sex

“I have an STI!” How to ask, how to tell, and how (NOT) to react.

DisclosureI have herpes.

Some of you out there are probably pretty shocked that I just put that out there so casually. And some of you are surely wondering about the gory details–what type, where, how I contracted it and when, etc. And, unfortunately, a lot of you are already making assumptions and judgments about my sex life, based only on the information I gave you. Right?

Well…

What if I told you I got it from the French asshole who raped me at age 16?

I didn’t. But I could have.

What if I told you I got it from the creepy (female) renter who molested me at age 4?

I didn’t. But I could have.

What if I told you I got it from a random gal I picked up at Neighbors for a one-night-stand in my roaring 20’s, thinking lesbian sex is pretty darn safe and dental dams are annoying?

I didn’t. But I could have.

What if I told you I got it at age barely-20, from a guy with whom I was head-over-heels in love, and who was sincerely convinced that he was STI free?

Well, I did.

He was what you call a “carrier.” He’d never had a single outbreak and thus had no idea he could give anybody herpes. Surprise!

Regardless of how I got it, though: I have it, and I have to live with it. And part of living with it means disclosing it to potential lovers. By no means is this an enjoyable task, but I’ve learned through trial and error how to make it as quick and painless as possible for everyone involved.

So without further ado, I give you the do’s and don’ts of disclosing:

DON’T wait until you’re in the middle of a hot n’ heavy make-out session, or worse, already in bed with someone. It’s bound to go badly, and it puts you in an extremely vulnerable position. I’ll share a personal example of just how badly it can go at the end of this article.

DO say it at the first available opportunity. For example, I was recently on a first date with a very attractive couple. I hadn’t planned on disclosing just yet, but an opportunity presented itself while playing a get-to-know-you game. We were sharing “red flags” about ourselves, so I just threw it out there, and immediately got props on my forthrightness.

DO say it as casually as you can manage, as if reporting on the weather or sharing your favorite food. People will respond to your energy, and if you give off an ashamed or nervous vibe, you are likely to trigger an unwanted response such as pity or fear. If, on the other hand, you treat it like it’s no big deal, just something you’ll need to work around like a scheduling conflict, they are likely to respond in kind.

Now, as to asking:

DO ask early, in a non-sexual situation. It’s not presumptuous: it’s polite. And if the person does have something to disclose, it’ll be a relief to get it out of the way. And if not? Excellent, now you both know you’re clean and the door is open for some flirtation-with-intent.

DON’T make it an interrogation, just a conversation.

DON’T ask for paperwork on the first date. It’s not the dating standard to show up with a recent STI screening. Yet. If they happen to have one, and they happened to bring it along, they’ll show it to you. Trust me.

DON’T just take their word for it. Use safe sex practices anyway. There are no guarantees, and short of leaving your underpants on (and you can still have a lot of fun with your underpants on!), there are no 100% effective methods for protecting against every STI out there.

  • Sex is risky, and you need to be willing to shoulder a certain amount of risk just to get on the ride.

Finally, if someone tells you they have an STI:

DO treat that person with kindness, respect, and compassion.

  • Ask yourself: how would I like to be treated if roles were reversed? Because they could be. More easily than you care to think.

DON’T pepper them with questions about how they got it, etc., particularly if you have no intention of sleeping with them. It’s exploitative, and just kind of a dick move.

DO your homework. Take as much time as you need to inform yourself about the STI in question, how it is transmitted, how you can protect yourself, etc., before you decide whether or not to proceed. In fact, you should do your homework ahead of time, just in case!

DON’T feel pressured to be sexual with the person just to make them feel better. It’s your body and your life, and you have every right to keep yourself safe, even if the other person feels rejected/hurt. Their reaction is their responsibility, not yours.

Above all:

DON’T freak the fuck out and/or treat the person like a leper. This should go without saying, and yet…

The personal example I alluded to earlier:

Once upon a time in graduate school, a cute neighbor asked me over for dinner. I had just separated from my abusive ex-husband and was a bit off my game, so I didn’t catch the signals he was sending until he was playing his guitar and serenading me with a love song he wrote.

*swoon*

And by then I was so caught up in the moment I literally forgot about the damn herpes. Pretty soon we were kissing, pulling at each others’ clothes, and moving toward the bedroom. It wasn’t until my head hit the pillow that an alarm bell sounded in my mind.

“Wait!” I said, pushing him back, “There’s something I need to tell you.”

I already knew from bitter experience that this was NOT the ideal time and place to disclose, but it was too late.

“What?” he asked, already alarmed.

“I have herpes.”

There was a painfully awkward silence. I felt his hands retract from me as if my skin had gone ice cold.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“I… I have to think,” he mumbled, and literally fled the room.

I sat there on his bed in my bra and panties for nearly half an hour before I realized that he hadn’t just left the room, he had left the apartment. And he was waiting for me to leave before coming back.

It was one of the most mortifying experiences of my adult life. All he had to say was, “I’m not comfortable with that.” I would have said, “Okay, no problem,” and we could’ve gone back into the living room and watched a movie instead.

But no, he chose to run away from me as though I were, myself, a highly contagious disease.  We avoided each other from that point forward, which was pretty fucking awkward since he lived right next door.

Look, the truth is that there are all sorts of ways to contract an STI, and it doesn’t necessarily say a damn thing about one’s sexual practices or ethics. It certainly doesn’t say anything about their value as a human being. Yet slut shaming and revulsion are unnervingly common reactions to STI disclosure.

That’s not okay.

Let’s put it this way:

If someone comes clean to you about an STI, then you know you’re dealing with an honest, ethical, and therefore probably trustworthy person. It’s the people who are lying to you, or ignorant of their condition, that you really need to watch out for.

Look: herpes fucking sucks. I should know. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, let alone a lover. And what someone chooses to, or not to, expose themselves to is about them, not about me. But no matter how justified you may feel in doing so, there is no excuse to treat another human being like a walking, talking disease vector.

Period.

 

I <3 My Safe Word

safe-wordI think everyone should have a safe word. You know, a word you can say during sex that will call an immediate and unquestioned time out.

Now, that doesn’t mean I think everyone should get into BDSM, role playing, kink, or anything that may *require* the use of a safe word. It means that I think they’re wonderful, useful things to have, regardless of how kinky or vanilla your sex life is.

That’s because safe words don’t just provide an emergency exit, though that aspect does provide a good deal of comfort. It’s because it allows both parties to be fully honest with themselves and with each other at every moment of every encounter.

An example:

You’ve been sexual with X for a while. You’ve gotten to that point where you’re both a little more comfortable sharing your fantasies and trying new things together. X confides in you that s/he would really like to try Y with you. Maybe you’ve never tried Y, or maybe the last time you tried Y it didn’t go so well, so you’re a little hesitant. But you pride yourself on being GGG, so you decide to give it a go.

Now, let’s say that it’s a little awkward at first. Maybe even painful. Or perhaps it’s simply emotionally difficult because of your past experiences. X notices this and checks in with you.

“Do you like it?” X asks, or maybe, “Are you okay?”

The honest answer to both questions, at this point, is “No.” It’s not enjoyable for you. But you don’t actually want to stop. You want to keep working on Y and see where it leads, see if that pain turns into pleasure, if the awkwardness gives way to something wonderful, as so often happens when it comes to sex.

So now you have a dilemma on your hands: do I answer honestly and risk upsetting X and grinding this whole operation to a halt? Or do I say something non-committal like “Do YOU like it?” or “I’ll be fine.” Or do I fib and say I’m lovin’ it when clearly I am not?

The stress of having to decide how to respond, often compiled by the stress of having to fake your enjoyment, can augment the pain and awkwardness, sometimes to the point where you *do* want to stop.

But imagine for a moment that you have a safe word, and that you’ve both agreed that Y shall continue until said safe word has been uttered. Now you are free to say whatever you like, with no fear of ruining the mood or halting the proceedings.

Now, when X asks, “Do you like it?”, you can reply anything from

“Not yet, but I’m working on it!” to “Fuck no! It fucking hurts!” Or you can simply burst into tears.

All of this and more is perfectly acceptable when you’ve made an agreement not to stop unless/until the safe word is pronounced.

In fact, I kind of wish I had a safe word for everything. Don’t you?

A couple of handy tips on coming up with a safe word:

  • 1. Pick something that is NOT likely to come up in the course of a sexual encounter or scene. “ Scarlet” could reasonably be mistaken for the color you’d like your bottom, for example, but “Tangerine” would sound pretty out of place in the bedroom.
  • 2. Make sure it’s easy to remember and pronounce under stress. “Marsupial” fits the first rule to a tee, but it’s quite a mouthful to recall and spit out at a moment of panic. A better choice might be “Koala” or simply “Oz.”

Finally, make it easy on yourself, and on your partner(s): be consistent. Pick one safe word and stick with it. Changing safe words, particularly with the same partner, can be confusing and dangerous.

Yes, I have a safe word. No, I’m not gonna tell you what it is.

Unless, of course, you somehow manage to get it out of me…

Hey bro, I know why you’re not getting laid

Note: In response to literally hundreds of posts from people who don’t understand I must now issue the following disclaimer…
(Thank you to the hundreds of people who do get it.):
 
This post is satire and rhetoric meant to illustrate a point.  It is also directed at a particular audience, a bro-culture “guy” who does support a rape culture by action or inaction. That list is actually most guys whether they know it or not. It does not mean, however, that the guy I am referring to on this thread is you.
 
It also does not mean that most guys support rape itself or are rapists, if you think that, look up the word “culture.”
 
(Note: I actually care about facts, so if something below doesn’t seem right just prove it and I’ll change it.  That said, read the fucking article anyhow, don’t be a dick.)
 

How tolerating the rape culture is keeping your dick dry
by Cydian

This post is addressed to the dudes in the crowd. All you ladies might want to leave the room, because I’m going to try my best to talk to these guys just like I see them talk to each other in the movies.

OK dude, have all the ladies left?

Good. *Ahem*

You are a fucking moron.

No shit, you are actually making things harder on yourself and every other guy out there who is trying to get laid.

Yeah, YOU!

Every time you are a misogynist, an angel closes her legs.

Every time you think to yourself that the careful etiquette that women (and men) are trying to create in order to combat the rape culture is just a bunch of feminist nonsense, women everywhere are that much less inclined to go out, and that much less likely to wear something sexy when they do.

Every time you fail to make eye contact with a woman you are sexing up, every time you fail to notice that a woman isn’t having such a great time, every time you fail to speak up when you see a woman looking uncomfortable with another dude, somewhere a woman decides that she just isn’t that into sex.

Every time you whistle at a woman walking down the street, or grab ass on someone without getting permission from her lips (or *at least* from her eyes), every time you speak to a woman like she owes you sex, or take the easy way and make a really bad rape joke at the expense of your audience member (Yes, Tosh, I’m looking at you), and every time you stand by and watch that shit happen, or even defend the douchebag who did it, somewhere else a woman says no to a man, gets an unexplained headache, or asks to be taken home early.

Eventually, that man will be you. And you will believe that her rejection of you is unjust, and you will probably think, or even say, unkind things about her to your friends, or even to her face.

But YOU, you fucking moron, YOU are doing this to yourself.

And I can already see you thinking to yourself all manner of absolute childish tripe and justification after sophomoric justification about how this is “just how women are”:

  • • They are aloof, they are cold, they are callous, they enjoy breaking men down and making them beg.
  • • OR: They are just being drama queens; the 1 in 4 rape statistic is exaggerated, it’s really 1 in 14.  As if it matters which terrifying statistic is true.  Like semantics is going to somehow make it all OK.
  • • OR: They are confused, they don’t know what they want, they need a big strong man to make the decision for them.
  • • OR: They just don’t like sex as much as men do, so you have to trick them into it or you’ll never get laid.
  • • OR: All they had to do was not walk in that part of town, not wear that outfit, not be such a tease, count to ten and spin around three times.
  • • OR: They all want sex but are ashamed to admit it, so they need you to convince/coerce/cajole them into it so they can be relieved of the responsibility of wanting it. See? You were really raping those ladies for their own good. What a generous guy.

Even if any of the above is true, you can’t do something about other people can you?  But we CAN do something about ourselves, and we are lucky enough to be the gender that everyone seems to look to to make the first move.

So, I am going to do you a favor right now.

Now this is only a favor if you can be man enough to shut the fuck up, sit down and read this as if you cared to understand what it is really like for a woman.

Men, you overpower women by sheer muscle mass, your general weight is 60 lbs heavier by average, and as a combat specialist for 10 years I can tell you the honest truth about fighting: weight is almost everything.

Women walk around scared. Every. Fucking. Day.  Now I am aware that you all walk around a bit scared too because, whether you admit it or not, you are scared of being rejected or humiliated, since you are EXPECTED to be the one to put yourself out there and make yourself vulnerable.  But women–the lucky bitches–women get approached all the time! Right?

Women get approached because they are viewed as targets!

As in: men like to hunt them.  Usually the hunt ends in a conversation and a nice time, but sometimes it ends in blood.  Lip blood, vaginal blood, sometimes dead cold drying blood.

Yes, that is what it’s like for a woman.  Walking around terrified all the time that a man might just arbitrarily decide to hurt you, and there’s not a goddamn thing you can do about it. Women LONG for a man, partially for protection, but EVERY man is a threat until proven otherwise, and all they have for weapons is their social intelligence, a rape whistle, and a hope.

Now, why the fuck should you care?

Man, even if you are the most shallow guy in the world who just wants a pussy, ass or mouth to wet your dick in, you should care. Because the rape culture is making women afraid of you, and of sex in general.

Imagine a world where the CULTURE dictates that men who see any sort of misogyny should put a stop to it right away.

Where any man who sees some sort of excessive force takes action with equal force to put an end to it.  Where fucking cops don’t spend their efforts convincing women it’s not worth fighting for justice.

Where the reaction from friends and family is not accusation and disparagement (“Are you SURE that’s what happened? You’re not just overreacting/dramatizing/mis-remembering? This is a man’s life we’re talking about here!).

Where a woman’s character is not pilloried because she was unlucky enough to be victimized. (“She was wearing a MINI SKIRT.” “She had been DRINKING.” “She flirted with him in front of everyone!” “She slept with half the neighborhood, why should we believe that lying slut?”)

In that world?  IN THAT FUCKING WORLD?!

In a world where those who have the most power actually exercise it by–at the VERY LEAST–refusing to stay silent when they hear some dude telling a woman she is a bitch for not sleeping with him. All it takes is four simple words:

“That’s not cool man.”

In THAT world, you would get laid all the time.

WHY?

Because women LOVE SEX.

They actually love it more than you do. They want men (or women) to fuck them.  A lot.  And IN THAT WORLD, many of them would not even be all that picky about a quickie.

And even though most of you reading this are not rapists and most have not even accidentally misunderstood a signal and gone too far; it’s not your actions I am talking about here.  It is your inactions that are REALLY fucking things up.

So why make a change?

1) Do it for the children.
Some reports show as high as 70% of all rapes are by an immediate family member.  By making rape not OK anywhere, you give more options to those who wish to report abuse by their own family.

2) Do it for your fellow men who are raped
Yeah, even men are raped and a culture where people look the other way allows that to happen to anyone.

3) Do it for your mom
If 25% of women have been sexually assaulted in some way, then there is a decent chance that your own mom has been raped, Dude. Your own mom. But let’s say you hate your mom. What about your little sister? Or your second-grade teacher? Or your best female friend from elementary school. Chances are, some woman who has made a positive impact on your life has been or will be sexually assaulted in her lifetime. Chew on that for a while.

4) Do it for your self-respect
You know what is right.  Just because you’ve spent a lifetime kowtowing to whatever Alpha attitude happens to be running the table at the moment, doesn’t mean you have to keep doing it. Want to sleep better than you ever have? Want more genuine self-confidence? Put a stop to an injustice and stand up for your convictions.

5) Do it for your penis
Have you been paying attention? Not only will changing the culture make women more likely to spread their thighs for you, changing your attitude will do the same. That’s right, being RESPECTED is a serious turn-on, and integrity is fucking hot.

So the next time I see even one of you assholes make another disparaging comment about women, or respond to “I was raped” with “What were you wearing/doing/drinking/WHATEVER?”, or fail to stop some creep from making a woman uncomfortable, expect me to step in and stop YOU.

Because honestly, Asshole: you’re fucking it up for me.

Be like these guys instead:
http://austin.culturemap.com/newsdetail/07-12-12-14-37-the-best-response-weve-heard-to-daniel-toshs-misquoted-rape-jokes/
http://www.pcar.org/men-against-sexual-violence-masv
http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/teenage-rape-victim-will-not-be-held-in-contempt-for-naming-her-attackers/
http://www.hcs.harvard.edu/hmar/
http://www.rapeis.org/activism/prevention/menagainstrape.html
http://marcnc.blogspot.com/
http://www.mencanstoprape.org/
http://www.menstoppingviolence.org/
http://www.nomas.org/
http://www.thedadman.com/
http://www.jamesontriplett.com/2012/04/25/i-stand-for-respect/
http://www.jacksonkatz.com/

 

Yeah, that’s right, the fact is that plenty of men reading this are already doing their best. And we really need you in order to stop the real evil predators out there.

And some of you could do more.  I find more that I can do all the time.  Even just in writing this I’ve learned a few more things I can do.  But I, alone, making a change will make no difference if you go out tonight and let your friend tell another dumb blonde joke, or brag that he hooked up with some chick who was so wasted she passed out halfway through.

The culture is shifting.  Be ahead of the curve. Re-read the 5 points listed above, go out tonight and put a stop to it.

Like a man.

 

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Please note: you are free to share, distribute or re-post this at will so long as you name the author and link to this post.

Fun with flings!

Ah summertime, the season of flings.

Not flinging yet?  Try travel!  Sure fire way to get the flings a-flying.

You know how when you hear a foreign accent you are immediately intrigued, and somehow more attracted to the speaker than you would otherwise have been?  Well, the same works in reverse.  When you go abroad, *you* are the one with the cute accent.  Use it to your advantage.

Furthermore, you don’t have to go abroad to have a foreign accent!  Just go someplace with a significantly different speech pattern from your own.  If you’re from Seattle, go check out Savannah.  If you’re a Jersey native, go hit the other shore in San Francisco.  Ask cute people for directions until one of them directs you where you really want to go.

Do keep in mind, though, that if you’re traveling somewhere very different from home, that there may be different cultural rules in terms of acceptable courtship behavior.  Do your homework ahead of time so as to avoid ending up in a sticky situation–which could mean anything from an awkward moment to a shotgun wedding.

Taboo, or not taboo, that is the question.

Finally, remember to BE HONEST.  The fact that you are just passing through makes you MORE attractive, not less.  The intensity of a now-or-never experience can be truly explosive (see Before Sunrise).  So there’s no reason to pretend you plan to stick around.  Unless, of course, you’re an asshole who just likes breaking hearts for sport.  In which case, please feel free to disregard my advice about taboos and land yourself in a Turkish prison.

HOT advice: dominating the dominatrix

 

Here’s the latest from HEADS OTAIL, this time we give advice to someone who wants to know when and how he should start dominating his submissive dominatrix girlfriend.

Wow

http://theattractivearts.com/advice/dominating-the-dominatrix/

For all the fellows who ask us how to get head

 

For all the fellows who have asked us how to get head from your girlfriend, wife, boyfriend, whatever.

Here is a step by step guide to making your partner want to give you more, and better, blowjobs.

Yes, seriously. Check it out:

http://theattractivearts.com/advice/enthusiasticblowjobsahead/

 

 

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