Such a simple question, and yet one that many men fail to ask, even when they are terrified at the idea of babies. In the last year I have been at the centre of two quite unpleasant situations, that left me both really baffled by how a person can reach adulthood remaining so immature.
If you are going out with someone, it comes the time when the flirting in words becomes action in the bedroom, and I don’t think it is any surprise to hear that many men say they don’t perform well with condoms (or, at least, say they don’t in possibly covering for other problems).
This scenario brings up immediately three words to my mind: sexual diseases and babies. It’s not rocket science.
Some women might be inflexible: no condom, no party. Absolutely reasonable, understandable, mature.
Other women, instead, either because riding the wave of passion, or for a mindset that leaves me tsk-tsking, don’t even remotely think of condoms, and launch themselves in a hopefully steaming hot session. For years I’ve been telling my friends that we should know better than behaving like this. The level of enjoyment you can get is in no way comparable to the risk you are running, especially in a big, promiscuous city like London.
That’s why my approach is somewhere in between. I always bring up the condom option, and when the man in question doesn’t seem too happy about it, I inquire when he last got his sexual health check-up. I’ve even asked to see the texts you usually get from sex health clinics saying that you tested negative to this and that. Of course, it takes a degree of trust to decide to believe someone who tells you that they haven’t been checked for 6-12 months, but that they are sure not to have anything. That’s when I put all the details together and consider what to do: it’s generally young people who are more exposed to sexual diseases, and the risk of carrying one is waaaaaaay lower once you get into your early 30s and forward because, thank God, we become a bit more aware of the risks out there, and tend to be more in relationships, rather than sleeping around (pleasebear the generalisations here, I’m extracting the gist of some statistics I’ve read). So then I take a conscious decision, based especially on what I know about this guy’s lifestyle.
This way I’m dealing with the first issue, the sexual disease one. As for babies…
I’m at a stage in my life when things haven’t worked out as I planned/hoped they would, and in my attempt to let go of all my attachment to these ideas, I’ve decided that I’m leaving all doors open (together with my legs, in this case). If a baby has to arrive into my life this way, what a miracle. What a gift. I’d be the happiest person on earth, and I wouldn’t ask for anything at all to the guy. No need to get into the details of my personal journey in this respect, but I’ve long been mentally ready to become a single mother, so in case the guy should not worry about anything on my side.
Of course, you cannot say all these things to a man you are going to bed with for the first time. Unless you want to dead scare him. And especially given that he is not asking you anything. My responsibility is NOT TO LIE: I’m not telling him that I’m on the pill, in order to have a shot at a possible pregnancy (literally). And, indeed, I’ve never lied, though my mum (my mum!!!), has suggested me I should, given my desire to become a mother. (Those old ladies seem so sweet and pure, and yet they can be more cunning than Annalise Keating in “How to get away with murder”).
Even when we get to the stage of having sex unprotected, shouldn’t the man ask you if he can come inside? I think he should, but please, ladies and gentlemen out there, tell me if you agree or not. And yet, not many men ask the permission to climax inside us.
So here we are, after having sex, and a guy tells me: “Make sure you don’t get pregnant”. WHAT THE FUCK DOES THIS EVEN MEAN, “MAKE SURE”? Shall I Google Middle Age anti pregnancy methods, preparing bitter herbal concoctions or using vaginal douche afterwards? You know how to make sure not to get me pregnant? Use a condom. Or at least come outside. Honestly, sometimes words fail me…
Another man beat him. I had seen this man for a few times, and while I could have shut up, I felt the need to be honest with him. I told him that while he assumed I was on the pill, in fact I wasn’t, but that a pregnancy was highly unlikely, for my personal history, so not to worry. The day after he sent me a super anxious text that was all over the place, saying he couldn’t afford other children (he already had 4, from 2 different partners), that he wanted me to take the morning after pill, that I should have told him earlier. I SHOULD HAVE TOLD HIM EARLIER? He’s 43, with already 4 children. How about, he should know better? How about, if he’s so petrified at the idea of yet another child, he uses condoms or at least doesn’t come inside? He added I was playing a game with him, and he didn’t want to see me anymore. And, like all mature and emotionally strong people do, he blocked me. He punished me for his mistake, for his stupid assumption, and not having to face me anymore was his way to deal with it.
A male friend of mine holds an opposite view: even if the lady told him that yes, he could come inside her, he wouldn’t do it because he only trusts himself.
I’m more in favour of meeting half-way here. When you to go to bed with someone, there’s always a level of trust involved and required. It’s two parts that come together (in the best, possible scenario!), so each of them has to play their own part. Which means putting the questions you feel particularly worried about. I ask about the diseases, because that’s my main concern…and you, men, try to be responsible adults and don’t assume anything. It doesn’t take much to say: “Are you on the pill?”
Once again, it’s all down to communication. It always is.