By the Book: Sex Talk with Your Local Librarian, Chapter 3
Written by Emma Willig.
Y’all. I feel like a phony. This week I found out there are “her pleasure” condoms. THIS WEEK. I am floored. No holds barred – I have been having sex for years, reading about sex, researching, phoning friends; I’m always on time for my O.B.-G.Y.N. appointments, and have tried some pretty fun (and always safe and clean) lubricants and toys. Only last month I wrote to you about female orgasms. And yet… I did not know about “her pleasure” condoms.
As a result, here are the things I realized:
No partner has ever asked what kind of condom I like, until recently, and that makes me sad. Period.
In retrospect, most of my partners have tried to push their luck into not using a condom at all, and have even had the audacity to dramatically sigh when I asked them to use one. *Eye roll.*
Neither of the above statements makes any sense.
Condoms are basic. Of course every relationship is different and calls for different needs related to birth control and general sexual health. Maybe you and your partner are trying for a child, or you’re in a very comfortable and trusting relationship. (Read: You both have regular S.T.D. checkups and regulate your sexual health the same way you get checkups at your family doctor.)
Real Fact: Condoms are far from 100% effective (breaking, falling off, or user error). For example, herpes can be spread from various parts of the thighs and buttocks. While condoms can’t protect you from everything, they are still essential. This is just another reason why it is not crazy to ask your partner for proof of their S.T.D. checks.
I get it. You can be real with me; things happen in the heat of the moment. However, not everyone is honest about their sexual history. You know I’m not beating around the bush with you. My two cents: Be your own advocate! Every damn time; in all aspects of life. No one is going to – or is required to – take care of you the way that YOU should be taking care of you. Stand up for yourself and realize that condoms protect you, because people’s words are not going to protect you.
If you don’t want to use a condom for a different X-factor reason, ask your partner to see paperwork from their most recent S.T.D. check. That is not crazy or weird or paranoid. That’s advocating for yourself. Show your paperwork to your partner in return so that you’re both on the same page.
If you don’t know who Dr. Ruth is… Girl, go get on YouTube. She is the O.G. sex educator. A teeny tiny powerhouse of a woman who lays it down. She explains how sex can be embarrassing to talk about, but how it’s a part of our daily life. This book walks through sex education basics, backed by medical research. Dr. Ruth has been exposing the sexual stigma for decades, and shedding light on how to have safe and enjoyable sexual relationships. Check it out at your local library!
Safe sex is enjoyable sex. It’s a great relief for all parties when every piece of information is on the table, and there isn’t a worry later about random bumps. The least fun guessing game is, “Razor burn, allergy, or S.T.D.?” Giving yourself the knowledge that you have done everything in your control to prevent the transfer of disease is invaluable.
A quick note on that point: If you do have an S.T.D., that is OKAY. There is nothing wrong with you. You are not gross. You are not wrong. You are still able to have sex when it is a responsible time to do so. When you go to the doctor, ask questions. Advocate for yourself.
Emma’s Two Cents: Be your own advocate! Every damn time; in all aspects of life. No one is going to – or is required to – take care of you the way that YOU should be taking care of you. Stand up for yourself and realize that condoms protect you, because people’s words are not going to protect you.
This is all about respect. Respect for yourself and respect for your partner(s). This is not specific to women, either. Share this information with your friends; encourage them to think about how to take care of themselves. Self-care is respecting your mind, body, and soul. You can only do that by speaking up for what you need. Don’t be afraid to tell your partner that you want to try “her pleasure” condoms. I know I will be!
This month think about one way you can speak for yourself. And then practice it. Next month, let’s talk about something a little more fun?