In the summer of 1997, I received a call from a friend asking me if I wanted to be interviewed by The Advocate. I asked my friend, "Why on earth would The Advocate be interested in interviewing me?" The Advocate was looking for HIV-positive men who were sexually active and would be interested in sharing their experiences in an interview. I accepted the offer.
The interview mostly dealt with my active sexual life then, and my opinions about how to have multiple partners and still act responsibly during the dark ages of AIDS.
I have always been a very sex positive man. In 1997, like many gay men, I used to frequent sex clubs and bathhouses. Going one step further, I enjoyed hosting my own regularly scheduled "get togethers" at my apartment on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. (One day a neighbor stopped me in the hall and told me she couldn't help but notice the steady stream of men headed into my apartment the previous night. She asked if she could be invited to the next party. I half smiled, and coyly mumbled, "Uh....it wasn't a party, it's a support group". She never asked again.)
These “parties” were very social events where people not only could have sex, but meet potential partners and “friends with benefits”. I provided condoms, snacks and every person would bring their own drink of choice. The atmosphere was exciting, friendly and highly charged with positive sexual energy.
Most of the people who attended my parties shared my HIV-positive status and my same point of view about having an active sexual life even after testing positive for HIV.
It was interesting to see how the kitchen became the social area where my guests talked to each other, passed joints around and connected with each other when taking a “sex break”. The rest of the apartment became the “playing area”.
Going back to the interview with The Advocate, my favorite part was when the interviewer asked me, “How many sexual partners did you have in 1997”. After realizing that I had lost count, I answered, “I don’t know, maybe hundreds”. Jeffrey, the guy who was conducting the interview, added another question right after. “What would you say to a person who would tell you that is way too much sex?”. I thought about it for a few seconds and answered “Too much sex according to whom?”. This line became the title of the interview.
That was then. I was 36, strong, handsome and with a very highly charged libido. Shortly after the interview, I met the man who would become my husband. Age brought the maturity to understand that my sexuality was changing. I am no longer interested in the sex club scene but my opinion about sex as a way to celebrate life has not changed at all.
When I see the new generation, I always think about my past experiences and looking back, I don’t regret anything. I managed to enjoy my life responsibly through the horrible sex crisis of the 90s when AIDS was a crude reality to deal with. I also managed to accumulate a plethora of life experiences that brought me to the understanding of human sexuality and my personal choices in this aspect of my life. As a gay HIV positive man I never gave up the opportunity to embrace my sexuality as one of my favorite ways to celebrate and enjoy life to the fullest.
My life has changed quite a bit. My health has declined but the magic of sex and passion still catches my interest. I truly believe that a positive view of your own sexuality is a sign of maturity and a way to embrace a human necessity that can be one of the most beautiful gifts we have received. “Carpe Diem” because like auntie Mame said, “ Life’s a banquet and most poor suckers, are starving to death”.