Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Introducing... Andrew's Anus [a new LifeLube series - Part 1]

The human papillomavirus, or HPV, has been in the news lately and lots of you have been talking about it, but it’s personal for me.

I’m Andrew’s anus, and I have HPV.

I’m tired of worrying about a couple of pre-cancerous spots in me, and Andy’s downright pissed about the obstacles he’s faced trying to get the right kind of care for me. He says part of the problem is that people aren’t comfortable talking about things like anuses, rectums, and butt sex.

I’m damned determined to change that, so I’m telling my story.

Andy and I have been fuck buddies forever. We discovered we liked having sex about the time he learned to drive. I’ve been with Andy through decades of ups and downs, good times and bad times, lovers and tricks.

Andy’s a likeable dude, sort of the gay-guy-next-door type. He lives between the coasts in a place that’s too big to call a town, but too small to be considered a real city by those who actually live in one. At nearly 50 he gets creative with the clippers to disguise his receding hairline (or just shaves himself bald), is in good shape, and has a sex drive healthy enough for him to enjoy his new found “Daddy” status. Andy stays informed about queer health by keeping in touch with “in the know” friends from across the country.

It wasn’t always that way.

Andy discovered that I could be a source of pleasure a few years after he discovered jacking off. He was still in high school and it was the seventies. Life was fun and easy. Heart, Steve Miller, and the Doobie Brothers were on the radio and just about every convenience store sold “tobacco” pipes and little brown bottles of “room odorizer.” He went to dozens of rock shows where the halls smelled then like the streets of San Francisco do now, if you know what I mean. Lieutenant Matlovich was on the cover of Time magazine above the headline: “’I Am a Homosexual.” Magazines like Playboy, Playgirl, and Penthouse penetrated the male bisexuality barrier with words if not pictures, and were sources of information and “inspiration” for Andy.

Andy knew he was different and rationalized that he was bi, but he kind of hoped he wasn’t gay.

He definitely enjoyed sex with himself. Then he read a Playboy interview with panelists ranging from Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace to gay church pioneer Troy Perry. Linda bragged that she often enjoyed “anal orgasms.” Andy was all for orgasms of any kind so that’s when he and I began to get more intimate.

Andy began to fool around with a neighbor boy or two - no romance or kissing, just dare games and swapping hand jobs. When he found a willing conspirator, they tried giving each other head. Eventually, after a less than successful try or two, I got fucked and Andy found it very exciting and very pleasurable.

Sex education was trendy in the seventies so Andy wasn’t completely clueless. His high school health teacher had students leave their outdated textbooks in their lockers because she used her own more progressive curriculum. The state public health commissioner’s wife came to class and passed around condoms and diaphragms as part of her talk. Andy learned about reproduction and birth control and studied gonorrhea and syphilis, but he doesn’t remember any talk of things like sexually transmitted warts or hepatitis.

Andy chose a small town college for its strong computer systems degree. Like many freshmen he split his time between studying and partying. Surrounded by strapping farm boys that fueled his fantasies, he struggled with his 19-year-old sex drive. Being on his own was great for the most part, but he was frustrated and a little lonely. Late in his freshman year, he took his first male lover but panicked when the guy wanted to get serious.

Over the summer break Andy met some gay friends who took him to his first “alternative” club, where the DJ mixed Dazz Band and Human League with 38 Special and Michael Jackson, and the dance floor smelled like poppers, Polo, and menthol cigarettes. He really wanted a relationship – one like his straight friends enjoyed - but bringing an occasional trick home after a night out would have to do until he found one. When he decided his sexuality was too big and too important to hide, Andy came out.

Meanwhile, herpes made the cover of Time. Andy saw ads in a gay magazine suggesting men use condoms to prevent hepatitis B, but he dismissed the idea as silly. 

He thought not having to worry about pregnancy was one of the few perks of being gay. Only a few years passed before whispers about a new “homosexual” disease arrived. First they were hard to believe; then they were impossible to deny. The guy he’d most recently dated called from the hospital sick with Hepatitis B. Andy’s test came back negative and he started the recommended vaccination series. When he was offered a job in a much larger city, he jumped at the chance for adventure and a clean break.

Andy’s fog of denial about AIDS was lifting. Just that month he’d attended the first ever fundraiser for a local organization created to deal with the illness. Headed for a new job and a new life, Andy decided he’d have a new attitude about condoms and he’d use them every time. As he drove his loaded-down hatchback across America, what he didn’t realize was that a couple of viruses already rode along inside us.

(to be continued, read part 2 next tuesday, february 15)

Read the series.

As told to Mark Hubbard


  1. I love the perspective you took with the story.

  2. Thank You! We do need to talk about our asses, and we do need to have our medical practitioners regularly screen our asses. I will definitely ask my doctor about an anal pap smear next time I see him: omg! Is he going to freak out or take it like a professional?

  3. Thanks Andrew’s anus, I didn't get your name so I'll keep calling you Andrew’s anus. HPV is wide spread in the US. I've heard that something like 70% of the sexually active population has it. I do and have my anus, lets call him Bob, checked regularly because Bob's care taker found some suspicious tissues after a biopsy. I'm not too worried about it, just keep having the care taker checking out Bob periodically. he also suggested a change of diet, so Bob would feel better delivering more solid stools. I found out that eating collard greens does a nice job, going to the bathroom is now a pleasant experience. Can we talk a it about nutrition and people with HIV at some point? I'd like to hear what Andrew's anus has to say about it..

  4. There is a lot of work to be done to educate gay men. It is a real danger and will hit you when you least expect it. Contrary to common belief one "wrong" encounter can turn into a nightmare of AIN types 1-3 which are bonafide precancerous cells.
    Please please please do not let any colorectal surgeon touch you. They do not know anything about the condition and will butcher you or in the best case scenario resolve absolutely nothing.
    If you are affected, there is a center in SF at UCSF headed by Dr. Joseph Palesfky, it is called Dysplasia Center.
    Good luck!

  5. If you are in Chicago and need an anal HPV expert who knows her stuff and has the BEST bedside manner, check out Dr.Julia Dyer
    She won't butcher you! And remember, screening, early detection, and treatment mean you don't have to get anal cancer!

  6. I was diagnosed with HPV last April. I was scheduled almost immediately to have them removed. The surgeon who performed the operation absolutely butchered my insides and I was in complete AGONY for almost 2 months. I was unable to work or do anything. Please make sure you go to the right Dr. Dr Weston in San Diego is definitely not the right person.

  7. This story seems a lot like mine minus the age when I started taking intrest in men too. Love to know more and agree with those who say this and all topics related to gay mens health needs to further discussed.

  8. WOOWZERS such honesty, well it was after I came off the road, I was a LTR for a few years and I felt funny about my butt. I'd just about lost my insurance and i stripped to show my butt to my family Dr, he looked and poked , then he said, what you have here is gential warts,I don't treat them. I tried the Free Clinic, all booked up, I was very poor with no real job. I looked on the internet found a couple of websites that were willin to sell a liquid to shrink the warts, up put it on and they shrank. It all worked just fine I still have some of it left it was made by Forces of Nature, called Warts no More. It's been 2 yrs since no problems so far.

  9. The problem is that we can treat the warts and remove them. There is a medicine called Aldara, it's a cream and can be prescribed by your doctor. According to the specialist on anal pap tests I see, the cream stimulates the immune response on the region and that's enough to get rid of the warts.. still, even though warts may be gone, the HPV virus is still there and it can develop healthy anal cells into anal cancer if not treated/checked with periodical anal pap exams. Another problem is that this is all new and many doctors are not familiar or have problem performing the anal exam. If that's the case, look for a specialist in your area. The guy I see in NYC is a NP and also trains doctors at Callen Lord, his name is Jeff Huyett (212)271-7200 ext 310


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