I hang around in the evening with friends and we sometimes have some beer. We were hanging recently and we all got a McDonald’s. I was with three guys and we were fooling about and they ejaculated into a shake and got me to drink it. I was like Eew at first but when I started drinking it I quite liked that they were all focused on watching me and the attention I got. I couldn’t taste their stuff and it was fine. Is this risky? I’m guessing they may want to try it again soon.
Dear Risky Business,
Let me start out by saying there’s no single definition as to what “risky” sexual behavior is. For example, risk can refer to the likelihood of getting pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), your personal safety during an encounter, your comfort level and how close the encounter came to any personal boundaries you may have, or to potential social or interpersonal impacts of a sexual encounter. Additionally, some sexual activities can be legally risky or illegal. While legality, and the risk of getting pregnant or contracting an STI can be somewhat objectively interpreted (through the known effectiveness of different types of contraception and knowledge of your partners’ and your own sexual history and STI test results), your comfort and safety regarding a sexual encounter have to be interpreted through your own feelings. Let’s address each aspect of risk of your encounter in turn, but remember that many of the aspects solely rely on what you want to do sexually, and what you consent to.
First, you cannot become pregnant through drinking ejaculate (or through oral sex, for that matter). However, you can still contract STIs through contact with bodily fluids (i.e., blood, semen, vaginal fluid). Many of the most commonly spread STIs, including gonorrhea, chlamydia, and herpes, can be spread through oral contact with ejaculate. Without knowing the STI statuses of your friends, you were potentially incurring risk for STI transmission. Engaging in oral play is safer with use of barrier methods (e.g., condoms) and/or confirming negative STI status of partners involved.
Consent by all parties, and trust that your partner(s) will abide by the limits of your consent, is crucial for any sexual encounter. Consent must be affirmative (“yes, I want to do this with you”), specific (“I want to do ___ with you, but not ___”), ongoing (“I am still okay with what we’re doing”), and uncoerced. If someone pressures you to do something until you give in, that is not consent freely given. Additionally, if someone is incapacitated (due to drugs, alcohol, or mental or physical incapacitation), they cannot give consent. By your description of the encounter, it is unclear whether you fully consented to the activity, or may have felt pressured into it. You said that you were initially uncomfortable with it and it also sounds like you had not discussed ahead of time what you were going to do, and what you were comfortable with. If this is the case, it could suggest that future encounters with these friends are risky in the sense that they may again not listen to and respect your wishes. I encourage you to reflect upon how much you trust them, and whether you are comfortable with what happened and/or feel confident that you can be honest with them in the future about your boundaries.
Legality also factors into the risk of this experience. From your question, it sounds like you may still have been near the McDonald’s and in public when this occurred. In many states, including New Jersey, public sex acts are considered misdemeanors, and depending on the state and manner of the offense, they can count as sex crimes. It’s legally risky to have any kind of sexual encounter, including exposing one’s genitals, in public (N.J.R.S. 2C:14-4). As well, if you were drinking beer in public, this violates restrictions on public consumption of alcohol, and also underage drinking laws if you or any of your friends are under 21. If you were in a car at the time, it is also illegal to have an open container in a motor vehicle, and it is dangerous (and depending on age and level of impairment, possibly illegal) for anyone to drive after consuming alcohol. Finally, keep in mind that consent requires full competence; people who have been drinking to the point of incapacitation cannot consent.
Finally, it’s important for you to think about what exactly about your encounter you liked, and whether you want to repeat it. It sounds like you may have liked the way your encounter made you feel (paid attention to) more than you liked the encounter itself. If this is the case, consider whether you were actually happy and comfortable with what you did, or whether you were only comfortable with it because it had an emotional pay off. Doing things you’re not comfortable with sexually for an emotional payoff may leave you feeling cheated if you do the act and don’t get the reward. Don’t be afraid to consider other things that may make you feel the same way, like planning an event for your friends or finding another outlet for social exploration.
There is no sexual activity that is ultimately “good” or “bad”, but each has varying risks associated with it. In the case you described, there are many possible risks: contracting an STI, engaging in illegal acts, and/or of having your consent or boundaries violated. However, all of these can be prevented or addressed with some forethought. Consider the questions posed in this article, and if you still want to talk to someone about your sexual health, your feelings surrounding sex, or your thoughts on your emotional and physical needs, you can make an appointment with a counselor at Counseling & Psychological Services (CPS). McCosh Health Center also has STI testing, or can refer you to an outside testing facility for any of your friends that may not be students.