T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 58955
posted 05-29-2012 01:23 PM
Facing an unexpected issue here...bit of a background -- my boyfriend and i both are 22 and have been each-other's first and exclusive sexual partners. We took our sexual relationship really slow and comfortably and only very recently started having actual penetrative sex...which is not frequent coz both of us have real busy schedules. Initially he did get condoms but our sexual encounters were few and far between, so on occassion that he didn't get any, i didn't mind it too much and we avoided the risks. Now that we have established a certain regularity and the frequency has increased, i tried talking to him to decide what contraception should we use and he said he didn't like using condoms coz he feels uncomfortable and stated that he wouldn't be getting any. He is an intelligent and caring guy but he's being incredibly annoying and stupid here. He believes that withdrawl and the natural rhythm method are good enough...i'm a med student and i know all the risks and trust me i explained...but he thinks the risks are not huge and it would be okay. True, so far we have had no issues but you never know, right? And pregnancy isn't something either of us can deal with, absolutely not. Also I'm concerned about STIs. Sure we've been first and exclusive with each-other but we haven't been tested. Where I live, for young unmarried people, sex is not a frank and open issue. Testing and contraception is easily available but we live in a close-knit community and don't want our families to find out. So just looking for the right time and place and doctor to go get tested. When he initially said that he didn't want condoms, I thought he was bothered about someone seeing him buying them, so i suggested buying online or myself getting them (even though a girl buying them is even more of a big deal here). But he still didn't agree and says he doesn't want to use them. I suggested using superthin ones but his only response is that he doesn't feel comfortable... Incidentally, he is not opposed to me taking pills! Which is something I don't want to do coz I feel a whole month of taking hormones isn't worth our one sexual encounter a month, for which a condom would suffice just as well, in addition to being safe, easy and inexpensive. But he remains adamant...and effectively finishes every further conversation i try to have about the issue. Please suggest me what i should do...i'm absolutely exasperated with this unexpected kinda-male-chauvinistic behavior of his...why must i have to make the compromise, why must i have to take care of contraception and possible risk all by myself? It's his responsibility too, right? He has anger management issues and is very impulsive, so i haven't pushed the issue hard, coz i don't wanna lose him and the sexual pleasure and compatibility we share...everything's great except this recent issue..Please help me find a way...
Member # 3
posted 05-29-2012 01:37 PM
I'm sorry to hear you're going through this.
Here's the thing, the way I see it, though: ultimately, the person who could actually have the thing happen to THEM that involves more then them gets the final word. So, he can totally take a stance that rhythm and withdrawal is good enough for him. That's fine. Unless it's not good enough for you. Since it's not, you get to say it's not good enough for you, so he's got two choices: a) he can get on board with what you, the person who could actually become pregnant needs for herself, which includes the use of condoms, or b) he could not have that kind of sex with you. And you can make clear that either of those choices are okay, no judgments, but those are the choices. If holding that line is something you don't feel able to do because you are afraid of his anger, that suggests there's more than just this problem, and really, a bigger problem of not being in a healthy relationship. Additionally, if YOU don't feel okay with either of those two choices, especially if taking sex off the table isn't something YOU are open to, then obviously you two are instead going to have to find some kind of compromise, some way to meet in the middle here. However, it really sounds like he's not open to compromise here, and personally since, again, this is about something that would impact your own life and body WAY more than his, I'd personally suggest holding a hard line here. [ 05-29-2012, 01:49 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]
Member # 58955
posted 05-29-2012 02:24 PM
Thanks Heather, your message gives me the confidence to go talk it out with him and be firm in my choices.
Here's something that I didn't manage to get -- you said that "he can totally take a stance that rhythm and withdrawal is good enough for him. That's fine."...does this mean that in the situation here, rhythm and withdrawal form a sufficient method of contraception? Coz almost everywhere in the articles on Scarleteen, I've read that a barrier or chemical method is absolutely necessary...Maybe I interpreted your sentence wrong, I'm just confused... I know the relationship is a bit unhealthy here...I have often adjusted and compromised to his demands...but as I see it, that's coz I need him more than he needs me. Mostly I'm okay with that fact, coz where I live, if I don't make it work with him, the only other alternative for me would be to be married off to a guy my parents would choose for me, and whom I wouldn't be given the chance to really know before having to make a decision. It's pathetic, but that's how it goes here. Even if that future hypothetical guy fulfills me emotionally, having a complete sexual compatibility with him would be something i may or may not get. 'May not' sounds more like it. I am a person for whom sex is very important and very much a major aspect...the kind of compatibility and pleasure i share with this guy right now, i don't want to lose that. Of course, it's not just sex...we've known each-other since we were in 7th grade...and have been best friends before lovers...I am very much in love with him...so you see, i HAVE to make it work with him...maybe that's why i've ended up agreeing to most of the compromises he asks for, for the five years of our relationship. So this is the thing about the reluctant-to-confront-him problem. I hope i'll be able to hold my stance and get him to agree on some middle path...do you have any specific advice on how to approach the issue...should i talk about it as in the serious alarming "We need to talk" manner...should i bring it up just after sex when he is in the most amenable and loving of moods...what is most likely to work, in your opinion...? Thanks
Member # 3
posted 05-29-2012 03:03 PM
What I meant was that everyone gets to decide what level of risk (or not) they're comfortable with for themselves.
So, that combination? Some people are comfortable with the level of effectiveness it provides, with how it practically goes to use it, etc. Others? Aren't. He is. He gets to be. And if he has a partner who is too, then that's hunky-dory. But as of right now, that's not what's going on. You are his partner, and you are not comfortable with those two methods, for a host of reasons, including that yes: of any two we could combine, that's one of the least effective combinations, especially in typical use. Make sense? It sounds to me, too, like it might be wise for you to try and think about what kind of relationship you really want, especially since you have more options than him or who your parents choose. You have the option of a different partner, you have the option of no partner. I get that everyone's circumstances about what these choices mean or could cost are different, and one of those differences is cultural factors. I'd also pitch in that when it comes to the long-term, sexual attraction and compatibility is one of the things most likely to change or shift, even if those shifts and changes come back round sometimes: in other words, it ebbs and flows, so being very compatible as partners now (though it doesn't really sound like you are) doesn't mean you always will be. In fact, I suspect that the underlying things with this particular struggle you brought up will likely have an impact on how much you actually want to sleep with this guy should they go on and cement, you know? To boot, there being only one dude in the whole world you could be attracted to and have great sex with strikes me as about as likely as any of us finding there is only one person in the whole world we could have a great friendship with. So, I don't think you HAVE to make it work with him, but perhaps more to the point, I think if you get stuck in that mindset it's going to be awfully hard to really have an equal voice in the relationship and really build something that makes and keeps you happy over time. Mindsets of scarcity economy tend to pretty much guarantee none of us can make our best choices. Per how to bring it up, personally, I'd be direct. If you have set a precedent of not holding your own lines and always yielding, correcting that is going to be tough work, and will likely require you take a firm stance from here on out. And I'd not suggest having serious conversations like this about sex just before during or after sex, no. I'd suggest having them in a more neutral emotional spot and without trying to...well, kind of manipulate things emotionally, which picking after sex kind of sounds like it would be. Again, a big part of the goal here is a healthy relationship, and that kind of intent to me doesn't sound supportive of healthy dynamics. [ 05-29-2012, 03:26 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]