But I'm just so nervous!
September 24, 2012 9:20 PM   Subscribe

I 'think' I want to get comfortable with not using condoms. How do I go about this?

(first post, please be kind) I'm in my early 30's, in a LTR, and have had a Mirena for almost a year, which I love. My boyfriend, also in early 30s, really wants to come inside without a condom. We've both been tested and are both monogamous. Neither of us wants kids, and I'm more than slightly paranoid about getting pregnant. With the Mirena, I haven't had a period in several months - a huge part of my fear of pregnancy is that I wouldn't even know for several months.
To complicate matters just a bit more, I've never purposefully had anyone come inside me without a condom on. (In a previous relationship, I was on BCP and the condom broke. I majorly freaked out, ended up buying many pregnancy tests, all of which were thankfully negative). So, I don't really know what having him come inside me would feel like, AND I definitely associate it with freaking out.
So far, we've been using condoms or pulling out (while I know pulling out isn't necessarily an effective means of birth control, in my head pulling out + Mirena IS effective enough for me to be comfortable with ) He isn't pressuring me, and is a kind, respectful and loving sort of fellow...but I know this is really important to him, and want to at least try to raise my comfort level. How should I go about this? If I DO decide to let him come inside me, how can I best prepare myself for when it happens?
posted by csox to Human Relations (28 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Maybe if you understand how the Mirena works you'll feel more secure. I believe it interrupts the creation of the uterine lining (but am not positive). Without a uterine lining you are very, very unlikely to get pregnant, and the Mirena's failure rate reflects that.

As for the actual tactile feeling, in my experience it is not so shocking.

Finally, take it at your own speed and make sure it's something you want, too.
posted by feets at 9:26 PM on September 24, 2012

What did you use before the Mirena? If you've ever had sex with no protection other than condoms, then you were taking a far greater risk than condomless sex with a Mirena. The Mirena is the next best thing to sterilization.

If you are very worried about the no-periods thing, I'd suggest buying some pregnancy tests and doing them once a month.
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:29 PM on September 24, 2012 [9 favorites]

I've never really noticed a difference in feeling- except afterward... when semen um, drips out for a while.
posted by KogeLiz at 9:36 PM on September 24, 2012

Best answer: Honestly, you really can't "feel" someone coming inside you. At least not in my experience. I mean, you can sense when they will based on verbal (grunting, talking/shouting) or physical cues (harder and/or faster thrusting)—but you may get that with or without condom. It's not like some sort of high pressure jet stream cleaning out your insides.
posted by violetk at 9:46 PM on September 24, 2012 [12 favorites]

The after can be pretty gross because you'll be all drippy. You will definitely want to go pee as soon as possible afterwards. It will reduce the risk of UTIs and sitting down will help get the bulk of the mess out.
posted by Anonymous at 9:57 PM on September 24, 2012

Not to worry you unduly, but if for some reason you find that it burns afterwards, you might have a yeast infection or a sperm allergy. For me, the latter was the problem--it would last about 15-20 minutes afterward sex for the first couple years of our marriage. After that, I must have gotten desensitized--haven't had the problem in decades. The link suggests some ways to treat the problem.

Agreed about the UTIs. Supposedly condoms cause them more frequently, but I found I didn't start getting them until we stopped using condoms, oddly enough. Definitely use the bathroom right afterwards.
posted by tully_monster at 10:04 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

To start, you could use some spermicide for that 'extra' bit of protection you are looking for. I've never used it, but it's okay to use with an IUD according to the Mayo Clinic.

My experience in using condoms vs not:

I find that without condoms I never need lube. I almost always need lube when using condoms. I guess it's just a matter of friction or whatever. YMMV with this one. But it seems like you get to do this some, so that's a start.

Also, yeah, it'll drip. Make sure to have some 'sex towels' which I'm sure you do already if he pulls out and shoots on your body elsewhere. And um, if you want to help the dripping process along, go to the bathroom and do a kegel-type-thing making sure to kind of 'push out'. This can make quickies (not-at-home or just before leaving the house) kind of inconvenient and/or messy. Don't feel weird if you have to pop a paper towel into your undies for a little while if you gotta get up and go right after.

And RE: sperm allergy. It's a real thing. I had a partner that caused that reaction for me and I couldn't have sex for a good two days after each sex session (just a burning/rawness). We weren't together long enough for me to figure out how to remedy that, but it's not super-common and nothing to be scared of.

And don't be scared. I have been using only the pill for 14 years and I have never gotten pregnant, and an IUD is much more effective.

Good luck! You'll be fine.
posted by greta simone at 10:12 PM on September 24, 2012

Best answer: I agree, if you just want to make sure you have confirmation every month, buy 50 pregnancy tests on Amazon for $15 and take one whenever you want. That is really just to ease your mind over the extremely rare risk of IUD failure - as noted, they are similar in effectiveness to tubal ligation so it is hard to get much safer than that. Spermicide is a good thought too. Enjoy!
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:16 PM on September 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

AFAIK, the Mirena works to prevent pregnancy in 5 ways:

1. The progesterone inhibits ovulation.
2. The progesterone inhibits the development of the endometrium.
3. The progesterone thickens the cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to even get into the uterus.
4. The physical device itself activates an immune response, making it more likely that your immune system will destroy his sperm before fertilization can take place.
5. The physical device itself may interfere with implantation of a fertilized egg.

That's a lot of different ways to prevent pregnancy. The Mirena is actually slightly MORE effective than a tubal, although probably not to a statistically significant degree. It is an extremely trustworthy form of birth control. However, logic isn't everything, so I agree with the suggestion to buy a fistful of cheap pregnancy tests and take them once a month, or once a week if you want to.
posted by KathrynT at 10:35 PM on September 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Neither of us wants kids

Personally I've been ok with HBC as the only protection, but if you're sure about this maybe he could get a vasectomy?
posted by no regrets, coyote at 10:42 PM on September 24, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Before the Mirena, I was on the Pill and always used condoms (this being the first relationship in which I insisted HE get tested). Spermicide is definitely out, as every time I've used condoms with spermicide I've ended up with a UTI...the only upside being that I'm already in the habit of peeing immediately after.
Buying a ton of pregnancy tests is definitely on my to-do list, that's a great idea!!
posted by csox at 10:42 PM on September 24, 2012

Do you regularly check that your IUD is still in position? Personally I find this reassuring. Also nthing the pile o' pregnancy tests suggestions--I bought a couple in the first 6 months just because it seemed to good to be true (I've had an IUD for 3 years).
posted by esoterrica at 10:49 PM on September 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Another alternative that may work for him and keep your fears at bay--female condom.
posted by manicure12 at 10:52 PM on September 24, 2012

Concerning dealing with sperm aftermath, you may find that your system may or may not take kindly to his semen. My guy and I have switched back to using condoms (I have the Mirena as well), or doing the pullout for the simple reason that my vagina doesn't smell particularly great for a few days after. Combo that with stress/changing vaginal pH and the usage of douches (which I DO NOT recommend - threw my system completely off kilter), you may wind up dealing with BV (vaginosis) at some point in time. [My system is finally recovering after the last internal ejaculation go round, 2 weeks ago, but I am under a bit of stress right now...]
Echoing the other ladies, peeing is great - saves you miserable UTI agony in the long run:)
posted by NorthernAutumn at 11:23 PM on September 24, 2012

I 'think' I want to get comfortable with not using condoms. How do I go about this?

The same way you get comfortable with the water temperature in a swimming pool: you just dive in and get it over with. It's uncomfortable at first, but you'll get used to it more quickly than you think, and in the end, you might even prefer it.
posted by jingzuo at 11:28 PM on September 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

So, I don't really know what having him come inside me would feel like, AND I definitely associate it with freaking out.

It doesn't feel like anything.

With the Mirena, I haven't had a period in several months - a huge part of my fear of pregnancy is that I wouldn't even know for several months.

You can pee on a stick on the 1st of each month if it will make you feel better.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:08 AM on September 25, 2012 [2 favorites]

The aftermath of the ejaculation can take some getting used to. It's messier than using condoms. You may want to have wipes handy or have a shower afterward to rinse away most of the semen. I had more UTIs at first because it was harder to clean up afterward. It also . . . uh, can make you smell bad the next day, even after you've showered.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 3:43 AM on September 25, 2012

You might also want to pick up a copy of Taking Charge of Your Fertility and do some ovulation charting. I don't know whether the Mirena stops ovulation (I didn't think it did, but the fact that you've basically stopped having periods could be an indicator), but even under the best circumstances, you really can only get pregnant 3-4 days a month. If you can figure out those days (which may be tricky without bleeding as an indicator, but body temperature may still be effected), you can go back to condoms or pulling out when you're in the danger zone. Using ovulation strips could also be less expensive and less stressful than pregnancy tests after the fact, assuming they work with a Mirena in.
posted by Mchelly at 4:11 AM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am not a doctor, so my only assurance that you would be TOTALLY fine with just the IUD would be pointing to the same statistics you've already read. I'll shrug and point to them again.

However, speaking to the "what does it feel like" -- agreeing with people that "not much of anything." However, the initial entry was smoother and sleeker, and I do feel a little bit of a flutter from the shaft itself when he comes; as in, I don't feel the actual ejaculate, but I do feel, faintly, the spasms of the penis as ejaculation happens. But we're talking something very faint here.

And yeah, it's a little messy after.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:14 AM on September 25, 2012

Nth-ng the "buy a jillion pregnancy tests" thing. I haven't had a period in a year, and every now and then I have a wee freak-out. The stash of dollar store pregnancy tests under the sink make me feel better about it.
posted by AmandaA at 6:24 AM on September 25, 2012

Mod note: Folks. please answer the question that is being asked by the OP, thanks
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:25 AM on September 25, 2012

Monogamous female here. The aftermath might not be as, er, intense as some other posters are describing. Lack of condom does not make me, personally, feel messy; I have no allergic reaction; there is not a smell; I don't get BV or a yeast infection; nothing. As far as I know, that good man is totally normal and not, you know, a wimp or anything. So as you read about post-ejaculatory fallout, keep in mind that there are plenty of couples for whom it is not anything.
posted by skbw at 7:41 AM on September 25, 2012 [3 favorites]

Post ejaculatory fallout? That is an awesome phrase from skbw there that describes nearly everything written above perfectly. My favorite sex is condom-less (so long as precautions have been taken) and reading those comments scared me to death!

Perhaps it's just me and I'm weird but a man coming inside you, especially one you deeply love, is a seriously awesome thing. And maybe this is me being weird again but I CAN feel it -- it's as if manhood swells just a teeny little right before and I swear, there's something in sperm that can trigger an orgasm in me. Uh, all that is graphic, I know (sorry for that) but I wanted to chime in and say that if you can get to place where you are comfortable with this -- and that is very important here, obviously -- then I really think it's a great bonding thing between couples.

As for your (very) specific questions: How should you go about it? I'd suggest doing what you normally do and trying hard to stay in the moment without worrying about it, if you can. If you think it would help if you man told you before he comes so you can be ready (though really, it's not a lightning bolt, so I'm not sure what you'd need to brace yourself for), then ask for that. If you think it'd be easier if maybe you didn't know before it happened, ask that he not tell you and just go with it. Perhaps not knowing can help to tamper down your anxiety. Either way, do whichever is most comfortable for you.

You really don't have to prepare your BODY for this. Your mind, yes, obviously, especially because it seems to have caused a little anxiety already. But really, it'll be just fine. Do you love him? You seem to. Are you protected? Absolutely, with one of the best methods, by the way. Are you at risk of STDs? It doesn't seem so. All of that adds up to a situation that, if you can wrap your mind around it, makes for a great time in the sack :).
posted by youandiandaflame at 2:16 PM on September 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

We all go through this process of determining the level of risk (of pregnancy, of STIs, of car accidents, of getting our hearts broken) that we're comfortable with.

It sounds like the most effective thing for you to do is to examine why you are so terrified of pregnancy, and address the things that would solve that for you.

For me, the first thing that makes me comfortable with my miniscule risk of pregnancy is that it is so incredibly small. The fact that I've reduced my risk of pregnancy per year from 85% to 0.2% per year addresses my fear that it is a big risk.

The second thing is that I am in a large Canadian city and therefore have access to lots of healthcare options in case of emergency. This addresses my fears that I would be stuck with a potentially dangerous pregnancy, that I would be forced to complete an unwanted pregnancy, and that I would be bankrupt on top of it.

The third is that I have an agreement with my partner about what will happen if I did get pregnant. This addresses my fear that it would break my relationship with him, and my fear that he would not be supportive of my choices. (Previous pregnancy scares where he has been Totally Awesome have also put these fears to rest.)

Since you and I both have Mirenas, odds are fairly good that if we did get pregnant we would need to abort or would automatically miscarry. So my partner and I have talked about that. I have also had agreements at certain times that any pregnancy would end in abortion and my partner would support me in doing that. There have been other times when an "oops" pregnancy has not seemed like an emergency, and we have agreed that we would be able to roll with that.

I don't do regular pregnancy tests but they could offer you assurance that things are going according to plan. Or you might decide to switch to the copper IUD which doesn't take your periods away.

You may also be happy to find that science has discovered that "semen acts as an anti-depressant among women whose partners don't wear condoms".
posted by heatherann at 2:24 PM on September 25, 2012

Sorry--I wasn't trying to scare the OP, and I doubt anyone else was, either. However, these things do happen to people--not to everyone, of course--and they're not the sort of thing that gets covered in sex ed, so I think it's important to bring them up. That said, by all means don't give them outsize importance.

On the positive side, my husband seemed...well...bigger without a condom. Maybe because the condom had kind of a compressive effect (though maybe he wasn't wearing the right size condom to begin with), but at first I had a little trouble getting accustomed to it. It's much better, though, really. I always found the odor of latex and spermicide just a bit off-putting, and it's much more enjoyable not having to interrupt things to fumble for a packet in the dark and unwrap it and put it on right side out.
posted by tully_monster at 2:40 PM on September 25, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks all!! There's a bunch of good advice/anecdata here, and I really appreciate all of it. It appears that Amazon and sex towels are to the rescue! Something I somehow hadn't thought of before was that if, for whatever reason, it doesn't work out for my psyche/body, we could always go back to where we're at now. Which, duh, of course, but I think previously I'd been looking at it as an "all or nothing, Until The End Of Time" sort of thing. Which it isn't.
So again, thank you all for your words of wisdom and encouragement!
posted by csox at 5:28 PM on September 25, 2012

Here's an analogy. So let's assume for a second that you've had a guy come in your mouth before. (Maybe not, but go with me.) Do you remember thinking about oral sex long ago, before it was a possibility? Whoa, that is crazy! All that in my mouth! How hot! (Or how gross!) Who thought THAT up?

And then when you actually do it, sometimes, yes, it's a little hotter than what you were expecting, and sometimes a little grosser than what you were expecting, but mostly, it's just an orgasm and isn't that great and we love each other?

(Or you can plug in any sexual experiment that is now part of your normal repertoire. "In the BUTT? Why go to the trouble?!")
posted by skbw at 10:07 AM on September 26, 2012

My husband and I just started having regular sex without birth control or condoms or pulling out for the first time we've been together in 10 years b/c we recently decided we sort of are ready for kids and it would be OK if I got preggos.

I don't know why it's better, but it just is... maybe I just feel relaxed and not worried if I get pregnant for the first time or the actual physical stuff is better b/c we're both more excited somehow or maybe just because it's new or some combination but I like how it feels when he comes inside of me, it doesn't feel weird, at all, it feels hot and good. A little messier, but really no big deal. (It was also messy when he pulled out and his junk was like you know, all over his chest or on mine, sorry if that's gross but you know.)

Also, maybe the first time, try it just before you know you're going to get your period, where the chances of pregnancy are very tiny, especially if you're also with the IUD, as a way to get comfortable with hit.
posted by Rocket26 at 7:50 PM on September 27, 2012

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