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-   -   Fluid bonding mistake (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=8221)

opalescent 03-27-2011 04:42 PM

Fluid bonding mistake
I'm working through the consequences of a mistake SW and I made recently. I have so many thoughts and concerns that it's been hard to figure it out so I thought to start laying it and get some feedback. Y'all are good at that!

Long story short, through some epic miscommunication, we had unprotected sex. (Ever seen those disaster investigation shows on Discovery? Where 20 different things had to go wrong in a particular sequence so the plane went down? Yeah, it was like that.)

The back story is that SW and his primary girlfriend are fluid bonded with each other. I am de facto fluid bonded with Beloved (my wife and primary) although we didn't use that term. It is one of our agreements that we would only have protected sex with other people.

(This is the part where it might get TMI for some.)

Since I am now sleeping with men (I've recently become involved with another guy, Oil Man, but that is tangential) I decided to figure out my birth control options while relying upon condoms for birth control and STD prevention. I always planned on using condoms for STD prevention even after figuring out birth control.

I didn't want to use hormonal birth control options because my hormones have been messed up in the past. IUDs were not an option because, honestly, the fact that a string would hang out of my cervix squicks me out. I'm terrible at inserting things in my vagina like sponges or caps - I find it difficult to do, often painful and hideously inconvenient. I do not want children so I decided that sterilization would be a good option. As I did not want surgery, I decided to try a procedure called Essure where tiny coils are inserted into the Fallopian tubes, causing scar tissue to develop around the coils and ultimately blocking the tubes, preventing eggs from going anywhere sperm may hang out. The important point is that it is NOT immediately effective - it takes about 3 months to develop sufficient scar tissue. However, I was using condoms anyway - so not a big whoop for me.

To be continued...

opalescent 03-27-2011 05:12 PM

(This is potential TMI all over the place...)

My first attempt at Essure did not work because the gynecologist doing the procedure couldn't see the tubes, which meant she could not insert the coils. My uterus was 'fluffy' (this is normal during certain parts of the menstrual cycle-I've learned more than I wanted to know about my anatomy during this whole thing) which obscured the location of the tubes.

I told SW that the procedure had failed initially. After weighing some options, I decided to try one more time. The next try was successful.

I did not tell SW all about the ins and outs of my decisions on birth control because I was not sure what he wanted to know. I did want him to know my ultimate choices because since we were sexual, he was involved too.

We had a date several days after the successful Essure procedure. I told him that I was seeing someone new and that the Essure procedure had finally worked. (It was a very busy week.) He was happy for me about both.

We were intimate that night, really fun. He told me during pillow talk time that his primary was sorting through some issues and that they were not currently having sex while she did that.

I head home after our date and realized that I could not remember that little pause while he puts on the condom. I texted him to ask if I just hadn't noticed him putting on a condom. He called me back the next morning (the text was very late night) to say that he had not used a condom, he had asked me about not using one and thought I had agreed. And he was really sorry and wanted to talk.

I went over that night to talk things over with him. Turns out he thought that the Essure thing was immediately effective. I know I told him about what Essure is but I don't know if I ever said clearly that it takes 3 months to take effect. The first conversation about it, on the first failed try, was in a noisy, crowded restaurant - in retrospect, not a good location. The 2nd was in a car going to an emotionally fraught dinner with friends (a long unrelated story). At any rate, that crucial piece of information wasn't communicated properly. Plus, I figured he was fluid bonded with another, as was I, we were never going to have condom free sex anyway.

He had slipped into me, realized it and asked me if this was ok. I was in happy sex land and did not realize he was asking about not using a condom - I thought he was asking if the position was good, if I was happy, etc. Since I was, I said yes.

I am certainly responsible for my actions but lets just say that the brain was not driving the bus at that point. And yes I should have noticed, should have been paying more attention, but at that moment, I just didn't.

Because he is fluid bonded, because his relationship with his girlfriend is so important to him, because he was so careful in our previous times, it just never occurred to me that he would want to have bareback sex with me.

I had not discussed with him explicitly that Beloved and I are fluid bonded. Beloved and I had not talked about it using that term - more along the lines of always use condoms, be safe, etc. I did not want to use that term describing our situation to SW without going over it with Beloved first. In the course of all of our busy schedules, that conversation did not happen as quickly as it should have.

opalescent 03-27-2011 05:32 PM

Continued, Part 3
So I may be pregnant (unlikely, yes, but possible). I won't know until early next month. It's possible that there may be STD issues - also unlikely but not impossible. He was tested in January and came out negative. I've been tested but won't know my results for a few weeks. (Did you know there is no HPV test for men? And that the only way to test women is through pap smears? Again, learned more than I really wanted to know...)

I'm freaked out about the possibility of pregnancy, even if it is very unlikely given my age. I'm very pro-choice but I also know that I am personally uncomfortable about abortion. I would never tell another woman what to decide but I just don't know if I could abort. But I've never wanted to be a parent - neither does Beloved. It's not high on SW's list of priorities either. So maybe adoption? But it bothers me that in a regular adoption, I would not be in the child's life. So open adoption - where I could be the 'aunt' and the child would know who is his or her 'bio' mom from a young age? What about the child knowing my parents? And that would mean that I would have to tell them about the poly thing - currently it's not something they need to know - how to tell them that their lesbian daughter is seeing men now but still adores her wife? I know the chances are low but these kinds of thoughts are keeping me up at night.

I'm less freaked out about STDs, maybe I shouldn't be but I'm not as worried. I really regret not having an explicit conversation with SW about this beforehand. (Oil Man and I are having the talk about this next time I see him.) He's tested negative and I tested negative for HIV in February and will see about everything else in a few weeks. I meant to go get tested earlier but we were using condoms and then life got crazy. My risks are really low - lesbianism helps here but no excuses, I was stupid.

Beloved is, to put it mildly, not happy. She was a sex educator for a while and STD prevention is really, really important to her. It keeps us safe for each other - this mistake betrayed our agreements. She loves me, we are not in any danger of breaking up over this but I feel like a shit. I can't fix this except by not doing it again and building up trust again. I screw up but I never make the same mistake again.

redpepper 03-27-2011 06:12 PM

Take a breath. *breath* That really sucks.

The chances are unlikely that you are pregnant. I would think that there is more likelihood in these situations that you would get an SDI. You know this guy though; how his other relationships work, what he has done for protection in the past.... seems unlikely that he has anything to pass on. It's not like you picked someone up at a bar.

That is a highly unfortunate situation. It does happen however. Condoms fail also and there is risks there also... sex can be a risky business.

There is nothing really you can do except go and get tested a in a few weeks, check your period and make sure info is passed better next time...

Try not to be too anxious about it all. It likely will be fine.

opalescent 03-27-2011 06:13 PM

Lessons learned and questions
So, damn this is long. Thanks for any responses after slogging through this!

So lessons learned.

I learned that I have to always take control of my birth control and std prevention at all times. Should I have known that already? Yes, I was dumb.

Pay fucking attention during sex. Don't drift into happy sex land entirely.

Don't make assumptions about others fluid bonding. Their fluid bonding may not look like yours.

Communicate even when you don't have time, even when it's awkward or weird.

Beloved loves me, even when I fuck up in spectacular fashion.

What I am struggling with.

Why would SW think having unprotected sex with me was ok? Even if I apparently agreed? It really bothers me that he would so casually break a promise - because for me that's what fluid bonding is - to keep each other safe as much as possible from disease and pregnancy. Because he broke a promise, so did I.

I know that he and girlfriend have a complicated relationship and they were not having sex at that time but, so? Fluid bonding doesn't go away when you are not having sex with that partner. I realize that he was likely in happy sex land too, and I seemed to agree that it was ok, so in the moment, he continued. I understand that it was probably not a completely conscious decision. Still I'm bothered.

I'm also bothered by the implications of why he broke fluid bonding. Like I said, it literally never occurred to me that he would want bareback sex with me. He was always really careful previously. So why now? He wasn't having unprotected sex with his primary and I seemed available, contracepted, and agreeable.

I've never felt like I was a substitute, sexually or otherwise, for his girlfriend. It is true that our dynamic has always included acknowledgment that we are sexually involved in part because our primary partners are not always available, because of distance on my part and complicated relationship issues on his. I have no problems being secondary in his life. This isn't a case where I want more emotionally from him, or want to change our dynamic. Until this incident, I have always felt that he wanted me for me, that our connection was about us. But now I wonder.

redpepper 03-27-2011 06:22 PM

If he is so easily convinced to slip his cock into you unprotected, then who else is he doing that with. I would not be okay with this really. Should he not be a little more vigilant on his end? Is this a matter of "I'm a man, I don't need to worry. I put my cock in, it's her that takes my seed that needs to be concerned?" OLD SCHOOL! no way... maybe he needs a sexual health lesson. He has either missed something here or is uber sloppy. In which case that would be a deal breaker for me. I just get too wigged out by men that don't take safe sex seriously enough to protect themselves.

Tonberry 03-27-2011 09:05 PM

It's hard to know what SW was thinking. Maybe he thought the condoms were just for birth control and that you didn't need them anymore? Even if you told him it's your agreement that you wouldn't have unprotected sex, for some people "protected" only means "from a pregnancy".

While it was wrong of him in the heat of the moment to slip it in, he did ask if it was okay pretty soon, just in case. He wasn't clear enough, you weren't paying attention enough, mistakes were made. I think you didn't break your agreement any more than someone who was raped broke an exclusivity agreement (not saying you were raped, just that you didn't choose to have unprotected sex, it happened to you).
You had all reasons to believe he would slip on a condom as usual. Now you'll know to be more careful about that, but trusting him was reasonable.

Now, about the pregnancy option. Did you get a morning after pill? If you're not pregnant yet it can prevent it. They can have some effect for up to 3 days after the sex I believe (as it's the latest it can take to get pregnant, by then the sperms die). It's less effective the more time passes (because it doesn't work if you're already pregnant) but it can help if you still have time to do it.

Otherwise, I don't know what to say. I can totally understand your position (pro-choice, but not feeling able to get an abortion) but I think you should really consider the options if you do learn that you are pregnant. Would the child have a good life being adopted? Would you? Would the pregnancy have negative effects on your life? Abortion can be hard emotionally, but giving up a baby can be harder. Etc.

It's of course YOUR choice, but I think it might be worth thinking about it deeply, since the consequences will be forever.

Have a talk with SW if it hasn't happened yet, make sure you're clear now. Reiterate that you want condoms to always be used, and make sure to check it happens from now on. The only thing you can do now is make sure this doesn't happen again.
If you are pregnant, consider asking him if he would want to raise the baby with his girlfriend (or on his own), as that would be simpler than adoption and you could have a role in the child's life without being a primary parent.

Good luck!

nycindie 03-27-2011 09:48 PM

If I were you, I would go get a morning after pill. And don't beat yourself up about this. Get tested for STIs in a few weeks and then three months later.

However, you made an error in judgment and this is important to examine. Honestly, I don't know how far gone you could be not to monitor the official dressing of the cock for the occasion - unless you were drunk or stoned or something. No matter how euphoric a sexual experience is for me, I always pay attention to that, so perhaps you need to learn how to stay present more and not let yourself get so lost. I mean, what about changing positions - don't you check to make sure the condom stays on when he pulls out before re-entering again?

Maybe it's a matter of self-confidence or assertiveness for you?

In addition, you should always have your own supply of rubbers and not be reliant upon the guy to put them on. I just bought a nice carrying case for mine to keep in my purse, and I always have tons handy in my bedroom. I am usually always the one to get them out and put them on the guy - I have impressed several lovers by my ability to do it one-handed (though it seems no big deal to me). It can be part of the sex play - don't leave it up to him!

Yes, lessons learned!

opalescent 03-27-2011 10:25 PM


SW has never acted in word or deed like a man who thinks so little of women. I've met several of his exes, who all spoke well of him and are still friends with him. In fact, this was a major factor in my decision to date him. He just doesn't have a history of being irresponsible or dismissive in that "OLD SCHOOL" way. This is partly why I am bothered, it's so out of character for him.

Also I keep reminding myself that I'm probably not pregnant, that mistakes happen, to breathe and that it will be ok.


I did take a morning after pill the next morning. So I've done all I can do to prevent pregnancy. I've been flipflopping between trying not to think about what to do if I am pregnant and mulling over different scenarios in my head. I'm not ruling out abortion definitively-just that I'm not comfortable with it. If I end up having to make this decision, it will be fully thought out.

Thank you for the words about unprotected sex happening to me. It was a different perspective I hadn't thought about.

Oh yeah, we had that talk. We're very clear now. This won't happen again.

I don't know if he would want to be a father. I don't know if I would drop a child into that relationship - they are not that stable together yet.

nycindie 03-27-2011 10:57 PM

You can also take a mega dose of Vitamin C, or even put some Vitamin C tablets internally (without bioflavinoids), to create an acidic environment and help prevent pregnancy. See: Using Vitamin C to Prevent Conception (Ascorbic Acid)

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