Inanna 
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Re: “Sleeping Around Craigslist

Dear emarie;

Thank you for reading so closely and asking such a probing question. Condoms are absolutely essential gear for our times, but as a writer, I must write the truth.

I got through the outbreak of the AIDS crisis as a married woman. The disease hit very close to home when I lost a close friend to AIDS in the eighties. Becoming newly single in the nineties, I went out and got an HIV test (my husband had been unfaithful). I dated men who knew their HIV status and we used condoms.

But from time to time I will run into a 50-something guy and the bedroom dialog goes something like this:

"I have a condom in my purse," Anna says breaking off a long kiss, "Shall I get it out now?"
He smiles. "Do we have to use condoms?"
"Well, yes."
"I've had a vasectomy," he says smiling smugly as if that's the end of the conversation.
"That's great, sweetie, but what about STDs? It isn't just for birth control. We need to use a condom anyway."
"But I'm clean."
(Uh huh.)
"What about me?"
"You're a nice woman." he says as he kisses her.
(It's true, I am very nice.)
"Yes, but I could still have something that I wouldn't want to pass to you."
"I thought you said you were HIV negative," he says with alarm in his voice.
"I am, but there is a lot more to be worried about than just HIV."
"I'll take my chances."
In other words, some men in their fifties can be completely clueless.

But I don't want to take my chances, so I insist and we use a condom, after all, at this point he would really like to have sex with me, and then he loses his erection in the middle of intercourse. Oh happy day!

There wasn't space in the article to convey the nuance that condoms are non-negotiable, but sometimes it can take a lot of negotiation to get the guy to agree to a condom without crashing the mood...

At the Berkeley Free Clinic I learned that one of the highest rates of new HIV transmissions is among women over forty, so we know a lot of women my age are not using condoms. This sobering fact should inspire men and women alike to know their STD status and insist on using a condom- always.

Anna

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Anna Reed on 06/20/2008 at 11:04 AM

Re: “Sleeping Around Craigslist

Hi Sue;

Thanks so much for your comments. Lily and I were interested to write about women of a certain age who had lived through the sexual revolution, the AIDS crisis and then the dot com explosion. We had had so many hilarious experiences dating on Craigslist, we couldn't resist writing about them. Quite a few of our zanier moments didn't make it through the editing process, but I hope the fun and spiritedness of the endeavor has.

I don't know what is happening in academic circles, having left that world around the same time U2 came out, but I feel that popular media just doesn't give sexually active older women a break. We get killed off in the first thirty seconds of a TV drama and the good looking cop guy spends the next hour figuring out who knocked us off. Carrie Bradshaw provides a role model to younger women; my sex-positive role models had been Lady Chatterly and Anais Nin.

Lily and I would like to write again on this topic, including the experiences of other women- gay women, younger women, older women (if any). We'd also love to hear from men about their trials in getting laid properly. If you have something you'd like to share, please feel free to post it here. The names and details should be changed to protect the naughty...

Tumescently yours,
Anna

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by Anna Reed on 06/18/2008 at 4:31 PM

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