Small Slippery Balloons
Early in our relationship, my partner, Patrick, and I took a trip to Monterey. As Patrick likes alcohol and I like receiving unadulterated attention from sad, wistful men, we both enjoy sitting at bars. A block away from our charming hotel, we found a run-of-the-mill tourist trap of a drinking establishment, at which we promptly threw our money in exchange for some medium-good beers. While we drank, I discovered a local environmental magazine with the following blazed across the cover:
BEAR BACKING: How You Can Support Endangered Grizzlies
Naturally, this was a tremendous find for two former sluts with trashy sensibilities. A true jackpot. Now, I don’t imagine the person tasked with cover design for a Monterey County glossy is even aware of the mechanics of gay sex. Yet as Patrick and I snorfled into our respective glasses, I found myself being sucked into a deeply pensive frame of mind.
I used to have a lot of unsafe sex. All kinds of it.
Nobody plans to be the person who’s out there at large, throwing their genitals around, having unprotected intercourse with hot German chemists they meet off Tinder. It’s not anyone’s actual fantasy. It just happens, and no one wants to admit it, especially during a global pandemic when hygiene is King. So, let me just tell you: I used to have a lot of unsafe sex, and I know you did, too. Well, maybe not a lot of sex, for you. Perhaps just some.
My second ever pap smear revealed I tested positive for HPV. This is how I found out:
Doctor, via email:
Your pap came back abnormal. You tested positive for HPV. It’s extremely common. Someone you had sex with probably gave it to you. Get tested again in a year, unless you’re symptomatic.
In retrospect, I wish it was chlamydia, not just because my then-boyfriend reacted to this news as if I had chlamydia, but because I am the kind of person who likes to feel special. Telling me that my pap smear came back with abnormal but common results is like saying, “You took gold in the Average People Olympics.” It’s just not ambitious enough for a woman like myself. Make of this sentiment what you will.
This disappointment was compounded by the fact that I wasn’t being treated like a true STD victim. The videos in seventh grade health class told me that, should this happen, I would be scandalized for life. Being told I can wait a solid year before I should bother getting tested again? Unconscionable.
Here’s what really upsets me, though. My doctor had the audacity not just to educate me on how STDs work, but also to suggest that someone I had sex with PROBABLY gave it to me.
I’m not sure if this was just laziness on behalf of my gynecologist, or if she truly meant to suggest that most likely I screwed someone and wound up with HPV, but who can really be sure? Apparently, not my doctor. According to my doctor, who graduated from medical school, it’s extremely likely I had unprotected sex and got HPV, but it’s possible I just tripped over a rock and BAM. HPV.
Clarity is very important to me.
That’s why I’ve decided to take this time to tell you how to have protected sex.
You might be sitting there in your Target jammies, picking at your toenails, mumbling, “I know all about safe sex.” I’m not saying you don’t know about safe sex. I’m saying you don’t know how to have it. If there’s anything I’ve learned through having sex with people and knowing people who have sex, it’s that a vast majority of you aren’t being responsible with your genitals, and maybe you’re paying the price. I get it. Condoms are difficult, emotionally. You pay a weird amount of money for a bunch of small, slippery balloons that need to be handled delicately, and they come in an assortment of sizes, which is necessary but highly demeaning, and then you have to stop making out to take a lubed-up latex doll sock and slip it on an actual penis. It’s possibly the least sexy thing in the world. I don’t care who you are; your penis, as a standalone feature, is not appealing. I get why you don’t want to put a bodycon dress on it.
Chances are, you’ve had sex without a condom and regretted it. Maybe you allowed someone to pressure you out of it. Maybe you both felt too awkward to extricate yourselves from your clammy vise grip on each other to say, “tonight, let us not be idiots.” Maybe you plumb forgot.
This is why I’m here.
I have developed a foolproof, five-step system for having safe sex. I strongly encourage you to follow the steps precisely, but each step exists on its own spectrum of intensity. Go bananas.
1. No matter what phase of heavy petting you are in, sit bolt upright. Exclaim, “Condom!”
2. Partner procures condom OR partner waffles and says something about how they don’t like their huge dick being restricted and they’re really good at not giving you herpes.
3. EVEN IF YOU HAVE YOUR OWN CONDOM, YOU MUST ASK THE FOLLOWING: Would you like to be fluid-bonded?
a. For those who are not familiar with polyamory vernacular, allow me to edify you. Fluid-bonding is the unpalatable term for having unprotected sex with a repeat partner. If you are fluid-bonded to someone, you are not supposed to be fluid-bonded with someone else.
4. Make direct eye-contact for at least twenty seconds. The answer you’re looking for is, “Nope. Here’s a condom.”
5. If you are still met with resistance, accept that you are dealing with a Grade A nasty. There’s still time not to have sex with this person. But maybe you still want to get laid. No judgment. Either way: Laugh at their dick.
That’s it. Laugh at their dick.
Just ran out of rubbers?
Laugh at their dick.
Laugh at their dick.
Just got tested?
Laugh at their dick, and ask for the results.
Let me be clear! This is not just for straights. I’ve had unprotected sex with people of various genders, some of whom had no dick at all. Seeing as I find penises unfailingly hilarious, however, I’ve used “dicks” in place of pussy, cunt, Fun Forest, etc. Please use the aforementioned as it suits your sexual experiences.
For those of you who are visual learners, here’s a diagram.
Anyone who doesn’t want to have safe sex doesn’t care about your safety or their own. Don’t fuck them. Go home and masturbate. Go home, masturbate, and order a boatload of condoms. Don’t have sex with people who make sex feel awkward. Don’t have sex with people who make you feel like a prude. Real adults have safe sex. Don’t have sex with children.
So that’s it, babies. Course completed. Go out there and get your jollies.
Also, I don’t have HPV anymore, but you might. Go get tested. Save the bears.