By KJ ADLER
A little while back I had an old friend call me in tears. This is a pretty big deal since people rarely call me, let alone in tears.
After calming her down, she confided in me that the boy who she had proclaimed to be the “love of her life” a few months earlier could no longer bring himself to have sex with her.
It wasn’t physical, she explained. It was mental and it was mostly on him. While before he had seen sex as just a casual fun fling, he now saw it as a dirty and scary exchange of diseases, one that was unnecessary for two people as in love as they were to engage in.
This was really hard for my friend to hear. He couldn’t kiss her any more, nor did he look at her when they did get into the act, after much persuasion on her part.
So what happened?
It turns out that he had been infected three times in a row by three girlfriends, my friend included, even when he was a stickler for wearing condoms. None of the infections had been permanent or life-threatening, but the entire episode left him in a deep conflict between lust and logic every time he and my friend exchanged fluids.
While I certainly think it wise to always be aware that when sex happens so could an STD, I don’t think obsession is the answer to one’s concerns. In fact, I think it’s just plain wrong to have sex with someone just to please them. Not only are you creating resentment against your own participation with sex, but you are also being unfair to the person with whom you are engaging in sexual activity.
So what is the answer? If the burden of disease gets you so fearful of sex there is no enjoyment for either person, then sex has lost all of its purpose for young couples, unless they just want make a baby.
The first option would be abstinence. For some this is perfectly acceptable. Personally I don’t think this option is much fun, especially with the presence of that nasty, old sexual tension getting in the way. If you guys can go on without needing sex or kissing, why not just be friends who hug a lot?
Then there is the good old reliable condom. Ever since those damn hippies went crazy for sex in the sixties, our virile generation has learned a thing or two about preventing diseases. Condoms can work, especially with discharge diseases such as gonorrhea, HIV and AIDS, when properly used. This means keeping it on the entire time, washing your hands and genitalia afterwards and urinating to avoid infection.
Now for the bad news; the other type of diseases, known as ulcerative diseases, such as herpes and HPV, can not be entirely stopped by condoms. There is a likelihood that if you sleep with someone who is breaking out with one of these STDs and you wear a condom that you can receive the disease in question.
So, where does this leave us? With the potential frustration of abstinence and condoms being a shot in the dark, there is one final method that can leave you horny and healthy.
Just get tested. Easy as pie. The rubber gloves and long instruments meant for your wahoos may be intimidating, and the very thought of being diagnosed positive is down right terrifying, but at least you can be left knowing that you and your partner are safe.
Think of it as a bonding exercise. And if one of you is infected, then at least the guilt of infecting others will not have to rest on your head.
I suggested this to my weeping friend. They just got tested, cured and are now worry-free and loving every minute of it.
At least so I assume. I haven’t heard from her since last Monday, since she went over to his place to help him test out his new bed.