Another C Word: Condoms

I was talking to a friend of mine over in Adelaide. In the course of our conversation, J started teasing me about the age difference between myself and P. I said that in 5 years, it wouldn’t be as bad. J was surprised that I was thinking that far ahead. Apparently last time we spoke, I gave the impression that I was unhappy and thus, going to break up with P. And glancing over my posts, yes, there’s doubt, and in healthy amounts too. Why do I stay? There’s a few different reasons.

Foremost, I know P loves me. P can be very considerate. One example of that is the insistence on safe sex. We’ve never had sex without a condom. I’ve asked and tried to cajole P into no condoms to no avail. I’ve teased, I’ve begged, I’ve coaxed and I’ve wheedled. Despite my attempts, P has steadfastly refused. I’m not that desperate for it to be bare. I can be a bit …obsessive though. Last night, when things were starting to get heated, P told me very unexpectedly that some test results had come back; P is completely clear of all STIs including HIV. I teased back, “…Ok. Considering some of the things we’ve done, I should hope so.” With a slight grin, P said that if I wanted, we could do things without a condom. And we did.

I hadn’t really thought about it till then, but I am glad and thankful that P resisted and waited till we knew for sure. It’s a reality that people have STIs unknowingly or otherwise. There are people who don’t know how to have safe sex, or worse still, know and choose to disregard that knowledge.

I have a confession and I don’t really care if it reflects badly on my parents. My parents chose to keep my siblings and I out of the sexual education classes when it came time. I can respect that they wanted to protect us from sexual things before it had to happen, that they had their morals and stuck to them. And it’s true, I think children are exposed to things of a sexual nature far earlier than reasonable. My parents did try to have the talk with me, but I knew what was coming and pretended I was au fait with it all, you know, Mum being a nurse and all.

So you can imagine why just once, the very first time without a condom and suddenly, the realisation struck me,

“Oh. That’s why no one wants to wear a condom.”

It also helped me understand how, without any sexual education, someone might come to hypothesise that extra-attentive cleansing and washing might prevent pregnancy. Gosh I’m glad I went and read up on my own.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, be safe. Condoms aren’t the end of the world, even though they taste funny. In fact, they make things a little easier in terms of clean up. But when you’re with someone and have absolute confidence and evidence that they’re clean, having that reassurance makes what follows that much better. I guess that could be one possible point of differentiation between fucking and doing something that goes beyond sex.

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Without a Leg to Stand On

When a relationship is new… actually, back up. When you first start seeing someone, before it’s labelled anything at all, you’re on best behaviour. You do your best to look good. I mean things like paying extra to get your hair trimmed/styled so it’s decent even though you’re not due for another 2 weeks, you use the exfoliating scrub, and you make sure it’s clean not just under the nails but your bellybutton too. But once this whatever-it-is becomes something, you get more confident and you start to relax. This might evidence itself in a few different ways.

  1. Physical appearance. You might notice your hair is a bit flat or that you don’t have on the scent you know they like. You aren’t going to rush home and fix it because this isn’t a big deal. This state of “not giving a crap” isn’t a bad thing. It’s hardly pragmatic to try and always look perfect. Frankly, it’d be exhausting.
  2. Actions. You might deny that your body has the capability of producing farts. Well, pull out the beans and pull up the sheets for a dutch-oven because you’re going to let one rip eventually. I’m joking. Because those are gross. Mind you, it took me just under 1.5 years before I felt comfortable doing a #2 at P’s house. I did it while P took a shower, flushed 3 times, sprayed air freshener, flushed again, and then ran back to the couch.
  3. What you say. Again, this can be a good thing. No one wants someone who agrees with them on everything. Jeez that would be a boring conversation. But once you’re comfortable enough to call someone on their crap, that’s tricky.

After P&I went for dinner with my work mates, we were chatting before we got into our cars. P said, “I don’t know how much [LS] is doing, if any. I’m not seeing much get done.” I didn’t say anything. I seethed and kept it inside. Ok, it’s true, I haven’t been nearly as focussed or productive as I need to be. But you know what, I’d prefer that you didn’t make me look bad in front of my work friends. I went back into P’s to pick something up and made to leave. P had originally said probably no sleepover that night, which is fair enough. I honestly didn’t mind. But then he asked,

P: Aren’t you staying?

me: No.

P: Well, would you like to stay?

me: No, that’s ok.

P: You can stay if you want, I don’t mind.

me: No thanks. I’m fine.

And I drove off. I talked to my erstwhile supervisor N, who I became friends with even before we stopped working together, who had also been there at the dinner. N rightly pointed out, regardless of whether it was true or not, that P would be unlikely to see me study. Why would you go over to your partner’s house to study? It’s to see them. So I got over myself.

But then, last night, I went to go see Star Trek Into Darkness with P and two of P’s good friends. It was really good and I enjoyed it. Don’t worry, no spoilers. Anyway, when we were picking up tickets and then again in the car ride home, P said something similar to his friends. Again, I didn’t say anything. But what the hell. I’m right here! At mine, P came in to pick up a cake tin I’d borrowed.

P: Will I see you tomorrow?

me: Uh… no? I have study group in the morning remember? And I have to study.

P: Oh. Well, ok, I’ll see you during the week, alright?

I don’t know. What do I have to say or do to give the impression that I do study? I’ve gone upstairs and studied while P watched TV. In fact, last time, P was having a look on dating websites. I didn’t say anything, but P said, “I just like to have a look.” I’ve known P’s had wandering eyes, but so long as it doesn’t go anywhere… This sounds really bad. Other times, P says such lovely and unexpected things. Yesterday morning when we were in the bathroom about to step into the shower, I felt P’s arms wrap around me and heard a murmur of, “To me, you’re perfect.”

I’m confused. Right now, my emotions are wild and I don’t dare follow those thought processes too far. I wish I could be like Spock and better control my emotions; really, that’s just emotional intelligence. It’s not suppression, but acknowledging feelings I have while not being ruled by them.

Can I not have the sniping comments and jabs? I want to say something, to stand up and assert myself. But P’s right. That’s why I’ve kept silent this entire time. In my mind, if I get back on track with my notes and study schedule, then I can say something. Otherwise I don’t have a leg to stand on.

Or am I wrong?

Where’s the Line?

I think western society (very generally speaking) pushes a lot of boundaries. Sometimes that’s a good thing, like when it’s to challenge certain inequalities. Sometimes, certain boundaries are better left in place. Normally, I have a healthy respect for existing boundaries, particularly personal ones.

5 or 6 years ago, I had my boundaries pushed quite far. K was the second person I’d ever fooled around with, and certainly possessed a sharp tongue. K would say some truly appalling things, smirk at me and give me an appraising look to see if I’d rise to the bait. And I mean along the lines of, “those stupid fags” and regularly mocking the Asian accent. Interestingly, K never wanted to try full penetrative sex. Rather vehemently, K said, “I’ve been fucked over and I don’t want to do that to anyone else.” Oook…

If you asked me then if I’d ever push someone’s boundaries for the sake of it, I’d immediately answer with a horrified, “No!” But here we are.

Today in lab, we were doing a few different activities. M, who has given a flirty vibe since Day 1, immediately sat next to me and said, “Partners?” (Note: this is a different M to the one who sends unwelcome texts. This M is Australian, not North American.) The activities included testing the ability to discriminate distinct touch, temperatures, taste and proprioception. All very touchy-feely. I thought to myself, “Stuff it.” and went for it. I made sure M kept the blindfold on for the entire 2 hours. I subtly stroked M’s wrist with one hand while using the compass. I intermittently brushed my inner forearm against M’s leg when testing styluses against the skin with different temperatures. I grazed M’s cheek and jaw with my left hand when I held it still and put the different solutions on the tongue. I blatantly flirted by pouring a solution of quinine all over M’s tongue, ducking out of the way, laughing teasingly and rubbing M’s back.

Do I feel guilty? Not really. It was a low-budget lab.

But was that cheating? (vis-a-vis my last post)

Good question. Well… M is cute, there’s no denying that.

  1. What was my motivation for doing what I did? To see how far I could push the boundaries and see the results.
  2. Should I have done it? Probably not, but it was pretty fun. Particularly when I saw a certain someone else get a bit jealous and engage in a bit of physical flirting too. J does have a boyfriend, though he’s in Melbourne.
  3. Have I led M on to think that this could be something? I don’t think so, M knew what was going on and played along just the same.

Can bantering that ever so slightly verges on flirting (ok, not at all in this case) be considered crossing the line? In this case, M is happy to give mixed signals and knows the game. I’m never going to get involved beyond lighthearted fun. If both parties have full knowledge of the situation and there are virtually no consequences… is that so bad?

What do you think?

Confessions – P vs. G

Confession time.

Despite all the fun (of any description) I have with P, getting all the cuddles and affection I could want, and exchanging verbal affirmations of that love, sometimes I feel alone. or at least, unhappy, maybe dissatisfied.

I went for drinks last night. I drove 4 other uni mates from their college residence after much faffing about over where we were going and what time we were starting. Can I just say, big groups of say, more than 4-5 people meeting up for a drink can be such a hassle when no one is decisive? Anyway, one of the people who came was G. I spent a not insignificant amount of time noticing how good G smelled and thinking about running my fingers through G’s hair. G’s outfit was not attractive at all; it was rather the opposite. G is a frustration, a dilemma. I try and make conversation, and I get nothing. It’s maddening, when the other person doesn’t give anything back in return. What do I care if someone else is interested in G? I don’t even know why I’m so intrigued.

I should say, G is not the same gender as P. This is causing some inner consternation, though there would be more if this was the first time.

I kept going. I went into another bar despite wanting to go to bed, smiled, laughed, had another drink, and made conversation. Then I ran like hell for the parking garage when I realised it was 12:20 and remembered the gates shut at 12:30. I drove for 10 minutes, had a glass of water with a Panadeine Extra, brushed my teeth, and slipped into bed next to P.

Is it so wrong to wonder? It could be. Do you know why girls love The Notebook? Because it’s emotional porn. One of my female friends once told me that she’d flirted and gotten emotionally attached to some guy even though she had a boyfriend. Technically, she didn’t cheat on her then boyfriend. But did they stay together? No.

~

Maybe I’m just stressed out by exams with only 3 weeks of uni left and I’m projecting by creating tension where there isn’t any and focussing on that instead of the very real challenge ahead. Maybe … I shirk at thinking of the alternative if it isn’t. I wish I knew what the hell I was doing.

I’m going to be sensible, focus on study, starting running after my week break, and see how I feel once these damn exams are over. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, feelings are fickle and can change. A little caution never hurt.

Making An Effort

My dad flew back to North America recently. It was P’s birthday a few days later. After 6-7 weeks of parental hovering, I was overdue for some fun. I mean, finally, a point where I wasn’t given the third degree on what I was doing, who I was going with, how long I was going to be, queries on why I wasn’t studying….

GOOD GOD I HAVE A PROFESSIONAL DEGREE!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have tried to assert myself beforehand, saying that if I failed this second one, it was on me. After all, I’m paying for it. But my dad has this inexorable persistence. So that left me with one choice when Dad left: spend craploads of time at P’s. I think I overdosed a bit.

  • We went for Korean for birthday lunch.
  • Dinner with my workmates, then had waffles for dessert.
  • For P’s birthday dinner, everyone came over for some champagne and cheese. I know it’s usually wine, but it’s not my birthday. Besides, I got told off for nearly cutting the nose off the cheese. Oops. “Dragged up” was how P put it, teasingly. And then we went for some delicious French food. But I was so full by the main, I couldn’t finish the ratatouille. And this is odd for me. I usually eat everything bar garnish. Hello, I’ve said it before, what’s the point of running if you can’t eat what you want?
  • Sleeping over nearly the entire weekend.

Now with exams looming, I’m getting organised. It’s nose to the grindstone, it’s crunchtime, it’s go-time, it’s non-stop, it’s DEFCON-1.

The invitations to go for drinks, for dim sum, to hit the running track with a uni mate.. they’re still coming.

I’m realising there’s a certain wisdom to my dad’s strict discipline:

The cost involved is always greater than what you think it is.

Lunch is more than the 2 hours to order. It’s travel time, it’s parking, it’s attention elsewhere. Star Trek Into Darkness this Thursday with P and P’s best mate is going to be more than a 2.5 hour movie. I’m going to be thrilled, my senses heightened… how am I supposed to come down from that and get my game-face on for study? Could I study after? No. That’s why I’m going to see it later at night, then sleep.

I’ve calculated the number of hours I need just to finish my notes (never mind studying them!) and doing my readings. All of a sudden, there’s that much more impetus NOT to go to lunch with my frenemy. I’ll write about that another time.

My dad was right. Dammit, how does this always happen? I can do this, I can say no. They will be there for me after my exams. Delaying gratification! I’m doing better with time management though. I’ve scheduled study for each day for the next 7 weeks till exams are over. I’ve studied from 8 to 6 today, with breaks for lunch and dinner. That schedule still has room for me to have drinks in the city at 9 with uni mates. Don’t make that face, I’m staying for 1 hour and then to bed! Promise.