CVIndependent

Sun09152019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

I’m a 21-year-old woman, and I have an IUD. I’ve had sex with quite a few men, and one thing seems to be almost constant among them: trying to fuck without condoms.

Many of the men I’ve been with seem to be perfectly fine and terribly eager to have sex without condoms. This has always angered me. They generally assume or make sure I’m on birth control, which they immediately take to mean condom-free sex is welcome. I don’t want to have sex without condoms without being in a committed relationship. I know people cheat, and monogamy doesn’t mean STIs won’t happen, but it’s a risk I’m comfortable with. I’m so annoyed by how often men try to get out of using condoms (it’s often persistent, even with people I’ve been seeing a while) that I want to start lying and saying I’m not on birth control.

The risk of a baby seems to be the only STI most men are concerned with. Is it all right for me to lie and say I’m not on any birth control and explain why I lied later on if things get serious?

I’m Understandably Distressed

Let’s get this out of the way first: You’re right, IUD; sexually transmitted infections (STI) do happen to people in monogamous relationships. People cheat; people lie; people contract; people transmit. A 2015 study found that people in consensually nonmonogamous (CNM) relationships were no more likely to contract an STI than people in monogamous relationships. The reason? If a person in a monogamous relationship screws around and doesn’t use a condom, they can’t ask their partner to start using condoms again without drawing attention to their infidelity. If someone in a CNM relationship asks their primary partner to start using condoms again—because a condom broke or fell off or didn’t wind up on a cock for some other reason—they’re drawing attention to their fidelity.

Moving on … right again, IUD: Babies do seem to be the only STI many men are worried about. Australian researchers conducted a large study about stealthing—the deeply shitty, rape-adjacent practice of surreptitiously removing the condom during intercourse—and they were shocked to discover how common this deeply shitty practice seems to be.

“The researchers estimated in advance that approximately 2 percent of the sample would report having been stealthed,” sex researcher Justin Lehmiller wrote in a blog post looking at the results of the study. “In fact, 32 percent of the women and 19 percent of the men surveyed reported having experienced stealthing. … A majority of both groups reported discussing the event with their partner afterward, and most also reported feeling emotionally stressed about it. A majority also considered stealthing to be a form of sexual assault. These results suggest that stealthing is not a rare occurrence, and we would do well to study it further.”

The researchers didn’t ask heterosexual men about being stealthed, and as Lehmiller points out, there are some scattered reports out there about women poking holes in condoms before sex or retrieving them after sex. We don’t need a study to tease out the motives of these women—they want to have a child and don’t care whether their partners do (and that is not OK)—but we could use a study that asked heterosexual men about their motives for stealthing. One question we should put to these assholes: Are they more likely to “go stealth,” i.e., to sexually assault a woman, if they know her to be on some other form of birth control? Or are they just so wrapped up in their own momentary sexual pleasure that they don’t give a shit about babies or any of the other STIs?

Moving on to your actual question …

Can you lie? Of course you can. Should you lie? In the case of a casual-sex partner who might not have your best interests at heart, i.e., some total rando you want to fuck but aren’t sure you can trust, I think you can lie and should lie. This lie doesn’t do him any harm; it’s not like you’re telling him you’re on birth control when you’re not. And if telling this lie inspires some rando to be more careful about keeping the condom on (sometimes condoms fall off by accident), then it’s a lie that made the sex safer for you and for him.

And if you get serious about someone you initially lied to about having an IUD—if some dude makes the transition from hot rando to hot boyfriend—and he reacts badly when you tell him the truth, just say (or text) this to him: “I could have waited to fuck you until I was sure you were a good guy. But then you would have missed out on all the awesome sex we’ve had up to now. Would that have been better? And by coming clean now, I’m basically saying that I think you’re a good guy that I can trust. I know that now, but I didn’t always know it, because I’m not psychic. Now, do you want to raw-dog me, or do you want to complain?”


My girlfriend opposes sex work because she believes it oppresses women. Early in our relationship, she demanded to know if I had ever paid for sex, because she couldn’t be with me if I had. And I told her the truth: “No, never.” She didn’t ask if I’d ever been paid for sex. (One guy; he blew me; no women were oppressed because no women were involved; it happened twice.) Do I need to tell her?

Two-Time Gay For Pay

Nope.


My partner is too embarrassed to raise this question with his doctor: Is it safe for me to drink my partner’s urine? He’s HIV-positive, but his viral load is undetectable. I know that other STIs could potentially be passed on to the watersports receiver through urine. My partner has been tested for everything and has no other STIs.

He is worried that his urine could contain enough of his antiretroviral drugs (Tivicay and Descovy) to do me harm. He is particularly worried that I might suffer from the side effects of those drugs. I am not currently on any medications. I believe that his fear stems from when he was on chemo drugs for something else. Nurses treating him then advised me not to use his hospital bathroom so that I would not possibly be exposed to any chemo-drug residue.

I know that you’re not a doctor—but could you ask a doctor for us?

Ingesting Medicines

“This one is easy,” said Dr. Peter Shalit, a physician who has been treating people with HIV/AIDS for 30 years. “Tivicay and Descovy are very benign medicines with very little potential toxicity in standard doses. If one were to drink the urine of someone taking these medicines, there would be essentially no Tivicay, as this medicine is excreted by the liver, not the kidneys. The remnants of the drug are excreted in the feces, so to get significant exposure to secondhand Tivicay, you’d have to eat … well, never mind.”

As for Descovy—that’s actually two medicines in one. First, the bad news: Emtricitabine and tenofovir alafenamide, the meds in Descovy, are excreted in the urine. And the good news: “The amount of Descovy that would be in one liter of urine is much less than a single pill’s worth,” said Dr. Shalit, who is also a member of the American Academy of HIV Medicine. “Since these medicines are intrinsically very safe to begin with, in my opinion, the health risk from exposure to the small amounts that may be found in urine is negligible. Don’t worry about it.”

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I’m a 27-year-old woman living on the East Coast. I’ve been sexually active and on birth control since I was 16—almost always on the pill. I recently switched to the NuvaRing, to which I had a bad reaction: I had no libido at all and extreme mood swings/bouts of depression I could not live with. My boyfriend and I decided it would be a good idea to go off hormonal birth control for a while, just to see what would happen. We’ve been together for almost four years, so we agreed condoms would be fine, and I would try the route of no more supplemental hormones.

I stopped a couple of months ago, and it’s been a mix of good and bad. The good is that my moods are more even. Another good thing is I feel like I’m having a sexual awakening: My libido came back! But the bad thing is … my libido came back in a way I wasn’t expecting. My sexual appetite is insane. I want to have sex with everyone—men, women, friends, colleagues, acquaintances! My boyfriend has been amazing through all of this. He’s agreed to let us open up our relationship under specific terms. I agree with the terms we placed, but I still feel like my urges are going to get me in trouble. I know not to have sex with friends and colleagues, but a lot of situations come up that make it hard to resist—especially when alcohol is involved. I’m very good with self-policing, and I don’t think I’ll actually act on my urges.

My question is one you get a lot: Is this normal? Can removing a cocktail of hormones from my life really change me this much? I used to want sex, but now I WANT SEX. I want a lot of it, and it’s overwhelming. I don’t want to blame it all on the birth control, but I can’t help but feel it to be true, since it was the only variable in my life that changed in the last couple of months.

I want to be faithful to my boyfriend, who has been great and understanding—allowing us to open our relationship to casual encounters with strangers. (Also: No friends, no one we both know, DADT, and no intimacy with anyone—it must be purely sexual/physical.) But I’m feeling sexual connections to so many more people now, and often to people I’ve known for a while. I see this all as mostly positive, but the adjustment to the new sexual hunger has been strange and difficult to wrap my head around.

Suddenly Horny And Going Gaga Isn’t Normal

“I’m so glad to hear this woman sees the increase in her libido as positive,” said Dr. Meredith Chivers, an associate professor of psychology at Queen’s University, a world-renowned sex researcher, and—I’m proud to say—a frequent guest expert around here. “At the same time, I understand how overwhelming these urges can feel, especially when they are new.”

Luckily for you, SHAGGIN, you’re with someone who’s secure enough to let you feel the fuck out these new feelings. Whether or not you act on them is one thing—DADT agreement or no DADT agreement—but not having to pretend you aren’t suddenly interested in fucking men, women, friends, colleagues and acquaintances is a real gift.

Another example of your good luck? Dr. Chivers is about to give you the Actual Science download on hormonal birth control—complete with qualifications about what we know, what we don’t know, and areas that require more research!

“It’s difficult to say what is and isn’t normal when it comes to the effects of hormonal contraception (HC) on women’s sexual interest,” said Dr. Chivers. “To my knowledge, researchers have not specifically examined the question of what happens to women’s sex drives after stopping HC.”

But lots of women have stopped using hormonal contraception for the exact same reason you did, SHAGGIN: worries about how it might be affecting their libido—and there is some indirect evidence that HC can negatively impact a woman’s desire for sex.

“The NuvaRing is a combined hormonal contraceptive containing synthetic estrogens and progestins (the same as many birth control pills),” said Dr. Chivers. “HC, like the NuvaRing works, in part, by raising and stabilizing progesterone levels throughout the menstrual cycle, which helps to prevent ovulation and implantation.”

And it’s those stabilized progesterone levels that could be the culprit.

“Progesterone is one of the hormones involved in the menstrual cycle and pregnancy; levels are highest in the week before menstruation (called the luteal phase) and are also high during pregnancy,” said Dr. Chivers. “A recent, large-scale study reported that women with higher progesterone—women who weren’t using HC—had lower sexual interest, on average. Because using HC is associated with reductions in sexual interest, we could predict that stopping HC, and thus progesterone levels returning to more typical lower levels, could be associated with increases in sexual motivation.”

Since you definitely experienced an increase in sexual desire after you removed your NuvaRing and started using condoms, SHAGGIN, Dr. Chivers was comfortable saying … that you definitely experienced an increase in sexual desire, and that might be related to going off HC.

“Given that she has been using some form of HC since she became sexually active, my guess is that she’s never had the chance to experience her sexuality while naturally cycling,” said Dr. Chivers. “Part of her process could be learning about her unmedicated hormonal cycle, her sexuality, and the variations in her sex drive. For example, does her sexual interest fluctuate over her cycle? She might want to consider collecting some data with a cycle-tracker app. Flo, Clue and Period Tracker are among those that my women sex-researcher/educator colleagues recommend. This might help her notice patterns in her libido, attractions, and sexual pleasure—and help her to develop strategies to manage, and perhaps even capitalize on her sexual desires.”

As for your boyfriend, SHAGGIN, and your desire to be faithful to him: So long as you honor the terms of your openness agreement, you are being faithful to him. But check in with him more than once before you fuck someone who isn’t him. Because when a partner agrees to open the relationship but then places a long list of restrictions on who you can fuck—a list that excludes most of the people you wanna fuck—that can be a sign your partner doesn’t actually want to open the relationship.

The last word goes to Dr. Chivers: Whether you’re having fun with others or you decide to remain sexually exclusive with your boyfriend, “Have fun!”

To learn more about Dr. Chivers’s research, visit the SageLab website (queensu.ca/psychology/sexuality-and-gender-lab) and follow her on Twitter @DrMLChivers.


I’m part of a nonhierarchical polycule. In a few months, one of my girlfriends will be marrying her fiancée. I’ll be attending as a guest with my other girlfriend.

What are the guidelines or expectations for purchasing a gift for your girlfriend’s wedding? Surprisingly, the other advice columnists don’t have guidance on this one.

Wedding Etiquette Dilemma

Get the couple something nice, something you can afford, maybe something from their gift registry. Or give them a card with a check in it so they can spend the money on whatever they might need for their household, or use it to cover the expense of the wedding itself.

In short, WED, wedding-gift guidelines are the same for people in nonhierarchical polycules as they are for love-muggle monocules. I’m not slamming the poly thing for overprocessing and overthinking—most people process (aka communicate) too little, and it’s often better to overthink than to under-think or not-think—but not everything needs to be dumped into the poly processor and pureed.

Congrats to your girlfriend (the one who’s getting married) and her fiancée!

On the Lovecast, the kink phenomenon of “sub drop”: savagelovecast.com.

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Dear Mexican: I had a conversation today with an 18-year-old female Mexican co-worker that completely blew me away.

She has a 3-month-old baby with her 19-year-old (also Mexican) unemployed boyfriend. They have just found out that she is pregnant again. After listening to her sob about it, I asked her if she was going to keep the baby. Horrified, she responded, “We are Catholic; we don’t believe in abortion.” She also revealed that her religion does not allow her to be on birth control.

There is obviously a serious problem in this country with teenage pregnancy, and a trip to the mall reveals an extremely high number of Mexican-American teen mothers. My question is: If these girls are so “Catholic,” why are they having premarital sex in the first place?

Protestant Pendejo

Dear Gabacho: While I would love to blame the Catholic Church for all Mexican ills—hell, for all the ills of the world, since that pedophile-protecting institution deserves a millstone around its neck—the facts simplemente don’t fully support the stereotype that Papism rules over Mexican sexual practices.

On one hand, in the July 2011 issue of Journal of Women’s Health, “Religiosity and Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Latina Adolescents: Trends from 1995 to 2008” showed that Mexican chicas in the United States were historically more likely to remain virgins than non-Mexi Latinas because of their religious beliefs—but that gap is now nonexistent, and fewer mexicanas remain virgins until 18 than ever before. The reason? The docs who authored the piece think it “may be a result of the general decline in holding to religious tenants on human sexuality in the U.S. culture.”

Meanwhile, Antonia M. Villarruel, John B. Jemmott, Loretta S. Jemmott and David L. Ronis, in their “Predicting Condom Use Among Sexually Experienced Latino Adolescents” for the August 2007 issue of the Western Journal of Nursing Research, found that “students who had higher levels of religiosity … had stronger intentions to use condoms and were more likely to have used condoms during their last sexual intercourse,” and that “the influence of cultural variables on condom use is speculative at best.”

In other words: Stop blaming the Church for Mexis not using condoms, and start blaming gabachos for telling our girls it’s perfectly fine to schtup without a condom while they’re teens. In fact, let’s blame gabachos for all of Mexico’s ills—we’ve been doing it since the Mexican-American War!

I work at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico (which I suppose would be in the state of Aztlán to you?). We’re a nuclear-weapons lab. I do research and testing on plutonium. Being from Illinois, I’m not very used to all the Spanish names and culture surrounding me. For instance, what does Los Alamos mean? How about Pajarito, the name of the mesa where the plutonium facility is? You may be amused to know that there is a program at the lab called “Bolus Grande,” which I’m told means “big balls” in Spanish. We blow up plutonium inside the Bolus Grandes. Somebody once said missiles were just phallic symbols, so maybe it’s that, huh?

Anyway, if you could enlighten me on any of the Spanish names at the Los Alamos Lab, I’d be much obliged, amigo!

Breaking Nerd

Dear Gabacho: I worry for a country that entrusts its nuclear weapons research to someone who doesn’t bother to learn Spanish, especially children’s Spanish, and especially the translations of the places where he works and lives.

Los Alamos is “The Cottonwoods” and refers to the trees around Los Alamos. “Pajarito” is “little bird” and is derived from an archaeological site on the Los Alamos Lab property. And I just hope that whoever told you “Bolus Grande” is “big huevos” in Spanish isn’t in charge of the next neutron bomb or whatever weapon Obama is prepping to use against the Chinese.

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