A one night stand of fun, no-strings-attached sex was exactly what I needed. Undesired, however, was a man who went limp at the sight of condoms.
We quickly hooked up. Hot, passionate kissing that evolved into a scene of heavy lust. Before we gravitated to the bedroom I asked him if he had condoms on him as I was unprepared- guilty as charged. Pleased that he did, we confidently carried on without inhibition.
He was over 40 years old. To me that signaled “experienced”. Plus being an amazing kisser, I was so excited to share me body with him.
He handed me a Lifestyles KYNG. Up pops the first warning sign. I thought to myself, “This guy doesn’t need a large size condom.” He was perfectly average. But this wasn’t the right time to bust his misplaced ego. However, the wrong fit could put us at risk of malfunction, so I planned that if the condom seemed too loose I’d simply ask if he had a different stock of rubbers.
But a greater malfunction occurred.
I peeled open the condom. As I rolled it on him, his shaft instantaneously went soft, softer. Limp. “Urgh, I hate condoms!” He exhaled. “I never had to use them in my last relationship. I’m not use to them.”
Guess this 40 year old wasn’t as experienced as I imagined.
My story isn’t rare. I’ve encountered different versions by my friends and peers that, even in clear non-monogamous scenarios, men will complain that condoms dull sex- as if sex is not worth it if it involves a condom! This puts the other person in an incredibly confusing situation. It’s an act of disrespect for the person’s well-being to complain and try to adverse protective sex.
Speaking from my own experience, I felt it was implied that the problem was that I wanted to use protection. This guy wasn’t just complaining. There was a real physical disdain against the condom. An initial wave of pity ran through me- how embarrassed he must feel for this involuntary action- followed by a flash of insecurity in myself.
Feelings of doubt were brief. Doubts in my own sexual worth and worry that this man is now going to feel we can’t have great sex because I insist on condoms. I consciously had to fight these powerless thoughts and remind myself that condoms to me equal hot, worry free sex. It’s hot because it’s a gesture of taking care of each other and of being socially responsible. Intelligence is sexy.
Besides, a man who doesn’t like condoms and obviously doesn’t know how a condom should fit, is another warning sign that he likely has had unprotected sex before and likely has an STI.
My response: I told him that we can keep trying. And we did, manually. Two condoms later, no improvement in his stamina. So, penetration was out, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying each other in different ways. He was respectful in that way.
Our relationship is left with my offer to help him find the right condom that’s perfect for him. This of course means plenty of trial and exploration ahead. So this may become a tale of a condom hater converted to condom lover. We shall see.
Monologues are independent stories and the opinions shared are the author’s own.
For Andrew, the end of STI and disease stigma beings at the disclosure process. He finds that being open, matter-of-fact and disclosing his HIV status without shame is the most effective method- no beating around the bush. What is your approach to receiving or giving an STI disclosure?
It was like any other day where you take those tentative steps in a new friendship. I stepped out the door and headed down to my local pub to meet up with a guy who I had been talking to for a few weeks on-line. Today was the day we had decided that we should meet face-to-face in the flesh and see where it goes from there. So when I get in the bar he waves me over and hugs me tightly and says, ‘Pleasure to finally meet you’. Of course, I am happy to be expanding my circles of friends but deep down I have a dark secret; a secret I was ashamed of back then.
So after a few rounds of drinks the conversation (as you can well imagine between to very horny men) got down to the nitty gritty of sex. ‘Aww Gary’ (not his real name), ‘There’s something about me you must know.’ To which he came closer and gave me a kiss on the cheek and whispered, ‘You can’t shock me. I want you’. I blushed and looked down then back up and stared him long and hard in the eyes and just blurted out, ‘I have HIV’. He open and closed his mouth a few times then pushed me hard away saying, ‘Ewwwww, you have what?’ I told him again everything. After a long tirade of abuse both physical and verbal, he just walked away, and thankfully I never saw him again.
For people who are as scared as he was I have taken to introducing myself like this: ‘Hi. I’m Andrew and HIV+ is what I am.’
This as you can well imagine has its ups and downs and can at times frighten people but I do it because LIFE IS TO DAMN SHORT not to! I shouldn’t have to waste time on what false friends might think or how they may treat me due to the positive diagnosis.
There is the other side of the coin as well: In order to protect yourself from harmful reactions or protect those you hold dear, at times it’s OK not to disclose to others. Positive people develop ways to navigate a disclosure and search for social cues to try to predict if it is safe to share their status with a particular person. Just know that anyone who truly loves you should have no bother with you begin HIV+ or having any other STI other than, ‘Will you be ok?’
The only time you really must disclose is when you intend to have any form of sexual contact with someone else.
And the onus isn’t only on those who must disclose a positive status. Harmful reactions to disclosure strengthen stigma and further help the virus spread. The general public needs to learn how to respectfully receive a disclosure.
The disclosure of any disease, infection or condition should not be an embarrassment or something to shame. It should be as easy as telling them, ‘Oh god, make me fucking cum.’ But we can’t, we don’t, we wont, and this is destroying families, lives and killing people whether be in direct connection to the said STI or due to the secondary effect which is the suicide of so many every year. The fact that this can still happen in this century is a disgrace.
I argue that the fault lies in the hands of all those who have reacted badly to being disclosed to- including reacting with violence or verbal abuse. It also lies in the fault of those who do not disclose. There is a general fear in our culture towards talking openly about diseases and conditions. This fear must be overcome.
The reasons people don’t disclose ranges from fear, disgust, pain (both physical and mental). The one that stumps me is people who want to intentionally pass on the virus. These twisted, deranged assholes are rare, but their extreme actions are potent enough to further stigmatize the entire HIV community and make tolerance of HIV in the dating scene even more difficult. Any reason for intentionally transmitting any disease is a disgusting habit which needs to be stamped out by everyone who cares about this. We can make stigma a thing of the past if we all shamelessly disclose and respectfully receive disclosure.
So to end this little piece, understand me when I shout this:
‘IM ANDREW JOHN NIELD AND I’M A PROUD MAN WHO JUST HAPPENS TO BE HIV+, STAND BY ME AND I WILL STAND BY YOU AND TOGETHER WE WILL WIN AGAINST THE BIGGOTS.’
Monologues are independent stories and the opinions shared are the author’s own
The reality of TasP (treatment as prevention) is having a profound effect of serodiscordant couples today. Scientific evidence shows that under certain conditions, the risk of HIV transmission is so low that doctors now recommend some serodiscordant couple have condomless sex if they want to get pregnant. But for many, updated evidence cannot match the deep-seeded fear of contracting HIV. Armed with sources and facts, this monologue is a personal letter from an HIV positive woman confronting her husband’s apprehensions to start having condomless sex.
We have been in this relationship for a year and you know how I feel about you. I think you are the most wonderful man in existence, in my unbiased opinion. We share many interests, we have fun together, and in spite of my HIV status, the sex has been great. There have been no major challenges with my status until now.
As I long for a time when I could have condomless sex and exchange body fluids, an intimate act that feels like none other, condoms are an increasing reminder that we have a barrier between us. Regardless of how much lube one uses there is no condom available that does not feel like a condom. The female condom is okay but as my colleague noted, it is like having sex with a garbage bag inside you, complete with the noise of the crumpling latex.
I did get pregnant the good old fashioned way with my first child from a previous relationship and she is not HIV positive, nor is her father. I want to have another baby, but somehow that conversation gets diverted each time I initiate it. As you very well know, I do want to get pregnant naturally and our doctor recommended we try the good old fashioned way, like other hetero-couples wanting to have a child. We are in a committed, monogamous, trusting relationship. We know each other’s sexual health and HIV status. Scientific evidence presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) and discussion leading up to CROI left me feeling hopeful that soon the condoms would be put to rest.
Gus Cairns explains the outcomes of the latest PARTNER study which is showing promise while waiting for the final results in 2017. The PARTNER study is an international collaboration taking place in several European countries and is funded by the National Institute for Health Research in England and coordinated by Copenhagen HIV Programme (CHIP), in collaboration with University College London (the sponsor) and The Royal Free Hampstead NHS Trust, London.
“When asked what the study tells us about the chance of someone with an undetectable viral load transmitting HIV, presenter Alison Rodger said: “Our best estimate is it’s zero” (In Cairns 2014).
Seeing all of this evidence presented, along with knowing about my HIV negative child, makes me anxious as we wait for the time when we can stop using condoms. I trust you and I know you trust me but your refusal to accept new scientific evidence resulting from research studies, information that is not really new, as I was told years ago that under certain conditions I am not infectious, is making me question many things about this relationship. Mark S. King raises the question of whether people living with HIV will ever be considered safe sex partners. He refers in his writing to the ways in which people living with HIV are viewed as “suicide bombers” (2014). While reading his articles, I realized just how much work is ahead for the HIV community. But does there need to be such effort with us as I wonder if we are continuing to make informed decisions?
Who would have thought a condom could create so much stress in our relationship. Stress I was not prepared for and did not see coming as I believed you would eventually accept the evidence presented and change practices accordingly. After all, we are not in a one-night-stand as random strangers not knowing each other’s sexual history, where a condom would be used without question. We have evolved in our relationship. Or so I thought. But the continued use of condoms makes me question whether or not you can finally rid yourself of the fear of HIV transmission.
On a global scale, Bob Leahy (2014), who initially was not sold on the idea of treatment as prevention (TasP), now supports it completely, but he does remind the HIV community of “the huge amount of work that needs to be done, with advocacy at all levels being a sizeable component”, to convince institutions of the need for supporting and implementing TasP. As individuals, you and me are part of the TasP model.
Sex is not as spontaneous as it could be because we always have to ensure beforehand that condoms are nearby. The act of getting the condom ready and reaching for it is a constant, nagging reminder that screams out – “Watch out for HIV the big boogy man waiting in the corner reminding us to constantly be on guard”. I fantasize about the day when we can simply wake up in the morning and have sex without any reminders, with complete intimacy and trust without anxiety and fear.
What would I do if I were in your position?
I cannot say with certainty that I would embrace the idea and abandon the condoms without any lingering fear and doubt. I just do not know. I would like to think I would understand the science of HIV and realize that there is no real risk; that I would abandon my trepidation and in turn abandon condoms eventually. Maybe I would, and maybe I would not, preferring to hang on to the comfort and security of the condom.
Condoms are for one night stands, random sex, having sex with partners whose status is unknown, for avoiding all other sexually transmitted infections. We have none of those concerns. I have to be honest as I share my thoughts. I have thought on a couple of occasions of pursing sex with someone else who wants to have condomless sex. I need to feel the intimacy and deep connection to a man as we have sex that is uninterrupted with reminders, good old fashioned spontaneous sex. I never thought a small piece of latex could cause so much stress and doubt in a relationship. I want to maintain the status quo but on the other hand I want to have sex without condoms.
The last thing I want to do is transmit this virus to you. But as Marc-André LeBlanc (2014) so eloquently explained it, you are in fact safer with an HIV positive partner than with one whose status is unknown. I am beginning to give up hope as I try to explain that in fact, you -my partner- are safer with me as an HIV positive woman with stable, well controlled health status. I am getting impatient. There is growing tension in the relationship. If you cannot trust me and scientific evidence then I am going to begin to wonder if you have really addressed your fears, in depth, about HIV.
The province of British Columbia as an international leader in developing a model of the Test and Treat strategy, recently collaborated with China in offering services for them to implement to reduce HIV transmission through TasP, (Povidence Health Care: 2014), providing further evidence for the need to recognize how treatment does prevent transmission of HIV. I am on and adhere to treatment and am well controlled.
I understand completely and if the shoe were on the other foot. It may take some convincing on my part to trust and believe what is being presented. I am no different from anyone else and my personal perceptions and ideology take time to adjust to scientific evidence which is presented. My education about HIV came from the old fear based strategically targeted place. It is not easy to let go of those fears. They are embedded in our institutions and in our individual psyche, very deeply, I am finding out.
Len Tooley who does HIV testing, explains how “sexual health is often framed in the idea of risk instead of rewards. He goes on to explain how “this may present HIV and those living with it as the worst possible outcome imaginable, which is not only stigmatizing but often irrational and false since many people with HIV are, in fact, just fine” (In Straube: 2014).
So, will you let me know when the condom can come off?
Your partner and lover.
Monologues are independent stories and the opinions shared are the author’s own.
You can measure the quality of a guy by the proximity of which he brings up condoms. It’s a direct relationship: the sooner he mentions them, the better he is!
At the bottom of the barometer scale is this guy:
You’re both naked. You’ve been rolling around, kissing, whatever. It’s hot. You’re at that point where you’re getting worried about proximity of genitals on genitals, so you roll it out. “Hey, are we ready for a condom? Should I grab one for us from my trusty bedside stash?” (You’re always stocked, of course, because you enjoy some healthy slutting. It keeps things fun!)
This one’s a bad egg, though, and he’s going down the Wonka trash shoot: “I’m too big for a condom,” he says. Or, maybe: “I can’t feel anything with those things on.”
He’s a dick, so you don’t want his dick.
The middling man goes here:
You’re edging toward naked, or maybe you’re fully naked. You’re rolling around, rubbing closer. It’s getting hot in here. That moment comes again. Looks like there’s going to be some hetero-normative penetration in not too long, if you’re reading the signs right. You sort of pause, maybe, or slow down, and he notices your slight deceleration before you get the words out. “Should we get a condom?” he asks.
Winner! Super hot when the guy takes some responsibly and asks first!
And the stellar, gold-star, barometer busting man?
You’ve been talking all night. It’s total heart-to-heart. Heart-to-heart moves on to mouth-to-mouth and you decide to move things from the couch to the bedroom. You sit down on his bed, and the music goes on, the lights go off. He says, holding your hand, ready to start kissing you again, “Just so you know, I have condoms if we need them. No pressure though.” Swoon!
This guy’s a winner.
What do you think? What makes your barometer burst?
Monologues are independent stories. Opinions shared are the author’s own,
The first time I saw a condom I was nine years old and slightly too old to be playing pretend. This sounds wrong, but let me explain:
I was sitting in my friend’s parents’ 1992 Subaru station wagon and we were playing a game called “Hippie Road Trip” where we were two hippies driving across America. I’m not sure what this game entailed besides my friend sitting in the driver’s seat of the parked car and turning the wheel every so often to not crash into imaginary pedestrians and animals. While looking through the glove box for a map (we had gotten lost) I came across a box of condoms.
“There was something so thrilling about finding evidence of the adult world.”
I had heard about the legendary pieces of latex in class from the school nurse. She was a portly woman with red hair who had clearly been uncomfortable explaining “the birds and the bees” to a class of fourth graders. Her perspiration and rushed tone, however, had made the topic more exciting, more mysterious. And so it was no wonder then that finding a box of condoms to us was like discovering buried treasure.
“They’re my parents’,” explained my friend, who had christened herself ‘Sparkle’ whilst playing pretend. I too had taken a new name for my character, the most beautiful name I could think of, which at the time happened to be ‘Crystal’. Her parents were in fact real hippies and as a result Sparkle was somewhat of an expert on the subject of sex.
“Here– let me see those,” she said, extending her hand. She opened the box and grabbed a small, plastic square before tearing it open. It was long and cylindrical with a strange almost soft texture.
“Can I have one?” I asked excitedly.
It was not so often that I had such easy access to illicit objects. There was something so thrilling about finding evidence of the adult world. She handed me a small plastic square of my own. Pretty soon the entire box had been completely emptied and every one of the six condoms was unwrapped. It turned out that condoms could fit over your hands, your feet and even the stick shift of a 1992 Subaru station wagon.
Finally, tired of playing with them, we folded and stuffed all of the unwrapped condoms back into their box and into the glove compartment.
Sparkle readjusted her seat and went back to concentrating on driving. I stared out the window of the un-moving car, satisfied with our new found hippie secret treasure.
Monologues are independent stories. Opinions shared are the author’s own. Also, you should know that glove compartments are a terrible and risky place to store condoms. The heat from the car can breakdown the latex and render condoms useless. Do you remember your first encounter with condoms or dams?
A dramatic contraceptive story that spans over a decade, told in 1000 words.
“Which ones should we get?” I asked my boyfriend. Well, he’s a man and he’s the one that has to wear them, so naturally I assumed he’d know best. “I dunno,” was the mumbled response. I’d not been “hat” shopping in over a decade. For nearly 11 years I was on the Pill and in three monogamous relationships, for the majority of that time, so ‘safe’ meant not getting pregnant.
Standing there, facing a wall of johnnies, there were three main changes I noticed: the packaging of condoms 11 years on was nicer, there were brands other than Durex available, and the price was higher. No wonder the supermarket kept them in security boxes. Ten quid ($16) for 10 condoms, so a pound a fuck essentially, and me and my boyfriend fuck a lot. Giving up the Pill was apparently going to cost me in more ways than I expected!
That said, coming off the pill four months ago was one of the best decisions I’ve made and I’d like to state that this was what was right for me, not what every woman should do, although I do think every woman should take the time to stop and re-evaluate their contraceptive method as their body changes.
The biggest question I’ve faced since is what contraception should my partner and I use instead?
Long term, that’s still a frustrating debate I’m having with myself, my partner and sexual health advisers. For now though, my chap and I are only using condoms and that is how I found myself: Standing in Tesco adding ‘condoms’ to our weekly, big shop shopping list.
Just call me Goldilocks
After much deliberation we went for the clichéd ribs and dots for her pleasure style. You have to start somewhere. They were good, but not quite right. If we’re being honest (and I think we can be here) too much dotting and ribbing can lead to chaffing.
Thankfully, there’s more to safe sex-life than that one style and so the hunt began online to try something new. Scouring the sites we found a ridiculous number of options. Without wanting to sound too Disney about it, there was a whole new world opening up before my eyes. Previously my experience of condoms had been whatever was free and easy to grab from the GP or sexual health clinic as they were only ever used briefly when there was a Pill glitch.
Now though, scouring the various sex e-tailers, there was this whole exotic, rubbery, latex fantasticness that had the potential to be a lot of fun. Maybe shopping for condoms would be a great, new, sexy part to our foreplay?
We came across an American brand called One and they had an interesting pack called ‘Tantric’ with tattoo style patterns and extra lubrication. Oh, they sound fancy and you can never have too much lube, so we ordered some.
It wasn’t long before the boyfriend and I found ourselves back online, looking for something different the next time. We “um-ed” and “ah-ed” over the various boxes, brands, descriptions, shapes and textures for nearly as long as we’d spend trying to pick a nice bottle of wine to go with dinner.
Obviously, sex is a shared experience and if there is the opportunity to choose together, then you should. Like with any aspect of sex you should both get enjoyment out of what you’re using. There aren’t very many things that we put on our bodies that are as intimate as condoms. It’s going on his most sensitive area and in hers, so when it comes to condom shopping it’s important to find some rubbers that you’re both gonna’ love. Generally, that means experimenting.
Getting comfy with condoms
Through shopping around, I’ve learnt more about condoms in the last four months than I ever learnt at school, or was bothered to listen to after that, because they just weren’t relevant to my life. It’s a bad attitude to have, I know. It’s shocking how the “fit and forget” or pill-popping culture we have today means it’s easy to overlook the humble condom. Especially when you’re in a relationship that uses one of the aforementioned methods.
It’s been a re-education: I’m aware now about the importance of fit and how that effects sensation and minimises the risk of breakage, the safest way to take them off to avoid any ‘accidents’ and I’ll admit that I’m still perfecting my roll on method (anything billed as ultra thin is definitely the trickiest).
The biggest adjustment (and I don’t reckon I’m the only woman who’s come off the Pill to feel this) is becoming confident with the idea that condoms can keep me safe. Not from STDs as that’s not an issue in my relationship, but of pregnancy. A lot of people my age and a bit older seem keen to use Fertility Awareness Methods and the pull-out method, but for many of them pregnancy wouldn’t be so much of a disaster. For me and my boyfriend, it certainly would be.
Making the move from the pill to condoms is scary. Anything you get fitted, implanted or swallow every morning has a success rate of approximately 99 percent. Sure, there are some side effects, but you’re willing to put up with them because it’s a shared ideology that now we have these methods, why bother with condoms that have a slightly lower success rate at all if your aim is to not get pregnant?
Living with that mentality for over a decade, then changing what you use and your body changes too, is a lot to get your head around, but it is doable. On the plus side, not only has it led me to take another look at the whole contraceptive menu – not just what the GP would prefer me to use – but it’s made me and my partner look again at correct condom use and I don’t think it’s a bad thing for any couple to do that no matter how long they’ve been together.
Monologues are independent stories. The opinions shared are the author’s own.
Thank you for your aesthetically appealing packaging.
Thank you for your thin, soft sheath.
Thank you for your flexible rings.
Thank you for your ample lubrication.
Thank you for not being tight and constricting.
Thank you for warming to my body temperature.
Thank you for your clitoral stimulation.
Thank you for shielding my external genitalia.
Thank you for not requiring an erection in order to stay in place.
Thank you for not requiring immediate withdrawal after ejaculation.
Thank you for allowing me to share responsibility for preventing infection and pregnancy with my partner.
Thank you for allowing me to be in control.
Thank you for allowing me to take back my sexuality.
I was out late with friends. I was 19-years-old and lit up with enough alcohol to make me silly, energetic, and flirtatious. I was flirting without aim – with female friends and male friends, and without thinking through intentions. I didn’t have any real design, I was just feeling good. We went from bar to bar. I was spinning and heady. At one point I remember grabbing a guy’s hand and running off, speeding the group along.
Later that night, I went back to my friend’s apartment. I was sleeping on her couch, or that was my plan. That is, until her upstairs neighbor, who was the boy whose hand I had grabbed, led me off to his bedroom. I was pliant and thoughtless; young and inexperienced.
In his bed, he kissed me. His hands started roving over my body. That sobered me up somewhat. Finally, I was thinking about where I was and what I was doing. And I didn’t want to be doing it. I pulled away and told him as much. To his credit, he did stop touching me. Not as much to his credit, he then preceded to beg. “Please,” he said. “You held my hand.” He waited. “Please, have sex with me. You held my hand.” I again told him no. He continued, “Please have sex with me!”
I’ve never felt so stone-cold and turned off. He wouldn’t relent. He pleaded, begged, and I finally realized I had to remove myself from the situation because he was not going to stop or accept my “no.” I left his room and went down to the couch at my friend’s place.
In the morning, I brought it up with her. She was not impressed – with me. Like him, she said, “But you held his hand. You flirted.”
And so I did. I wouldn’t say it was my most responsible night. I wasn’t thinking through my actions, their consequences, or what they might communicate to others. Some growing up has helped that sort of thing. But he was also not responding to me. Would he really want to have sex with a girl whom he badgered into it? Was the sex more important to him than my desire for it? I was lucky, in that my indiscretion led me to the bed of a rather sad, wheedling boy, and not an outright aggressive one. He wouldn’t let my “no” be, but other than attempting to force me with words, he didn’t force me. I left annoyed with him, sobered that he was so much more interested in having sex than whether or not I wanted to have sex- but otherwise unharmed.
I also left shocked at my friend, and that she would assert that any sort of flirtation amounts to a promise for sex; that the so-called promise obligates a woman to later deliver on that sex, no matter how she feels or what she wants; and also that flirtation justifies men to be pushy as they make their claim for what they feel they deserve, impervious to what the woman might want herself.
It was not the first time, or the last, that a boy would beg me to have sex with him, or tell me that I had effectively already made a promise of sex to him through my behavior.
In many of those cases, my behavior was far less promising and flirtatious than it had been on that night. For instance, one evening I watched a movie alone with a male friend. We talked, enjoyed the film, and he made a move. It was unwelcome, and I told him I wasn’t really into it. He wouldn’t accept my no, either. He grew increasingly belligerent about it as I continued to assert myself, saying that I was obligated to have sex with him since I’d watched the film with him. The night ended with me kicking him out of my house.
There are no promises in sex or love. Consent has to happen all along the way. And men’s desires don’t get to trump women’s desires. Unless both people are into it, and both people are saying yes, the situation sucks.
Monologues are independent stories and the opinions shared are the author’s own. Do you relate to this story? Share in the comments.
Have condoms ever played a role in your relationship breakup? One Condom Monologuer reveals the mind changing powers a stolen box of 300 condoms can wield in unexpected ways, at least momentarily.
I wasn’t in love with my boyfriend anymore. I had been keeping it to myself for about a week and didn’t have the heart to tell him over the phone as we made plans for his upcoming visit. He was driving to stay with me in my cramped college dorm room in order to celebrate our much anticipated one year anniversary. The big to-do was less about commemorating the great times we’d shared over the past year and more a manner of awarding me credit for having survived dating this maniac for so long.
Boyfriend X wasn’t such a bad guy- just a very territorial one with impossible demands and little intention of letting me experience college life to its fullest (aka hanging up the phone to go make some friends for once!). The length of our relationship was chiefly indebted to our overpowering physical chemistry and how we spent about 90% of our time together naked. Our budding sex life obscured two people who were otherwise very confrontational and unhealthy together.
Our passionate escape from the reality of our situation was facilitated by my boyfriend’s job as a stock boy at Shaw’s supermarket.
In addition to great discounts on groceries, Boyfriend X’s employment gave him exclusive access to unguarded stock-room of condoms which he quickly made a habit of slyly stuffing into his coat pockets after punching out. After I successfully faked a weekend of anniversary merriment it finally came time to overcome the temptation of rampant sex-capades and the burden of guilt, and to simply end the strenuous relationship once and for all. Heart racing, I picked up the phone to call my soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. We greeted each other as per usual and just as I was preparing to drop the bomb he announced,
“Guess what?! I just stole an economy pack of condoms from Shaw’s! There’s like 300 in there! Now what did you want to tell me?”
I’m not sure what I felt worse about: not being able to do this in person, dumping him so suddenly right before the holidays, or having our break up coincide perfectly with his biggest heist yet. Nothing reminds you more that you got dumped than an unopened box of 300 condoms.
Monologues are independent stories. Opinions expressed are the writer’s own.
I know it is possible to have good sex with a partner who is HIV negative. I did it for years. As I look back, the fear and frenzy about HIV transmission was more manageable back then, more so than now when the mere mention of HIV to potential sex partners causes them to behave in irrational and inconsiderate ways out of fear and hysteria. All of this to say, fear campaigns do not work, they do the opposite of what they were intended for. I can write forever about experiences but I do not want to bore anyone, so here are just a few from recent encounters.
1. I was pleasantly surprised when a man I met claimed he was comfortable with my status and wanted to pursue a relationship. Initially it went well but after a short while he began doing strange things, like checking to see if the condom was on during sex. That got frustrating when he upped the frequency so often that I wanted to scream – FORGET IT! How frustrating to be having sex, getting closer to an orgasm and him stopping the show to check the goddamn condom.
2. I met another man who claimed to be comfortable with my HIV status and after a great romp in the sack he promptly jumped up and washed his dick in the sink with hot soapy water. I don’t think the erection had subsided he was so fast. I walked out and never looked back on that one.
3. I can’t forget another experience with someone I had known for a long time who had not been aware of my HIV status. We decided to get intimate and he was shocked when I disclosed my status before hand. He mentioned how I did not look likeI had HIV. I really wish I knew how someone looks who has HIV. He did assure me he was comfortable and well informed about HIV; not to worry. The first time we had sex it was great. The next time he came over his pockets were filled with every brand of condom on the market, dental dams, latex gloves and whatever safe sex paraphernalia he picked up at the university health center.
I checked in with him and asked if he was still feeling comfortable because he sure didn’t appear to be. Being that I had an undetectable viral load and was regularly adhering to my meds, the risk of transmission was extremely close to non-existent and we talk about this. His answer was less than convincing, however, I decided to stop the craziness right then and there. I did not understand how we could have sex comfortably with him caressing me while wearing latex gloves. In the end, I suggested that he purchase an entire body condom, just to be sure. They must be available on EBay. Everything else is these days. This was a particularly sad situation because I lost him as a friend in the process. He left a message on my phone explaining how he could not cope with the fear of contracting HIV.
4. Now back to my HIV negative partner with whom I was in a monogamous relationship. We had the best sex for many years and at no time did he display any signs of being afraid of contracting HIV. He decided, after many discussions, and a visit to my doctor’s office to get the facts, that he was not going to use condoms. We learned that I was an extremely low risk for transmitting the virus and besides, we had been sexually active with no condoms and lots of sex for a year before I learned of my status. When I did get the diagnosis he was tested and the results were negative, as the doctor predicted. I cannot pretend I was completely comfortable with his decision as I strategically placed condoms all over the house and in the car, just in case we were stranded and wanted to have a quickie to pass the time. In the end I had to accept that it was his informed decision to not use condoms and he remains HIV negative today.
I am not encouraging people to have unprotected sex. I am not encouraging people to be reckless. I am encouraging people to use a bit of common sense. It is possible to have sex with a person who is HIV positive and not get infected. Circumstances vary for each couple. Depending on what is negotiated to protect one and other the sex can be great. I know first- hand and I long for the day when I meet someone who has the same understanding and lack of fear that my partner did in those days. Until then it looks like I am going to be having a lot more stories to tell that are less than satisfactory.
(Monologues are independent stories. Opinions are the author’s own). Got a question about HIV transmission and diverse-cordant couples? Ask us below. We also recommend following Shawn & Gwenn, a serodicordant heterosexual couple (Shawn is HIV postive, Gwenn is negative) that have been having great sex for over 13 years. Learn the facts.