As I’ve mentioned, a few of my friends recently ventured into the world of online dating. As a seasoned pro I gave them advice. What photos they might want to post, the disappointments they might face, exercising a little caution before meeting a complete stranger they found on the internet live and in person.
I thought I’d covered it all.
Seems I needed to play mom to a teenager and have a little chat about safe sex.
My one friend spent about a month getting ready for online dating. She debated which websites to use, which photos to post, thought about what kind of guy she wanted….and yet she forgot to prepare for what would happen if she was successful.
Because let’s face it, unless you have strong religious, social, or moral beliefs that lead you to abstain from sex, once you’re dating someone you’re going to have sex with them.
So prepare for it.
If you’re a guy, buy condoms you’re willing to use. And get an STD test so you can provide it to your partner if she asks for it.
If you’re a woman and not already on a form of contraceptive, get on one. And in enough time for it to matter. (You can’t start the pill on Monday and have sex on Tuesday). And women should still get some condoms because the pill or a diaphragm or an IUD aren’t going to protect you from nastiness. And get tested, of course.
And then USE THE CONDOMS.
Condoms do no one any good if they’re sitting in the drawer by your bed while you’re having sex.
And if you can’t bring up the subject with the person you’re about to have sex with then you probably shouldn’t be sleeping with that person. And if they don’t bring it up with you, ask yourself how many other times they’ve been in that situation and just gone ahead without having the conversation. And what that might mean to your sexual health.
It’s not fun. It’s not sexy. But neither is getting an STD.
I still have these horror images from 8th grade sex ed class (this is back in the AIDS lecture days) when the teacher drew a little picture of two people in bed and then started showing the math of how many people they were really in bed with when you take into account the other people each of them had slept with and the other people each of those people had slept with and the other people each of those people had slept with and….Yeah.
Aside from STDs, you also don’t want to get pregnant with someone you barely know’s kid. I know a girl who just had a very cute little baby girl with a guy she really can’t stand because of one night of not being careful. Her life from here on out is not going to be easy.
And relying on “I’m getting older, so I can’t be fertile enough to get pregnant that easily” is STUPID.
If you’re in your mid-30’s and trying to conceive you have about a 60% chance of getting pregnant in a year of trying. And since the odds go down with every month you try (since the couples who don’t get pregnant right away are more likely to have fertility issues), let’s ballpark this and say that in the first three months of a new relationship when you’re bonking like bunnies you probably have an 80% chance of getting pregnant.
Those aren’t odds I’d want to play with.
You sleep with someone once without protection, okay, fine. We make mistakes. (Might get pregnant or an STD even that once, but fine.)
You keep sleeping with someone without protection? Come on now.
So, if you’re venturing out into the dating world, along with new clothes and a new haircut, get some condoms. At a minimum. And use them.