Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Fantasies have to be expressed, channeled

If I was more inclined to have anal sex more, especially receptively, I would probably be more inclined to do it raw, because of my eroticization of raw sex.

by Charles Stephens
Read more LifeLube posts from Charles

I am a 29-year-old black gay male and I’m HIV-negative.

Of the group of gay men I came out with, three have died, and I am now one of the few left in my social network that’s still HIV-negative.

I don’t see my being HIV-negative as the result of “good choices,” I’ve made, verses “bad choices,” I’ve avoided. I don’t see being HIV-negative as a prize for good behavior. To me it’s been more a matter of inclination, even if this inclination has produced a kind of “resilience factor,” for me.

I have sought to have a fulfilling, open, and interesting sexual life, and remain HIV-negative along the way. To some degree I think I’ve managed to achieve this, even as I’ve created boundaries for myself. I believe that my being HIV-negative has to do, more than anything else, with my lack of receptive raw anal sex, and my overall ambivalence around anal sex in general. To be more clear, if I was more inclined to have anal sex more, especially receptively, I would probably be more inclined to do it raw, because of my eroticization of raw sex. My lack of engagement with receptive anal sex has more to do with the discomfort it causes me, rather than some moral stance, so the logistics of the act, creates a kind of covert protective factor. But I still eroticize anal sex, particularly raw anal sex, even though I do it infrequently, and have sought ways to channel those desires in a different direction.

I yearn for other HIV-negative gay men to tell their stories, and share their strategies, especially those like me, that don’t like condoms, eroticize semen, exist in high prevalence HIV sexual networks, and develop strategies to remain HIV-negative.

My rule for the most part is to keep semen out of my mouth and ass. And if I choose to indulge in that particular pleasure, I would identify strategies to do so that would reduce my risk along the way. Even though I don’t think sex is ever completely rational, I do believe I can be deliberate and intentional.

I think bareback porn could potentially be an HIV prevention strategy.

Once I was with a guy that wanted to penetrate me condomless. I did not want to do it. Or rather I wanted to do it, but chose not to do it. This has not been the case every time, but was the case this time. We ended up masturbating together, while he narrated to me his fantasy of barebacking with me, ejaculating inside me, feeling the inside of me raw. I found this extremely powerful and the fantasy hot. We were able to engage in a very intense way, our sexual fantasies, without actually doing it, all the way. Our orgasms were powerful, even if his semen was collected on to his bellybutton and not in my rectum. I also watch bareback porn, gay and straight, and find that an effective way to channel my desires. I think bareback porn could potentially be an HIV prevention strategy. Fantasies have to be expressed, channeled. Must be. In the theater of the erotic arts, we have an opportunity to witness visually the sexual archetypes and fetishes that structure our psyches and animate our fantasies. Those are two imperfect strategies that I have found effective for the moment.

The gap that I’ve found in HIV prevention, is the lack of engagement around HIV-negative men that remain negative. Eric Rofes years ago, called for support groups for HIV-negative gay men. Spaces. This still has not happen on a large scale, and I believe strongly that it’s necessary.

Thus, I’m calling for an HIV prevention agenda for gay men that would include three things:

(1) An exploration of how gay men, particularly black gay men, have remained and continue to remain HIV-negative, especially those like me, that have a dissaffinity for condoms. What strategies have they used? Those that has existed in and fucked in sexual networks and contexts with high HIV prevalence that remain negative should be studied and interviewed rigorously. Urgently.

(2) An STI prevention workshop for gay men that like to have raw sex. Not just a list of strategies or tips, but a workshop, that can be replicated within community-based organizations and centers for gay men targeting gay men that bareback.

And (3), spaces for gay men that are HIV-negative that can talk about their ambivalence, their desires, and their challenges in a supportive and affirming environment.

Is there some resilience I have that has guided me, facilitated my remaining HIV-negative? I don’t know. I’ve been thinking a lot about this since the brilliant Walt Senterfitt referenced the notion of resilience to me, and it’s value in thinking about gay men’s sexual health. One thing is for sure, the notion of resilience in gay men’s health, and not just as it relates to sexual health but also mental health and other realms, could provide some really valuable strategies as we map out our collective destiny.

Charles Stephens is an Atlanta-based gay men’s health advocate and writer.

1 comment:

  1. Duh. I'm black and positive. I think it was the lack of condoms that did it.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

select key words

2007 National HIV Prevention Conference 2009 National LGBTI Health Summit 2011 LGBTI Health Summit 2012 Gay Men's Health Summit 2012 International AIDS Conference abstinence only ACT Up activism advocacy Africa african-american aging issues AIDS AIDS Foundation of Chicago anal cancer anal carcinoma anal health anal sex andrew's anus athlete ball scene bareback porn barebacking bathhouses bears big bold and beautiful Bisexual Bisexual Health Summit bisexuality black gay men black msm blood ban blood donor body image bottom Brian Mustanski BUTT Center on Halsted Charles Stephens Chicago Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus Chicago Task Force on LGBT Substance Use and Abuse Chris Bartlett chubby chaser circumcision civil rights civil union Coaching with Jake communication community organizing condoms Congress crystal meth dating dating and mating with alan irgang David Halperin David Munar depression disclosure discrimination domestic violence don't ask don't tell douche downlow Dr. James Holsinger Dr. Jesus Ramirez-Valles Dr. Rafael Diaz Dr. Ron Stall drag queen Ed Negron emotional health ENDA Eric Rofes exercise Feast of Fun Feel the love... female condom fitness Friday is for Faeries FTM gay culture gay identity gay latino gay male sex gay marriage gay men gay men of color gay men's health Gay Men's Health Summit 2010 gay pride gay rights gay rugby gay sex gay youth gender harm reduction hate crime HCV health care health care reform health insurance hepatitis C HIV HIV care HIV drugs HIV negative HIV positive HIV prevention HIV stigma HIV strategic plan HIV testing hiv vaccine HIV/AIDS homophobia homosexuality hottie hotties how are you healthy? Howard Brown Health Center HPV human rights humor hunk Illinois IML immigration International AIDS Conference international mr. leather internet intimacy IRMA Jim Pickett leather community leathersex Leon Liberman LGBT LGBT adoption LGBT culture LGBT health LGBT rights LGBT seniors LGBT youth LGBTI community LGBTI culture LGBTI health LGBTI rights LGBTI spirituality LGV LifeLube LifeLube forum LifeLube poll LifeLube subscription lifelube survey Lorenzo Herrera y Lozano love lube lubricant Lymphogranuloma Venereum masturbation mental health microbicides middle Monday Morning Perk-Up MRSA MSM music National AIDS Strategy National Gay Men's Health Summit negotiated safety nutrition One Fey's Tale oral sex Peter Pointers physical health Pistol Pete pleasure PnP podcast policy politics poppers porn post-exposure prophylaxis PrEP President Barack Obama Presidential Campaign prevention Project CRYSP prostate prostate cancer public health public sex venues queer identity racism Radical Faerie recovery rectal microbicides relationships religion research safe sex semen Senator Barack Obama sero-adaptation sero-sorting seroguessing sex sexual abuse sexual addiction sexual health sexual orientation Sister Glo Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence smoking social marketing spirituality STD stigma stonewall riots substance abuse treatment substance use suicide super-bug superinfection Susan Kingston Swiss declaration syphilis Ted Kerr Test Positive Aware Network testicle self-examination testicular cancer testing The "Work-In" The 2009 Gay Men's Health Agenda Tony Valenzuela top Trans and Intersex Association trans group blog Trans Gynecology Access Program transgender transgender day of remembrance transgendered transmen transphobia transsexual Trevor Hoppe universal health care unsafe sex vaccines video violence viral load Who's That Queer Woof Wednesday writers yoga You Tube youtube