Should She Let Him Go Bareback?

Name: Jen || Location: sayerville , nj |Question: I condomwomanhave a dilemma Moxie.

I’ve been seeing a guy for 1 month and we are exclusive. The problem is he doesn’t like condoms when he is in committed relationships. It’s not about the sex he says. It’s about the emotional connection he has with me and wearing the condom detaches him from the emotional intimacy of the act. I understand his concerns and his feelings. The only way for us to avoid me getting pregnant is birth control but I don’t want to take it. I haven’t taken it in 6 years. When I was younger it was not an issue but I also wasn’t as health conscious as I am now. All I could think about are the hormones I’ll be putting into my body, the side effects, and after reading about all the un explained facts what it could do to our bodies in the long run just really turns me off. I had a lump in my breast 6 years ago and after that I vowed not to use the stuff. I don’t know if it contributed to the lump which is why I decided to stay away from it. If I was going to have sex it would be with condoms.

I’m now struggling with this because I share a strong connection with this guy. I know birth control is the sensible route to take. I don’t want any unplanned pregnancies or confusion in the relationship. He is fully supportive of my decision whatever I decide to do. I know he’s not thrilled if I do decide to not take the pill because he says it’s like he can’t ‘let go’. I have yet to speak to my doc to see what’s the new forms of birth control are. I’m sure they are all the same still, but I was just wondering your thoughts on all this and how I could go about approaching this situation to reach a mutual understanding with him that is comfortable for both of us.

Thanks
|Age: 35

 

I share similar issues and concerns as you do regarding The Pill and other similar methods of birth control. Between the rampant breast cancer history in my family to my own concern about taking medications of any kind (other than antibiotics), my only recourse is using condoms. It’s not ideal, and bareback is most definitely far more enjoyable for both parties, but it is what it is.

For me, I do wonder what the pros and cons would be of using The Pill or other similar methods to prevent pregnancy. I also wonder, if you want to try to conceive in the next 5 years,  how going on The Pill at your age or older will affect your ability to conceive. Is it wise to start such a method now? I’d be interested to hear what people have to say about this. How has long term use of The Pill affected your ability to conceive, your bodies, etc?

But there’s two bigger concerns in this letter for me. First, you’re exclusive after a month. That, to me, seems a bit quick. Especially when you consider that a) even if he’s been tested in the past 2 or 3 months, you still have no idea if he’s STD free and b) he’s asking you to use a form of contraception that could have major side effects that could affect your health. That’s a pretty huge request to make of someone you’ve been with for only a month.

I think it would behoove all men to do the research on these types of contraception – The Pill, NuvaRing, etc. This isn’t something to take lightly. In many cases, it’s really not as simple as popping a pill. Between the weight gain, the headaches, the nausea, the possible erratic  mood swings AND the more serious side effects like blood clots and tumors…there’s a lot to learn, guys. What a woman is essentially doing when she has these contraceptives implanted or takes these pills is altering her normal hormonal system. For someone with a history of breast cancer in their family, and sadly there are many women with such a history, this is no joke.  It can sometimes take several months before a woman finds the right dosage, too. Just trying to make the men more aware of what it is that we go through and what is involved

Ask most men and they’ll tell you how much they dislike condoms. They pinch, they sometimes make it difficult to maintain an erection, they don’t feel as good and the sensations are seriously dulled. The times I’ve gone bareback in my life have ALWAYS been 1000 times more pleasurable for me, so I can imagine how it feels for a man. Everything is heightened. They feel the warmth, the wetness, and the tightness in a way they just can’t when wearing a condom. So I do get it. Sometimes it’s hard not to just throw caution to the wind and rely on the good ol’ fashioned rhythm method. Pleasure aside, birth control and safe sex are concerns too important to downplay. The possible repercussions are far too serious and involve more than just us. (But come on..who hasn’t played the “Just The Tip” game a few times?)

I think his whole “I don’t feel as close to you when I’m wearing a condom” is a big, fat excuse. Sorry, but that sounds like a case of a man telling a woman what he thinks she wants to hear in order to get what he wants.

I think you need to spell out to this man what your concerns are. The both of you should be reviewing each of your alternatives and try to come to a decision together.  If he doesn’t seem interested in that, or doesn’t seem to understand where your fears are coming from and still pushes, then this guy isn’t really concerned for your well being. You shouldn’t even be considering going without a condom for at least another 2 or 3 months anyway, exclusive or not. In my opinion, it’s way too soon to be that trusting.

Thoughts?

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73 Responses to “Should She Let Him Go Bareback?”

  1. Big Says:

    Go bareback already, sheesh. Just make sure he pulls out and you’ll be fine.

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  2. Sarah Says:

    Jen, don’t be an idiot. NO, you should not let him go bareback after ONE MONTH. You don’t know each other, nor are you committed. Exclusivity after one month is not commitment. The fact that he’s asking for this is gross, disrespectful, and, frankly, suspicious (much like exclusivity after one month). NO, girl. Obviously. Just NO.

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    • BTownGirl Says:

      Exactly what I was going to say! Framing it like, “Oh poor boo-hoo me!” is extra douchey. Personally, I once had a guy I was dating spy my birth control pills (I don’t love them, but I have some Lady Issues that they really do help) and pitch a fit that I wouldn’t jetison the ol’ Trojans. Seriously, y’all, there are serious things to worry about beyond pregnancy. Jen, I’m not feeling this guy!

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      • KK Says:

        Part of my job involves dealing with sexual health, and so one of the big things we deal with is HIV/STI prevention. I think most people know they should get tested, though a lot of people don’t. But, if bareback is important, then testing is necessary. That being said, if this couple was sexually active with other people right before they met, then STIs might be in the symptom but won’t show up on tests yet. This is assuming that neither of them are seeing other people – someone can say they are exclusive. Doesn’t mean they actually ARE not seeing others.

        Also. I do feel it’s important to note this. Condoms ARE wonderful, and they are 99% effective against pregnancy/prevention of HIV. But ONLY if they are used properly. But, we don’t tend to actually use condoms properly. In ACTUAL use. condoms are 80% effective in vaginal intercourse,

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        • Roxy Says:

          Totally agree. I got tested every 6 months to be on the safe side. I never went bareback until my partner got tested. If he can’t do that then he isn’t mature enough to practice safely.

          As far as the pill goes, definitely make an appointment with an ob/gyn to discuss all options. There may be intrauterine devices that don’t release hormones.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      Yup. And yup to:

      **I think his whole “I don’t feel as close to you when I’m wearing a condom” is a big, fat excuse. Sorry, but that sounds like a case of a man telling a woman what he thinks she wants to hear in order to get what he wants.**

      I’ve never had sex without a condom. Being Catholic I assume I’m very fertile, so I NEVER go without some kind of birth control. There’s been talk of the BF getting a vasectomy (entirely his idea/choice).

      I do know plenty of women who use hormonal birth control and seem to like it okay. She could talk to a doctor about her options, IF she’s open to it (without the BF present so she doesn’t feel pressured). I don’t think commitment after a month sounds so crazy, but it’s too new to be throwing around such huge expectations. Is she truly open to the idea or just wants to bend over backwards to please him (something she may later really resent)?

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      • BTownGirl Says:

        “Being Catholic I assume I’m very fertile, so I NEVER go without some kind of birth control.”

        Ohmygod, did that crack me up!! Seriously, my father is Catholic and the women on his side of the family seem to get knocked up through eye contact hahaha! :)

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        • AnnieNonymous Says:

          I know someone (she’s Catholic) who legitimately believes that her sister got pregnant without having sex. The “but we’re so fertile!” line is something that Catholics throw out there to convince their moms that they’re still virgins.

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  3. AnnieNonymous Says:

    The pill seriously jacks with your whole body. It’s a serious medication, not a supplement or vitamin. It doesn’t affect future fertility though – that’s one of those myths put out there by religious groups who don’t want women to use any birth control.

    One of my biggest dating peeves is the way guys think women can just “go on the pill.” You need to schedule an initial appointment, and then a follow-up 2 weeks later to get your test results and prescription. Then you have to wait until a certain point in your cycle to start taking the pill. THEN you have to wait a window of time to be sure it’s effective. “Going on the pill” can take 2 months sometimes. It’s not something you put yourself through just to appease the guy you met a month ago.

    Yes, sex is better without a condom, but if a condom ruins it, you’re doing it wrong.

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    • Sarah Says:

      “The pill seriously jacks with your whole body.”

      Well, maybe. But maybe not. Some women use it without incident; some have to try a few different brands, and some can’t use it at all, for a myriad of reasons.

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      • AnnieNonymous Says:

        I mean, the pill has been proven to have dangerous side effects, and even so, doctors often recommend that long-term users go off it periodically because it’s not something you should be taking your entire life.

        I have my own issues with the way the medical community pushes the pill on women for any little problem. It interacts with other medications that you might be taking, and it even affects how food absorbs into your body. It’s medicine – some people need it, some people don’t. But if your body is working fine, I don’t see any need to start taking it without looking at your other options first, especially if you’re looking for a long-term solution.

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  4. Suspicious Says:

    I have had the experience of a woman making the same argument to me, and I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibility that the man does view the condom as a barrier to emotionally connecting. It is not too strange to me that someone of any gender would think that someone’s unwillingness to connect without physical barriers is not somehow symbolic of the level of trust and connection that they have with that person.

    Please don’t take my comment to mean that then we should trust away. No, because we can misjudge, miscommunicate, and hurt others even when not intended. I’m just suggesting that the man may actually view it as a symbol of a lack of connection.

    So, Moxie and others here are noting that time or duration of experiences are the tool by which we can then take the calculated risk. My concern is that time in and of itself is inadequate as a tool for judgment. Rather, we judge on what the person does during their time. So, I’m just avoiding recommending some waiting period before you trust someone. I feel like Moxie would agree with this reasoning? But, I misjudge at times too, so I’ll let Moxie speak for herself obviously .

    I won’t throw stones at the letter writer’s man just because he doesn’t realize that it just feels 1000 times better and that he doesn’t place greater value on the thinking that some of us do. That thing commentors seem to value more is that it is more physically enjoyable sex and the the man somehow “should” want it for enjoyment physically primarily. And since it is not the expresses case of her mqn, we abusingly mistrust. So, her man says that he wants to have a closer connection, and we call him a douche and disrespectful? Look, he might be. But, she doesn’t think so.

    This should be a headline in the Onion Magazine:

    Man expresses desire to have more trusting intimate sex. World responds: “Manipulative Prick!”

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      Easy to talk about symbolic metaphors when you’re not the one who’s gonna get knocked up.

      That said, I don’t think what the boyfriend’s asking for is impossible, but she seems hesitant and has health concerns. She doesn’t say how the boyfriend reacted to this (has she told him?), but shooting your body up with hormones is a major decision not to be taken lightly. Moxie commented the way she did because we know how he feels about what makes his penis feel better, but not what he knows or cares about the OP’s health. If this information existed, I’m assuming OP would have included it.

      There are non-hormonal birth control methods like the diaphragm. IUDs sometimes do and sometimes do not contain hormones.

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    • Sarah Says:

      “I don’t think it is out of the realm of possibility that the man does view the condom as a barrier to emotionally connecting.”

      Ok. File under: Things not to say to a woman, ever.

      “Someone’s unwillingness to connect without physical barriers is not somehow symbolic of the level of trust and connection that they have with that person.”

      No, it’s not symbolic — it’s symptomatic. You cannot put your sexual health and wellbeing aside because you don’t want a consenting adult’s feelings to get hurt (If that was a serious reason for arguing against protection — which it it not). Full-fucking-stop.

      Look, I know this isn’t romantic, but trust does not equal immunity to STIs, nor does being in a committed relationship (which, again — this is not).

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  5. D. Says:

    There are also non-hormonal birth control options like the copper IUD. It’s not 100% effective, and people do get pregnant using it, but often that’s more due to the IUD shifting out of place. At any rate, it’s an option, although it too has some initial side effects while your body adjusts to it. Do some research on it if you’re curious.

    All that aside, even if it’s the truth that he feels more of an emotional connection without a condom (which I could actually believe), you’re a month in. You’re building emotional connections through pretty much every interaction you have. If you have serious and legitimate concerns about your own health and physical well being and comfort in terms of switching to hormonal or other non-barrier methods of birth control…this guy should respect that.

    At 1 month, this strikes me as an attempt to jump-start emotional intimacy in a relationship where it really probably ought not be necessary. I mean, sure it’s nicer without a condom, but at the same time, are you unable to build emotional connection other ways? If so, I’d say that’s a much bigger problem.

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  6. Nicki Says:

    Oh goodness! “I don’t feel as close using a condom” – Give me a freaking break!

    There are non-hormonal birth controls out there (like Paragard) but birth control is a decision that you should make without pressure and with much research and talk with your doctor. But if this guys so antsy to lose the condoms then I would seriously wait long enough to know for sure that he doesn’t have an STD anyway.

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    • Suspicious Says:

      @Nicki, we don’t know a lot, but one thing is an actual fact: it does NOT FEEL as close with a condom.

      Now, I think what you express disdain at is the idea that it does NOT EMOTIONALLY seem as close. If more woman think like you, then we could

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      • Suspicious Says:

        If more women thought like you, then we could get rid of these weak emotionally centered men and get back to men who only want to raw dog for the pure physical sex of it. I’m being kind of jerky and making that point.

        Still, I agree with you. In that he can wait. Hell, they can wait till they’re married. Many do. Many won’t even raw dog when they are married. There are a million ways to live. In this case I think it is a win-win for everybody. If the boyfriend really is interested in a stronger emotional connection, then he’s already hooked! She might could make him wait forever. Though, how long will this particular man wait for the opportunity to experience that sexual chemistry with her? I think I wouldn’t hold anybody’s time limit against them or devalue then because they might be more willing to take a risk or leap into that type of relationship sooner than me.

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        • fuzzilla Says:

          **If the boyfriend really is interested in a stronger emotional connection, then he’s already hooked!**

          This is what he wants her to think in order to get what he wants (as Moxie said).

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  7. Alex Says:

    If the OP is ready for consequences of not using condoms (ie, pregnancy or Std), don’t use it..

    One month is too soon to be abandoning caution to the wind.

    I’m not a feminist, but it’s her body and health. If the guy can’t accept it, it’s a red flag

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    • Sarah Says:

      “It’s her body and [her] health.”

      You’re not a feminist, but you agree with the basic tenets of feminism?

      K. Got it.

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  8. Camie Says:

    My older brother told me jokingly a long time ago that any guy who tried to get me to be with him without a condom probably had 3 STD’s and didn’t care because he had nothing to lose. I can’t take the pill for medical reasons, so I’ve never not used one or been with anyone who didn’t want to use one.

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  9. Mandy Says:

    I would tell the guy that you’re not saying it’s condoms forever, you’re saying it’s condoms for now, until you both get tested and have been together longer. And you’re also saying that hormonal birth control is just not an option for you.

    After some more time has passed you should investigate a copper iud, or using a diaphragm (I hear they’re making a comeback), and the rhythm method (if you really pay attention and do all the charting, it’s pretty effective. Nevertheless I wouldn’t do it unless I was prepared for a pregnancy if it happened).

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  10. HonestMan Says:

    I’m going to say it like it is, at least from my perspective as a man who is currently dating.

    First of all, as to ditching condoms in a monogomous, committed relationship, that’s up to each couple to decide for themselves. There are no bright-line rules to follow there. Personally, I view it as a benefit of reaching that stage with someone, and while it wouldn’t be a dealbreaker per se, it would certainly put a strain on the relationship for me if we became exclusive and continued to use condoms. But, that’s me, and i’d be sure to discuss with my potential partner before even reaching that stage, and I would never force her to do anything she wasn’t comfortable with.

    But in reality, I think that’s a distraction to the main issue here, which has been brought up in the main article and the comments: why are you exclusive after only a month of seeing each other? if I was dating someone and she brought exclusivity up at that stage, I’d end it on the spot. Why? Because it smacks of emotional neediness/clinginess, and I’m not into that at all. If I was a woman, and a guy brought it up that quickly, I’d think the same thing. Attractive men have options, and they will wait to commit until they’re sure you are the right one to commit to. If he’s committing to you exclusively after a month, I would suggest there’s something up with him to be concerned about.

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    • AnnieNonymous Says:

      I’m honestly curious and not trying to be argumentative: you say that it would cause a strain in a relationship if you couldn’t eventually stop using condoms. Are you willing to get a vasectomy? Would you take a male birth control pill if one were made available? Because going on the pill is very expensive and requires a very invasive medical exam. I would hate to think that my relationship depended on me going through something that I’m not comfortable with. You’re saying that the woman has to do all of this to be in a long-term relationship with you. And that’s abstractly fine, I suppose: everyone’s allowed to have dealbreakers. But giving up condoms puts a major onus on the woman you’re seeing, all for your benefit.

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      • HonestMan Says:

        Firstly, if there was a male birth control pill available, I would fly to my doctor and take whatever exam was necessary to get it! Even that one where they basically stick a Q-tip up the tip! And as a guy who makes his bed every day, my partner could trust me to take it every day if that’s what it took.

        Secondly, I think a vasectomy is a bad analogy. As far as I know, there is nothing definitive showing that the pill does irreversible damage to a woman’s reproductive system. A vasectomy might be reversible, but for the most part I think it permanently messes with a man’s ability to reproduce.

        Thirdly, I didn’t say it was a definite deal breaker, it would just put strain on the relationship. I’ve been on enough bad dates to know that if someone comes along and we’re really connecting, I’m not going to break it off just because of the choice of birth control. But, I can’t lie, I’d be looking at other women and wondering “hmmm, I wonder if she’s willing to take the pill?”

        And finally, it’s not all for my benefit. My partner would benefit, too. Pretty much every woman I’ve been with has said sex is better without condoms, and there are people in this post who have admitted it, too. There is something very deeply emotional about sharing those fluids with each other, not to mention the improved sensations for both.

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  11. Lisa Says:

    After you feel very confident that you are both disease free AND committed to monogamy, you can compromise. You should read the book Taking Charge of Your Fertility (or similar) and really, really start to understand your body and when you can and cannot get pregnant. I know many women who rely on natural family planning exclusively for birth control and it was been completely successful. (I used it for a while — both to avoid pregnancy and to become pregnant, and it worked perfectly.) Know your safe times and know when a condom, other barrier method or abstinence from intercourse is a must. Explain to bf that relationships eventually involve some compromising and this is going to have to be one area for both of you. He should feel plenty close to you once he begins to understand you are trusting him w/ your life. Be safe!

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    • Abby Says:

      This was my method. Use a condom at first and then after commitment and monogamy “natural family planning”. My ob/gyn refers to it as the “pull and pray” method. It worked perfectly for us when dating to not get pregnant and then after marriage to purposefully get pregnant. You just have to really understand how your individual cycle works, knowing of course, like other methods, it’s not foolproof. If your cycle is like clockwork, you’re probably fine, if your cycle is inconsistent or you have an underlying medical issue then you’ll need to take supplemental measures.

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  12. mxf Says:

    This is a super fascinating conversation to me. I spent a long, long time on the pill, and I would also be reluctant to go back on it. So far, relying on condoms while dating hasn’t been a big deal at all – sure, nobody *loves* condoms, but I find guys the age I generally date (later 30s) are also not into accidental pregnancies (STI risk plays a part too, but I have a feeling it’s the pregnancy part that is the more obvious deterrent). But I don’t know how I would handle making the transition away from condoms in a new relationship either.

    Anyone have experiences to share using the diaphragm?

    For the OP, I think the research into other methods is important, and your partner should be involved. Check the failure rates of what’s out there, and together decide what risk you’re both comfortable with. Maybe start the ball rolling with STI testing, then do some research, and keep using condoms in the interim. If your connection after a month is so strong, you should both feel comfortable not rushing this important decision.

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  13. maria Says:

    hmmm on month in? no, i wouldn’t go without protection against STD. if anything, some STD take months to show up in a test and are symptom free. I just wouldn’t be so trusting with somebody after one month, and frankly, why does he trust your health so much? I don’t think people should be paranoid but he does seem a little too reckless. we have all made mistakes but if this guy cares about you, he won’t rush you.
    I also share the same concerns about going on the pill at the age of 35. I just feel like I am too old and there have been fertility problems in my family in the past so I don’t want to rock the boat. not to mention the hormonal changes. I know people who took months to adjust to it or never adjust at all. plus i have never taken it before. for now, my bf of 6 months is the one who insists on using protection even though it may be less pleasurable for him, which I think is very considerate of him. I don’t feel like a man who pressures you like this would make a very good partner. good luck.

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  14. KK Says:

    First of all, have you both been tested? But, remember, even if you both get tested negative for everything, those results are for activity that occurred months before. In terms of STIs, bareback is not safe for you guys after one month – unless you’d both been celibate for awhile before you got together. And that is assuming you are both being honest in your exclusivity.

    You guys should look into female condoms. They are effective in the prevention of STIs and pregnancy. Make sure you feel comfortable wearing them, but it sounds like a good idea for you.

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  15. Roxy Says:

    both of you need to get tested before even thinking about going bare back.

    It’s responsible to do it regularly as a sexually active adult anyway.

    My ob/gyn friends love the intrauterine device (IUD). Make an appointment with one near you to get all the appropriate information about all types of birth control before you do anything.

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  16. fuzzilla Says:

    Sheesh, why is everybody pissing on the concept of commitment after a month?

    In this case, yes, if he’s using some arbitrary words and timeline to get what he wants, that seems kinda sketchy. Having huge expectations after only a month (marriage, buying property, making a huge move, ditching condoms) is nutty. But simply saying, “Hey, I really like you. Are we on the same page, do we want the same things? Cool, let’s see where this goes” – that’s a red flag? Really?

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    • AnnieNonymous Says:

      I think there’s a nuance that’s being lost. No one’s criticizing anyone who says, “Hey, it’s been a month and I really like you. Let’s be facebook-official.” That’s actually a somewhat normal timeline. We’re taking issue with the fact that this guy is jumping into condom-less sex way too early and is only throwing out words like “commitment” to pressure the OP into something that she clearly isn’t comfortable with.

      I wouldn’t stop using condoms after just one month, no matter how committed the relationship was, simply because it takes so freaking long to schedule gyno appointments and figure out your options, and if condoms are working for you, there’s no reason to switch that up for a relationship that’s still so new.

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      • fuzzilla Says:

        Maybe it’s semantics and it’s better to say you can be exclusive after a month but true commitment has to be earned.

        In my experience that’s a common guy move to want all the perks of a relationship without putting in the work required. “A commitment means you don’t fuck other guys, do what I want, and I carry on as usual, right? Bitchin’.”

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        • AnnieNonymous Says:

          We’re not really in disagreement. For what it’s worth, I’ve never had a problem with intimacy being lost or the moment being interrupted due to condom use. Take initiative and put it on the guy for him. That can be sexy.

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  17. bbdawg Says:

    Man, that’s some horrible pressure to be put under.
    If I were in the OP’s position I’d have a real discussion about the nuts-and-bolts of this as Moxie suggested. I’d also have some strong boundaries such as, well you can say that you are only a month in and that’s too soon. What you can suggest is something like you do an STD test *together* now and schedule a second one exactly 6 months in advance and THEN, once you get the results after the 6 month test, can you really consider all that.

    Like many have pointed out, a month is too soon to see a real commitment, AND it is too soon to tell if STDs aren’t in the system already.

    What the man is asking of the OP is a lot actually. If the price of a relationship is bareback (and with that the consequence is a potential STD) within a month that is not worth it. Although the fertility rates are lower after 35, I have a friend who got pregnant from her husband at 36 (not wanting a second baby) like that (pulling out), so not only you need to have the STD convo you need the baby convo…at ONE MONTH that is a lot.

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  18. AC Says:

    I understand the OP’s dilemma but the answer is obvious. If she wants him to wear a condom – he needs to where a condom. Done. STD’s aside, men never will have to deal with being pregnant. That alone ends the discussion.

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  19. Ben Says:

    If you have any doubts about hormonal birth control, don’t do it. That stuff can fuck with your head, and what’s insidious about it is that you don’t necessarily realize it’s doing so until you come back off of it. I don’t know why we’re so surprised that mucking with the hormones that regulate your sex drive and moods can– surprise!– muck with your sex drive and moods, but it’s very common.

    That said, if you have any doubts about letting him go bareback, don’t do that either. Maybe you know him well enough for exclusivity at one month, maybe you don’t, but you definitely don’t know him well enough to trust him to pull out or roll the dice on getting knocked up.

    That only leaves a couple of options. Condoms aren’t ideal– as a guy, I know that as well as anyone– but they may be your best one, and it’s perfectly reasonable to make the continued use of them a dealbreaker.

    Another one is the copper IUD. My sister swears by hers. It’s worth looking into if you haven’t already.

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  20. Fyodor Says:

    Talk to a doctor about your options.

    “For me, I do wonder what the pros and cons would be of using The Pill or other similar methods to prevent pregnancy. I also wonder, if you want to try to conceive in the next 5 years, how going on The Pill at your age or older will affect your ability to conceive. Is it wise to start such a method now? I’d be interested to hear what people have to say about this. How has long term use of The Pill affected your ability to conceive, your bodies, etc?”

    I wouldn’t be interested in hearing this. Why do you want to hear a bunch of anonymous Internet commenters give you their subjective impression of their own fertility? Given the dozens of factors that play into conception, how would any individual woman know if made it harder to get pregnant than it would have been otherwise?

    The OP should see an OBGYN, who can advise her about the risks and downside and has the advantage of seeing lots of patients, medical research, knowing what she’s talking about, being an identifiable person, etc.

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    • SS Says:

      Exactly. And the fact is that she’ll have close to zero fertility in 5 years time anyway. I think I read recently it’s something like a 1 or 2% chance of conception per cycle. So whatever she used would be useful for STD prevention, not birth control.

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  21. Fyodor Says:

    I should clarify that this comment specifically refers to difficulty conceiving, not the other side effects and comes across more dismissive than I intended it to be. I just think that so many people have trouble or success conceiving for so many reasons that the OP will get much more noise than signal out of soliciting comment thread advice on this topic.

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  22. The D-man Says:

    Try the female condom. You may not find it at the local drugstore but you can get them online. I’ve tried it and it’s definitely better than conventional condoms. Downside is they’re more expensive.

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  23. SS Says:

    OP – you seem concerned by the possibility of pregnancy, and yet you are 35.

    You must, surely, be keenly aware that fertility dips *exponentially* at that age. The chance of miscarriage rises to 20-35% of all pregnancies, and conception can often take 1-2 years.

    Are you perhaps looking for a tacit blessing to go bareback for one reason or another, so that when you “accidentally” get pregnant, your excuse is here in black and white for all to see and well…shucks… not *your* fault?

    You wouldn’t be the first woman of a certain age to find herself “accidentally” in that situation, and you wouldn’t be the last.

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    • bbdawg Says:

      Wait, so how come so many “women after 35″, or rather, “women of a certain age” get pregnant “accidentally” if according to you they are practically infertile?

      She just started dating a man who seems to be a bit more concerned with his sexual pleasure than with this woman’s health, either by exposing her to potential STDs or having her take the pill… and it has now become about how she is practically infertile and is now looking for an accidental pregnancy??? Wow.

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      • SS Says:

        LOL – you havent met the women and/or couples that rush to have a kid the second they hit their late thirties?! Seriously?

        They rush to get pregnant for the very reason that they are faced with their impending infertility. In fact it was even played out on the Kardashians in blazing glory for all to see.

        Nowhere in my comment did I say that women over 35 are infertile. I said that fertility decreases exponentially – this is incontrovertible fact. Perhaps you read my comment above about women over 40, and accidentally conflated the two?

        And again, I did not touch upon the STD issue whatsoever, as most people had already opined. I was just bemused by the fact that a woman with rapidly decreasing fertility was so desperately focused on not getting pregnant. Because yeah. That’s the MAIN concern she should be having in this whole scenario. /Sarcasm

        Of course I could have repeated what y’all had already said ad infinitum if that would have made you feel better?

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        • KK Says:

          This is such a shockingly condescending comment. Um, maybe she wants to prevent pregnancy because she….doesn’t want to go get pregnant. Shocking I know. Or, I don’t know, maybe she’s been with this guys a MONTH and she isn’t sure she wants him to be the father of her babies. Also, the whole “rapidly decreasing fertility after the age of 35″? That’s for the whole population. It doesn’t mean it is true for her. Maybe, yeah, it’s harder for her to get pregnant. Or maybe not. And let’s not forget. Some couples, the rush to get pregnant is because, gasp, the couple really, really wants a baby right now. It’s not necessarily about diminishing fertility.

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          • SS Says:

            Condescending? Far from it. I’ve seen it happen with such regularity for the last 30 years, I’ve started to set my watch by it. To be quite honest, I’m shocked that y’all are shocked.

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        • bbdawg Says:

          I am not the OP I have been commenting on this website for a couple of years. Just being honest, your comment was pretty shocking to read because it is condescending and not related to the story, it reads as an opportunity to knock down the OP because she is 35. And therefore should not DARE to think that she could get pregnant? Or that her body has any value beyond fertility and procreation…”hey it’s not your turn to consider the risks to YOUR body because you’re 35???”.

          And worse, (and bizarrely so), you suggest the OP is somehow planning to get pregnant on the down low because she mentioned the guy she is dating wants to go bareback???

          I just don’t know what to say.

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          • SS Says:

            “it is condescending”

            Hard to dictate tone, from text. But I’ll take it on board.

            “not related to the story”

            Well, she spoke of concern about getting pregnant… and given that ..surely we agree that fertility drops at age 35, no?.. it is relevant to her question?

            “hould not DARE to think that she could get pregnant?”

            How on earth would you divine that from my comment?

            ” that her body has any value beyond fertility and procreation”

            lol whut? My fertility days are long over. My body retains it’s value just fine. In fact I value it in ways I never did before. I expect others do the same.

            “blah blah bareback”

            Again… been seeing it with *such* regularity for the last 30 years. I mean.. I just don’t know what else to do but shrug here.

            I guess we are both lost for words at this juncture.

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      • SS Says:

        Given the tone of your comment I’ve come to realize you are likely the OP – if this is the case, please forgive any offense given as none was intended whatsoever. Just my 2 cents based on life experience.

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        • KK Says:

          I am guessing you’re speaking to me since the other commenter said he/she was not the OP.

          So, no, I did not write the original letter either. I am not sure why you would think that because I found your letter to be condescending, this means I wrote the letter

          Tone is difficult to transmit online, so maybe you didn’t mean to come acoss that way, but if two people are saying the same thing, there might be something to it. The key point is that the letter writer wasn’t asking how likely it is that she get pregnant. She was asking about preventing pregnancy. I am sure she has spoken to her doctor about fertility. Also, I would say that the desire to have children and the age people freak out about having them is a very geographic/social group kind of thing.

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          • SS Says:

            You are right – if 2 people read it that way, then yes I take it on board and for future reference. By way of elaboration – I felt that everyone else had covered the other topics. Plus I am sure the ambivalence I experienced between 35-40 entered into the scenario for sure.

            I wonder if…even at 35 I thought the world was my oyster, reproduction wise. I did not plan for the grief that struck at 40. “But you can still have a child!!” everyone cried. Yes, yes I could. But not in the traditional sense.

            The grief has dissipated but sustains to this day. So perhaps I should have approached the OP in a different way.

            If I had my last fertile days to live over, I would live them in a VERY different way. I would urge her to examine her life choices much more carefully if she ever wants children to be a long term plan.

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  24. Kyra Says:

    Being child-free, and wanting to stay that way, I will always use two forms of birth control (condom and the progesterone-only pill).

    It’s an absolute with me, if you want to get laid you’ll use a condoms. I don’t care if that makes me seem uncaring, but unless you want me to have to undergo an abortion, you’ll use a condom or we won’t get busy.

    For other women who can’t use bc for whatever reasons, I really hope that you’re able to find a method that works for you, other than the pull-out!

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  25. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    There’s no moral difference between a man “demanding” that a women use birth control of his choosing, and a woman “demanding” that a man use a birth control of her choosing.

    Honestly, commenters here constantly at war with the opposite sex who you’re in relationships with, I don’t know how anybody succeeds with that attitude.

    Also, sorry, it’s not 1965, there are tons of safe, legal and relatively cheap options for unwanted pregnancies and treatments for so-called “STDs.” Shocking, I know. Also, condoms may REDUCE the risk of STDs and pregnancy but it doesn’t follow from that the RISK of pregnancy and STD’s without condoms are high. The risks, in fact, are NOT high and one can take basic precautions and be okay. Most people overestimate their risks – usually to self justify not doing things they otherwise don’t really want to do (gets to the heart of the issue here, in my opinion.)

    Fortunately, the women I know in real life don’t seem to be this hung up on condoms. I mean, some are, obviously, but most women (people) are pretty flexible when it comes to sex – in real life, you kind of have to makes compromises a little I guess.

    Congratulations, though, to all you women who NEVER had sex without a condom. You will get the award for “most untouched vagina” when you die.

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    • SS Says:

      “Congratulations, though, to all you women who NEVER had sex without a condom. You will get the award for “most untouched vagina” when you die.”

      I spent 7 years volunteering with an HIV/AIDS charity, working as a “buddy” providing 1-1 practical and emotional support. In order to become a buddy, you had to undergo extensive and complex training about the disease, transmission, medications blah blah etc. Add that to actually spending significant personal time with someone and seeing the effects and progression of the disease up close and personal….

      My vagina is far from untouched, but other than the one boyfriend I had prior to my volunteering experience, no one has gotten near without a condom since.

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      • SS Says:

        In case the obvious needs stating: unless there is joint testing involved.

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      • DrivingMeNutes Says:

        Exactly. Your anecdotal evidence is exactly why people overestimate the risk. I do not know a single person with HIV. Obviously. If you work with HIV patients you’re going to see a lot of HIV. Doesn’t make it common. Duh?

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        • SS Says:

          Yes I do contend that most people underestimate the risk – or at least play russian roulette without even knowing the odds.

          There’s a reason why the US is always consistently listed as one of the highest STI reporters in the world, and the word “epidemic” gets thrown around on a regular basis.

          And whilst STDs are indeed treatable these days, many of which increase the risk of transmission/contracting HIV.

          You may *think* you don’t know anyone living with HIV – I certainly understand that. But prejudice is such that no one reveals it. Part of my volunteer role was providing guidance on how to navigate the work/outside world… hiding medication/doctors visits/what to say/how to act etc so that people didn’t discover +ve status. People want to believe that HIV/AIDS only happens to drug addicts/et al, but that was simply not my experience.

          Ad hominem seems the order of the day here.

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        • KK Says:

          So normally I really like what you have to say, but…I work as a counselor at a place created for HIV positive gay men, though now the clientele includes all kinds of people, including HIV negative straight men.

          The point is, you are right in the sense that we are each statistically unlikely to get HIV. It is quite difficult to get pregnant as well. I don’t know the statistics off the top of my head, but even if you are a man who has sex with men and are the receptive partner, who are the people who are at most risk for getting HIV, the actual level of risk is quite low.

          But, the risk is still there. And regardless of that, in terms of other STIs, most people do not know their status. They just don’t. Same for HIV actually, though it is not quite as bad as for other STIs. You are absolutely right that plenty of people don’t use condoms, have sex, and nothing happens. That’s great. Until one time, they don’t use condoms and something DOES happen. The more times you engage in an activity, the more likely it is that you will transmit something. Plenty of our clients, who are primarily gay men and straight women, were disease-free for years. Sex without a condom is a risk, but a lot of people ignore that.

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    • fuzzilla Says:

      I will say that my boyfriend’s son is the result of “birth control/schmirth control” magical thinking.

      I’m open to methods other than condoms in a committed relationship, but condoms are the cheapest, most readily available, and arguably most effective method of birth control. To not use any birth control “because eh, whatevs” is just plain reckless.

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  26. S.D Says:

    I’ve been researching alternatives to hormonal birth control for years. Have you heard of the symptothermal method (no, it is NOT the rhythm method)? Tracking cervical mucus, taking body temp with a basal thermometer, etc. Complicated (at least at first) and more convenient within a long-term, committed relationship. But if you’re interested…

    Here’s some info

    http://www.billingsmethod.com

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  27. Lucy Says:

    For a few years I used the pill. I’ve also used the withdrawal method a few times but took the morning after pill the next day to be absolutely sure. I’ve also taken the morning after pill 3 times when the condom has failed. I found it quite a scary thing getting the morning after pill and had no support from the boyfriends involved who just left me to deal with it on my own.

    Anyway I’m now worried about my fertility when I’m older and fed up of putting hormones in my body so I have moved on to a contraceptive implant. It was a painless procedure and the only side effects have been getting fewer periods. I haven’t been in a relationship for ages but I’m not due to have it out for about a year. I would still use condoms if in a relationship as it gives that extra level of protection. At least I wouldn’t have to panic if the condom failed.

    I’ve never had an STD but I worry way more about risks now. Nothing is 100%. My friend had a surprise pregnancy and that brought it all home to me too.

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  28. Robyn Says:

    Ever heard the old joke:
    Q:What do you call people who use the rhythm method (a.k.a. counting on your fingers) as their contraception method?
    A:Parents….

    I am living proof that the rhythm method doesn’t work very well. My Mom had 2 babies in 14 months back in the day when she was a devout Catholic… after which she got a little less devout & took the Pill because she didn’t want to have a baby every year for the next 15-20 years!

    And “pulling out”/withdrawal is even less effective than the rhythm method.

    If you’re serious about avoiding pregnancy, according to the CDC, an IUD is the most effective option (other than sterilization).
    Next most effective are the hormonal methods (“The Pill” & its variations) and the diaphragm (surprise, surprise, the diaphragm ranks better than condoms do).
    And then its condoms, withdrawal, the sponge, with “counting on your fingers” and spermicides at the end of the list (i.e. being least effective).
    See http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/UnintendedPregnancy/PDF/Contraceptive_methods_508.pdf

    If hormonal contraceptives are not an option, and you don’t want to or can’t do an IUD, then it would appear that your best bet is a diaphragm. Correctly used, of course.

    Even though at 35 you don’t have the fertility levels of a 25 or 30 year old, you are not likely to be 100% infertile.
    Until you have had the blood tests that confirm that you are 100% infertile & well into menopause, there is still a chance of pregnancy. I’ve met several women who had a “surprise” baby in their mid-to-late 40’s because they thought that a couple of missed periods meant the “factory was closed”, so they ceased taking any form of contraception. And boom-bang, 3-6 months later they were pregnant.

    Heck, my Mom had 2 babies after the age of 35 (at 38 & 40) despite contraceptive measures (diaphragm, IUD – she couldn’t take the Pill anymore for medical reasons after 35).
    The only thing that worked in the end for my parents as a 100% effective method of contraception was sterilization.

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    • S.D Says:

      I don’t know if you mentioned the Rhythm method in response to my post. If you did, I made it very clear that the SYMPTOTHERMAL method (NOT the same as rhythm) has had high rates of success around the world, especially in China. I don’t think most Americans know about this method because the Pill starts getting pushed as soon as we’re old enough to go to the gynecologist.

      People seem to confuse the two and it’s important that it be clear that the Rhythm method is NOT successful, whereas the symptothermal method is as effective as condoms if used properly. This method takes education, practice, and obviously it is not 100% effective. Making a claim like that would be ridiculous. But according to Christiane Northrup’s “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” it can be 90 to 99% effective, and again, it’s recommended primarily for women in long-term relationships.

      There is a lot of misinformation out there about success rates regarding non-hormonal methods, and partly this is because of pharma companies’ constantly pressuring us to take pills of all kinds no matter what.

      Here is more information for anyone who wants to learn about this in detail without making any misinformed judgments:

      http://ccli.org/nfp/stm-method/index.php

      http://holistichormonalhealth.com/what-is-the-sympto-thermal-method-of-fertility-awareness/

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