Thursday, May 29, 2008

Protect Yourself

From Wednesday to Wednesday, May 28-June 4, 2008, The Playground will be participating in the Fourth Youth Media Blog-a-thon hosted by YO! Youth Outlook Multimedia and WireTap. Youth bloggers– along with any bloggers dedicated to writing about youth issues and youth media – will address the topic of sex.

I lost my virginity at 16 in a less than ideal location and situation. At the time I thought I was ready. We didn’t use a condom and I wasn’t taking birth control and I had no fear that there may be consequences to my actions. Luckily I was fine. No pregnancy scare and my boyfriend at the time had not yet cheated on me.

After that first time sex became something I had to have. It was exciting and new and since we couldn’t just go in our rooms and close the door together we had to be creative about where we did it. Now I have a great list of places I’ve had sex that I can pull out during games of ten fingers.

I learned a lot about sex that first year. What I liked and didn’t like, what to do and how to do it, but I still wasn’t careful. I trusted my boyfriend completely and he later proved to be less than trustworthy which left me with more than just emotional pain. I vowed then to always use a condom even if I trusted the person. That vow was broken the very next time I had sex and the time after that. The fourth person I was safe with but only because he made it a point to use a condom. I convinced myself that since I knew the people I was sleeping with I didn’t have to worry about using a condom.

Each time I didn’t use a condom I would think in the back of my mind, “Why am I doing this? Why am I putting myself at risk?” but I didn’t stop. I would later get scared and get tested and find out that I was fine and again vow to always use a condom. At times I did it and I would feel great for asserting myself as a strong woman but other times I would just let myself fall captive to male protest. Then I would question why I was sleeping with someone that didn’t want to use a condom.

It took me a long time to figure out why I wasn’t more assertive and serious about using condoms. Most of the time I would just try and push it out of my mind and pretend like it wasn’t a big deal. Then I realized that the reason I didn’t use condoms was directly related to my fear of talking about sex with my partners. I could always talk about sex with friends with confidence but with my partners I got nervous and worried about what they would think. So if they didn’t use a condom or suggest using a condom then I didn’t either. Once I came to that conclusion and acknowledged my fear I was able to take control of it.

I recently ended an almost three year relationship. We started off using condoms but as things became more serious we stopped and that was ok with me. I truly trusted him and knew that we were committed to each other. Enough time had gone by since I was burned by my first boyfriend for me to recognize when someone was actually trustworthy.

However, now that I am in the dating scene again I have to get comfortable talking about sex with a new person and remember to stay safe and use a condom in all my sexual relationships. Especially as someone that works on the issue of comprehensive sexuality education I need to take control of my sex life just as I advise others to.

Lately I’ve been dating a man that wants to “take things slow.” Something I’m not used to at all when it comes to sex. It’s hard for me to not want it and think about it when I’m with him, but I greatly admire his ability to take it slow and take a step back. We are able to really get to know each other and think about what it is we like about each other without having sex get in the way or take up most of the time we spend together. It’s giving me time to reflect on what sex means to me and what I want in a relationship. By not having sex right away I feel like I’m allowing myself to open up to this man in a new and different way. Plus, in a way it’s like extended foreplay. And if and when we do decide to have sex I’m confident that we’ll use a condom.


Jay said...

wrap. it. up. (Dave Chappelle reference, sorry, I'm a nerd)

Great post, Licious. It's much easier to talk the talk than walk the walk...

katiedid said...

Unfortunately it really is on the girl most times to make the raincoat request. I'm constantly shocked when I hear how often my man-friends blindly assume that every girl is on the pill and that everyone takes it religiously, with no regard for sexual diseases. Good on you for discussing the awkward stuff.