Whoooooooooo, doggie, the previous blog essay about barebacking really got me a wave of responses, emails and such. That's a good thing because it immediately forced me into conversation with some men to discuss myself, themselves, their sexual practices mine and to bounce back and forth the reasoning for raw sex (sex without protection---condom, dental dam, female condom, etc.). I'd previous done several episodes on this topic on The Kyle Phoenix Show but in the emails I get from that audience, their emails had included issues, comments and questions about barebacking.
The main questioning came to why do men do this? I went back to one of my work/television sources Barebacking: Psychosocial and Public Health Approaches, an excellent book (purchase link on this blog--- ) to get some survey data that would specifically ask and answer that question.
Reason 1: Anger/Self Destructive/Fatalism
Reason 2: Pleasure seeking/Risk Taking/Escapism
Sex, around for hundred sof thousands of years for humans, is fun. It can be adventurous, stimulating, relaxing, intense, intimate and the prospect of having to stop for: THE SCIENCE OF SAFE SEX---excuse me one second as I was nibbling your inner thigh we are at the pre-penetrative stage, let me lean over, bend down, roll over there, open the drawer, my pocket, your pocket, that box get the condom packet out, open it, get the lube, put the condom on, a little dab of lube within more lube within you anally, lube then onot the condom------okay, where were we?
Not easy, pleasant or romantic. It's easier to be wild with this incredibly passionate hottie (known or unknown) who you've had a crush on for awhile or a night or who you've been dating for a week or a year and just be close, be free, be spontaneous! Because passion, the passion of touching you, being touched by me, the smell of you next to me and your lips, oh, God, your lips!!!!!!!----there's no time! Take me! Take me!!!! Reason be damned!!!!
Human beings, especially those who believe or are in love, want and assume this is the forever love. Or this is the true love. This is the good love. Let's ratchet it back from love and say I tell you I'm negative, you promise me you are and you're trustworthy, right and so am I? We're not like those others. We're both employed, rational, respectable, employed, educated, loving people. We can be close without a condom. In fact our love, or just our humanness needs to feel closer, no barriers, no artificiality between us. I love you. I really, really do. I would never intentionally hurt you. I loves you, Porgy. I want to feel youuuuuuuuu. Don't you want to feel meeeeeeeeeee?
Reason 4: Erroneous perception of Risk
Look at what great shape he's in. Look at what great shape I'm in. You can tell when someone is infected. Their skin seems ashen or glistens or has less collagen. The meds do that to them. But you, you look like the perfect specimen of health. There's no possible way you could be HIV+ at your age, you're too young. I can tell just from sight. I didn't think some of the things we were doing, just rubbing that against this, just a little bit of insertion, just oral was risky.
Reason 5: Erectile Related Dysfunction.
Condoms don't fit me right, Condoms are too tight. I'm allergic to condoms. I can't stay hard/maintain an erection with a condom on. I can't get hard in a condom.
But I promised I would consider the information from my own perspective with you, reader and I have. In approximately 1995 I wrote a magazine cover story on AIDS, it was a big thing getting the cover to be in color, red, the AIDS ribbon as I was spinning off of an AIDS conference that was occurring in Buffalo. A year or so later a former girlfriend of a lover came up infected. Ok, she was a bit of a----------extremely sexually liberated, physically generous young woman with a public...reputation. Yeah, I could've worked that out with just one word but let us not judge the past. Around the same time my mother's close friend, Walter died of HIV related complications. They'd known each other close to a decade and it left a deep impression on her, even surrounding funerals and death. My mother was very vocal/engaging around safe sex, afraid that I would become infected, that I was infected, that infection was only a hairs breadth away.
Suddenly HIV wasn't simply TV and Red Hot cd compilations and free condoms in night clubs, it was really, really real. Then I started volunteering places in, seeing death upfront---here today, gone tomorrow and I thought about the future, my future. I thought about marriage and children. I thought about ok, I might meet a partner who was HIV+----would I maintain the relationship longterm or just find a way to fade to black within a date or two. Logically, statistically, even if my sexual partners had reported as negative (or thought they were) I'd been sexual with someone who was HIV+ and may've had the other multitude of STIs. Most importantly to me---children. How would I parent children if I was sexually negligent around risk? Biologically parent children first (yes, I know there are other options) but then what about child rearing? How long did I want and need my own parents in my life? How long would my children need me? If the outside range of HIV survival is 20+ years and I were to get infected in my 20s or 30s wasn't I then also voluntarily perpetuating the usually social force of men of color dying early? Is unsafe sex a way of men of color being removed from the community, the community that needs them during their highest wage earning/educational/potentiality fulfillment years, regardless of their sexuality?
I know, a lot to think about, right?
Here I am, brown as the floor, safe sexing it, in LTRs and not because of the future. Because of to some degree my family, my children, not wanting to impact my parents negatively, not wanting to be in my community, giving of my skills over a shorter period of time.
When THE SCIENCE OF SAFE SEX moments happen for me---what flashes through my mind what makes me crack jokes and try to make what is the oddest commercial break on my personal passionate moments---are the above reasons.
How though does one negotiate that no matter how fine, how trustworthy, how in love we, you, I am that I'm taking this precaution? That seems to be the rub. We know how to prevent HIV. But 30 years in, prevention strategies/tips/mandates are not working.
Next: Raw Sex/Barebacking, Pt. 3: Black, White, Puerto Rican, Is Everyone Freakin'? , Part 3
Thanks and enjoy! Don't forget to watch The Kyle Phoenix Show on Time Warner Cable, Verizon Fios or Comcast or the Thursday/Friday 12am/midnight simulcast on http://kylephoenixsite.com/