Illustration Mike Force
I just graduated from high school, and my first and only boyfriend and I are breaking up at the end of the summer so we can be free in college. I’m super excited to meet new guys and be slutty for a while (I went to a small high school and me and my bf are some of the only out kids). But the problem is that I have serious peanut/tree nut allergy. My boyfriend knows he can’t kiss me or do anything else with his mouth or hands if he’s recently eaten anything I’m allergic to, but how do I bring that up with new people, especially if it’s just a casual hookup? Will they think I’m a weirdo? I don’t want to end up in the hospital with a swollen dick my first semester of college!
Well, huh. That is an aspect of “these kids today and their peanut allergies” that I had not fully considered. I wonder if nut-free cruising will become a thing? Paging the Grindr developers. Get on this.
I think you should operate from the perspective that, however weird it feels to talk to someone about your nut allergy (particularly given the likelihood of “are you allergic to these nuts” [grabs scrotum] jokes), it would be much more uncomfortable for both you and your potential partner if you went into anaphylactic shock while you were making out. Almost nobody wants a casual hookup to end in a trip to the emergency room.
So will it be weird to ask someone if they’ve eaten/handled peanuts or tree nuts in the last few hours? Yes, it will. But everybody has their weird thing. That’s life, kid. If you don’t feel like talking about it, I’m sure you can figure out workarounds. I know statistically we are all terrible about using condoms for blowjobs and handjobs, but technically that is safe sex and would also be a graceful way around having to have a nut convo.
It’s also easy for me to imagine a scenario where you’ve developed a few charming little jokes about the whole thing that ultimately aid you in your seduction technique. Given that the remedy is just for your potential partner to wash his hands and/or mouth, I don’t think anyone will really feel like it’s a big deal. It’s not like you’re asking him to convert.
Also, you can feel free to apply some basic common sense. If you’re at a party well after the dinner hour, where nuts are not being served and people are drinking liquids, it’s probably safe to assume that nobody is contaminated. Most of the parties I went to in college that involved makeouts weren’t exactly of the “oh look a lovely bowl of almonds on which to snack” variety, you know?
It’s unfortunate that peanut butter sandwiches are classic broke college kid food (though perhaps this has changed nowadays with all the allergies? I don’t know very many sub-21-year-olds). Honestly, though, after the first few times I feel certain you’ll get the hang of it. So many things about sex are awkward at first—asking for what you want, negotiating protection, leaving afterward—and it just takes practice to figure out what a smooth flow feels like for you. For you, the nut thing will be part of that. You’ve just got to get out there and start trying. But whatever you do, don’t forget your EpiPen.