Despite our knowledge about HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections these days, recent studies point to a decrease in condom usage among gay and bisexual men.
Why is this happening in spite of our knowledge of safer sex education and of the lethality that can be involved with contracting HIV?
There are a variety of reasons.
A complacency may be developing in the gay community about the belief that HIV is more manageable nowadays with the medication that exists today (“All I have to do is take a pill”) and with the scientific advances made that speak about a possible cure or vaccination right around the corner (“We have made incredible strides. However, we still have a long way to go.”)
What’s not considered are the possible side effects of the medication that can significantly alter one’s quality of life.
Many men may be getting burned out on condoms and think, “Well, maybe just this once!” And that’s all it can take to contract an STI.
Many men also voice complaints that condoms take away the pleasure and make it difficult to establish and maintain erections.
Mental health and alcohol/drug issues may also be contributing culprits since these can oftentimes impair judgment.
Other reasons might be a belief that one is in a monogamous relationship with a partner with neither partaking in sex outside the relationship, getting caught up in the “heat of the moment” or a desire for intimacy and connection that “only bareback sex can provide.”
“We all have the right to be sexual in the ways
we like, as long as everyone is honest.”
This isn’t a sermon about what you should or shouldn’t do.
We all have the right to be sexual in the ways we like, as long as everyone is honest and upfront about their statuses and expectations for the sexual interlude, knows the risks involved and there is informed consent.
We also have a responsibility to protect ourselves and the people we sleep with, so communication is a critical aspect of sexuality.
How would you handle it if you’re getting hot and heavy and about to do “the wild thing” when the guy you’re with says he doesn’t use condoms because: “I’m a top and it’s hard to get HIV that way,” “I’m allergic to latex,” “I’ll pull out before I cum,” “I’m clean.”
How might you handle it if this thought crosses your mind: “He doesn’t have HIV because he’s too hot!”
A good strategy is to be mindful of all the myths that abound and develop counter statements for what you might say if these situations happened to you.
Make it clear from the onset that you only practice safer sex. Have the condoms out and visible or swiftly apply the rubber onto yourself or your partner during foreplay without hesitation.
If he still refuses, you can always try lower-risk sexual activities or send him packing!
Condoms don’t have to be a buzzkill.
Make it fun and creative!
Condoms come in all varieties now: thin, ribbed, studded, flavored, colored, etc. Blindfold your partner and have a taste test of the different flavors of condoms.
Have a safe sex kit that contains a variety of safer sex paraphernalia (condoms, dildos, vibrators, rubber dental dams for rimming, lubrications, etc.) and play with all the different items.
Talk dirty, use fantasy, try different positions for different sensations, etc.
The ideas are limitless if you use your imagination. And while it won’t necessarily be like “the real thing,” you’ll have peace of mind that you’re protected and you can still have an awesome gay sexual experience.
What are some of the excuses you’ve heard from guys to avoid safer sex? What are some of the other things you do to safely spice up your sex life?
Photo source: ragemonthly.com.