While I write regularly about all sorts of experiences, I rarely write the kind of intimate personal reflection on experiences that many other people do. When I have done this I have been surprised by the appreciative and supportive responses I have received.

For no particular reason, I was recently remembering an incident from a number of years ago. This is a true story. I was enjoying a casual, non-exclusive, relationship with a woman that lasted for about 3 months. I was in my early 30s. She was in her mid 40s. We had strong chemistry and connected socially and intellectually. We both had other partners. Our connection was about pleasure, not love, but it seemed based on affection and goodwill.

The memorable incident came in the languid aftermath of a sexual session. She commented at how unusual it was to be with a man who was so consistent in taking the initiative in using condoms to take responsibility for contraception. I’ve written previously about how I think accidental dads are losers and that men should take responsibility for their reproductive behaviour.

‘Thanks’ I said, ‘this is something I take seriously’. She continued with saying ‘you know how I said I was on the pill?’ ‘Yes’, I replied. ‘Well I lied, I’m not’. I was silent as I absorbed this. She continued with ‘all the sex I’ve had with different men in the past year has been unprotected, unless they volunteered to use a condom. I can’t decide whether I want to have a baby, so I’m leaving it to chance.’

She had an unusual personality and sometimes seemed to like to antagonise people for her own amusement. I tried to understand whether she was making a sick joke, but she was being honest. I was freaking out but somehow managed to remain relatively calm. I told her to get and and don’t come back.

There have been occasions in my longer relationships where condoms have been our primary method of contraception, and this is completely normal to me. Some women don’t like taking the pill, or suffer from side effects. Depending on circumstances, using two different methods (hormonal and barrier) can make both partners feel safer, especially with the STI protection condoms provide.

My rational self-interest in looking after myself in always using condoms to avoid STIs and conception has been condemned as paranoid and even misogynistic by some women friends and former lovers. They expect men to trust women to manage conception, even though they simultaneously complain that men won’t take responsibility for it.

I see no reason to relinquish my responsibility to someone else, especially when the consequences are so significant. Creating an unwanted child is unethical in itself, and passively accepting the risk of 18 years of financial ruin is something I could never do.

Men’s reproductive rights are not taken seriously in our society. To a significant extent I think this is men’s own fault, because they so often fail to uphold their responsibilities. But there’s more to it. Some women seem to think they are justified in cheating, lying, manipulating and defrauding men in relation to their genetic property.

I think a man who trusts a women who says she is on the pill is a moron who deserves to suffer the consequences, but equally, a woman who lies to a man about being on the pill to encourage him to have sex with her without a condom is a rapist.

Russian roulette

4 thoughts on “Russian roulette

  • 16 April 2011 at 11:41 am

    A rapist. Are your site stats down, Brian, for you to use such preposterous language?
    Compare it to cheating or fraud, as it is a form of deception. Even to organ harvesting. But rape is just about the most ridiculously insulting concept you could find.
    Of course, you’re probably up there with Julian Assange’s “rape victims”. FYI I have experienced pregnancy and subsequent abortion following a promise to “pull out” (young and naive and a lesson learned), and I have also experienced rape. The two experiences were entirely different; yes I was angry and hurt and freaked out by what had happened, and felt myself the victim of men’s selfish needs. But rape was rape because it was terrifying and painful and… and I’m not going to turn this into a personal, woe-is-me thing. Just know that your analogy is absolutely ridiculous and my previous ability to tolerate your provocative writing is now replaced with contempt. I won’t say I’ll never read Fitzroyalty again, but I am deleting it from my bookmarks — consider this my flounce.

    Oh and if it makes you feel any better, my rapist wore a condom. Maybe that makes it less rapey?

    • 16 April 2011 at 12:24 pm

      I understand the emotional trigger of your response, but there is no reason in it. Many women are unreasonably offended by the idea that men can be anything but perpetrators and women anything but victims, but this political worldview does not match reality.

      All Australian legal jurisdictions recognise that some kinds of fraud, deception or mistaken belief invalidate consent. Take the recent ADFA case where a woman was secretly filmed, possibly recorded, and broadcast having sex with a colleague. He set her up. He invited her to participate in a private sexual encounter, and she consented. She did not consent to what was set up, which was a public sexual encounter. She was manipulated into giving false consent, and this meets the definition of rape. I believe this woman was raped.

      Compare it to the scenario I have described. A man who agrees to a sexual encounter with a woman who promises that she is on the pill, but who is wilfully mislead, has been manipulated into giving false consent, and this meets the definition of rape. These men have been raped.

      In the Assange case, based on the information we have, I believe he did rape those women because they did not consent to sex without condoms, and one could not consent while she was asleep. I’m a fan of Wikileaks, but not of Assange himself.

      Rape is not just about sexual violence. It is about the violation of consent. This happens violently or subtly by deception.

  • 16 April 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Totally agree Brian. Without honesty and informed choice, sex without strings is genuinely impossible.

  • 18 April 2011 at 10:17 am

    Hi Rose,
    Sorry to have read you were a victim of rape.


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