I was talking with my new (fabulous) friend Andie today (P.S. she just created a blog!!). We got together before class to share stories about our lives, and what it’s like to live with hypochondria. I am so excited to finally have someone to relate to. We both have incredibly similar experiences with anxiety but we do have some differences. For example, Andie visits the doctor’s office somewhat frequently, whereas I like to stay away from doctors and use ignorance to cope with my thoughts. Another difference between us is the fact that Andie currently has a boyfriend, and I date women. I’ve always appreciated the fact that due to my sexual orientation, I don’t need to worry about pregnancy. Andie on the other hand, does worry about pregnancy. We also talked about a mutual fear of STI’s and I personally spoke from my perspective as a woman in the queer community.
I’ve always envied the fact that, in the Western world, people who have hetero-normative sex have easier access to condoms. I mean, the condoms meant for penises are only one type of condom, but we still just call them “condoms” because they are everywhere. If I want to use condoms, I have to seek out a place that sells “dental dams” or latex gloves and most people don’t even know what they are. Yes, I could always turn to those tutorials on DIY dental dams, but should I really have to ‘do it myself’ to have safer sex? To add to my frustration, virtually no one talks about queer condoms: they are never seen in the media and are definite sexual mood-killers.
Growing up, queer women never really learn the sexual script on how to bring up the use of these condoms during sex. If I were straight, I would be all over condoms. It’s not a coincidence then that straight safe-sex scripts can be found all throughout the media and this exclusionary hetero-normativity is dangerous.
My life as a so-called hypochondriac would be so much easier if queer sex had a larger place in sexual discourse. I would love to live in a world where queer sex is normalized as much as straight sex is. Imagine no one thinking twice when all varieties of condoms are handed out to first year university goers during frosh week, and imagine Trojan featuring commercials involving two women on late night T.V. I would love to live in a world where my doctors don’t ask me how I’m not pregnant when I tell them I am sexually active, but don’t take contraception. A world where my doctor (who knows my sexual preference) takes me seriously when I tell them I want to get tested. Because even though I’m a hypochondriac, and even though I’m a lesbian, STIs are a reality that affect all sexual relationships. And I don’t want to stress over sex anymore.