Remember when you first used a debit card and it was great? So convenient, no more cash to carry around. Then came the ability to simply tap my debit card on a reader and presto, my groceries had been paid for. Not one button did I have to press.
Today, if a store doesn’t have the tap feature it’s really annoying. Now I have to punch in 'ok' for the amount, what account I’m going to pay for it and then my pin number. It feels like so much work. Once a new technology is introduced, it’s hard to go backwards. Case in point, give up your smartphones for a day.
What I’m trying to do is draw a parallel to my sex life.
Twenty-two was the magic age of serostatus diagnoses in a different era. I had started a relationship at 20 and that was when my behavioral change started. 1985 in Winnipeg, as with fashion and many other things, was behind the times.
Condoms were just what you did. Every relationship I’ve had has been serodiscordant. It was normal and not a thought was given to it.
Not only that, shortly after my viral discovery I began working for Manitoba Health on the AIDS/STD line, having to counsel people on effective condom use and a few other things. (How do you answer a question by a guy wanting to know if his girlfriend has sex with a dog , could she get anything? Like, it wasn’t just any dog off the street, it was hers.) I became the one who used them and preached their use to others.
The use of condoms had been fossilized into my behavior. The ultimate taboo was not to use one - so taboo it just wasn’t done.
A few exceptions were made. With another positive guy I’d skip them most of the time. That is not without the larger world and community wagging their judgmental figures, because we were going to create an untreatable "super strain". Even with another positive guy it couldn’t be completely guilt-free.
Over time I’d go either way without issue, depending on the person and context.
However over the past few years I’ve been sexually dormant. Last winter, to fight my annual seasonal affectivet disorder I went back to the gym. I got myself in shape and was feeling more confident. The two years prior had been mired in a long and protracted process of figuring out medications. During that time I could hardly get through the day, let alone try hooking up with someone.
Then I went on the Scruff app. I’d been on Scruff before, but that only lasted a few days as the dark days of winter had put me into my meteorologically oppressive prison for the season. I call these apps electronic bath houses. Everyone is disposable and depersonalized so that it’s easy to simply disappear mid-conversation when someone better comes along.
I took a simple mirror photo (according to Samantha Bee if you only have mirror selfies you have no friends) with the attitude, “Well this is it, take it or leave it.” And to my surprise there were a substantial amount of guys who wanted to take it.
It was at my last encounter with a negative guy that I officially had the epiphany that I can no longer do condoms. I have become that guy who everyone wants to wag their fingers at, bitch about in comment sections and disapprove of during cocktail party conversations (never mind half of them are doing it too).
Back to the encounter, this man is super hot. He is an actor and a model. His beard is grrrrr. It kind of made me a bit nervous. Ever since the sex work days anytime I was with a hot man I’d be intimidated. Perhaps it was because I didn’t feel in control. I don’t know. Some of this was kicking in here.
He is super sweet and we have been texting and joking since the last night.
I take my usual Viagra because I don’t want any issues. We begin playing around in my living room where my a/c is. My couch folds out to a bed. All was well until this moment.
Lying on the couch he just sat on my face. I thought, "hmmm… not even asking". There are a lot of things I do, but rimming isn’t one of them. Not because I can’t get into it, but rather due to all the rounds of Flagyl, which is one of the most hateful antiparasitics around. Ten days on that is ten days of hell. I say it’s the drug that makes time stand still as those ten days feel like an eternity. Unless you want an instant weight loss program it’s good to stay clear of it. I’d stay away from any activity that could cause me to have to take that stuff.
"I did get to a point where I did rip open the condom package and put it on. Worst thing I could have done. Now I’m inside him feeling like I’m fucking a garbage bag."
Back to the hot man sitting on my face: I’m thinking, 'Woah, buddy!' as I snack on his balls for a few seconds and think about what I’m going to do. You always have to have a strategy; buying a few moments was needed. Do I do it? No way!
Finally I move my face and explain that I don’t rim. That started to make me feel a little off. Then I was playing with his ass and he says, “Ow, that hurts. Nails.” Fuck, I’d forgotten to cut my nails. The messages in my head were now saying, “This guy is so hot. Why isn’t it clicking more?”
I had a vision of saying this wasn’t going to work, and that was the vision of death. Death to my hard on. We tried and tried and tried. I did get to a point where I did rip open the condom package and put it on.
Worst thing I could have done. Now I’m inside him feeling like I’m fucking a garbage bag. A side note is that I’m on antidepressants that kind of take away sensitivity. A lot of times if I just can get in there I can get things going. Despite this guy’s talented ass, I was regressing.
This is the very moment that will be enshrined as the moment I went from being ok with condoms to absolutely detesting them and wondering if I could ever use them again.
Then he asked if I wanted him to top, something I don’t if ever let someone do. But I said yes. He came fast. Even then I felt like I was getting fucked by a garbage bag. Yuck.
I’m very hard on myself. I felt horrible that I couldn’t do what was expected. In the old days not getting a hard on meant giving a refund. I was a professional top. I felt depressed, deflated and even embarrassed.
These feelings are now inextricably connected to the condom.
Just like using the tap on my debit card, I’d just gotten too used to sex without condoms with other positive guys. Going back to having to punch my pin number and accounts now doesn’t just feel inconvenient and work. I downright detest it.
There it is guys; I’ve become a member of the condomless sex cohort. I’m the guy you like to judge. We don’t need PrEP, just use a condom.
Well, fuck you, I’m not, and we do need PrEP. The Treatment as Prevention I am on is just as effective as condoms. The world is not 1985 anymore.
In fact I encourage guys to go on PrEP because it’s about time the negative guys bear some of the responsibly in this equation and it reduces stigma on positive guys. Additionally I am of the generation that was and continues to be the guinea pigs of research for treatment. We took the good with the bad.
And you know what? It’s the HIV negative guys’ turn to put some skin in the research game. Women who take “the pill” have a 20 to 30 percent higher risk of breast cancer and yet the PrEP haters don’t see any problem with women taking the pill. Just use a condom - well that’s not going to happen. STIs are not prevented by condoms. What might not get in your ass would get in your throat.
I basically see PrEP haters like the American Republicans who want to control women’s bodies by restricting abortion or access to birth control. These guys want to restrict access or at very least shame and judge those who don’t confirm to their sexual world view. There isn’t very much I can do about that except say, "Fuck off and stay out of my life and business with consenting adults.”
PrEP is sexy, PrEP is hot, and I can’t wait to fuck more PrEP guys.
So the revolution has happened. From safer sex condom advocate to condomless sex guy who isn’t that interested in negative guys unless they are on PrEP.
My Scruff profile has now been changed to reflect my preference. Under the safe sex category I selected “Treatment as Prevention” and PrEP only.
Just like that debit card, I hate going backwards. I roll my eyes when I see businesses that haven't updated their debit readers and make me do all that unnecessary work. Now I roll my eyes at the thought of using condoms.
Using that analogy, I can’t go backwards, and you’ll have to excuse me because I have some tapping to do.