Raw Sex: Anything Goes, Part 1 by Kyle Phoenix

The challenge of dating in the 21st century or even working in/with groups tht involve particularly men who have sex with men is the shadow of STI---Sexually Transmitted Infections (HIV, HIV-2, HPV, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Mano, HCV, Syphilis, Herpes, etc.) because the population one is dealing with is ground zero.  The deeper, social challenge is not simply the risk but the what can feel like sheer insanity around non-protection. Unfortunately, as statistics suggest, from Black and Latino men,  Somehow, some way along the road of sexual liberation there has come the mentality that unsafe sex---exchange of bodily fluids---is cool and the gang.

As I write this I contemplate how to be both honest and at the same time sound reasonably non-judgmental but maybe it's about time that someone said: "Hey, are you out of your fucking mind?" to risky sex.  When someone calls me brother and suggests we engage in unsafe/raw sex they are literally offering to fuck me to death.  Now that may sound extreme but how else can another human being literally strip you of your immune system?  There are cases of partners unknowingly infecting one another, drugs and blood transference but to actually willingly, willfully give or take the risk with another human being---have we become sociopaths to pleasure?  Can a man of color talk to me about Martin Luther King or Malcolm X or Obama or hegemony or racial struggle while capitulating to infect other human beings?  Better yet, is it racially motivated?

Can we look at race, men of color, sexually involved with other men of color, and say---the weight of homophobia coupled with racism drives, otherwise, seemingly sensible men to actively, consciously try and infect or get infected?  Has oppression and disdain, violence and prejudice, driven us so insane that I'm talking about the "need for love and healing in the  Black community" in one breath and infecting with the next?  Is it such  lack of value for men of color, men of color who may be homosexual or bi-sexual (or even heterosexual---don't think your straightness excuses you from unsafe sex) by other men of color that we have to lynch each other with bodily fluids?

Or, if we expand the scope, are men (and women---gender does not excuse you from exposure) of any race so self-hating, other-hating, homo-hating that infecting another is plausible?  That "breeding" parties is normal?  That wanting to be bred (HIV infected on purpose) is acceptable?  Not just acceptable to the individual seeking but more importantly to those of us who watch them.

In this work I do, education, identity, sexuality, I frequent a lot of dating sites, for all genders and sexualities, and what I see is terrifying.  Too many men of color without a regard to being infected or infecting.  I'm often eschewing two out of three out of hand just for their risky profiles.  But now a trend I've started to notice---White men, particularly over 30 seeking Black and Latino men for raw sex---pointedly as the Caucasian, HIV+, insertive partner.  So it's a minefield---Blacks and Latinos (45% under 30) infecting one another and now White men seeking out particularly minorities to infect.  Now I could lash into a rant about racism and entitlement and the capacity of someone in dominant culture feeling oblivious to moral conventions around infecting people of color but when I see/am offered infection by people of color, I must ask: whose holding the rope and who's doing the lynching?  Has racial liberation lead us to sociopathic hatred of ourselves rather than racial love?

But I don't want to wholesale judge or condemn, in fact I write this to educate so next time I'll run down the 5 factors of why men report they bareback and more importantly, I'll search myself for where I'm at in this debate, hitting myself with some of the above questions as I hope you will too.

Coming Next: Barebacking: Top 5 Reasons Men Do It To Each Other

Thank you,
Kyle Phoenix


  1. Just wondering, safe sex yes is it the right thing to do hands down. If you and your partner agree to get tests and the outcome for the both is neg can would you still have unprotected sex?

    1. Generally what committed partners do is they test together, receive the results together and have a basis of trust and openness about their sexuality and relationship in case either is sexual outside of the relationship. The real question is how long into a relationship before doing so. That might mean longer than dating someone 3 or 6 months. It might mean being with someone a year or longer that the process of discussing and testing begins.