Dear Fiona: Is there really a ‘safe’ time to have sex without a condom?

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Fiona Caine answers readers’ letters

Q My husband always uses a condom, but he says that if I could work out exactly when my period is due, we could make love in the few days beforehand, without any form of contraception.

If this is true, it sounds like a good idea, but I have heard of people who have got pregnant by having intercourse when they thought they were safe.

My husband thinks that’s because they got their dates wrong, but I’d like to check.

A There is indeed a period of time when it is generally less likely you’ll get pregnant, but it’s rather more complicated to work out than just checking dates on a calendar.

There are many things to be taken into consideration; your ovulation might be delayed for some reason for a start.

If you want to use natural family planning methods, you should seek proper advice and training, and your local Family Planning (FP) clinic can help.

You will need to use a very accurate thermometer to calculate when you ovulate and will need to be comfortable examining your vaginal fluids.

Natural family planning is not 100 per cent reliable and if it’s important you don’t get pregnant, there are other methods that are better.

The most effective method is the contraceptive pill, but if you don’t want to go down that route and your husband is fed up using a condom, have you considered having a cap fitted?

A family planning clinic or a GP who specialises in contraception can help you, but please do not rely on just the calendar if you don’t want to get pregnant.

Q I’ve recently been to stay with my sister and her husband who live in Spain.

While I was there, they introduced me to a friend of theirs who lives only about 30 miles away from me.

He was a lovely man and we had such a great time together.

We exchanged addresses when he returned home and I’ve been looking forward to hearing from him and continuing our relationship.

I’ve been back two weeks now but I’ve not heard a word, even though I’ve written to him twice.

I find it really hard to understand why I’ve heard nothing from him; it’s not like we’re immature youngsters – we’re both in our mid-40s.

Surely, at this age, a relationship must mean more than just a ‘holiday’ romance?

A A holiday romance can happen to anyone, at any age so please don’t assume because you are both a little older you are somehow immune.

Romance is exciting and, if it happens to take place in an exotic place overseas, it can easily melt the hearts of normally rational people.

There are a number of possible explanations as to why you’ve not heard from this man.

He may have had to go away again and has not received your letters.

Or perhaps you said something in your letters that made him uncomfortable.

It may be that you wrote the address down incorrectly or it may just be that he isn’t as keen as you are to continue this relationship.

You could mention the lack of a response to your sister, just in case he gets in touch with her.

But you may have to accept that this was just a brief liaison, in which case try to enjoy the memory of it.

You may be tempted to write again but, unless you find out somehow you had the wrong address, I think doing so would only prolong the pain.

Write to Fiona Caine c/o Chris Owen, 1000 Lakeside, North Harbour, Portsmouth PO6 3EN or chris.owen@thenews.co.uk.

Fiona regrets that she cannot enter into personal correspondence nor pass letters on to other readers.