This is one of those posts where I feel I have to tell you something because it was such an obvious trend in the last week. I heard the same thing from two friends. And three people in a Facebook group. And two women conversing at a local tea shop (sorry! I was eavesdropping!). I read a story online with the same thing. I took to making a little mark in my phone’s ‘Notes’ app when I heard one of these near-similar stories from mid-life women, and all in all, there were twelve!
And when that happens, I feel like Life is tapping me on the shoulder, saying, ‘Pay attention!’ So here it is: they were all talking about not using condoms during sex and how they got an STI or an STI scare. (STI: Sexually Transmitted Infection.)
And the one thing I heard in most of these conversations was this phrase, “I thought I was with a nice person.”
Woman, we have got to talk. So, let’s get down to two very important things here.
First: if you are in a non-manogamous relationship, even in mid-life, you need to be using condoms to protect yourself from STIs. (And in the case of HIV, extra lube will help keep micro-tears in your vagina from making an entrance for the infection to take hold.) I don’t care how hot he is. I don’t care how hot you are. I don’t care if the sex between you would actually melt the latex the condom is made of. Put it on. All the time. Every time.
I know you know this. And I know you’re having fun. And I know the Sex Surge can make you do stupid shit. Or maybe you’re newly divorced and playing the field again. Or maybe you finally got the ‘weekend pass’ you wanted or decided to try that three-way. The situation doesn’t really matter. You need to be protected from STIs.
Here’s the thing: society, and maybe even ourselves, doesn’t expect mid-life women to be having a lot of sex. Much less sex as a single person or outside of a marriage. How are mid-life women portrayed in just about every movie and TV show? Too stressed or frigid for sex. But that is so far from the truth- especially if you are in the Sex Surge. So, please do not let less-than-sexy social expectations ride roughshod over your physical health. Have the sex. Use the condoms.
Second: whether or not one gets or carries an STI has zero to do with their ‘niceness’ or value as a human being. When I was doing my Master’s in Social Work internship, I worked for a year in an HIV and infectious diseases clinic. People from all walks of life get HIV and other infections. All ages. All kinds of cultural backgrounds. And a lot of them are really, really nice people.
Which is also to say: if you have an STI, you are also still a ‘nice’ person. You just happen to be a nice person with and STI. Having an sexually transmitted infection does not change who you inherently are.
Infections are opportunistic little jerks. They only want a doorway to walk through. They do not care if you are nice or mean, white or brown (or any other level of melanin), rich or poor. They just care if there is doorway or a barrier. So make sure there is a barrier, please.
To be honest, mid-life is a whole new realm of sexual expression, even if you aren’t in the Sex Surge. Maybe you’ve got zero libido (and that’s different than when you were 20!). Maybe you’re only hungry for it near your period (instead of near to ovulation). Our bodies are changing, and so is our sex. But we must protect ourselves from STIs if we’re having sex outside of a monogamous relationship.
Sisters, I love you and I want your body to stay healthy. I do not want you to be someone in a Facebook group, or at a tea shop, talking about how you unexpectedly got an STI at 47. These are things you can avoid. There are hot ways to put on a condom (and fun ways! God knows, learning how to humorously and gracefully remove pubic hair from your mouth during sex is a rite of passage for everyone- so is learning to put on a condom and have fun with the process). And there are other ways to be irresponsible and rebellious if you’re feeling like that needs to be part of your sexual play.
Please, take good care of yourself. Have the most hot, delicious, fun sex you can- with protection.
::: ::: ::: :::
Super funny side note: I saw a picture of my FF earlier this week (his wife [?] Facebook stalked me on Sunday night, so I stalked her right back). It was one of the most tension-filled photos I’ve seen, and my first thought upon seeing him was, “I was attracted to that?!?!” Ha! I am, once again, glad I never did anything with him. He’s really not attractive to me anymore. Which in my book is a giant win. And this also shows what the power of time, intention, and healing can do.