Years ago, while Jason was very young, I was dating someone. The one guy I have never gotten over, the one I never have been able to forget. The one that every minute together was magical, like two souls that had searched for some time for one another. But the one who couldn’t be faithful when we were apart.
The whole time I was pregnant I had this fear that I would someday get AIDS and die, leaving my son basically an orphan. When I discovered that Russ was not only cheating on me, but sleeping with people he barely knew, I flipped. I flipped in the most unrational of senses. We had gone for a walk after Thanksgiving dinner, it was wonderfully cool for Houston’s weather, and he confessed. He had cheated again. He had slept with someone else. “She forced me to.” Uh huh, yeah right. “She seduced me.” So, keep your pants ZIPPED buddy. When confronted as to whether or not he used a condom (I knew the answer was no because I knew how much he hated them…) he confirmed he had not. I started to scream. Right there, in the middle of a nice quiet neighborhood street, how he was going to get AIDS, and give it to me, and my child would be an orphan. Screaming at a blood curdling level. Cussing. Every word I could think of, at the loudest level I could muster. I was furious.
We broke up a few weeks later. Basically, because he wasn’t going to stop cheating on me. I still miss him, to this day, so many years later.
Months after that I went out on the town one night with the girlfriends, and started dancing with some guy. You know the situation – you are on the dance floor, so is he – and you start to dance. Moving with the music, we didn’t even know each other’s names. After we left the dance floor, we talked. It was closing time, we headed outside. Standing in the parking lot, I could tell he was very drunk – and I wasn’t. He told me how he lived “just around the corner” and we could go back to his place. Instant sobriety for me, and that irrational screaming returned. “Haven’t you ever heard of AIDS??? Why would I want to sleep with you when I don’t even know your name? I could DIE from sleeping with you. What are you THINKING?” Needless to say, he left pretty quickly after that.
Yes, I have had my promiscious “easy” period of my life. I slept with someone in college and had to look around his room afterwards for something with his name on it because I had forgotten it. Smoooooth… and he busted me, but had to confess he had forgotten mine too. (We had just met probably 10 hours earlier thanks to mutual friends.) I used sex as a tool, as a manipulation tactic to make someone like me. Classic sign of insecurity? An easy girl or woman. We’ll say yes because we want you to like us. And … that’s not right. It’s not too smart either. I am lucky, I never got AIDS or any other STD for that matter … but it was luck and nothing more. Some days I have almost felt guilty for that, knowing my jaded past.
Which brings me to the present. I was still very insecure when I met the Insignificant Other, and we had sex together almost immediately after we started dating. But … as I became much more secure, and stronger in my religious beliefs, and watched a friend deal with Herpes that is still a year later causing her excrutiating pain (not normal, but it is for her – both emotional and physical) I decided last fall that having sex with him while we were not married was not right. It bothered me emotionally, I felt it was wrong morally, and I wasn’t interested. He felt pushed away of course, and considering our past he was convinced that I was really sleeping with someone else and that is why I would not sleep with him. No, it just wasn’t right for me, not now. I am stronger than that. We broke up by the beginning of January. In March I attempted to get back together with him … and it bothered me that he was already sleeping with someone that he had met Superbowl Sunday. Not even 2 months earlier. Unprotected sex. Has everyone forgotten that commercial about the fact that when you sleep with someone you are sleeping with all of their partners from the past? Sigh… But like a crazy fool, I still tried to get back together with him, but by July (really June) he was gone again.
I saw him just before my birthday in September, the 20th to be exact. He sent me a birthday card the next day, telling me that he wanted to get together for dinner, and when we talked after he returned from the cruise he was on the week of my birthday … with another woman … he talked more about us getting back together. I said that again, I was sure he had added to his list of “partners” and … I didn’t want another woman in my bed, because that is what it amounts to for me. The dinner has never happened, and while I miss him at times (sometimes too often) I am troubled. I am troubled by the fact that he values himself so little that he hops into bed with just anyone. And I am bothered by how that makes me feel about my relationship with him … it makes it seem so trivialized.
Sex should not be “taboo” and AIDS is something we should discuss. But when did it become ok to just hop into bed with anyone that breathes? That is just sex … and people don’t realize the beauty that it should be, the fact that the relationship as a whole brings the true dimension to love making, that it takes it to a whole new level. As I get older, I get more & more frustrated with prime time television. Friends – Joey sleeps around, Rachel sleeps around, heck, they have all slept around at one point in time or another. At least one of them FINALLY got knocked up, but what about the diseases they could get? And why do they all seem so happy when in reality any of us knows that if you have lived that sort of lifestyle you are far from being that happy all the time. Then, Will & Grace. The show makes me laugh hysterically, don’t get me wrong – but … Jack is the poster child of an AIDS victim just waiting to happen, but the issue is never addressed. I was glad to see that Queer as Folk had an episode where they talked about testing and so forth. Maybe it’s time the reality shows met the sitcoms … because having random casual sex is NOT the fun and joy that the sitcoms make it out to be – they could definately use a strong dose of reality.
What is this doing to our children? What effect is watching stuff like that on TV having on them? I know I grew up thinking I was immune. I have only known two people that have had AIDS, and both have died from it. That is … two that I know of. I have been tested, and I do not have it … but how many of those people whose paths have crossed mine many years ago have it now? I wonder … I often wonder.
It is simply dumb luck that I didn’t ever get AIDS. Dumb luck and nothing more. I wasn’t smart with my choices, I didn’t insist on condoms.
Today? I barely even date, and I won’t sleep with anyone. I have had guys on more than one occassion try to bring the budding (just met) relationship into the bedroom almost immediately – and I tell them just as quickly that I absolutely refuse. It is morally wrong, but more importantly … for many years my gut feeling was that someday I would die from AIDS, and they were not worth putting my life on the line. Is that rational? Maybe not. There have been advances in treatment since I first heard of AIDS way back in the early days of the 80s. But it doesn’t matter. If my love for him does not run so deep that I would be willing to die for him, then I am simply not willing to sleep with him. The easy slut (yes, that is what I was at one time) has learned to value abstinance, at least for now. Someday the right guy will understand, and the rest will just be stopped at the door. I made mistakes in my youth. I made mistakes in my 20s. I am older now. I try to be wiser. I am a single mother. I can not, will not, put my life on the line for a few hours of pleasure. I am more valuable than that … and you are too.
Before you go to bed with someone, have sex with someone … whatever it may be – THINK. Is the pricetag worth the pleasure? Are you willing to pay the price?