The Monkeypox Vaccine Experience

A very tiny needle in the forearm, brief burning sensation, then you sit for 15 minutes to make sure that you don’t spontaneously combust. A day later, a bit of swelling at the injection site and some itching. A day after that, just a little tenderness and redness, which has persisted several days. That’s all so far.

State eligibility policies vary widely, even just in my local area. DC and Virginia have some of the most enlightened policies on MPX vaccine eligibility, including residents (or, in DC, people who work in the District) in these categories:

● People, of any sexual orientation or gender, who have had anonymous or more than one sexual partners in the past two weeks; or

● Sex workers of any sexual orientation or gender; or

● Staff, of any sexual orientation or gender, at establishments where sexual activity occurs.

Maryland eligibility is currently county-by-county. In New Jersey, anyone who attests to having multiple sex partners or attending an event where monkeypox exposure took place in the last 14 days is eligible for vaccination. Delaware, anyone on PrEP or people known or presumed to be exposed to someone with monkeypox in the last 14 days, as well as people who have sex with men and who have had multiple sex partners within the past 14 days.

(I am trying to assemble a document with all state eligibility policies.)

But if you have multiple partners and/or attend kink, swing, or other sexy events, Let’s be careful out there.

No Soup for You! (But dinner’s okay.)

Communication matters.

I had dinner recently with a new friend. We had met online, enjoyed a real-life meeting, and wound up subsequently getting thrown together again by circumstance. More recently, we had tried a little bit of physical intimacy, unexpected and very experimental. Two people who didn’t know what each other liked, poking at the sampler platter.

They called the morning of dinner day to give me an opportunity to back out, because they had decided that we were not sexually compatible, and wanted me to know that that was not on the menu for the evening.

It’s certainly not fun hearing that someone has decided things don’t work in that way, especially since it wasn’t the most thorough or planned of tryouts. (No, really, I can do better!)

But I realize that the person was actually doing a great favor. By saying that in advance, rather than letting their date for the evening have expectations (I didn’t, but many might), they were being gracious. Some would call it being friend-zoned. I don’t; I call it being honest and communicating well. And dinner was pretty good.

(Oh, and much – so much – better this than that they went through with some further activities they thought were “expected” and maybe even pretended to like them but didn’t. That’s never the right answer.)