College Advice: Lots of Bloody Sex
Ever since I was 14, I’ve been cursed with unusually long and heavy periods. The bleeding often lasts three weeks or longer, and I go through multiple boxes of tampons in a single cycle. Of course I’ve discussed this with my gynecologist, who has examined me thoroughly and assures me that nothing is wrong with me — this is just the way my body is built. Seasonique birth control pills (which purport to stop your period for three months at a time) helped a little for a while, but now they’ve stopped working altogether. I’m about to enter my fourth week of bleeding right now, and since my placebo week isn’t for another two weeks, it looks like I’ve got a ways to go.
This would be extremely annoying on its own, but to add insult to injury, it’s wreaking havoc with my sex life! I’m having a fling with the most fantastic guy: I am deeply in lust with him and just want to spend the rest of my life in bed with him. But our relationship has definitely not reached the period-sex stage yet (it’s really not far past the one-night-stand stage), so my uterus is basically holding me hostage right now, and I don’t know what to tell him. I don’t want to turn down his future advances without an explanation, and I’d rather not lie, but I also don’t want to gross him out or scare him off! What is the proper etiquette for this situation? Your advice is appreciated and anxiously anticipated.
Oh, and you’ll want a catchy nickname for my sign-off, won’t you? Put me down as “I’m This Close to Self-Hysterectomy.”
This might be the toughest question I’ve had to answer so far, because it’s essentially simple: you know what you want, your situation is unequivocal (you have at least a few weeks of bleeding left, no matter what you do), and the only mystery variable is the guy — whose opinion I can’t know anything about.
So I took the problem to two of my best friends immediately after getting your letter. We met in an Polish vegetarian diner in sub-zero weather (okay, in Celsius, but whatever) and talked it to death for about half an hour — until Anna Pamela asked us to stop until she’d finished her red Borscht, and we all kind of lost it. And I realized that you passed me the question because it’s tough and because answering questions is supposed to be my job, and that taking advantage of the generosity of my friends, who didn’t even sign up for this, wasn’t going to help.
Thus, regrettably, I’m wholly accountable for everything I’m about to write. And it’s going to be embarrassing, so buckle up.
As I see it, where sex is concerned, even simple is complicated, and this situation is no different. Your problem has a hidden variable, or rather, a hidden problem. You’re “in lust” with this guy, not in love; and while on the whole we want to know the truth about the people we give our hearts to, we don’t always want to know as much about those whom we lust after. For most straight women, being an asshole is a huge turnoff, regardless of a man’s looks and virility; and if you’ve been having a good time so far, frankly, maybe the less you know, the better. Why ruin a good thing? In your case, you can’t simply say, “You know how some women have a ‘flow’? Well, for me, when it rains, it pours,” without risking a bad reaction, which would expose him as an asshole. And after that, even if he wanted to get together when, um, the tides are low, it would kind of wreck things, you know? So you have everything to lose.
Nevertheless, this isn’t going to work if he can’t handle menstruation at all. Fortunately, most men, even if they don’t really like it, know enough to pretend not to mind, because, after all, most women do it, and there’s not much men can do about it. And for your purposes, for now, pretending is enough. There’s still the occasional guy who can’t handle blood, but the bell curve compensates by giving us the occasional fetishist or enthusiast to make up for it.
This guy could be either. So you have to find out. Next time he propositions you, or vice-versa, put on a good hot record in a minor key, pour the wine or seven-up or Bailey’s, get yourselves all handsy and excited, and then say breathlessly, “I probably should have mentioned this earlier, but I’m on my period.” Don’t stop what you’re doing or look him in the eye. At this point, he’ll say “Eww,” “Fine,” or “Great!”, and you’ll proceed accordingly. You see? You’re not forcing him to have period-sex, but it’s out of your hands now, and he doesn’t have to look like a jerk, because you’re not confronting him with anything unexpected. If he goes for it, then after a few romps, he’s likely to notice that your period doesn’t seem to be ending, and at that point, you just toss your romp-tousled hair and say, “Oh, that? Mine lasts quite a bit longer than most women’s. My doctor says it’s not uncommon.”
Even if it is uncommon, this is a very white kind of lie. I worked in GYN long enough to know that no man really wants to know the whole truth about a woman’s anatomy, for the same reason we don’t want to know the truth about hot fling-guys’ personalities. The approach I’m advising is really the social equivalent of a fancy medical euphemism. (And while we’re on the subject of my GYN background, if it makes you feel any better, it could be a lot worse, and often is. On the gynecological scale, this is an “interesting conundrum,” not a “problem.”)
By way of explanation, the reason I suggest waiting ’till you’re both worked up is that in my experience, it’s hard to talk about sex when you’re not having it, about to have it, or at least aroused. It’s a different mode of thinking and it’s not a very logical one, and somehow it just never works to try to bring one world into the other. Cary Tennis (an idol of mine) memorably advised a woman who’d been faking orgasms for years to just start yelling, during The Act, “OH! OHHH! I’M NOT COMING, BABY! NEVER WAS! STILL FEELS GOOD, THOUGH, KEEP GOING, PLEASE!”
This is a bit less dramatic, of course, but the principle is the same. Once he’s already having bloody sex with you, more bloody sex can hardly seem like a problem. The crucial thing is not to present it to him in a way that could shock him, or bring out unappealing parts of both of your personalities. (Because if he’s a jerk about it, you’re probably not going to be feeling very friendly towards him, either.) If possible, you want to cross that line, explore that territory, before he has a chance to blow everything out of proportion in his head.
Between you and me, I think you’re facing good odds. If he’s “in lust” with you, I doubt he’ll be stopped by your period the first time, or the second, or the third; and before you know it, you’ll be having lots of wonderful bloody care-free sex.
Or he won’t, and you’ll lose him. But honestly, overly inhibited guys don’t make the best flings anyway. You can’t really lose. Best of luck!
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