Sunday, December 21, 2008

Online Dating Dilemma

Question: This gentleman expressed interest in me via email and we began emailing to get to know each other. 3 weeks into the emails – we decided to meet. The night before our “date” – his Dad had a heart attack…needless to say the date was cancelled. We continued emailing for a couple more weeks and talking about meeting but he was different and then he just said he couldn’t do this anymore. He said it wasn’t anything I did…did he just run away…was it dealing with family issues? I just don’t know and it really shook my confidence because we had gotten very close thru our emails. Thoughts? ...Robin

Answer: From what you have told me, I see two possible reasons for your gentleman friend to have acted the way he did: 1) His whole world was thrown into an uproar because of his father’s heart attack, which caused him to re-evaluate his life, loves, career and direction. Unable to come to terms with the sudden emotional upheaval in his life, he decided to withdraw from interpersonal interaction until he could “put the pieces back together” and make sense of his current situation and his future; or 2) He enjoyed your online relationship/flirtation, but was either afraid of or uninterested in taking it to “the next level.”

Of course, both are reasonable explanations – two perfectly plausible motivations that precipitated his actions. That said, if I were a betting man (which, by the way, I am), I’d be going “all-in” on reason number 2. Why? Because I find it a bit too coincidental that his father’s heart attack occurred the night before you two were supposed to meet. Sure, it may have happened, but I believe the timing is a bit suspect. It seems far more likely that he came up with a very strong excuse to cancel your date, and then realizing that re-scheduling was an inevitability, decided to make himself scarce before he had to once again deal with actually meeting you in person.

But why would he act that way, when online he seemed so interesting and interested? Well, there are several possibilities. Perhaps he is not what he represented himself to be. Online, he could be handsome, tall, and athletic – the perfect male specimen. In person, he might be three hundred pounds, missing a few teeth, and reeking of body order and Old Spice. Online, he could be witty, insightful, and articulate. In the flesh, he could be painfully awkward, unable to string together a cogent sentence, let alone participate in meaningful conversation. Other possibilities abound. He may be significantly older or younger than he let on. He may be married or otherwise involved, and online romance is fine (in his mind, anyway), but actually meeting you is “crossing the line.” He may be having these kind of communications with many different women and is completely fulfilled by his email adventures. He may be in prison. Or he may not even be a man. The bottom line is this: Online relationships allow the participants to be whoever they want to be. In person, you are who you are. I believe that, for whatever reason, he just didn’t want you to see who he really was. Of course the irony of it all is that had he been honest with you from the start, perhaps you would have been just as attracted to the man as he actually was, warts and all. Unfortunately, you and he will never know.

On a positive note (I always try to find one – cockeyed optimist that I am), this truly appears to be a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.” It doesn’t seem like you said or did anything wrong. Thus, there is absolutely no reason to beat yourself up or lose one iota of self-confidence. He ran away – not from you, but from the truth. And that’s not your fault; it’s his…and his loss, as well.

© 2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, December 8, 2008

What Men Don't Know About Condoms Can Kill You

Several weeks ago I wrote a column on “Men’s Dirty Little Secrets” and spilled the beans on the fact that most men don’t know much about condoms, except that they’re a mood-killer, sensation-duller, and overall huge pain-in-the-ass. At that time, I didn’t elaborate, but judging from your emails, I piqued a number of readers’ curiosity. Thus, I am responding with a short treatise on “The Proper Care and Feeding of a Prophylactic.”

Before I begin, however, I want to address a few questions that might understandably be crossing your mind, such as: “Why is he giving instructions to women on condom usage? Shouldn’t he be giving this info to men? Don’t we have enough birth control methods to be in charge of - can’t guys be responsible for one thing?” All fair questions, to be sure. But the bottom line on this subject is: Despite readily-available instructions, guys are woefully unaware of their lack of knowledge in this arena. And if men are ignorant about how to properly apply, use, remove and dispose of a condom, women are the ones who are going to unwittingly pay the price. And with the price being unwanted pregnancy or contraction of a potentially-fatal disease, the need for you to be educated becomes imperative. It may not be your job, but if your guy is ill-informed or clueless, you will still have to endure the consequences.

The first thing to know about condoms is that they were not originally developed to stop pregnancy. In fact, when they came into existence, their mission was to stop the spread of STDs which were apparently running rampant in certain parts of “civilized society.” Their usage as a contraceptive device didn’t come into play until more than a century later when scientists finally figured out that providing a barrier to those sneaky, resourceful little spermatozoa bastards could effectively limit the number of legitimate and illegitimate offspring who would ultimately be fighting tooth and nail for their share of said sperm producer’s estate. And so it was, that this pesky penis protector, then made of animal intestines, found its way into the hearts, minds and vaginas of our sexually-active ancestors.

But that’s enough digression. Let’s talk about modern condoms and their usage. As you know, when used correctly, today’s latex condoms are touted to be about ninety-seven percent effective as a contraceptive device and offer one of the best defenses against STDs this side of keeping your legs tightly crossed (animal skin condoms, while purportedly offering similar pregnancy protection and more sensation to the male, are a less effective method of stemming the flow of organisms that cause sexually transmitted diseases). So how are these condoms properly used?

1)Always check the expiration date on the condom, something guys generally neglect. While sometimes difficult to do in the heat and low-light of passionate encounters, it is nonetheless vital to the process of effective usage. I mean, you wouldn’t drink expired milk, and the worst that could cause is gastro-intestinal distress. Expired condoms can cause babies and death (a bit dramatic, but still true). 2)The condom needs to be put on before any close encounters with your lower lips. The pre-ejaculate fluid that loiters at the penis tip early on in the erectile process can contain sperm and transmittable microbes if your partner is STD-infected. So “no rubbin’ without a rubber.”

3)The penis needs to be erect before you cloak it in a condom. If your guy optimistically wrapped his manhood before he even picked you up for dinner, demand he re-apply a brand new one (the old one may have been compromised and why take the chance) when he is at “full attention.”

4)Take the new, unexpired, condom out of its packaging. Squeeze the tip, to force out any accumulated air and create a space for the seminal fluid that will certainly be forthcoming (Do this even if the condom is manufactured with a “receptacle tip,” and especially if it is not). Failure to provide adequate room for the impending geyser, significantly increases the likelihood of condom breakage. That spurt of “manseed” has to go somewhere, after all. And if a proper “holding area” hasn’t been created, the expelled semen may actually bust through the latex, making a mess, both literally and figuratively. 5)Next, smooth the condom all the way down the penis. The condom is like a homeowner’s insurance policy, and you’re looking for complete coverage. Why? Because once you get to bumpin’ and grindin’ you want to make sure that sucker is firmly anchored in place, and the more grip-able surface, the better. 6)Now to the matter of lubrication. Those of you who have read my book, “Every Man Sees You Naked,” already know what a lubrication advocate I am. And plentiful lubrication when using a condom is absolutely essential. I am not talking about the warm, organic fluid that naturally moistens your vagina and indicates arousal and penetration-preparedness. I am talking about the kind of lubricant you purchase with mild discomfort at Walgreens, all the while hoping you don’t run into your boss, your elderly aunt, or your pastor. This lubricant should be water-soluble, like KY Jelly or Astroglide. Lotions, butter, or petroleum-based products should never be used with condoms, as their chemical reaction with latex may compromise the condom’s structural integrity. In other words, avoid these unless you want to get knocked-up or infected. Why lubricant? Because sexual activity creates friction and friction can rub you and your condom the wrong way. And though you may only suffer a little soreness, too much friction can increase the risk of condom breakage (Hey, maybe they should make these things out of something a little more durable – like titanium, perhaps). In any case, the more lubrication, the less friction. The less friction, the more effective the condom usage. And it goes without saying; the lubricant goes ON THE OUTSIDE of the condom. Lubricate the inside, and you may later find yourself on a scavenger hunt of your womb.

7)Now a quick word about spermicides. Use of this stealthy sperm assassin can enhance the contraceptive effectiveness of the condom. It may be discreetly purchased online or at your local drug store. And some condoms are even “pre-lubed” with a spermicidal agent…a definite plus. Whatever your choice, if you’re serious about putting off parenthood, a spermicide is an effective complement to other contraceptive measures.

8)So he properly put on his non-expired condom prior to contact with your private parts. He glazed his completely-sheathed erection with the recommended lubricant and then (finally) insinuated himself inside your hospitable environment. Then you two went at it like rabbits. Now, if you don’t want to have bunnies in your future, there is still one more thing he needs to do. Very soon after he has had his orgasm, he must grip the condom at the base, near his testicles, and carefully extricate himself from the warmth of your loins. In plain English, he should cum and go. You see, as soon as your guy ejaculates, he begins to slowly (and sometimes not-so-slowly) lose his erection. This gradual “shrinkage” causes the condom to fit less snuggly and allows for the contained seminal fluid to begin slithering down his shaft and out the bottom of the condom. And if your man is still imbedded in you, all his escaping swimmers may breaststroke their way into your lower passage, searching ever vigilantly for a receptive egg to cozy up to. And you don’t want that to happen, right? So, gently but firmly, insist he “vacate your premises” (your vagina, not your house) soon after he’s done his thing. 9)Once he’s safely withdrawn, he should dispose of his condom in the trash. Suggest to him that he not flush it down the toilet, as it may clog your pipes (and not in a good way). He then should wash all remaining remnants of his “love-juice” off his member before rejoining you in bed to revel in the afterglow (still keeping his penis and your vagina at arm’s length, lest a few stray but potent drops of his discharge be lurking at his penile tip, ready to make their assault on your now unprotected womanhood).

So there it is. Everything you and your guy need to know about how to properly protect both of you from unwanted pregnancy and the spread of nasty illnesses. And although you may think he already knows all this, if he uses a condom and doesn’t strictly adhere to all of the above-mentioned procedures, he really is putting both of you at risk. But if you don’t feel comfortable broaching the subject with him, feel free to literally take matters into your own hands. You can then turn applying, “lubing,” and removing his condom into a sexy, positive experience. He’ll likely appreciate your efforts without ever realizing that your motivation was his lack of knowledge. You protected his ego and your health. And what could be better than that?

© 2008 David M. Matthews. All Rights Reserved.