I've written lots of articles about sex after divorce, but there's something I've left untouched that I think deserves its own article -- safe sex!
Picture this: You just had the greatest date of your life. You think you might love this person, even though you barely know him/her. The hopelessness of never meeting anyone again has completely vanished. Your prince (or princess) has arrived! So, I totally understand how when the two of you have sex, passion can get the best of you, forgetting the need to use protection. What?! No, I don't!
I will only say this once, but I will say it loud and clear: Safe sex is just as important after divorce as it was before you were married. It's actually MORE important because you now have kids to think about!
I can't believe the number of older, divorced men and women who tell me they have unprotected sex with people they either just met or have yet to have the sex history talk with. They look at me with this innocent (I like to call it naïve and stupid) look and say, "Well... I'm sure it's fine."
My question is, how can you possibly know it's fine? You have no idea who that person has slept with. It baffles me how men and women in their 40s, 50s and 60s can preach safe sex to their children and then disregard their own advice and have unprotected sex themselves.
Look, I'm not trying to be judgmental, but it really scares me. Not pregnancy or even other STDs that can be cured, but what about AIDS? There's no cure for that. You have a responsibility to your children to make sure you stay healthy and live a long life. I cannot understand how someone can take that risk. I just can't.
Safe sex is still fun
Just as before you were married, protected sex is highly wise. What's the big deal about using a condom until you really get to know the person, until you know that person's history and most importantly, until you know the two of you are exclusive? Doesn't that make sense?
How to have the sex history talk:
Here's where it might get tricky. Here's a scenario: You meet someone and the two of you are gaga over each other. It's only your second date, but you've had a couple glasses of wine and you are absolutely loving this person. You might even think he or she is the one. After months (or even years) of being alone and feeling hopeless, like there is no one out there for you, you finally met this person you really like. Plus, you are so physically attracted, and you've been lonely for so long, all you want to do is rip the person's clothes off.
I totally understand that. But what I'm saying is that you have two choices: You either use a condom or you have the sex history talk. The sex history talk probably isn't going to happen during the heat of passion, let's be honest. So, I'd recommend the condom at that moment.
Have the sex history talk while both sober and not in bed. Maybe start off by saying, "I know this is awkward and not easy to talk about, but would you be okay with us talking about our sexual past?" Then the two of you need to be honest and upfront with each other. I've even known couples who have both been tested for STDs before having unprotected sex. I support that idea 100 percent and think it's very wise.
So, my advice would be to enjoy yourself and your new guy (or girl) in bed. Sex is wonderful and fun and those breathtakingly passionate moments are heavenly. But sex is also so powerful that it can cloud judgment and emotions and cause people to do and say things they normally wouldn't. Be smart and responsible when it comes to sex. Being safe doesn't mean you can't still enjoy it. In fact, knowing it's safe will most likely make it even better!
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of the blog, Divorced Girl Smiling. She is also the author of her new divorce novel with the same name, as well as her other divorce novel, FREE GIFT WITH PURCHASE. Ms. Pilossoph is a weekly business features reporter and columnist for Sun-Times Media. She lives in Chicago with her two kids. Oh, and she's divorced!