Dater X: A Matter Of Trust

Who knew that the Internetz had so many opinions about whose dicks I do or do not put in my mouth??

Last week’s “Blowjobs Are for Boyfriends” pronouncement was unexpectedly controversial – at least, unexpectedly to me – and it got me thinking about why I “withhold” (if you can call it that) fellatio from casual partners. The reason is actually simple: I don’t see the point of blowing a guy through a condom, and I won’t put anyone’s dick inside me without one, mouth or elsewhere, unless we have discussed our STI and HIV status and committed to each other exclusively. And for a very good, very concrete reason, which we’ll discuss in a moment.

But speaking of exclusivity, first let’s delve into something I don’t think I’ve done justice to here: why I decided to cast in my lot with The Big Easy.

Let me start by saying that he knows why, which is really all that’s important to me. And while there are several factors at play here (including, yes, that I am in my 30s and ready, as I have written, to be in a serious relationship), the biggest factor of all is that I fucking love being around him.  He has a sly, silly sense of humor that delights me because it so often catches me by surprise, inspiring belly laughs on crowded trains as strangers glare at the happy noise I can’t help making. He is thoughtful in a way that I’ve never known before: the other morning, I got out of bed feeling cranky about our very busy upcoming day and got into the shower alone. A few minutes later, a hand reached around the curtain holding a spoonful of ice cream, which he popped into my mouth while I rinsed the conditioner out of my hair.  When we differ (which we do, on some pretty controversial things – hellooooooo, politics!), he listens to what I have to say and offers his own opinions in a way that feels productive, not combative.

He has gone out of his way to fit into my very busy life, learning to coach a base at my softball games and spending the night in my apartment even though my pet aggravates his allergies. But he has also gone out of his way to make room for me in his life, introducing me to his friends, loaning me books he loves, and crossing the state line to collect me at the bus terminal just to ride right back when I come out to spend the night.  He is confident and sure of himself in a way that’s incredibly sexy. And just this weekend, he was by my side at my softball teammate’s wedding – a wedding that the bride and groom personally invited him to, because as the bride told me before handing him the embossed invitation that put a massive smile on his face, “He already feels like a part of the family.”

I’m not here to say that every relationship is like this.  I’ve certainly never had one like this before. But the best I can do is keep telling you my story as I’m living it, and I hope the above helps give you some idea of why this dizzily happy girl decided to start calling – and keep calling – The Big Easy her boyfriend, less than two months after meeting him on The Best Worst First Date Ever.

But back to blowjobs! Well, kind of. More specifically, back to why I don’t give blowjobs or engage in other sex acts without a condom. This is a “losing my virginity” story, and it is a doozy.

When I got to college as a 17-year-old virgin in the city for the first time, I quickly fell for The Artist. He was quiet and bright and we had several classes together; during debates, he had interesting things to say, and he appealed to a certain romantic idea I’d always had about my First Real Boyfriend that, 14 years later, is really just embarrassing (there was much clove-smoking and brooding, and even his oh-so-edgy self-confessed “bisexuality” wasn’t enough to scare me off). But there I was, young and more naïve than I care to admit, and when it turned out that he was interested in me, too, well – let’s just say that I saw stars, as teenagers are wont to do.

The Artist and I dated for several months before we slept together for the first time, and when we did, it was exciting – I was a virgin, which I told him, and he was too. Or he kind of was. Because three days after losing my virginity to him, he called me up to say that he had had oral and anal sex with a man a week before sleeping with me. That man had reached out the day after we slept together to disclose that he was HIV positive and suggest that The Artist get himself tested. The Artist was calling from a pay phone in the next state to let me know that he was on his bike (that’s bicycle, not motorcycle) and headed to New Orleans to start a new life, and that I should probably consider getting tested, as well.

Did I mention that this was 14 years ago, when HIV tests took several days and weren’t considered reliable for six months to a year after transmission?

The Artist was eventually collected by his father at a rest stop somewhere in Delaware and returned to school, and no, as it turned out, neither of us was HIV-positive, though the ensuing year of celibacy and waiting for test results every month or so made a hell of an impression on me. I realized something clearly and painfully: sex was not something for which I was willing to risk my beautiful, precious life. Especially not for a partner who wasn’t a significant part of it. After all, The Artist was my boyfriend, and even he wasn’t truthful about what else he was doing that could affect my health and my life.

Since then, Blowjobs Have Been for Boyfriends here in Dater X-Ville.  Boyfriends who talk honestly and openly about their past and mine, and who I feel that I can trust. And yes, before you ask: I feel that I can trust The Big Easy.