The images, albeit creepy and disturbing, are some very effective AIDS-awareness posters from France. I thought they illustrated this posting well.
A reader named Helen left a great comment today on a posting I think everyone should read, personally, called Getting Laid, Getting Tested, Getting AIDS,* that I wrote two years ago.
(Proof that I see every single comment I get, so start commenting more, peeples!)
What really irritates me is that guys still ask for [sex] ‘without a condom’. As soon as I hear that now, it’s such a big turn-off, as I know they’ve done that before, and probably don’t give it the concern I do. Even if we use condoms, yes there’s still a risk of herpes, warts, there’s still contact. And I end up thinking about that too much. Why do they ask?
Of course, the worst is the guys I know who seem to lose it as soon as the condom is on. You’re all turned on, gasping for it, and it’s gone. It’s like being held to ransom. He’s feeling bad, you want sex, it’s all too easy to give in and make it alright. Do you have any tips for this? Because it drives me crazy. I know it sounds weird, but can’t they try to masturbate with them, or somehow try to associate them with sex? I know it doesn’t feel as good, but there’s clearly a mental element too that they could work on.
I just wish they found the prospect of HIV as much of a turn-off as me.
And condoms can break, so even then you’re not guaranteed protection, which is why I “sleep around” very, very objectively, even with condoms. 99% ain’t 100%.
I had a sexual “professional” in the escort biz email me once to say she’d used a condom EVERY SINGLE TIME she had ever had sex, and somehow wound up pregnant. This development left her absolutely terrified to continue in her profession.
As for Helen’s example, I’ve had that happen, that when a guy puts a condom on, he suddenly deflates. He tried to use the “Yeah, well, I’ve been in a relationship for the last 11 years, so I just can’t get used to it” bullshit excuse.
And that’s MY problem, how? “Wear the fucking condom, or we don’t fuck. You can’t wear it? Your loss. I have vibrators. I’m better off without fucking someone like you, anyhow, because now I can’t trust you,” was my response to him, and the night came to a very premature close.
My advice, Helen? Stay the course. If men want to argue against wearing condoms, then fine, let them. But don’t give in. Never, ever give in. It takes ONCE. Just once. See my addendum at the end, because my friend who knows the night he was infected, he’s dying as a result. From once, just once.
You’re absolutely right — the ones who ask for bareback ARE the ones who’ve done it with others. They’re the ones to be concerned about. Just because they’re charming and got that far with you doesn’t mean they’re safe. It’s the excessively charming guys that worry me more, to be frank.
I have a male friend who just recently decided a couple months of seeing this chick meant it was a nice, committed relationship, and he felt he could trust her. They had unprotected sex, and the next day, literally, he happened to see a text message on her cellphone in which a guy texted her “BTW I think I came in you the other night. Too late for a morning-after pill?”
My friend told me he ran to the washroom and vomitted, since he’s never been a promiscuous guy and only recently got out of his 12-year marriage, and has been just gutted with worry the last month.
The day BEFORE he told me that, I’d been to my doctor and was talking about getting tested again, for my bi-annual test, whether I’m sexually active or not. Doc told me rather darkly that he’d just finished testifying in a court case in which a FEMALE patient of his KNOWINGLY infected a male patient of his with HIV.
We want to believe everyone’s as ethical as we are. We want to believe they’re not fucking with skanky people who use no safe practices. But that’s just naivety at its finest.
There are untrustworthy people out there. There are mean people out there. There are people with no scruples nor standards. There are destructive people out there.
Vigilance is the only thing we have to protect ourselves with, aside from condoms, and neither are 100%.
God, since the late ’80s we’ve heard the slogan “No glove, no love” and you’d think people would get it by now. Particularly these men who want to keep asking for bareback sex.
You think condomless sex doesn’t feel better for women, too? Of COURSE it feels better. I LOVE BAREBACK SEX. Love, love, LOVE. I just never have it. Why? Because it’s so fucking 1970, man. Jesus.
Women have more at risk than our random male shags might. We could get pregnant — which often is a greater motivation than protecting oneself against AIDS and other STDs, and is stupid, but there you have it. If that’s what it takes for women — who are the fastest-growing demographic for new AIDS & HIV infections — to start forcing partners to wear condoms religiously, then I’ll take it.
Guys, if you’re one of these selfish pricks who has a fucking problem wearing a condom, THEN GET OVER IT. Whiners.
It’s a MENTAL problem and YOU need to deal with it, not US. If it means jacking off with condoms as practice, then do that. I don’t know what you but-I-can’t-wear-a-condom, you-can-trust-me men need to do, but you got to fucking figure it out. We’re your lovers, not your mothers, so figure your shit out without burdening us with the hassle.
And to all the men who are religious about wearing condoms: We love you men for making this easier for us. You have no idea the bullshit every single woman has dealt with over the years from those ignorant, dumb-ass men who are selfishly thinking only of getting off, and not taking our well-being (or theirs) into consideration.
AIDS isn’t over. In fact, the picture is even less rosy than it was just weeks ago. Why? The CDC in America has released a study in which they report that they think their estimates for new annual AIDS/HIV infections are a whopping 40% TOO LOW. Instead of 40,000 new cases a year, it’s 56,000, and growing.
In fact, Ronald Johnson, the AIDS Action Deputy Director, says, “This is not just another set of statistics. There are people behind these numbers. People are becoming infected with a disease that is preventable. We know how to prevent HIV, but we have been fighting this epidemic with one hand tied behind our back, reflecting a disturbing dismissal of HIV-prevention as a public health priority. The new, higher estimate is yet one more wake-up call to our national leaders that they need to do more, starting with developing and implementing a real national AIDS strategy.”
I’m gonna guess that strategy is that of educating ignorant people about wearing condoms.
Personally, I think that, even if you’re in a longterm committed relationship, and you even THINK your partner is cheating on you, you should demand condoms be used. Ain’t a conversation I’d be keen to initiate, but when your life’s literally at stake and trust isn’t what it used to be, that’s a conversation that needs having.
What can I say? The lack of sexual responsibility used by some segments of society leave me absolutely paranoid about who it is I should or should not sleep with, and as much as I trust my instinct… I’m no fool.
Neither should any of you be. Why chance it?
*NB: The friend I’ve mentioned that contracted AIDS from a night he could pinpoint is not doing as well as he was in the posting I originally mentioned. He’s now made a will, has become incredibly depressed, has isolated himself, and his health is spiralling downwards, filling fear in us all, because we think he doesn’t want to fight. While life can be sustained longer than ever with the drug cocktails now prescribed for AIDS, the quality of life is often difficult.
As I wrote in that original posting, a little too presciently for my comfort, “The virus is not the same in everyone. It is a living, breathing thing, and like all evolutionary beings, it can – and will – adapt to new and different environments. Some people will be to HIV like a match is to a stick of dynamite. You really think you’re invulnerable? Go ahead. Roll that dice. But every risk you take, you subject another to, and, that, you have no right to do.”