Online Dating and Safe Sex

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.

Sex.

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.

If You Love Someone, Disappoint Them

Most of us when we meet someone we really like do everything we can for them.  We’re on time for dates, we ignore work calls while we’re with them, we agree to go out for African food instead of suggesting a good old cheeseburger, we watch that independent black and white film instead of the latest blockbuster…

Well, okay.  Scratch those last two.  At least if you’re me.

But most of us do try to accommodate the ones we love (or like).

Problem is, sometimes the other person is in it for different reasons than we are.  We’re busy falling in love while they’ve just found someone accommodating so figure why the hell not go along with it.

See, as long as you’re making someone’s life easy and doing everything they want, it’s not too hard for them to put up with you.  You only really find out how someone feels about you when you say “no” or don’t give them what they want.

So I say disappoint them.  Let them down.  Say no every once in a while.

If they really care for you, they’ll recover from it.  They might take a moment, but as long as it’s a one-off occurrence they’ll work through it and accept the fact that you can’t be what they want you to be 100% of the time.

If they’re just in it for what they can get out of you, they’ll throw a little hissy fit or walk away.

That’s okay.  Let ’em go.  Because if they can’t handle a little compromise every once in a while they really weren’t the one for you.

 

Online Dating: Give It Ten Weeks

I had dinner with a friend the other night.  She’s currently over the moon about the new guy she’s seeing.  It wasn’t easy for her to get there, but get there she did.

I have another friend I touched base with recently who is also in a new relationship.  Last time we’d touched base he was just beginning the slog which is online dating.

Yes, slog.  There are some folks who find online dating exciting and exhilarating.  All those new people!  But most of my friends just want to be in a happy relationship with someone that interests them and the process of getting there can be downright painful at times.

Both of my friends found their new relationship through online dating.  One on Match.  One on eharmony.

Both worked it–hard.  We’re talking five to six dates in a week early on.  Maybe more.

Both had their down moments when they wondered whether it was really worth it.

But they pushed through.  And they both found someone.

Now, it helps that they’re both normal people looking for normal people.  And two is a pretty small sample.  But I really do think that most people if they really try hard (respond to most messages, send messages, agree to lots of in person dates) and are in that mid 60% of folks range, will find someone given enough time.

And, given the random anecdotes of my friends who have succeeded at this, it takes about ten weeks.

So, if you’re doing the online dating thing and struggling to get through, keep going.  It can work out.  And if my friends are any example, it’s pretty darned awesome when it does!