Why you should care
OZY’s Eugene S. Robinson addresses queries from the love-weary in “Sex With Eugene.”
You Filthy F*cks
EUGENE, SIR: I listen to your show and know you’re a bit of a hypochondriac, so I know I won’t be laughed at when I tell you that I’m afraid I’m killing people. One ex died of colon cancer, and we enjoyed anal sex. I enjoyed anal with another partner and we were not so careful about always cleaning up before moving to something else, and now she has digestive tract issues. Semen in the eyes accidentally from oral sex, and another has eye problems. This is all on top of other sex stuff like known STDs, which I’ve had taken care of. I know I should use condoms more, but am I fucking people up by not, even if they don’t get something like HIV or AIDS? — Name withheld by request
Dear Chicken Little: There’s a kind of hypochondriacal spiral where, no matter what I say, the next time you’re up to bat, a niggling thought will intrude and you’ll be down a Typhoid Mary rabbit hole, calmed only by the harsh truth that while you can only die once, dying once after having killed everyone you’ve had sex with guarantees you a trip on the highway to hell. Like Ritalin only calming kids with ADHD while speeding everyone else up, I imagine thoughts of your damnation might be the only kind of guarantee you’re comfortable living with.
Except that’s not the way it works. Leastways that’s not what my medical adviser says when I ask if anal sex is a precursor to colon cancer. Actually, he didn’t say anything at first. He looked at me and slowly shook his head before waving me away. Then he called me back. “Someone without colon cancer will not get colon cancer if you put your penis in their anus, if that’s what you mean. However … ” And then the most horrific things hypochondriacs had yet to think of.
You see there’s a difference between anal cancer and its less well-known sibling, colorectal cancer. But they all kill you and risk factors include STDs, the human papillomavirus (HPV), anal sex and multiple sex partners. That’s the bad news. The good news? Anal cancer only accounts for 1 to 2 percent of all cancers of the guts and it mostly affects people older than you. Like people from 55 to 64. Like me! In raw numbers that’s almost about 1,100 people a year, according to the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons, a fun group of folks no matter how you cut it.
Oh, and condoms may reduce the risk of HPV, but they’re not foolproof. So if you or anyone you’re having sex with starts having symptoms — bleeding, pain, growths, itching or swollen lymph glands near the anus or groin — see a doctor.
EUGENE, SIR: Is there a way for me to tell who the father of my child is before the birth of my child? Like during amnio, could we DNA test the baby? — Name withheld by request
Dear Uh Oh: Yeah, in the olden days they used to test during amnio, but these tests were invasive as they involved drawing amniotic fluids and needles and such. Now the tests are a lot easier, but there are still cautions. Social cautions. By which I mean if you’re trying to figure out who the daddy is on the down-low because you’ve been on the down-low, you’ll have to be … stealthy. The noninvasive prenatal paternity test needs a blood sample from the mother but only needs a cheek swab from the father. The problem is, there are not many men alive who won’t ask what the hell you’re doing as you advance on them with a cotton swab and a request to “open wide.”
If everything is on the up-and-up and there’s no need for stealth? The test can be done as early as eight weeks pregnant. Hope that helps.
Sex Club Cops
EUGENE, SIR: You’ve talked a lot about sex clubs, and I didn’t go, but I did try to have a foursome. There was drama and tears so I wonder if sex clubs have bouncers and how would you recommend cooling drama out of a sex party? — Ross
Dear Mr. Geller: Well, my advice always trends toward talking it to death before you do. Consider contingencies, plan, discuss rules of the road and then plot it out as carefully as you would a dinner party. Generally, it works best if people who are not swingers are also not showing up with their long-term partners if they’ve never done it before and are just looking for “a little adventure.” I say this because usually if one is content to just watch, inevitably there will be a divide with one not just content to peek. Also, outside of the sex part, a sex party should also be just a good party. Good music, good food, good visuals, good smells all spell diversions where you can modulate the intensity of the event by, simply, doing something else somewhere else, if the need arises.
Barring all of that, if the drama iceberg crash is inevitable and someone has to leave best it be done along the lines set out by my great-grandmother when she said about a completely different topic, “one monkey don’t stop no show.” That is: quietly and without much party-ending muss or fuss. Easier to do if it is a sex PARTY. Harder to do if it’s just a foursome.
Also, like the former bouncer I was, I’ll give you a workable tip: Identify the trouble spots before they become trouble. You don’t say what kind of drama you had to deal with, but I bet if you thought about it you could have predicted beforehand the person who flipped, yeah?
Don’t invite them next time. Now … get back out there! And keep us posted!