The Hook Up: Condom Confusion and Battling Body Image

Reported by MTV Act.

Photo: (Everyone Is Gay)

The Hook Up is a weekly relationship advice column from MTV Act and the It’s Your (Sex) Life campaign, written by the very talented Kristin Russo and Dannielle Owens-Reid.


From the awkward to the complicated to the down-right-adorable, these girls have you covered. To submit your question about love, lust or anything in between, email us at We’d love to hear from you, and your question could be chosen for a future column! FYI, in case you’re a little shy, all questions can be anonymous.

Q: “My boyfriend doesn’t want to use a condom, any advice?”

Dannielle Says: 

Don’t have sex with him.

Kristin Says:

Agree. No Condom = No Sex, you guys. Duh.

Here are some ways in which to not have sex with him:

-Say, “well, hopefully you have a really good imagination so that you can pretend we are having a really great sex when you are home alone in your bed tonight… ”

-Loudly pronounce, “NO I AM NOT READY TO HAVE YOUR CHILDREN” the next time you are in public together. This will work regardless of your gender.

-Explain that you have some important thoughts regarding his recent decision to not care about his own body or yours, and then play “My Body Is A Wonderland” on maximum volume.

Q: “I have a complicated relationship with my body. I know I should be ok with how it looks and all that, but I just am not. I never have been. I feel self-conscious all the time, I don’t know what to do.”

Dannielle Says: 

I think everyone has a complicated relationship with their body?? Right!? Everyone has too much or too little of too many things. Boobs, butts, thighs, nose cartilage, knuckle hair, etc. We all have things about ourselves we don’t like or only sometimes like. HERE IS WHAT I THINK.

I think you should be okay with the fact that you’re uncomfortable sometimes because the worst thing you can do is beat yourself up for having emotions. It makes everything so much more complicated when we try to force ourselves to feel something we’re not feeling. SO, recognize that you feel those things and then talk about why you feel those things. Is it because you feel unhealthy or because you don’t look like Ashely Benson #prettylittleliar ?! If it’s because you don’t look like [favey celeb] then have a conversation in your head about why you love that person. Chances are, you don’t love that person because of all the ways they are like you. You know? You love them because of all the things about them that are DIFFERENT. The same way you will love the differences about yourself.

SECONDLYMOST. Start to congratulate yourself on things that are great about you. I used to do this (i’m not kidding), I would look in the mirror and say ‘you have great hair’ and ‘your eyes are so pretty!’ and when I started to take care of myself a little more, I’d be like ‘NICE SHOES DANNIELLE’ and ‘Dannielle, your skin is really clearing up, good job on not eatin chzzz!’ IT SOUNDS SILLY BUT IT WORKS. If you focus on the things you love about yourself, you’ll feel a lot more confident and the things that were making you feel self-conscious before, won’t take over!

Kristin Says:

Yoga was my answer.

I know that sounds a little oversimplified and it might not be the answer for everyone, but doing yoga was what made me understand my body as a body and not as an image.

Before I explain my yoga-body-concept further let me also tell you that I have PLENTY of days where I wake up and try on all the clothes in my closet and everything looks awful and my stomach curves push through my shirt and my future-face-jowls look too prominent and my short legs look even shorter than usual and I throw a fit and cry and hate myself. I think it is normal to have days where all of our emotions congregate around our body image and we feel awful. Those days should be balanced, though, with a much larger awareness of our actual self and an appreciation for our actual body and not our body as we perceive it in those moments of weakness.

I found the balance that you are seeking when I began to understand my body as skin and bones that wrapped around myself in a way that was unique to me. Yoga allowed me to feel mentally balanced and helped me to appreciate my skin, my muscles, and myself. Feeling how my breath is connected to my brain is connected to my muscles and organs – it gave me a clearer and fuller picture of what it is to be a human. I know that when people love me, it isn’t because of the way my stomach looks on Tuesday… it is because of who I am, how I carry myself, and how I understand myself.

Find what brings you to your center and do more of that. Focus on the reasons you appreciate other people and apply that to yourself. Be patient on the days and in the moments that you lose your footing and become disgusted with your appearance, but allow yourself the room and the peace to find moments where you really, really like parts of yourself – or, on the best days, where you really, really like your whole self.

Kristin Russo and Dannielle Owens-Reid are the co-creators of Everyone is Gay, a website and organization promoting kindness between all people, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. The views expressed in these blog posts are the viewsof the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of MTV, KFF or the It’s Your Sex Life campaign.

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