Thursday, February 04, 2010

Friday Q & A:
To Bareback or Not to Bareback?


The cure for what ails you: the condom pocket boxer.

Dear Ms. Sunday,

I had an interesting week. I met a woman online and went out for drinks with her. We hit it off just fine and had sex into the wee hours. I wasn't prepared for it, condom-wise, mostly because I didn't think it would get that far on a second date. We were ready to go for round two, and she informed me that she did not have another condom. She informed me that she was clean and had an IUD so pregnancy seemed out of range. She told me she had been tested after her last sexual partner and was good to go.

I couldn't let myself have unprotected sex with someone I had just met. It ended up fine because she rummaged around and found a condom. Now, I'm not looking for a pat on the head for being responsible or a wag of the finger for not doing my male duty and having my own protection (I'll be ready next time). I am wondering how do you decide when/if to have unprotected sex with someone?

Also, what about oral sex? I've never been given oral with a condom on, nor have I ever gone down on a woman using a dental dam, yet these 'naked' activities seem to be just as risky. Why does it feel differently in my mind, and should it?

Thanks,

Scott

Dear Scott,

If I had a dollar for every guy who told me "Nah, I didn't use a condom because she was on the pill/ring/IUD/her period/whatever" I would be rich enough to buy them all Valtrex. When I talk to college students about using condoms, I always tell them that the first step to successful condom use is having a fucking condom. And better yet, have two or three, because what if one breaks and, really, who only wants to have sex once?

Since I have approximately 1,500 condoms laying around my apartment I can't imagine what it's like to really only have just one condom--what a terrible thought. If I were you, I would get a few dozen condoms and distribute them to all of your wallets, backpacks, man-purses, tighty-whities, and whatever else you regularly wear that has pockets just in case. When someone is playing with your junk, you're in a state I like to call under the fuckluence and your judgment is severely impaired by your body's desire for sex.

Maybe this woman really did get a negative test recently and is totally clean and if she really does have an IUD, she's at insanely low risk of pregnancy but on a second date, that's a lot of "if"s to be fucking under. Too many ifs, in my opinon, for a second date.

As far as oral sex goes, nobody actually uses condoms or dental dams. We sex educators tell people that they should but I have literally never met anyone who will cop to using either one for going down. Is that risky? You bet--every woman I know who has genital herpes got it from a dude who had cold sores on his mouth. So you're right that there is risk there but, for some reason, in our culture latex does not go in the mouth.

In sum, when negotiating condomless sex with a new partner, there are three things that need to be dealt with: STI risk, pregnancy prevention method, and "what if pregnancy?" STI risk can be assessed with testing and treatment, birth control method is relatively straightforward (but you have to be sure that, if she's in charge of it, that she's using it correctly), and the pregnancy conversation is key--if you are 100% sure you don't want to have a child with this person and she is 100% sure she couldn't have an abortion, you may need to reconsider. Or look forward to 2028.

Love,
GTG

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