and to avoid awkward situations such as this, you keep condoms on hand. That way, if he pulls out an ambitious-sized condom, instead of saying, “You need a smaller one,” you can suggest, “That brand doesn’t work for me; try this one.”

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It’s not as straightforward, but on some very rare occasions, you don’t need to be, especially when you’re worried about someone’s feelings and the end result is the same. This way, you stay protected, he isn’t insulted and the mood isn’t ruined.

Lastly, you didn’t mention where you and your partner stand since this conversation. If it hasn’t been addressed, it needs to be. Tell him the truth: You freaked out thinking about the worst that could happen, and you could have handled it more sensitively. You didn’t mean to insult him and you’re sorry. Hopefully he forgives you and you can have amazing makeup sex—with a condom that fits, of course.

Demetria Lucas D’Oyley is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love as well as A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life. She answers your dating and relationship questions on The Root each week. Feel free to ask anything at askdemetria@theroot.com.

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Previously in Ask Demetria: “My Boyfriend Asked Me to Move in, but Now He Says He Needs More Space. Is This the End?