Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ask Naughty Nurse Kimpy 7/19/2012


Ask Naughty Nurse Kimpy is an advice column that addresses reader’s most burning questions on sexual health/relationships. STIs, birth control, is it real or is it fic, sexual positions--you name it. There are no stupid questions, only ones that are too embarrassing to asks someone you know. If Naughty Nurse Kimpy doesn’t know the answer, she’ll find an expert who does!

The information and advice from Ask Naughty Nurse Kimpy is for entertainment/educational purposes only and is not intended to be used as expert medical advice. It is not meant to replace the advice of your physician. All medical advice and information should be considered to be incomplete without a physical exam, which is not possible without a visit to your doctor.

Naughty Nurse Kimpy has returned from her adventuresome Comic Con escapades, ready to dig in and answer the challenging questions you left for her while she was gone. *rolls up sleeves and adjusts nursie cap*

You wrote in an earlier post that:

"Starting from age 21, most women should have Pap smears every 2 years." 

If I already had the HPV vaccine, should I still have Pap smears this early and that often? (I'm 21:))
Yes. Yes. Yes! (No, Naughty Nurse Kimpy didn’t have a multiple unicorn just now.) The fact is that the HPV vaccine covers the most common types of Human Papilloma Virus, but it doesn’t protect against all of them; there are around 40 different types of HPV. 30% of all cervical cancer cases will not be prevented from the HPV vaccine, so it’s very important that you keep getting Pap smears.

I am in a relationship with a bisexual man. I adore him and want to support him in every way possible and part of that is his desire and sometimes need to be with a man in a sexual way. I know that not all relationships with a bisexual have this "open" relationship and we have set up some ground rules, e.g., he has to tell me when he is going out with another man, when he gets home, and he has to use protection.

We do use toys to and role playing, but that can't compare and I know that sometimes you just want the real thing. The circumstances where he steps out are few and far between, but that could be because he is extremely particular and lacks opportunity.

My questions: is this sort of open relationship "normal"? How do I deal with my feelings of inadequacy this creates? Should I expect him to be monogamous? Is there anything I need to do to protect myself mentally and physically? None of our friends know about this so I don't have anyone to talk to and that can be overwhelming sometimes.

Wow, that’s a lot of stuff to deal with, to be sure. Never fear, however, because Naughty Nurse Kimpy happens to know several different couples who are bisexual, and she has a treasure trove of information and experience to share with you.

According to Dr. Kinsey’s breakthrough sex research, 15-25% of women and 33-46% of men identify as being bisexual. While Kinsey’s data wasn’t without flaws, it’s the best source of information we have to draw from. Most studies tend to focus on either heterosexuals or homosexuals exclusively. Neither fully gay nor fully straight, bisexuals often feel at odds within either of those communities.

While you’ve referred to your partner as bisexual, which is a traditional term, I’m going to use it interchangeably with polyamory. As defined by poly101, polyamory is:

the non-possessive, honest, responsible and ethical philosophy and practice of loving multiple people simultaneously. Polyamory emphasizes consciously choosing how many partners one wishes to be involved with rather than accepting social norms which dictate loving only one person at a time. Polyamory is from the root words Poly (meaning “many”) and Amour (meaning “love”); hence “many loves” or Polyamory.

You raised the pesky word normal in your question. It’s not Nurse Kimpy’s favorite, as you are most likely aware. Being in a polyamory relationship might be unusual, but as illustrated earlier, bisexuality/polyamory is on the spectrum of typical human sexual behavior. That being said, it’s not easy to find information on bisexual relationships. If you google bisexuality, you’re likely to find nothing more than a bunch of porn websites. Many people assume that bisexual means that you always have a three-way, and that’s simply not the case, which is another reason I prefer to focus on using the term polyamory. It’s more common in polyamory to have sexual encounters with either men or women, but not necessarily at the same time. There are many straight, gay, and bisexual people who choose to have a sexually active, monogamous relationship. There are also straight, gay, and bisexual people who have open relationships. While your open relationship might be out of the ordinary, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. Remember, as long as sex is safe, consensual, and fun, it gets the Naughty Nurse Kimpy seal of approval.

The other point that Nurse Kimpy really wants to get across is that it says a lot about your character that you’re strong enough to commit to a partner who needs something more than you can provide on your own. That isn’t to say that you are somehow lacking, but you’re never going to be a man with a penis without some serious surgery first. Being in love with someone in a polyamorous relationship isn’t easy--there certainly aren’t any road maps or lists of rules about how this type of arrangement should work. You’re carving out uncharted territory, so much of what you do will simply have to be based upon your own feelings and intuition. The most important thing here is that no one gets to define your relationship besides the two--or three--of you. You have to do what makes the most sense for you, and no one has the right to judge your personal choices. Simply put, it’s none of their business. Period.

Nurse Kimpy is so pleased to know that you and your boyfriend created some important ground rules for your relationship--that is such an important thing to do. Because your sexual partner is a man who’s had sex with other men, it puts you at greater risk for a Sexually Transmitted Infection. Your insistence that he uses protection every time is wise, but Nurse Kimpy also encourages both of you to get tested for STIs every six months, to ensure that you’re truly safe. Should you expect him to be monogamous? That’s really your call. Can you accept an open relationship, similar to what you have now, in the long term? When you see yourself in the future, can you envision a future that might include more than one other person in the relationship? While you might not be having sex with your boyfriend’s other partner, their presence will still be there. If you take a deep look and decide that you cannot, then you need to make this clear to your partner up front. It does no one any good for you to attempt to commit to something that you aren’t sure you can live with. Nurse Kimpy asks you above all else to be honest with yourself; it’s the best way of avoiding hurt feelings and broken hearts.

How do you deal with any feelings of inadequacy? That’s a very good question. A lot depends upon how confident you are in the strength of your relationship. If you trust your partner, and feel confident in the love he has for you, you need to be willing to let him go temporarily, knowing he’ll come back to you. If you don’t yet have this level of trust, then it might be helpful for you to meet with a therapist who works with clients who have issues of a sexual nature. They could be very helpful in addressing these issues and helping you achieve some semblance of peace on the matter. They can also help you create strategies to protect yourself mentally and physically.

While it can be lonely and alienating to find yourself in a polyamorous relationship, it can also be extremely rewarding, too. Nurse Kimpy encourages you to reach out online; there are many communities where polyamorous individuals hang out. It’s amazing how freeing it can be to simply find a venue where you can share some of your thoughts or concerns. There’s actually a surprising number of polyamorous indivduals active in the twi fandom, many of them openly.

The lovely MsKathy--who wrote an incredible story on polyamory called The Trip Home--provided me with some wonderful online resources on polyamory:

Polyamory dot org
Polyamory 101

Additionally our Pervy techs found some links that specifically address your questions about feeling inadequate and how to protect yourself emotionally in this type of relationship.

How to deal with jealousyThis is a thread started by a monogamous man who has a poly partner and is asking the group for tips on how to manage his feelings of insecurity and jealousy. 

A Poly/Mono DialogThis is a real dialog between a person who self-identifies as monogamous but whose partner is polyamorous, and the author of the article.

How to Have an Open Relationship: A detailed article that tackles the nitty gritty of having an open relationship.

It really seems as though you’re asking all the right questions and doing all the right things to protect yourself, so you’ve done a lot of the hard work already. Good luck to you, and please feel free to let Nurse Kimpy know of any resources you find that she might be able to share with her readers.

Do you have a question for Naughty Nurse Kimpy? Click the banner below, fill out the form, and get your answer in the next installment of Ask Naughty Nurse Kimpy.