Friday, December 28, 2007

Extra note on Episode 11's discussion

Hey there Uncensored Knitters,

It seems that you guys are shooting right over the real point in the discussion here....and I'm feeling that I am being misunderstood and I would like to do a damage control before people really get the wrong idea about me (yes, I do care what other people think of me....in some regards).

From what I've read on the comments, it seems that people are thinking as though I were against getting tested, which isn't the case at all. If you've read the show notes, you will see that I've already got tested and that it was Dr. D himself who asked the question first before I got to it.

What I was so adamant about in the discussion was the fact that I feel that Cashyie was giving me the idea that you were supposed to be asking right on your first date. Which isn't what I would do. I would of course ask, as I had stated in the podcast, but only when the relationship starts to get serious, i.e. that the relationship is official. When we were recording the podcast, it wasn't official yet, but it is now and like I said, both I and Dr. D got tested.

Now, to re-state and re-phrase the question that I/we want to know again: WHEN is the right time to ask your (potential) partner about their health status? Surely, you wouldn't be sitting down to the first dinner on the first date and suddenly blurt out about HIV-test, would you?

Cheers,
Elemm (who already got tested)

16 comments:

Auntly H said...

Forgive me for skipping over the show notes' clarifications. I based my comments on the conversation in the podcast (which may have been edited, leaving out some time-related aspect of the debate). I would not ask on the first date. I would, however, like to see a clean bill of health before the first "ahem." For me (back in my single days), there would be a fair amount of time between first dinner date and "ahem" in which to gather up the courage to ask and to get the tests done and reports back. I was already a fan of Dr. D because he's making you (Elem) happy. Add a few points to his score for asking.

knitkim said...

Dear Gang

I so agree with the above statement. You have to be your own advocated when it comes to matters of sex and health. No one else will do it for you.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Cashy's comments on the podcast...getting yourself tested on a regular basis is important as well as checking in with a potential sex partner.

As for when it's a good time to ask...I don't know that there is ever an ideal moment; it's always going to be awkward. And it will vary with how quick the relationship is progressing. I, myself, am extremely shy so for me, I wouldn't ask until I knew or at least anticipated that sex was in the near future but it's important for me to be assertive about this topic and to protect myself. When I was younger, I was too afraid to ask. I was fortunate that nothing bad has ever happened but I was always angry with myself for not asking and hell if the guy would bother to bring up the topic so now I view it as my responsibility but if the guy beats me to it, I have to say, I find that pretty attractive.

Woman who knits said...

I got tested every year along with my friends just for our mental well being. This was in college and I quit after meeting my hubby.

If I started to date someone and he had "bangin'" potential (Hey I went to college in the Deep South of the US), I'd ask before we sealed the deal. I would ask when we were alone in conversation. That way I felt like the guy would be more honest with me b/c sex wasn't pending at that moment.

For what's it's worth, I never thought you were against testing. You were very clear that it isn't a common practice in your circle of friends. No big deal . . .IMHO!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification--I was starting to worry about you. I think that the "right" time to ask depends on the dynamics of each relationship--but always before you get the the "ahem" stage! Sounds like everything is under control. Good luck!! Yvonne

noricum said...

I wouldn't ask on a first date unless the conversation somehow ended up going in a direction where it was really natural to ask. I would ask, however, when the relationship is steering towards being intimate, though, and *before* any "ahem".

I love your podcast! :)

Anonymous said...

I agree w/everyone else that you have to wait till the appropriate time, before the "ahem" moment. BUT if you have a condition that you know of already that could be transmitted pre-ahem, then it would be nice to divulge before potential transmission occurs. NOT that I'm saying you have one :-)

In Cashyie's defense, if you were checked on a regular basis (at least between one significant other and the next, it would be so much easier to answer when the topic comes up.

stitchstud said...

Cashy's concern and comfort even insistence on broaching the testing topic with potential partner's is a testament to the Canadian public education system and the culture/country-wide move towards educating the public as prevention. I don't know if the Canadian gay culture is as casual towards the topic of testing as the German one was described to be, but I'm glad that E. and Dr. D. have taken the high and safe road.

Linda said...

I haven't had to worry about this for many years, thank goodness, since I've been married 10 years and my husband and I are exclusive.

I think what I heard from Cashy is concern that there are also other ways to get some nasty stuff. Penetration isn't the only way to get infected with an STD. Whenever the relationship moves to a place where some sort of potentially-infective activity will start is when the conversation needs to happen. Isn't that why there are scotch flavored condoms and flavored dental dams? ;-)

Certainly non-penetrative activity is less risky compared to the other option, so it's a calculated risk to not have the "test conversation" first or to be super careful. I guess it depends on how you were educated, too. My younger friends (20s-30s) seem much more like Cashy about this. In my day (I'm 40 BTW) we didn't worry about protection when doing non-penetrative stuff for the most part. Condoms only came out when the "ahem" would start.

Stephen hizKNITS said...

Whoa, it's really hard to listen to this conversation (as I'm typing this). I'm hearing a cultural difference between Cashyie and Elemm. I'm not sure what cultures I'm referring to: gay/straight, sex-postive/sex-cautious, risk-adverse/personal responsibility for one's actions.

There's a layer of judgment in her insistence of "protection" and being "clean." I'd love to know if she was into someone, and the test results were not to her liking, would she bail on the guy?

I'm all for making an informed decision about who one dates and sleeps with, but a test is only one moment in time, and in the case of HIV, may not be accurate for the past 6 months (incubation window from exposure).

"Testing" doesn't mean taking care of oneself... it means gathering information. It doesn't guarantee trust, honesty, protection or safety. As Elemm brought up, those close to you can lie to you.

And, it's not an absolute of "crazy" or "not crazy." Cashyie's amazement sounds like ignorance. There's a fine line between reacting to Elemm's choice and telling him how to live his life.

BTW, some of your listeners could be HIV+ themselves or have partners who are, or have herpes, or HPV. Are they now unlovable? or un-sex-able? Your personal choice doesn't mean it's the way things are. "Clean" is common vernacular, but what does it imply for its opposite?

To answer the question, it's up to the individuals when to ask about testing. In my life, first date: no way. I've had sex with and without knowledge. I take the same precautions with both. And, yes, I've had sex *GASP* with no intention of dating the person! I've heard it even happens in Canada.

Guys have told me early on of their status and history. With others, it's come out over time. With any significant relationship, it's always been discussed, and has never been a deal-breaker. I've also been rejected for my negative status, as they wanted a positive partner like them.

In the end, I'm responsible for what I get exposed to, and a test is a look backwards, saying nothing of the future. Other than my first boyfriend, my choice is to keep the same level of protection, no matter what test results say.

All that said, I still love all three of you and the podcast. Keep it "uncensored" but watch for bullying. Heavy stuff for a knitting podcast... but keep it coming!

I may be in Germany before 2010, and want to have a drink with Cashyie!

Knitters said...

I am so glad you wrote in, and in no way did I mean to be bullying elem, except about his thesis(but I bully about that out of love, and because I know he will do a brilliant job). I think your correct about the cultural difference thing and maybe it has more to do with what we want out of life/what is important to us.

“There's a layer of judgment in her insistence of "protection" and being "clean." I'd love to know if she was into someone, and the test results were not to her liking, would she bail on the guy? “

I didn’t mean for it to be a layer of judgment – it was more shock at the time of recording. Where I grew up there were super conservatives and super liberals, not so much with the middle ground. In my sex ed class in grade 8 we had an HIV positive bisexual man come in to our class and talk about the disease and what was understood about its transmission at the time. He was incredibly frank in his discussion with us and talked about the responsibility and limitations of having this virus, I had always assumed those in alternative life styles were more open about discussing this sort of thing with potential partners. I think the main reason for having him come talk to us was to impress upon us the human face of the disease, how anyone could contract it (gay/strait/bisexual) as well as the ramifications of being diagnosed positive. I was surprised by elems views and just didn’t expect them to be what they were – if/when you meet us in real life elem is the one with his act togeather/organized/increadibly well groomed and I am the complete train wreck. I suppose it does reflect a cultural mind set as well, to have sex with someone I would need to be comfortable with them and be reasonably sure that this person was someone who could be a partner, someone I could have kids with and settle down with. Someone living with HIV/AIDS would be seriously limited in being able to provide me with these sorts of things and could pass this along to me is not able to provide so, yeah would probably I bail on the guy - most likely – mouth herpes I think I could work around. I suppose its selfish probably why im alone, but I guess one has to be honest with ones self and that is a big deal breaker for me.

“I'm all for making an informed decision about who one dates and sleeps with, but a test is only one moment in time, and in the case of HIV, may not be accurate for the past 6 months (incubation window from exposure).”

Again I prob wouldn’t sleep with anyone I have know for a short period of time and wouldn’t sleep with them unless it was monogamous, and even then protection, protection, protection- dear god I sound like a Victorian – someone please build me a time machine...


“Cashyie's amazement sounds like ignorance. There's a fine line between reacting to Elemm's choice and telling him how to live his life.”

Bang on – again you are absolutely correct- and I need to learn choices I make for myself do not apply to others, were elem a random person off the street I wouldn’t have thought twice about his comment. I think I reacted the way I do because I think of him as my family – if he was a smoker I would totally bully him about that too (again I know not my place)– I am trying to be better.... its just so hard....

“BTW, some of your listeners could be HIV+ themselves or have partners who are, or have herpes, or HPV. Are they now unlovable? Or un-sex-able? Your personal choice doesn't mean it's the way things are. "Clean" is common vernacular, but what does it imply for its opposite?”

Not at all, I have no idea what it would be like to live with that kind of responsibility and would never want to offend any of our listeners/ really anyone if at all possible. I in no way feel having HIV makes them unlovable or un-sex-able, I do however think being HIV positive means they have a tremendous responsibility to take care of themselves and prospective partners. I in no way intended to imply anything about those who have contracted something and will do my best to avoid using the term “clean” again – I had not thought of the implications and do apologize to anyone who may have been offended.


“To answer the question, it's up to the individuals when to ask about testing. In my life, first date: no way. I've had sex with and without knowledge. I take the same precautions with both. And, yes, I've had sex *GASP* with no intention of dating the person! I've heard it even happens in Canada.”

For the record I did not suggest the first date was the time to ask – I think we just had a little miscommunication there. Again I think this is one of those prejudices I have, I probably wouldn’t have sex with someone I couldn’t see myself being with in the long term (I am very insecure and would like as few people to see me naked as possible hence my expectations are insanely high)- in the long term I want a lot of things, like children, that would be much more difficult were I to have a partner with a serious life shortening illness that I could contract. I understand others are not looking for this and so this is not something they consider, sometimes I guess I just forget others are better able to live in the moment.

“In the end, I'm responsible for what I get exposed to, and a test is a look backwards, saying nothing of the future.”

Fair enough, but the past can be used as a predictor of the future, again this is probably more a reflection of my expectations and wants from a relationship than sex/personal safety, though I do feel the spread of many diseases could be reduced if everyone got tested regularly and informed potential partners.

“I may be in Germany before 2010, and want to have a drink with Cashyie!”

Ill buy you the first round – again thanks for writing in, your comments were well thought out and presented, I guess I have cultural biases like everyone else, thank you for writing in and challenging them a bit.

Cashyie

Figino said...

hello
I listened to the podcast only yesterday and therefor can answer only today. I'd ask in the moment that it seems that the relation gets "over the first night", means you sleep in the same appartement several nights (the hole night) and start planing weekends - at that point you know it'll be more than just one night of fun!!

Eve

Julie said...

For what it's worth, I think Cashyie's response was a product of our generation and education. I'm prefacing this by saying that I don't know Cashyie at all, but her words sounded much like something I would say. I'm 30 years old and American, and when I hit middle school, AIDS and HIV were just starting to be widely recognized. I remember having entire health classes devoted to them, and the importance of being tested, and how it was our responsibility to make sure that we were tested and our partners were as well. I see this as a sharp dividing line between my generation and the ones that preceded it: my boyfriend, who is 53, is part of the "free love" generation. You could go out and have sex with whomever and not really worry, because STDs could be cured or treated. Then suddenly as Gen X was coming of age, sex was something that could theoretically kill you. I am definitely a product of that mentallity - I have had far less partners than my boyfriend has, and yes, I did ask him on the first date if he'd been tested. Now I had known him a bit through work prior to our first date, but it was still an awkward question, yet one I felt had to be broached.

I have no idea where I'm going with this except to say that I could totally understand where Cashyie was coming from because it had been drummed into my head while I was growing up. :)

A Guy said...

Wow, this really made me think and it's not a cut and dry - thrid date - type of answer.

The time to ask is before you engage in an activity that can hurt you. You want to be as sure as possible that you watch out for #1. So if you're the type of person that takes things slow, then you have time before you ask these type of questions for the most part. On the other hand, if one's personality is such that they enjoy a heated roll in the hay on the fist date, then that question should be asked just after saying "Hello"! Seriously!

You need to watch out for yourself and I feel that is what Cashy was saying. I do understand what Elem was saying and I feel that they were both just a bit out of sync with each other.

I won't analyze why Elem said what he did with the intensity he had, nor will I analyze Cashy on the same points. I will say that it was quite refershing to listen to the intensity of the conversation and to hear that special something Cashy has for Elem - she is a true friend and Elem you are a very lucky person.

Stay well, stay happy and stay friends.

A Guy

WonderMike said...

Have I told you kids how much I love the podcast? Thanks for keeping it fun, informative and provocative. And those show notes, color me very impressed my Dears.

Now, onto my little ole sexual responsibility two cents:
Sex is wonderful and everyone should have more, enjoying it fully, without shame, deception or coercion. I feel that one should always act as if your partner could transmit something to you and take the correct precautions until you have made a decision to bring it to the next level, whatever that might be (monogamy, commitment, testing, etc.).

I'm in a committed relationship and have been for about 6 years now, but I remember dating and "ahem" for more years than I care to disclose. It was always a stressor and always a source of conflict for me when it came to discussing HIV status. There's no easy way to do it, but you gotta do it, if you're going "skydive without parachutes". Hmmm, maybe that’s a bad metaphor. Do I sound like a Victorian? Maybe Cashyie and I can use the Time Machine together.

Thanks again for lively debate. Electronic Kisses with digital dental dams to you all.

Esoteric Knitter said...

Oh my goodness. I haven't been caught up with the podcast but gosh I feel like whoa I've missed something big.

Elemm, you're awesome. *Hug*