Anyone over the age of 13 ought to know that sex can have consequences.
We all know you can get pregnant, get a disease, blah, blah, blah, that safe sex isn’t1 and that contraception is not always perfect.
Do you ever talk about this sort of thing with your partners? If you don’t/haven’t, please do.
Things that it would be helpful to discuss openly with any partner that might be affected in a poly situation:
What do we agree to do if there is an unexpected pregnancy?
Remember this is not necessarily just between two people. If there are other long-term partners, especially legal spouses and/or other children, involved it’s going to affect a lot of lives. The adults in the situation need to sit down and make sure that everyone knows how everyone else feels so that intelligence plans can be made. If none of you are parents, talk to people who are — especially poly parents. Things you think would be big issues when you’re childless might not be, and things you think are trivial aren’t. Talk. Discuss. Get information.
Also, it’s important to take something into account: Sometimes pregnancy can trip some very visceral responses in a woman, especially when it’s her first pregnancy. If you find yourself in this position, please keep in mind that you’re bound by agreements you make. Yes, I am alluding to the fact that if you agree not to have a child in the case of an unexpected pregnancy and then change your mind about it, it’s pretty tacky to demand that the father be involved with time and/or money. Ultimately it’s your choice, but put on your big girl panties about it and let it be your choice.
If you’re a guy and you’re not interested in more children, and want the pregnancy to be terminated in case of an accident, make sure you have on your big boy pants, too, and be diligent about the birth control as well as choosing not to have sex partners where you think they may be unsure. Ideally, get snipped. I’m hoping everyone’s being loving here. It’s not loving not to let partners know how you feel and why, then step up to the plate and take responsibility for those feelings’ consequences. ‘Kay?
Decide on what you consider is intelligent risk management in terms of STDs.
I like this article very much, and really encourage you to check it out. It’s incredibly sensible and doesn’t sugar coat, but isn’t a Chicken Little type STD article either. Check out all the links down the right sidebar, too. Good stuff. This is better than anything I could write, so I’m not going to bother to reinvent the wheel.
If someone does get an STD, how will you handle it? How do you plan to tell everyone who needs to know. (Hint: If you’re having sex with them, you need to tell them. Then they need to tell everyone they’re having sex with and so on… Got it? Not telling someone is being a damn’ asshole. Don’t do that).
If you’re interested in being loving, you need to talk stuff out first. That whole “swept away in the heat of the moment” seems great for a movie. But do you really think your life should be a good movie script?2 More to the point, would you wish that on people you love?
1 There are those who refer to risk management when it comes to sex and disease as “safer sex” as the more accurate term. Nothing’s perfect.
2As a writer of fiction, I sure as hell hope not. Good fiction means torturing your characters!
11 thoughts on “Before You Do the Deed!”
In the visceral response category – it’s very difficult to predict how anyone will react- fathers too .
So I’d suggest that while adults ARE bound to their agreements, it’s also important to err on the side of love…
If you’ved promised a certain level of support- by all means provide it.
But if you’ve promised to stay away IF, or to NOT be a parent if..
and you’ve changed your mind- it’s NEVER wrong to communicate that.
It may not change anyone’s mind, and certainly don’t use your new feelings as a bludgeon, but DO communicate how you feel !
The point about telling those who need to know when contraception fails or you’ve behaved in a riskier manner than you’ve already negotiated (and you did negotiate this out beforehand, right?) is one well worth making.
Having put on the Dunce’s Cap and had to tell those around that they should get tested just to be sure and safe (everyone tested negative for those whole potential shooting match of STIs thankfully) I can say that while I may not have been flavour of the month when I had to sit down and talk it out, my honesty was duly appreciated, at least.
Ahh.. so this is why all the increased traffic to my website 🙂 Thanks a bunch for the link and the compliments on my article. And thanks for addressing this very important topic.
While it may be tacky for a woman to decide that an abortion is not actually a good choice for her, if a person fathers a child, regardless of previous agreements, he is legally obligated to provide for that child (I would argue ethically obligated as well). It’s a child’s legal right to at least financial support from his/her father, and it is tacky and, to me, disgusting, for a man to refuse to support a kid that *he* brought into this world too because the kid’s mom went back on her word.
Choice, IMHO …
If it were really about ‘my body, my choice’ :
f it were about bodies, we’d be fine with whatever choices men made that are money centered – because we have that same right- we DO get the choice over our bodies, we WANT the choice over men’s wallets.
Men should be allowed choice as well- the choice to step away from the responsibility of parenthood , heck, with a legal notification of impending ‘you’re gonna be a dad’ and 90 days to fish or cut bait would be fine by me, even !
But choice isn’t always really about our bodies – deep down it’s about some inherent right to make a life altering decision for 3 people, by ONE person.
If the child mattered most, giving a child up for an open adoptions is a very loving choice- but it’s emotionally VERY difficult.
That’s not about best interests of the child either. It’s emotional – and there is nothing better in the world than love – but it’s STILL emotional blackmail to insist that men have no right to choice over their wallets, while we pretend it’s about our bodies.
Ladies, while this comment is ancient, it is clearly still getting replies, so I’m going to put my two cents here for future readers.
And good grief, my friends… It takes two to tango. If a guy wants to not risk becoming a father he absolutely has the option to choose NOT TO PUT HIS DICK IN ANYONE.
Child support laws recognise the fact that (barring unproven religious miracles) it takes two sets of chromosomes to make a human baby, and that baby has a right to be supported by both providers of those chromosomes.
It’s not about the father’s choices, it’s not about the mother’s choices, it’s about the third human being in this situation, the fricking CHILD, who has had NO choice to be around or not, and deserves support from BOTH of the people who brought it into being. It’s about taking responsibility for your actions towards someone (again, the BABY) who has no choice about existing or not. This is why, even though it is a rare situation where a mother isn’t the primary carer, child support laws apply regardless of gender.
If you have the privilege of being able to choose not to accept financial support for an unplanned child, go you, but to condemn x number of children to poverty because you feel men shouldn’t have to think before they fuck? I really don’t think you’ve thought that through.
In my experience, I’ve been amazed at how squeamish or vague otherwise rational, communicative adults can get about discussing safer sex and STD issues. Especially about discussing sexual history, prior or current STDs, and (in poly situations) risk factors or concerns of other partners.
And I’m even more amazed at how many people think “just use a condom during vaginal/anal intercourse” is all there is to safer sex.
– Amy Gahran
Kit, I’m glad to know I’m not the only female to feel that way..
Kit and “A” ~ *yes*!
lynelle ~ another female who’s felt alone about that.
The link to the STD article doesn’t work any more. Do you know where else I might be able to find it?
I’m going to have to get back to you on that. It looks like her domain has been hijacked.