How to start an (awkward) conversation about my IUD
May 20, 2014 6:36 PM   Subscribe

I had an IUD (Mirena) inserted about a month ago. I recently met someone new (yay!), he's great (yay!), and it seems that sexytimes are soon to be had (yay!). I think I need to talk with him about my IUD, though, and I don't know how.

I'm so happy to have started dating someone awesome since my last question. I've also been experiencing pretty regular spotting in my first weeks on the IUD, as others have discussed. I think it's a good idea for me to discuss this with my date before we have sex (I'm working on being more open, generally, and I think if the situation were reversed I would want to know), but I'm still learning how to have what feel like really personal conversations with someone who is still pretty new in my life. Having this conversation is a good idea, right? And can you please help me come up with the words to start this conversation?
posted by singlesock to Human Relations (18 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would not do this. Instead, I would either just time the sex for a time when you're not spotting, or just say, "hey I might be spotting but it's NBD". I mean, unless you feel super comfortable having long intimate chats about your IUD. But I'm guessing you're not, because you asking this question.

Sooner or later you will have your period, so I would just handle this the same way you'd handle that.

I don't really know why an IUD needs to be a big CONVERSATION of the type you're contemplating.
posted by Sara C. at 6:47 PM on May 20, 2014 [7 favorites]

In my experience, being on the receiving end of that conversation goes like this: "oh, ok!"

I don't think you need to sit him down all serious-like, I think you can probably mention it before you dew the dew (like right before)- e.g. "In case you're wondering I'm on birth control, i have an IUD, etc."

He'll be all, "oh, ok!"
posted by stinkfoot at 6:48 PM on May 20, 2014 [11 favorites]

For my money, preparation is pretty sexy, and if I were him I would appreciate you more for the thought you've put into it.

Given the nature of your other questions, I can understand your apprehension about brown spotting and weird smells, but really, we're all human, he's emitted weird smells before too, and I think he'll appreciate your candor (if he's a nice fellow worth keeping, that is). I would just come out with it one day, not immediately before sex but well before, and have a frank discussion about it. You'll need to deal with it on a case by case basis anyways (as the sexytimes are usually spontaneous), so it'll be good for him to know your perspective.
posted by sidi hamet at 6:48 PM on May 20, 2014

Cary Tennis gives an interesting take in this column. It's about herpes, but I think it's applicable to your situation. How about saying, "Are you interested in having sex with me?" when it looks like things are headed in that direction, and taking it from there?
posted by alphanerd at 6:49 PM on May 20, 2014

Any smart, put-together guy is going to ask if you are on any sort of birth control.

Besides, you will want to talk about STD status before sex. That would be a good time to bring it up.
posted by "friend" of a TSA Agent at 6:51 PM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

What is it you want to accomplish with the conversation? Are you nervous about the spotting being noticed? I doubt I would even mention this as women can spot during sex anyway, but if you want to be diligent, something like: "Oh, by the way, there may be some spotting but it's just where I am in my cycle" seems straightforward. The when might be the trickier part. Just after you're sure you're headed toward sex, but before intercourse. I know that cuts a wide swathe, but it avoids adding an awkward "will we or won't we" veneer to the conversation and is brief enough not to stop the action.

If you mean to accomplish a conversation about birth control, I think the timing is similar as above, but along the lines of, "I've got an IUD so from my point of view birth control is handled [if indeed it is for you]. Is there another method or something else you want in order to feel comfortable?" Again, I think being clear and leaving room for your partner to express needs and preferences is best. If sexytimes are imminent, he'll likely still be able to muster a breathless sentence or two along the lines of "Yeah, that works for me" or "Great, I also want to use a condom for additional protection." Or whatever.

I also recommend a conversation well in advance about birth control that goes something like, "I know having sex with you has crossed my mind. If it's crossed yours, too, I'd like to have a conversation about birth control now/sometime soon/before we end up in bed because I know I'll be much more relaxed and into it if that conversation is complete and we both agree how we want to handle it."
posted by cocoagirl at 6:54 PM on May 20, 2014

You could get some Today sponges and put one in the day you think you might get frisky. You obviously don't need it for birth control but it would absorb the spotting. I've used them before and neither person can feel them at all. You can wear one for as long as 24hrs.
posted by selfmedicating at 6:57 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I wouldn't mention "spotting", most dudes don't know what that means. Besides, no one is expecting to have a totally clean peter after sex.
posted by stinkfoot at 7:02 PM on May 20, 2014 [4 favorites]

Sooner or later you will have your period, so I would just handle this the same way you'd handle that.

This is actually not necessarily true. I agree with other posters that you don't necessarily need to notify him about spotting, but you probably do want to have a conversation about birth control more generally, as well as STD status and prevention.

One other reason that you may want to tell him about your IUD is that depending on a whole set of variables that includes how the strings were trimmed upon insertion, he may be able to feel them during sex, which shouldn't be too unpleasant but might be very confusing if he doesn't know in advance that this is a possibility.
posted by dizziest at 7:06 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

You should probably tell him about the IUD before, for no other reason than that it can be... pokey. Especially new. Your respective anatomies may vary.
posted by supercres at 7:42 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I may be missing this in the comments above, but are you planning on him using a condom? There are many valid reasons to use a condom that have nothing to do with pregnancy prevention -- STD prevention, not wanting to get that vulnerable all at once. Use both condom + IUD if you are not sure about STD status or don't want to go skin-on-skin all at once - this way you can be intimate without talking about your IUD if that's something you feel awkward about.

I waited a couple weeks to have sex after getting my IUD and it felt fine, BTW. If you've been feeling tenderness/pain you could also pop a couple Ibuprofen beforehand.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 8:13 PM on May 20, 2014 [1 favorite]

I'm still learning how to have what feel like really personal conversations with someone who is still pretty new in my life.

Sex is really personal. I want to be gentle, but perhaps this is an indicator that you might not be ready to have sex with this man yet? If you're concerned about talking about blood and your IUD, will you be able to really relax enough to have good sex with him? Just something to think about. It's something that I've thought a lot about, anyhow, and I thought it was good to mention. Also, congrats on taking charge of your fertility.

To start the conversation with my boyfriend (we'd been dating a month; my appointment was scheduled before we started dating) I said "I am getting an IUD next Wednesday so I won't be able to have sex for, like, a week or two because I might be sore" and he said "Cool. Do you need a ride to the appointment?" After I got it and I was ready I said "I'm ready to have sex without condoms* whenever you are, but just so you know there may be a tiny bit of blood because I am spotting a bit. It's not like having my period, it's a lot less blood than that" and he said "Cool." He's not the most loquacious of men, but he was really laid back about it.

I might also suggest that you talk about STD testing and other matters along those lines before you proceed. I'm sure you know this, but that's also a difficult and awkward conversation to have for many people, but it is absolutely OK and good to have it before you become physically intimate with another person. For me, it is a requirement, and I think that it's a really important conversation.

Good luck. I am sure it will go well.

*Also, it is perfectly OK and good to keep using condoms if either of you prefers that, even though you have an IUD.
posted by sockermom at 8:24 PM on May 20, 2014 [5 favorites]

Maybe I'm wierd but since my teens I've always had some sort of discussion/reassurances about our respective sexual health/history and contraception before the first time. That would seem to be the occasion to go into such details.
posted by epo at 3:34 AM on May 21, 2014

I've got an IUD and mainly I just handle it by saying,

"You should know I have an IUD. Depending on how things go you may feel the 'strings' in certain situations, but in general it's not an issue, just something to know."

Like, super matter of fact. "I'm allergic to latex" is another thing to chalk up to that. It's not embarrassing, it's just a smart thing you've done. Condom breaks? I have an IUD! really probably no one should panic. Etc.
posted by Medieval Maven at 7:21 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

If you can't talk about birth control with your partner, you shouldn't let him see you naked or put his penis in you.

Hopefully, you're going to have the 'sex discussion' before you get all romantic. Just discuss it then. "I have an IUD," is pretty much all you need to say. Answer questions if he asks, and probe him about his STD status (perhaps you both get tested and share results).

You're a mature, responsible person, and some stuff is the opposite of romantic, but once it's said and done, get on with your bad self.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:55 AM on May 21, 2014

> Any smart, put-together guy is going to ask if you are on any sort of birth control.

True! But many of us aren't put-together. Or smart. And getting a real measure of this is challenging when you're into a person, and/or they're trying hard to have sex with you-- deception and self-deception and all that. OP's right to have the talk.
posted by Sunburnt at 10:00 AM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

I use a Nuvaring for birth control, and I don't recall ever discussing it with a guy before sex. Obviously everyone has different comfort levels with these things, but the first time I have sex with someone has never been a time when I am comfortable going condom-less. So, he doesn't really need to know what other forms of birth control I am/am not using because there is definitely going to be a condom in the mix for at least a few months. I have sometimes been asked about it and sometimes not (i.e. if it pops out!) and I just say, oh it's for birth control. I have never really met anyone who wants all the details, I think most men are not into knowing everything about that sort of thing. :) On the spotting end, I agree that he will have no idea what that means, but if you're feeling self-conscious about it, you can wait until a time when you're not spotting or say something like "There could be a little blood because of the type of birth control I use, it's no big deal."
posted by rainbowbrite at 6:12 PM on May 21, 2014 [1 favorite]

My current boyfriend's awesomeness and willingness to have the birth control conversation early and openly was one of the first things that made me realize what an awesome dude he is.

Talk to him. If he can't handle talking about adult matters like an adult, then he has no business having sex with you. And guys shouldn't have a problem with a lil blood here and there, though I definitely think he has a right to a heads up about why you're always wearing panty liners or have a spot in your underwear from time to time.
posted by custard heart at 3:34 PM on June 1, 2014

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