There was a time when I preferred being penetrated by a finger than being penetrated by a penis. The sensations are just so much more acute and intense, and I have some seriously amazing orgasms that way. I was able to indulge this preference for a few years before I finally had to let that go. The reason? Because my body started rebelling via UTIs appearing after every intense fingerbanging session. Regardless of my boyfriend’s hygiene and my precautions (ie, running to the bathroom immediately post-orgasm), inevitably a few hours later, I’d get that telltale sign that things are not functioning properly down there. It’s definitely a tiny bit heartbreaking when something that brings you pleasure ultimately doesn’t agree with you.
I’m totally used to physical anguish that is caused by mental vulnerability. When I first started hooking up, it would inevitably lead to me having a moderate anxiety attack, including shallow rapid breathing and the shakes. Even now, three years into my relationship, I occasionally have to deal with a knotted stomach and a panicked brain, despite the fact that we practice responsible sex and even if something were to go awry, he’d provide as much support as I needed. Which is all to say that I’m used to my body having adverse reactions after sex. But it feels different and totally out of my control when the symptoms of a UTI appear. Unfortunately, I can’t talk myself out of infections, you know?
I’ve tried nearly every precaution I can think of to avoid UTIs post finger-play. I’ve peed, showered, drank a ton of water to induce peeing again, drank cranberry juice, etc. I’ve made sure my boyfriend’s hands were freshly cleaned and his nails trimmed. The only solution I can think of is him using latex gloves, which totally turns me off. It’s kind of bizarre, since I’m totally pro-condoms and don’t think they diminish the quality of intercourse, but gloves make me think of a gyno exam and that’s just not hot. So I’ve decided to sacrifice something awesome for the sake of my health. This isn’t on the level of going on a hunger strike to protest human rights injustices or anything, but I did have to do some mental gymnastics to get over the sense of betrayal I felt from my body.
I’ve spent a lot of time lurking sex positive spaces where everyone is horny, kinky and so open to new things and everything’s all orgasms and rainbows and all problems are solved by communication. And it was like, “how can other people reinvent the Kama Sutra every night while I can’t even get finger banged by my boyfriend without incident?” It’s such a silly and immature thing to get wound up about because it’s a pretty benign problem to have, and it’s not like there aren’t a million other possibilities available for me to try. If something’s not compatible, it’s not compatible, and that’s a really important thing to remember in sex. It’s not the end of the world if something is too painful, or causes you discomfort, and makes you not want to go through with it. Being sexy and being sexual doesn’t mean being on par with a blowup doll that can take anything that’s thrown at her. Sometimes your body is going to be like “no, this isn’t happening” and you should respect your body enough to be mindful of that.