Safe sex is a phrase that is commonplace these days and something that most people who have sex, or are thinking of having sex, or wishing they were having sex know the meaning of and understand. Or perhaps not. Or maybe they think it’s not that important and contracting an STI is something that only happens to other people. I don’t want to play Russian roulette with my health, so I would never consider having sex with a new partner without using condoms. Especially in the domain of non-mongamous relationships.
I recently met a man whom I got on well with, and who seemed very taken with me. He is a decent, mature,respectable and seemingly sensible person, who is in a prominent position of work. We exchanged several messages. We met for coffee. A couple of weeks later, we met for lunch. Then a dinner date. It was an unspoken fact that we would return to his nearby flat after this third meeting.. Wanting to be prepared, I had my own condoms in my bag. Just in case. As I did not assume that he would have his own supply, although I would have been surprised if he hadn’t. And, of course,it went without saying that he would practise safe sex.Or so I thought.
I learned that night not to assume anything. Without warning and very suddenly, he decided to try to penetrate me without a condom. I stopped him from doing so the second I realised what was happening. I said, very clearly, ‘not without a condom’. My intervention seemed to deflate matters at that moment but, later on, he did rubber up, from his own supply, and without question. I put his faux-pas down to over-excitement in the heat of the moment, and didn’t make an issue of it.
We met again, two weeks later, for a dinner date at his flat. Again, I went prepared. And there would be no repeat of the previous indiscretion, as I had made my feelings quite clear. How wrong I was. The same thing happened again. And I realised that it was a deliberate act and not to be blamed on over-excitement. Again, I repeated, ‘not without a condom’. This time, he resisted. ‘Just for a bit – I like skin-on-skin contact‘, was the reply. ‘NO’, I assertively told him. I asked what his aversion was to using condoms. He replied that it was the reduced sensations and losing the moment when putting them on.. I ended up lecturing him on STIs and how you can’t tell by looking whether people have any nasty diseases etc. The kind of thing you might have to explain to a naive teenager. He remained blasé about it and I was, very subtly, made to feel like I was over-reacting and being way too cautious. He never asked about my sexual history or whether I was using any form of female contraception (I am), so for all he knew there might have been a possibility of me getting pregnant, had I let him continue. I knew that he had been sexually active during the last few months, so it was ultra-important to me that we used protection. I was left feeling annoyed and disappointed in his attitude and the night was definitely spoiled. Needless to say, I haven’t heard from him since. Nor do I want to.
I am still amazed how a very intelligent man can show so much naivety and disregard for practising safe sex. The more I think about it, the more annoyed I get that he thought he could try ‘bareback’ again, despite me not consenting previously. I am particularly cross with myself for making assumptions, but I have learned a lesson from this in that not all men are going to adopt a sensible approach to safe sex. In future, condoms will be bluntly discussed at the coffee stage, and not on reaching the bedroom.
I am interested to hear others’ thoughts on this subject.