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Author Topic: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?  (Read 4647 times)

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Offline Cliff

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Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« on: June 18, 2006, 12:53:24 PM »
I can understand why health authorities are so negative when it comes to promoting safer sex with gay men.  The government, unfortunately, knows nothing about the carrot approach, (at least not when it comes to its own population).  It's always the stick.  And a very thick one, at that.

But why do we buy into the same negative perceptions of gay sex and activities?

In several debates here (and in a HIV organization I volunteer at), I see folks equating unsafe sex with deviant behavior.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think we should stop the use a "condom every time you unzip" message.  But I just wonder why we fall into these traps of setting up false expectations, even amongst ourselves, that many will not (can not) live up to.

Barebacking is a stupid word.  Probably even more stupid (and more dangerous) than the act itself.

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2006, 01:01:52 PM »
Barebacking is a stupid word.  Probably even more stupid (and more dangerous) than the act itself.

Why do you say it's a stupid word? You can say bareback faster than you can say unprotected copulation or sex without a condom

Barebacking isn't stupid, what's stupid is not taking sensible action to address reckless barebacking especially if it's an addiction.

Offline Cliff

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2006, 01:28:22 PM »
Why do you say it's a stupid word?[/color]
Cause the word is loaded with judgment, ridicule and stigma.  And there are terms that straight people use to describe the same act (raw for example), but yet it isn't accepted as okay to use those terms, by the media or the government, when discussing safer sex matters with straight people.

Quote
Barebacking isn't stupid, what's stupid is not taking sensible action to address reckless barebacking especially if it's an addiction.
What defines reckless barebacking from not-so-reckless barebacking, and when does barebacking become an addiction?  And how does one get treated for a barebacking addiction?  :-\

Gay men use condoms in rates higher than straight men/women, but one would never know that by listening to the government or the media (or even many gay/HIV activists).  We are simply, especially us post-HAART gays, strung out on drugs, barebacking in back alleys and wouldn't know a condom from a balloon.

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2006, 02:03:03 PM »


I don't know Cliff.   In my area the public service announcements and commercials I see promoting safer sex always show a man and a woman.

They even go so far as to letting women know that they are the fastest growing segment comprising new infections.

I do not think barebacking is wrong per say.... at least when compared to "raw"...  Today I think of both being equally irresponsible and of which I have done both.....  I don't beat myself up for doing it because for the most part I enjoyed them...  I just hate the fucking consequences!

Thomas
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline blondbeauty

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2006, 02:08:03 PM »
No condom is the natural way. And since the Flintstones it was the best way to do it. Unfortunately HIV exists. HIV ir ruling humankind sexlife. That is unfair and should be erradicated.
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Offline david25luvit

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2006, 02:11:28 PM »
Cliff...  I don't think I beat myself up over unprotected sex.(Not that you said I did)   I think those of us who are HIV should be more responsible about insisting on safe sex but then I thought that went with the territory.  I know some people get real bent out of shape when the subject comes up.  And NO I won't mention any names.  I suspect some people have been involved in unsafe practices with others and feel somewhat guilty about their "silence" or their decision not to disclose their status or whatever...   Many like my mother believe we should avoid all contact whatsoever, that we should have no relationships and no sex.  I don't believe that's healthy. 

My choice to date men who are positive ...is a personal one.  As far as the governments "abstinence" answer to the spread of HIV....Pleassssssssseeeee!  How realistic is that!  That's my two cents worth anyway.............. :P
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Offline bear60

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2006, 02:23:15 PM »
David....that was a well put response.
Let me add that a friend was telling me that new text books on Sex Education being printed for schools  in Texas do not even mention condoms. I believe this was on the news..?
Poz Bear Type in Philadelphia

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #7 on: June 18, 2006, 02:45:48 PM »
I don't think I understand the question. Unprotected anal intercourse, barebacking, raw... that's just symantics. When dealing with sending a message to the public I think it needs to be very basic and simple or people won't process it in our short-attention span society. So the message is "sex without condoms is dangerous" or as the conservatives want "no sex before marriage". I don't understand the "beat ourselves up" part.

Offline krakerjm

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2006, 03:16:04 PM »
Barebacking is a 'gay' term/word, that's why.  Many ethnic str8 men in particular refuse to use condoms but don't call it barbacking.  Stigmas will and discriptive words will go on as long as humans exist, each in it's own co-existance.  Why is it a big deal?  It's a choice both intellegnet and fools make regardless what it's called and that isn't gonna change...
GWM, 63, PN w/footdrop
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Offline Cliff

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2006, 03:29:38 PM »
I screwed up on the title....and the subject matter, perhaps.  But nevertheless, I believe, there is anxiety in the gay community over safer sex and unprotected sex, that is partially caused by the fear-monging that goes on with safer sex prevention and even discussions on safer sex issues (as in the ones we have in this forum, from time to time).

Just about every discussion we have on unsafe sex, runs straight to bug chasers, as if they somehow constitute a significant portion of the gay population, and thus must be discussed in great detail.

Quote
Unprotected anal intercourse, barebacking, raw... that's just semantics.
I disagree.  Barebacking has a lot of negative connotations and stigma attached to it.  More so than raw and certainly not nearly as much as unprotected anal intercourse.  And it's quite common for the media (with our blessing of course) to use such term for provocative means....aka down-low.

Quote
So the message is "sex without condoms is dangerous"...
And thus if you don't use a condom, everytime, then you don't value your life, have some sort of problem or you're deviant.

Which leads to what Juan mentions above.....there are reasons why people (gay or straight) might want (or choose) to have unprotected sex.  But the safer sex message, doesn't leave room for such discussions.  I'm sure the reasons why are reasonable (to do so, one might mistakenly assume that it would only encourage more unsafe sex).  But maybe that assumption should be tested.  Maybe.

Quote
Many ethnic str8 men in particular refuse to use condoms but don't call it barbacking.
As opposed to non-ethnic str8 men?

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2006, 04:22:11 PM »
So we shouldn't use the term barebacking because it has negative connotations... like gay anal sex doesn't.

You can't have a media message that sex without condoms is dangerous unless you both get tested twice for HIV, hepatitis, and other STDs and are monogamous or you're both virgins and have never had a blood transfusion or... etc. Many people still don't understand that you can't get HIV from casual contact. Media messages about healthcare have to be simple, concise and err on the side of caution.

Discussion about unprotected sex is different topic. I'm getting an impression that the issue is some people feel they are being made to feel guilty or bad for choosing to have unsafe sex. I'm of the belief that no one can actually make you feel guilty unless you feel you are. Society has tried to make me feel bad about being homosexual (it's "crimes against nature" here) but I don't feel guilty about it at all because I know there is nothing intrinsically wrong with being homosexual. Prior to my current HIV status I was in a relationship where we both got tested twice and then stopped using condoms. I've never felt guilty about that. If someone challenges you on your sexual choices, or other choices, you should be able to defend them. If you can't you need to consider you've made a mistake.

Offline Lis

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2006, 06:18:26 PM »
I think that we get stuck on TERMS.... gay men arent the only ones with AIDS... and they arent the only ones that have to choose to have safe sex...  it truely is about ALL of us... if youall want to fight about what to call fucking... then whatever.... its still fucking, and it still puts others at risk... the bigger question is... are you honest with yourself and your partner?

ME
poz 1986....

Offline Cliff

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2006, 06:48:05 PM »
Quote
Media messages about healthcare have to be simple, concise and err on the side of caution.
I'm not sure I understand why this must be the case.  And if the cost of such a conservative, simplistic approach should also be factored?  For example.....we think we have a super-duper HIV strain out there, let's run and tell the world and throw everyone into panic mode, (before we even know anything about the patient or the virus he's hosting).  Let's make sure we throw in some good preaching about how this person "possibly" caught it participating in bareback parties and drug binges.  And three months later, let's forget all about it and not tell a soul that...ooops, we fucked up. 

Was it cautious, yes.  Was the message simple, yes.  Was it productive, doubtful (IMHO).
The messages out there, (and I guess you could argue this is society's views on gay sex in general), make it easy to look at guys who fuck without condoms as stupid, foolish and irresponsible, (of course this doesn't apply to everyone, and naturally some people don't buy into it...there are no hard and fast rules here). 

There are plenty of reasons why some people, (well lots of people), gay or straight, choose not to use condoms.  Whether or not that is risky behaviour, is not so much my point.  We, (us here unfortunately), know the risk and I suppose to argue that is a bit of preaching to the choir or maybe to the other ministers in the pulpit. 

The point is that speaking up about the desires or fears when it comes to unsafe sex should be an important part of safer sex education.  Maybe it's not as easy as simple as saying, where a condom dammit.  But maybe it will also lead to people making more educated decisions.  I don't think the public, or gay men, are nearly as dumb or impatient as public health authorities would have us believe.

Quote
if youall want to fight about what to call fucking... then whatever.... its still fucking
For me the discussion isn't necessarily about what to call fucking.  It's about moving beyond the judgments and stigma associated with the term(s) "bareback sex/bug chasing" for gay men.  Words are important to people and they are very powerful.  I suspect if someone came in here and start calling all gays, faggots, I'm sure many would be up in arms.  Now I suppose one could argue that faggot is just a word.  But it isn't.

In any event, in rereading my initial message, it is clear that I started things off on the wrong path with a vague and confusing message....and can see why the discussion has moved to whether it's okay to use the word "bareback."  But that was not my intent (I think).  People are free to call fucking or unsafe sex, whatever they want.  You won't get any arguments from me there.  It was more, the stigma and judgment associated with talking about barebacking/bug chasing and how counterproductive they can be towards safer sex discussions/education.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2006, 06:51:07 PM by Cliff »

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2006, 06:53:33 PM »
If someone wants to stigmatize themselves, and fuel up on guilt, then power to them. My problerm begins when they attempt to spread the (self) hate.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

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Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2006, 09:18:27 PM »
The messages out there, (and I guess you could argue this is society's views on gay sex in general), make it easy to look at guys who fuck without condoms as stupid, foolish and irresponsible,

Must be a U.K. thing (?) ... Sorry to hear that. 

The point is that speaking up about the desires or fears when it comes to unsafe sex should be an important part of safer sex education.  Maybe it's not as easy as simple as saying, where a condom dammit.  But maybe it will also lead to people making more educated decisions.  I don't think the public, or gay men, are nearly as dumb or impatient as public health authorities would have us believe.

Public health officials will always boil it down to "wear a condom" (or abstinence, abstinence, abstinence) ..... I guess you'd like to see the hetero/mainstream powers that be take a longer more detailed route - y'know, a route that shows they genuinely care about gay males in particular. That's what I'm getting from you. I'm not sure the hetero powers that be will EVER take the lengthier caring road but the gay community will, and does, to a large (but not enormous) degree

The gay community does a good job of heaping helpful extra (sextra) information on top of the condoms=safe message but the bottom line stays the same: "wear a condom"

On a side note, when I first heard the word bareback I knew what it meant. Weird huh?
« Last Edit: June 18, 2006, 10:38:56 PM by allopathicholistic »

Offline CalvinC

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2006, 10:21:08 PM »
My.02? Why do ad campaigns, of whatever sort and from whomever, refer to the act instead of *what leads up to the act*?

In 2005, I sure as heck knew everything there is to know about condoms, disease prevention, STDs, etc. But nothing adressed what was bothering me, ie, loneliness, self-esteem issues. I could only go to a bathhouse with at least some booze coursing through my system. From there, my brain shut down and no posters on the walls at the tubs meant a damn thing.

I'm not saying that local health authorities are to blame for what happened to me. But these campaigns often sound like the American Nancy Regan's "Just say no" effort: always trying to shut the barn door long after the horses have fled.

cal

Offline Cliff

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #16 on: June 18, 2006, 11:18:30 PM »
Quote
On a side note, when I first heard the word bareback I knew what it meant. Weird huh?
I don't remember when or where I first heard the term, (no doubt on the internet, like everything else).  However, I do remember when I first heard the term at a health prevention meeting.  It was in Houston either 98 or 99, I'm American btw.  This guy, probably representing one of the local AIDS service organization, was giving a presentation on safer sex.  Nothing wrong with the guy, he said all the right things, at least from a health department perspective.  But he was very condescending, and seemed like he had something against young gay guys (at least I thought so).  He kept going on and on about the new infections in the city and how "you guys" are playing with fire with all this barebacking, ruining your lives, killing yourselves, etc..(never mind the audience was HIV negative men so his comments seemed off the mark, LOL)" 

He also had this high and mighty attitude about using condoms (letting the audience know, frequently throughout the presentation mind you, that he has never had sex without a condom and doesn't know what it feels like.....and that condoms felt great to him....which I read as, "so what's your fucking problem you dumb, young gay punk!"  ;D).

Anyways, I will always remember that presentation because...

1.  One of the guys putting it on, (assisting the presenter), asked what I thought about the presentation during the eat and drink mingling period and I told him that it sucked ass, (to which he made some off-handed remark that I must enjoy barebacking).  Funny thing, was other than late into my 6 year relationship (after testing), which was over during that time, I hadn't had unprotected sex with anyone. 

and

2.  A couple of years later, I found out that the presenter, (somewhat well known in the community), tested positive.  Imagine my shock.  LOL

Of course, this whole topic could be because I'm a cynic, at least that's what a friend told me on Saturday.  :-\  So who knows.  LOL

It could be asking for too much, I agree with you All..  And some in the gay community, do try to fix the message or combat the poor job done by some health departments.  And I suppose I shouldn't expect the mainstream media/health professionals to understand gay men and get it right.  But it doesn't hurt to try (or at least call them out on it).

Offline allopathicholistic

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2006, 11:27:39 PM »
He also had this high and mighty attitude about using condoms (letting the audience know, frequently throughout the presentation mind you, that he has never had sex without a condom and doesn't know what it feels like.....and that condoms felt great to him....which I read as, "so what's your fucking problem you dumb, young gay punk!"  ;D).

Anyways, I will always remember that presentation because...

1.  One of the guys putting it on, (assisting the presenter), asked what I thought about the presentation during the eat and drink mingling period and I told him that it sucked ass, (to which he made some off-handed remark that I must enjoy barebacking).  Funny thing, was other than late into my 6 year relationship (after testing), which was over during that time, I hadn't had unprotected sex with anyone. 

and

2.  A couple of years later, I found out that the presenter, (somewhat well known in the community), tested positive.  Imagine my shock.  LOL

I see right through people like that. I just laugh - most are hypocrites with neuroses up the wazoo.  I never spend an ounce of mental energy on those types 

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #18 on: June 18, 2006, 11:51:29 PM »
Most of them have more than neuroses up their wazoos.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

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Offline joemutt

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Re: Why do we beat ourselves up over unprotected sex and HIV?
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2006, 07:03:24 AM »
Semantics and antics as far as I m concerned,
human behaviour will always outplay any safety campaign, unfortunately
I think its the taboo on talking openly about anal sex
that makes hiv such a persistant disease.

 


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