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Sex and birth control: Share and share alike 

Husband should agree to split up the responsibility

I am a heterosexual female. My husband hates condoms. When we started being exclusive and monogamous, we were both fully screened for STDs and I went on the pill. That was four years ago. Since then, I have been through eight different versions of the pill. My current one gives me a two-week period, I have gained about 25 pounds in two months, and I am more moody. My doctor just prescribed me a new pill that will likely increase my weight and make me even moodier, but it should decrease the length of the period. I am sick of this! I think my husband should suck it up and wear a condom.

He is completely resistant. It is ironic that the pill protects me from pregnancy if I have sex, but we're having less sex due to the weight gain, bloating, bleeding, no sex drive, and other side effects. My doctor does not think other options for birth control (e.g., an intrauterine device) will be a good fit for me. Should I continue on the pill or tell my husband that if he wants sex, he has to share responsibility in avoiding pregnancy?

Tired Of Pills

Shared responsibility.

And you can keep having sex without pills, condoms, or pregnancies. There's oral (his-and-hers), anal (ditto), and mutual masturbation (underrated). But if it's vaginal intercourse he wants, then he'll have to get used to condoms. Some women can't take hormonal birth control, and your husband is married to one.

I was upset by the letter in last week's column about the devotee who posted pictures of her disabled girlfriend's body and wheelchair online without permission ("Hopelessly 'devotee,'" July 26). I cannot speak for all devotees, but I was disgusted by the behavior of GIMP's girlfriend. I do not date people solely for their bodies and would never see my partner as "just a body," or post pictures of them online. As a devotee, I do find particular disabled bodies more attractive and sexually appealing than most "able" bodies. But physical attraction is only a starting point. In order for a relationship to move forward, there must be attraction on other levels and compatibility on an interpersonal level, and there must always be mutual respect. I wanted to put this perspective out there for people who, like GIMP, are wary of devotees. I'm sorry this happened to her. In any "group," there will be people who are perverted and disrespectful. But when a devotee acts up, it contributes negatively to an already largely misunderstood attraction.

Good Dev In Canada

A programming note: People typically write to me when someone has done them wrong or when they've done someone wrong. When the bad actor in a particular situation is someone like a devotee — the kind of person who is unlikely to be out to friends and family members about their deeply stigmatized sexual identity and/or interest — my readers can't weigh what they're learning about this one particular devotee against what they know about the other devotees they know and love ... because the other devotees they know and love aren't out to them about being devotees. It's something to bear in mind, gentle readers, when someone with a rare or deeply stigmatized sexual interest makes an appearance in the column. Remember: GIMP's girlfriend doesn't represent all devotees.

With that said...

GIMP's letter appears to have been a fake. There's a disturbed person lurking on the Web who pretends to be a woman in a wheelchair, as a number of readers wrote to inform me, and this person has peddled the exact same story before. A fake letter is going to make its way into the column from time to time — there's no way to verify every letter — and as every question that does make the column is a good hypothetical to every Savage Love reader save one, I try not to get too worked up about the odd fake question. But it is a problem when a fake question contributes to the negative public perception of a group of people whose sexual desires are already so stigmatized.

While the news that GIMP's letter is fake will come as a comfort to everyone who thought my advice for GIMP sucked, it's cold comfort for all the good and decent devotees out there who had to see yet another story about a shitty — and, in this case, completely fictitious — devotee make it into print. My apologies.

CONFIDENTIAL TO EVERYONE: Make porn! Details on HUMP! — the annual porn festival that I host in Seattle and Portland — are here: www.humpseattle.com. Films are limited to five minutes in length, they don't wind up on the Internet, and you don't have to live in the Pacific Northwest to submit to HUMP! And this year's grand prize is $5,000!

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