*contains some mature content*
Being scared of food because it might kill me is so fun. Being scared of kissing someone because it might kill me is even more fun.
Let’s face it there are a lot of crappy things about having allergies; bringing your own food everywhere, the anxiety of trying something new, always having to explain yourself to new teachers, dentists, waiters, answering the same questions over and over again ‘no I can’t have pizza’ ‘Yes I can eat things’, always having to constantly factor in if your EpiPen and Benadryl will fit when shopping for a new purse.
However none of that bothers me as much as the way my allergies impact my sex life. Food allergies already come with enough anxiety where eating is concerned, but most people don’t realize it seeps into our relationships as well. All first kisses have to be planned, all second kisses come with anxiety and you better make it clear in advance if you want me to spend the night because if I’m not carrying my vegan condoms we’re shit out of luck.
Growing up I always thought I was a Samantha; a highly sexual, carefree, uninhibited women. Much to the relief of my mother I found out in my early 20s I’m much more of a Carrie. However the shitty thing is I couldn’t be a Samantha even if I wanted to, you can’t be ‘uninhibited’ and have allergies.
My allergies have a ‘kissing window’ as my friends call it. The guy can’t have eaten any dairy or eggs with-in three hours of kissing me or I’ll end up in the hospital. I discuss this with the guy at least two or three times before I see him, and I hate having this conversation. I stress that I repeat it to them more for my benefit than theirs, the repetition is to quell my anxiety but I still feel awful. It’s awkward to bring up, and it definitely takes the magic out of the first kiss scenario. The worst is when you don’t totally know if it’s a date but you have to bring it up in-case because if you don’t and they want to kiss you, you have to refuse or extend the evening (most movies are only 2hours you know)! And even if I know it’s a date I still feel annoying and demanding, especially when I repeat myself telling them twice or three times.
Then when we’re on the date the anxiety kicks in. I always check my phone when they arrive, noting the time and silently calculating in my head when three hours will have gone by. Kissing entirely depends on my anxiety and comfort level. If I’m on a date with a guy I’ve known my entire life, I’ll generally kiss them early on in the date, trusting when they say they haven’t eaten anything in my ‘window’. If it’s someone new, not a chance. Even if they’ve assured me they’ve abided by the window rules, I have to be with them for three hours before we kiss. This way I’m completely assured that they haven’t eaten anything and that I won’t need to reach for my EpiPen.
Like-wise I’ve never had a one night stand, because everything has to be planned in advance, nothing is spontaneous. The worst is when you meet someone new at a party. They’re hot and you flirt a little but you’ve only just met and the music’s loud, the nights almost over- you don’t want to bring up the allergy thing just yet. So you start your stop watch and stay with-in eye sight, hoping and praying he doesn’t reach for the chip bowl so that you can kiss him at the end of the night.
The morning after is also riddled with anxiety. Theoretically I know we’ve been sleeping, he hasn’t eaten anything, yet my brain still freaks for a minute when he whispers good morning and kisses me. Then he leaves to use the restroom, and when he comes back my brain freaks again- I worry if he’s passed the kitchen forgotten and grabbed a snack or drank some juice (who knows how clean those glasses are). And even if all this goes well and my brain relaxes, we can’t stay in bed being lazy all day because soon enough we’re starving and he doesn’t have anything I can eat aside from rice crispies and apples, and I don’t feel comfortable using his cutlery or plates anyways.
While over the years my anxiety about food has slowly gotten better, my anxiety about dating has stayed the same. Unfortunately this type of anxiety doesn’t go away unless I’m in a long term relationship, but as I’ve gotten older I have gotten better at having the ‘allergy’ talk with dates. At the very least my allergies help weed out the assholes… most of the time.