I've read a lot of your letters but haven't seen this one.
I need some advice from an older gay furry. I've met a guy (we are both furry and in our 20s) online and we have really hit it off and we are planning our first visit. He wants to be intimate when we meet and that's not a problem for me even though I don't have much experience. The problem is he doesn't want to use protection. He said he was tested a while ago and hasn't done anything risky since then. I've been tested a couple of times for medical things so I know I'm clean.
If anything happened I can hear people saying, "You had unprotected sex with somebody you just met, what did you expect?"
Does our online time count for building trust? Is it ever possible for two guys to have unprotected sex? I really like him and want to please him but all those horror stories I've heard keep playing in my head.
Thank you for taking my question, I don't know who to ask about this.
* * *
An outstanding question; thank you for asking. It’s not only relevant to gay people, but also to heterosexuals because, of course, STDs are a concern to everyone because anyone can get one.
It is unfortunate we live in a world filled with nasty diseases that put a crimp in our longing to be freely intimate with another person. You are very wise to be extra cautious about having unprotected sex, even if it is someone you are really starting to care about.
So, is there a time when unprotected sex is fine? Yes, when both partners only have unprotected sex with each other. If either partner is having unsafe sex outside the relationship, then condoms are a must.
It is important to understand the technicalities of testing, especially when it comes to HIV. Infections from other diseases, such as syphilis, show up right away on a test, but HIV is very sneaky and nefarious. Did you know that you can be infected with HIV and be tested as negative for many months afterwards? Some doctors even recommend you wait a year before being fully confident that you are negative.
Therefore, before you have sex with your new boyfriend, you need to have a sit-down with him. Ask to see his test results, and make sure he has had the full spectrum of tests, including syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, and chlamydia. To be fair, you should do the same for yourself. Even if you are a virgin, the point of the test is to show him that you are willing to do the same thing that you are asking of him. So, apparently, you already had this done and can show him your results, so that’s good. Next, explain to him the nature of HIV and that you should each get a test every six months (from the date of your previous test) for one year. When all those are negative, then you have a clean bill of health.
I know this sounds like a pain in the ass, and it is, but if you wish to be 100% certain then that is the way to do it. The good news is that once you have shown each other you are completely healthy, the sex can be amazing because there is absolutely no nervousness, no voice in the back of your head wondering if your partner might be giving you a lethal disease.
In the meantime, sex can still be wonderful. Condoms have improved greatly over the years to the point that sensitivity is greatly enhanced. Also, there are many ways to explore each other’s bodies without penetration that can be very exciting and satisfying (too, as long as you do not have any open cuts or sores, oral sex is safe when it comes to HIV transmission, though not to some other diseases, like gonorrhea). Note, too, that if you indulge in any “fingering” that you should make certain your hands are free of cuts and scrapes (use latex gloves if you are uncertain). For further safety, you can also get vaccinated for some sexually transmittable diseases, including hepatitis.
The next big question is how will your partner respond to this information and your desire that you both have further testing to do before you have sex without condoms. He might drag out the line, “You don’t trust me” as a way to pressure you. If that is the case, you can reply, “It’s not that I don’t trust you, but it is possible that you have HIV and don’t know it, even though you were so great and had a test. I really appreciate that you got tested, but we need to be as careful as possible.” If he doesn’t respect your wishes and starts saying things like, “If you don’t trust me, then we should break up,” then that is emotional extortion in my book, and it tells you a lot about this guy and his motives.
If he’s a good guy, however, and genuinely loves you and wants to build a solid relationship, then he will respect your wishes and understand that a relationship is more than just about sex. You can continue by having protected sex for a time, or remain abstinent until all the tests are in and you can go hog wild on each other.
For your sake, I hope your partner is a good guy. Don’t give in to any pressure and you will be fine. Remember, your comfort in this relationship is just as important as his.
Let me know how it goes! Good luck!
A note on comments: Comments on letters to Papabear are welcome, especially those that offer extra helpful advice and add something to the conversation that is of use to the letter writer and those reading this column. Also welcome are constructive criticisms and opposing views. What is NOT welcome are hateful, hurtful comments, flaming, and trolling. Such comments will be deleted from this site. Thank you.