UTIs, Between You and I
I’m 21 and am from India. I started sleeping with this boy about 3 months back and about two week back I realised I had all the symptoms of UTI. What are the precautions I should take while we are having sex so as to ensure that I don’t pass it on to him.
First and most important thing: get your UTI treated immediately if you have not already done so. I don’t know what your healthcare situation is like, but a round of standard antibiotics should take care of it. And whether or not you can get antibiotics right away, drink tons of water and avail yourself of cranberry extract capsules and as much cranberry juice as you can get your hands on. I mean a lot of cranberry juice. You need to get that thing knocked out of your system, and cranberry in all forms helps to do this by acidifying your urine and wiping out germs. (Or at least that’s the common wisdom: studies haven’t conclusively proven that cranberry helps get rid of UTIs, but in my personal experience, it works pretty well.)
The thing is, it’s easy for a routine UTI to turn into a much-more-serious kidney infection if it doesn’t get treated properly and quickly. One of my best friends was hospitalized for weeks because of one a few years ago. Please don’t let this happen to you!
As far as transmission goes, just so that we’re clear: UTIs are often (but not always!) caused by bacteria entering the urethra during sex, but they are not STIs. That is to say that they are not directly transmitted by having sex, but intercourse is often the indirect cause of STIs because bacteria that are hanging out in the genital region sometimes get smooshed up into your urethra during sexual encounters. So it’s not really possible for you to pass your UTI on to him directly. However, the STIs chlamydia and trichomoniasis can be transmitted directly, and they often cause UTIs, so please get tested as soon as you can, just in case! (Both chlamydia and trichomoniasis are easily treatable, so don’t freak out! Just get tested!)
All that being said, men are at far lower risk for UTIs than women, making up only around 20% of UTI cases worldwide. This is mostly because male urethras average 8 inches in length, whereas the female urethra is only around 1.5 inches long, which means there’s a lot more room for germies to get killed off on their way to a male bladder. But, to reduce the risk of passing germs around, and to prevent your UTI from coming back to haunt you, hygiene is the name of the game for both of you. Make sure that you both shower or bathe as soon as possible after sex. And before you hop in the shower, it’s really important to urinate soon after sex so that if anything with infectious intent was trying to work its way into your bladder, you get it out ASAP. (This should be easy for you, if you’re drinking all that cranberry juice!)
Also, even though you’ve got this sexy new beau, try to eschew super-tight fitting underwear and thongs in favor of cotton underwear that let your vulva get some air. Don’t sleep with underwear on (sexy!), and avoid tight garments like tights and leggings when you can—they tend to trap germs, even though they look smashing. Be sure to change your tampon or pad frequently when you’re menstruating, and wash your hands like, all the time whenever you’re putting them near your crotch!
Make sure you drink a lot of water even after the UTI is gone, and make cranberry juice a regular part of your diet. This will help you urinate frequently, which is way important in keeping your urinary tract clear. Healthy foods help, like, everything, and that includes your urinary tract. So does reducing your coffee and alcohol intake.
Anyway, the takeaway message here is: it’s very unlikely that you’ll transmit your UTI to your new beau. Focus on getting it eliminated in your own body and then on keeping it from coming back, and chances are you’ll both be fine. But do get your UTI treated and your STI status checked as soon as possible! And, hey, enjoy your new relationship. I’m raising a glass of cranberry juice to you right now!
Too Many Men, Not Enough Me
what is my trouble? it is getting stuck between a rock and a hard place.
before the summer I was seeing a guy named K, first just for pleasure since we have that unhealthy chemical attraction towards each other. then I moved away to uni, which broke both our hearts since we just figured out it was more then lust we were feeling.
now recently this new guy, J, showed up in my life with whom I have a friends with benefits relation and very satisfying sex.
Now all fun and alright till last week I hopped over to see K for the first time in 3 months and it was like no time had gone by. we still were giving each other the jitters and the sex was just as amazing as it was before I left.
Coming home again just flipped it all over the place. Did I want K or J? it’s an issue I can’t really discuss openly since everybody thinks I’m dating J (I’m not for the record, I just am forced to say this to get a group of guys off my neck).
what to do, what to do?
Highs five for having some game, girl! Clearly you are workin’ it if you’ve got two sex partners and a bunch of other guys “on your neck,” as you put it. So kudos on being sexy and rocking it!
Now let’s talk about all these lusty men and what to do about them. The truth is, there are a lot of ways this could go down. You have a ton of options here. But that’s the trouble, isn’t it? So here’s what you need to do: have a nice sit-down think session with yourself. I’m serious. I don’t mean just read this letter and then hop back up and go see J. I mean really take an hour or two and sit quietly on your bed and consider what’s happening here. What it means to you. Light a few candles, play your favorite non-distracting music, close your eyes, and think. Let go of everybody’s expectations. Forget about what all these guys might want out of you, and focus on what you want for yourself. What do you think will make you happy? What do you think will satisfy you? What will be good for you physically, spiritually, emotionally? Take some time to focus on these questions. Make some lists of pros vs. cons if you want. Remember that every possibility is open to you. But focus on finding the answer that makes you happiest, and then go for that. There are ways to make it happen. You just have to know what it is first.
You say you’re in university, which tells me you’re pretty young. And from the tone of you letter, it doesn’t sound like you’re in a hurry to settle down and have babies or anything. So, while this is a tough spot to be in (and I really do mean that—it’s difficult to navigate when there are so many people’s feelings involved), there’s nothing massive riding on your decision here. The only really important question you need to settle is what you want and what’s best for you. And that is up to you and only ever you.
It sounds as if you want to be with K in a meaningful way. Maybe this means staying faithful to him in a long-distance relationship. Or maybe it means putting your relationship with him on hold until you can be closer physically. Or maybe it means having a long-distance relationship that is open to you two both seeing other people, too. Each of these options is difficult in its own way, but they all require a massive amount of honesty from both of you. And it will require you being confident enough about what you want for yourself to tell both K and J and everyone else. Maybe you want to give your heart to K but keep having sex with J on a FWB basis. That’s totally cool, but it will require you to be honest with both of them about what you want. So you need to know you want it, and whether you can handle it emotionally. Or maybe you want to try to put things with K on hold for now and pursue a relationship with J. Or, heck, maybe one of those other guys is the best option after all. Hell, maybe you want to tell them all to leave you alone and just be single for a while so you can get your head on straight.
I’m only listing all of these considerations to get your brain going. I don’t have the right answer for you, and you’re in a situation that has a lot of options I haven’t even imagined yet. But I do know that the world is your big, delicious, super-fresh oyster right now, and you can do pretty much whatever you want. Wait, let me re-italicize that: you can do whatever you want. Not what K wants or what J wants or what anybody else wants. If you try to make them all happy, you’ll eventually end up hurting everybody, including yourself. The best you can do is make yourself happy, and everyone else can do the same.
You’ve clearly already got the sexy factor mastered. And the only thing sexier than sexy is confidence. Confidence in yourself and in accepting your own desires, and confidence enough to be totally honest with these guys who are chasing you around. (Especially if honesty means telling them to fuck off if they can’t accept the fact that you don’t want to sleep with them. Seriously. You should never feel like you have to lie about your relationship status to a “group of guys” to keep them at bay. They should respect your wishes, even if those wishes are to never, ever see any of their penises. Especially if those are your wishes.)
Confidence in yourself is where it all starts. So light a candle and get to meditating, lady. And keep rockin’ it.
IMAGE: TheDreamLounge.net (seriously, I dare any of you to go to that website… it’s… um… wow… that picture pretty much sums up my feelings on it)
Lynsey G is a writer, reviewer, interviewer, columnist and blogger writing for and about sex, feminism, and porn since 2007. Formerly a smut scribe for Fox, Juggs, and Tight magazines, she’s also written for xoJane, McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Corset Magazine, TOSKA, MadisonBound.com, and WHACK! Magazine. She’s still on a high after winning a 2013 Feminist Porn Award for her short film, “Consent: Society,” and is now at work blogging at her own website and working on a few books of various types.