Dear Mistress Maeve,
My boyfriend just got a summer job painting houses (we're in college). He started work last weekend and came home with all kinds of paint and God knows what all over his hands. Soap and water took most of it off, but there's still some left around his fingernails. I've talked to my doctor in the past about a possible latex allergy and have since stopped using condoms for birth control (I'm on the pill). If he's working with latex paint, will I have a problem?
Dear Painted Lady,
Kudos to you for having an open and honest conversation with your doctor about your allergy. You'd be surprised how many young women remain tight lipped about their sexual health (pun intended). Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't remind you that while the pill is great birth control, it will not protect you against sexually transmitted infections - which should be fine, so long as your painter isn't dipping his brush into neighboring paint cans.
As for your latex allergy, a statement from the National Paint and Coatings Association says that "the type of latex found in latex paints is not the same type of latex found in products that trigger latex allergies." Thus, you should be fine. However, it's always a good idea to get your hands as clean as possible before sexual touch. Make sure your man is getting all the excess paint off the best he can. If soap and water don't do the trick, he can try using mineral spirits and a scrub brush. If you discover you're becoming irritated, have him wear surgical gloves before using his hands on you - nonlatex, of course.