Jim Pickett of LifeLube.org responded to my post. I realize what I wrote necessitates a follow-up to clarify some points I made.
First, there is nothing wrong with condomless sex between two HIV negative, monogamous men. There is also nothing wrong with two HIV positive men, who are monogamous, engaging in condomless sex. This is their choice, and because they are acting as a closed circuit, due to the monogamy of their relationship, they are not putting anyone else at risk.
Now here’s where complications set in. Are these two hypothetical, HIV negative men truly monogamous. How long have they been together? Long enough to ensure that they are truly negative (6 months)? Do they plan on being monogamous in the future? If they do not, do they plan on engaging in anal intercourse, and if so, will they use protection? Will this protection be fool-proof (it wont’ be)? Will they always remember to slip on a condom? Will they be open and honest with each other if there is a slip up?
The point is, even in a situation where condomless sex appears to have no risk, there is still a chance for risk. Does this mean you shouldn’t ever engage in barebacking? Absolutely not. I’m not advocating for condom use at all times. I am advocating for condom use most of the time (hook-ups, non-monogamous partnerships, good dates, bad dates, etc.).
So what are we really trying to accomplish as a community when it comes to sex? I’ll tell you.
We are attempting to reduce our level of risk while maximizing our pleasure. If for most people, maximizing their pleasure means condomless sex, then you will see the risk side of the equation shoot up. Not a great balance. However if we advocate for condom use at all times, then you’ll see the pleasure portion plummet for many. No anal sex, likely the safest form of sex, probably reduces this pleasure bar even more (unless of course you are a gay man who doesn’t enjoy anal sex). So how do we find a happy medium? Do we take calculated risks to strike a balance? What kind of risks do we take? Is maximizing our pleasure really worth the risk? Are we just being uber-American, wanting everything but willing to sacrifice nothing? These are the questions that keep me up at night…until I fall asleep and dream about dinosaurs.
Once again, I want to iterate that I am not against barebacking. I believe it can be a healthy way for two educated men to engage in sex with one another.
*Footnote: Also, regarding Tony: I will read more of his work. All I really have to go off of is his panel conversation from last night. And aside from me disagreeing with his perspective, he contradicted himself a lot, as I pointed out in my previous post. Saying that porn has little influence, but then saying that youth learn by example is a contradiction. Saying that we are doing the best we can but that we can do more (another quote) is a contradiction. Maybe he’s just not a good public speaker. I can give him that. But when he is up on a stage, being advertised as an expert, then he better choose his words more carefully.