Appropriate Subjects for the Lunch Table

I've been thinking about censure and blogging. Although my job is not at all in the public interest, or even interesting, occasionally I will admit to censoring chunks of my life. Thanks to a link in facebook, sometimes my work colleagues will pop by to see what's going on. My relationship with my Viking, which was sparked by our blogging habit, is difficult topic to blog about. Obviously, he reads my blog and vice versa. Boy reads my blog and vice versa.

Sometimes when I haven't blogged for a while, it's simply that I'm hideously busy trying to cope with day to day life, or I've got stuff going on I'm not prepared to share in the blogsphere.

I don't however, edit my day-to-day conversations and I will over-share whatever's happening in my life. I have become increasingly worried that the Editor-in-my-Head has taken an improptu holiday, or has nipped out for a lunch-time tipple without telling me. There are times when I genuinely ask 'did I just say that out loud?' I forget that people have subjects that they don't want to talk about over the lunch table, subjects that they might find uncomfortable. I'll talk about anything, me. I'm not proud.

Alix and her husband looked a bit perplexed when discussing Quorn: I said it doesn't come through my front door, my Viking projectile vomits if he eats it. Apparently, Alix can't discuss projectile vomiting and went a lovely shade of green as the subject was explored in more depth. A younger colleague suggested it might be psychosomatic. I argued that projectile vomiting isn't a neurotic symptom. Alix asked me to change the subject. We did. The subject turned to a date one of the perfumery ladies had been on. A rather unsuccessful date; the 'gentleman' announced he no longer had a prostate over dinner. Naturally, I enquired whether he had erectile dysfunction. I thought that was a completely reasonable question, otherwise, why else would he mention the lack of prostate? Perhaps he was giving a gentle warning, should their relationship progress? I was thoroughly told off. It's not the done thing. Apparently.

A fellow blogger has been having lady problems, not at all uncommon lady problems actually. And has been suffering from the service she's been receiving, or not, as the case may be.

If you're a long-time reader you'll know, this is not a sex blog. Fortunately, or unfortunately for you, there are things that I do keep to myself and will continue to do so for the forseeable future. However, my fellow blogger's problems has led me to take the opportunity to have a little bit of a rant about sexual health.

Boy has heard me give this lecture several times so I know he'll disappear back to Spore, which is the next best thing to Halo 3.

There is so much talked about sex, sex blogs etc, etc and with the joys of the internet, there's loads of information about sexual health out there. But while blow jobs and anal sex are freely discussed, no one is prepared to talk about sexual health. It's a bit of a no-no. If you're lucky condoms might get mentioned.

A GP is exactly that. A general practitioner. They can't know about everything. Why should sexual health be any different? I'm really lucky, my GP is the first to throw his hands up and go 'I dunno, let's get you refered'. He refered me to my local GU clinic, which now also has the family planning clinic housed there, a perfectly sensible decision in my opinion. I regularly go to my clinic for what I call my MOT.

I know the clinician, she's absolutely lovely, we have known each other for over 9 years now. She doesn't care what my pecadillos are, her concern remains my continuing good sexual health. As I prefer hetrosexual, non-drug using, faithful men (and are faithful), and I tend to have long-term relationships, I'm not really in a high risk category. We have a chat, discuss any issues I may have (they helped sort out a thrush problem, quite painlessly), I get poked and prodded. I get tested for everything under the sun. My last results I got via text - how cool is that? And off I toddle, safe and smug in the knowledge that I'm good to go.

If you have had sex or are thinking about having sex, go along to your local GU clinic and Family Planning Clinic. Have a chat with the doctors and nurses there. They have been there, done that, seen it all. You could never tell them anything that would shock them. Family Planning give out free condoms and talk about the most appropriate form of contraception. I've found them to be very approachable, gentle and understanding, they are also good for a laugh. Again, they've got the t-shirt.

Poor Boy. He's had this lecture several times. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he'll continue to roll his eyes, but follow my advice when it's necessary. This isn't a subject I'm prepared to leave to chance. One day last year he came home thoroughly disturbed by a conversation that a boy and girl were having in front of him - the merits and drawbacks of anal sex. He was 13 at the time. I keep repeating 'if it comes out of your trousers, slap a condom on it'. No exceptions, no excuses.


  1. I love the idea of censoring conversation from squeamish/difficult/potentially embarrassing topics except I'm a speak then engage brain type person, so I think I'll find it difficult!

    I hear you on the service at family planning clinics. Until I lived in London I always used them - they are excellent. I don't know about other parts of london but where I am, NHS cuts means there's now only two 3 hour family planning sessions a week in the local clinic. It's hugely oversubscribed often with queues forming 45 minutes before it opens. Waiting time can be in excess of 2 hours and if you arrive late on in the session, you probably won't get seen at all.

    Fair do's to the staff though as last time I was there they ran the session over by almost 2 hours to make sure everyone got seen.

    More local NHS cuts mean over 10 local drs surgeries are closing we're getting a polyclinic instead where apparently service will be better...

  2. theprovocativecynic4:47 am

    You are a great loss to young people's advice services such as MAP and Connexions. Ever thought of doing this professionally? You could have fronted the new series which started on Channel 4 tonight.....maybe a whole new career is beckoning. Forget Dr Ruth, call for Dr Roses!

  3. NM ~ I suspect that's why we're virtual friends, we like people who tell it like it is.

    A polyclinic? Where you never see the same GP twice? And they don't have the time to listen to you...that's going to be SUCH a good service.

    theprovocativecynic ~ welcome, sit down, have a cuppa. I don't fulfill the criteria of non-judgmental I'm afraid. When it comes to risky behaviour, I'd lecture, and young people switch off.

    The minute you say 'that's a really BAD idea, getting shit faced and having sex with whoever, not using a condom' or more controversially, 'do you really think it was rohypnol, or would the 8 pints and 6 bacardi breezers have anything to do with your having sex with a stranger that you can't remember?'

  4. Thats very, very good advice.

    I try to be a little bit careful on what I put in the blog, but only really when it comes to work. If I'm having a hard time I don't mention any specifics because ultimately, I need the paycheque and don't want to risk losing it!

    Other than that, the emotional stuff, the health stuff - I'll happily post if its bothering me.

    I think I work on the principle that if I post something and one person who reads it can relate, or maybe gains some useful information from it...or maybe even just feels like they aren't the only one in a crap situation, it was worth it.

    The sexual health stuff is a tricky subject and thats a shame because if it was less taboo there would be far fewer people finding out too late that they had something that could have been easily treated.

    A prime example of this was one of my friends, upon hearing that I was going to the GU clinic for tests went "Ewww...with all the skanks and single mothers." I didn't think of it at the time, but the appropriate response would have been "no, with the responsible people who are trying to take care of themselves."

    I'm glad you're drumming this stuff into the Boy at quite a young age, its so important and so simple to protect yourself!

  5. Sound advice from a wonderful mother! Boy is the proof of the pudding in this case........ and I a, pleased to say that I too managed to also follow your advice today - whilst going through my pockets I found a furry piece of masticated gum and immediately 'slapped a condom on it'....... it improved the taste immeasureably! xxx

  6. beth ~ exactly my dilema. You don't want to end up Dooced. Me neither.

    Your friend's comment was an escalator moment wasn't it? All of the sharp replies like 'well, you weren't there at the time' etc. come to you much later.

    It's such a shame Clinics have such a poor rep amongst the people who need their services the most.

    Lord Noel ~ thanks for that. I always think Boy is who he is, despite me. As for what happens in your pockets...was it strawberry flavour?

  7. I walked into a conversation at work yesterday to discover it was "What's the most pain you've ever been in?"

    Now I didn't especially mind, but I would probably have been more comfortable having a conversation like that over a beer rather than a cup of tea ;)

    I have a lot of respect for anyone who says what they think when they think it. Where would be the fun in the world if everyone was the same? And after all, some of us British do struggle to talk over these things over a nice cup of tea. *cough*

    When I had some sexual health concerns earlier this year, it wasn't until I was able to speak to a Consultant that I really felt happy as to what was going on.
    As you say, my GP didn't really know the specifics... OTOH, the problem (I felt) at the GU clinic was that they were over-specific, focusing on infection & disease rather than the condition of "me bits" in general.
    This meant that when they decided there wasn't an infection, they just gave me a sort of vague "Oh don't really worry about it, it'll probably clear up" without really sounding positive as to what really had happened.
    So in the end, it wasn't until I actually got to speak to a consultant (after things had appeared to clear up anyway), that he could really say "Well it was probably this which led to that and x and y", and I was just so pleased to finally hear someone sound like they knew what they were talking about and what they believed the problem to be, rather than just random guesswork.

    As for, "if it comes out of your trousers, slap a condom on it," I tried this recently but found it really wasn't the same experience... things were just kind of muffled, and I kept getting funny looks...

    ...That's certainly the last time I try using a condom on my mobile phone! ;)

    (Sorry, sorry! Couldn't resist! :) )

  8. IM ~ at least you sought appropriate help. How many blokes just ignore it and hope it'll go away?

    So was that your version of safe phone sex?


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