When I was in college, a friend teased another girl for getting a urinary tract infection. She spat the word out in a scandalous whisper as if it were a dirty disease. UTIs happen every day. They are caused by bacteria (often from intercourse) making its way into a woman’s urethra. And the sad truth is, she could have been talking about me. I get them all the time. I estimate I have probably had close to 100 UTIs since I became sexually active.
They run in my family. My mom gets them frequently. My sister has been hospitalized twice for kidney infections. I’ve had several hospital IVs plugged into my veins in desperate attempts to flush everything out of my system and get me to be able to pee again without hysterically crying.
And the worst part: Being prone to a UTI takes all the sexy out of sex.
I have a prescription for nitrofurantoin, which I take twice a week. Cranberry pills are my bae. When I feel one coming on, I drink more water than a deprived camel lost in a desert sandstorm. I’ve got this prevention plan down pat.
Given my prevention measures, here’s a brief synopsis of what it’s like to have sex with me: sex —> finish —> BYE. Oh, you wanted to cuddle? Kiss me? Talk? Sleep? I got priorities, bro, and they include staying away from the emergency room tonight. You’re still breathing heavy, and I’m in the bathroom urinating my heart away, pissing away bacteria as passionately and quickly as I piss away money on makeup. (A story for another day.)
Super sexy, huh? I know. Call me. ;-*
Oh, and don’t even get me started on alcohol. Alcohol plus a UTI equals me screaming at my boyfriend for hours, blaming him for not keeping me away from the Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Sugar, FYI, hates your infection more than you do, and it will exacerbate it so rapidly you will sober up faster than Justin Bieber refused to answer Selena Gomez questions in his 2014 deposition.
But… I digress. As you and your “normal,” infection-less urethra can imagine, this sensitivity makes for quite the uncomfortable conversation whilst entertaining suitors. How do you explain leaping out of the room post final pump?
After some practice, I say straightforward real talk is the only way to go. My boyfriend should understand. He should not want to see me in post-sex pain. In fact, he should carry me to the toilet on his shoulders. Yep. Like a fucking queen.
Again, I digress. This is a real medical issue that real women deal with. Sometimes real sex isn’t like movie or television show sex. Sometimes as soon as it’s done, you find yourself sprinting to the restroom for an epic pee in an epic attempt to take care of your own health, and you leave the guy hanging for a while. Real doctors and real biweekly prescriptions are involved. Not to mention, it’s 2016, people! It’s time to erase the stigma that women are “dirty” or “don’t douche enough” (quite the contrary, actually, as doctors advise not to douche if you’re susceptible to infection) or are “too sexually promiscuous” or — my favorite — “deserve” to get a UTI for being “slutty in bed” simply for getting an infection.
We know better. Whether we are men or women, let’s educate ourselves on all outcomes of sex, should we feel responsible and mature enough to have it.