Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Dangerous Dialogue - Keith Ecker Reflects on "Risky Business"

LifeLube hosted a community forum last evening - at the Center on Halsted - to discuss bareback sex, bareback porn, and the reclaiming of pleasure. The Feast of Fun (Fausto Fernos and Marc Felion) moderated, and panelists Tony Valenzuela, Mufasa Ali, and Dr. Braden Berkey engaged the topic.

Audience member and writer Keith Ecker (pictured below right) was motivated - he tells LifeLube - to write the longest post of his blogging history. Here is an excerpt, with a link to the whole shebang.

Another point from the forum: Many people were upset that there was not talk of reclaiming pleasure, as the title of the forum suggests. These people didn’t come to hear about safer sex. They knew that message. After all, it’s been trumpeted for years. And I can’t blame them. This wasn’t a forum to discuss new approaches to HIV/STI awareness (though I really would love to have a roundtable about that cause I got some ideas brewing). This was a forum to discuss pleasure, and all we’ve been talking about is whether to condemn or condone barebacking. Sadly, despite audience members pleads to steer the conversation in their direction, little effort was made, as the hot-button topic of barebacking overshadowed the pleasure conversation. However, I have to commend one audience member. He stood up and discussed how we should shift the dialogue from safer sex/barebacking away from the ass altogether. Why not eroticize something less likely to spread disease, like the scent of a man or armpits or back hair?

And he’s right. All too often us gay men are so fixated on our assholes that it’s a surprise we can’t see our heads are firmly planted up them. If we continue to characterize the safer sex conversation solely about the butt and putting on a condom, then we are going to forever use the same old tired tactics we’ve been using for a couple decades, tactics that have proven ineffective. Let us move away from staring at our buttholes and let us talk about how sex can encompass more than just penetration. Having a man thrust in and out of you might feel just fine, and it’s kind of hot to emulate those movies we see flashing on our computers, in bars and on our video iPods that we secretly view on public transportation. But lets not have porn dictate our dicks. Let’s put the power in our own hands, so to speak, and let’s re-define gay male sexuality. I’m not saying let’s get rid of anal sex. I’m just saying we should expand our vocabularly, and we should celebrate this expansion. Otherwise we will forever be doomed to say the same sentence over and over and over (”Use a condom. Use a condom. Use a condom.”), and this message will surely fall on tired, deafened ears.

Read all of his post.

Read his piggyback, follow-up post.

Read his apology post.

The forum was podcasted and will be posted on the Feast of Fun site in the coming days. In the meantime, there were a number of folks Tweeting throughout the forum and you can read the very interesting thread - #FoFRisky - here.

[Dr. Braden Berkey, Marc Felion, Mufasa Ali, Fausto Fernos, and Tony Valenzuela]

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