Who Do You Tell?

March 15, 2012 in General

Gay men fuck differently.

We do.

No matter how many prissy or self-hating homos there are who don’t like to talk about it, as a total group, gay men have much more sex, and many more sexual partners, than straight people. It’s a fairly clear and simple fact, and it has no moral value whatsoever. If you like to fuck with strangers 10 times in a week, that’s cool, and if you have only ever had sex with your partner in the last 10 years, that’s equally cool.

But overall, even gay men in loving long-term relationships have more sex than straight guys. Whether you’re 20 or 50, this is the case. And we typically don’t place the same value on sex as straights do. It’s just a bit of fun with someone who’s sexy and up for it.

That’s a pretty hard fact to get across to straights though.

And I think it’s even harder for straight women to get than straight guys. For a woman, sex has the possibility of creating a new life as well as the joys of the physical side of making love.

I’ve been thinking about this since the ruling that came out this week, that by not disclosing his HIV status to his female partner, a straight HIV+ guy had removed her informed consent, and had effectively violated her sexually – even though she did not acquire HIV from the sex.

And now the Dominion-Post in Wellington has come out with an editorial saying those of who have HIV simply have to disclose each and every time.

An an HIV+ gay man, I think I understand where they’re coming from, but I totally disagree.

For one thing, it takes two to tango, and if you want to fuck around in the floating world of gay male sex, you need to take responsibility for your own well-being and health. So it’s up to each and everyone of us to set the boundaries, and to insist on safe-sex if you want to stay HIV negative.

A lot of gay sex happens in fuck-clubs or through online hookups – conversation is often not a key part to these encounters. If you’re getting all hot and horny with a guy in a fuck-club, there’s often not that much chat. The same goes with online hookups. And if you both make sure you’re using rubbers and having safe sex, in fact you don’t need to discuss it all – using rubbers and lube correctly works.

In fact most HIV+ guys are highly aware and careful to make sure they do nothing to infect their sexual partners. You are far more likely to get HIV from a guy who doesn’t know he is carrying it than from someone who is positive and taking their medication. With so many HIV+ guys around who don’t know they have it, how can you reasonably rely on disclosure to keep anyone HIV Negative?

So disclosure doesn’t actually protect anyone, it has no practical health benefit – it just stigmatises HIV+ people even more. And we don’t need that.

If it really bugs you that much, you could simply ask – I can’t see the point of lying, I’m not ashamed of being HIV+, it’s just a virus in my blood. But a lot of guys have suffered terrible discrimination, and that is not ok – I totally understand why they don’t want to disclose – and there is no need to.

Will you tell me if you have Hep C? Syphilis? What if I go to bed with you because I think you’re a millionaire, and you turn out to be on the dole – have you taken my informed consent away by lying to me?

It’s still not clear what the legal implications of this ruling will be. At the moment, the law has said as long as an HIV+ person takes all reasonable precautions, we do not have to disclose. It’s only having unsafe sex, putting a sexual partner at risk of catching the virus, that is seen as criminal. This new ruling might change that – let’s see.

But the mainstream reaction, as seen in that editorial, will be based in how straights think about sex and fucking, not how our culture practices it, and that could be very bad for us indeed.

And remember – every guy who is HIV positive today was once HIV negative – and with very few exceptions that is because they chose not to have safe sex. If you want to stay HIV negative, you know what to do – and it doesn’t involve blaming those of us who have the virus.