Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Raw (and the Cooked)

serrano_untitled_viiAndres Serrano, Untitled VII (Ejaculate in Trajectory), dye bleached print, 1989

Lately, on Tumblr I have been following a fair number of blogs dedicated to gay pornography.  These blogs seem to suit my current mood and desire, even though my Tumblr, Polar Bear Desire, is decidedly non-pornographic, but very queer.  It makes for a strange combination and has raised some significant questions in my head, most notably the display of bareback porn and bloggers who are barebackers themselves.

Two Tumblr blogs come to mind in this regard: PussyboiCumdump and Confessions of a Manic Ivy League Jock.  (Warning: NSFW)  These two blogs not only display naked men alone and together engaged in bareback sex, but also contain stories of their authors’ raw sexual exploits.  Recently, I asked each of them how they negotiate their HIV risk?  Neither replied and perhaps they each think I am a sexual hypocrite who follows their blog, but at the same time questions their sexual practices.  And maybe I am.

I don’t know how I really feel about consuming bareback porn.  In other words, my head says one thing and my cock says another.  Could I just view bareback porn and read stories of unprotected sex as an outlet for my own personal fantasy or do my actions make me complicit in promoting and condoning unsafe sexual practices?  Do I have some responsibility for my fantasy even while I in my own sexual life make practicing safe sex a priority and a necessity?

Both PussyboiCumdump  and IvyJockBoy are young and in college, but that still doesn’t help me understand how they can take loads without being concerned about the risk even though young men who have sex with men are the only group for which the incidence of HIV seems to be  increasing.  And yes there are drugs today which can treat HIV, but the medication itself could cause other health problems as one ages and at times it is not even effective.

In the end, I think, because these two bloggers are in a sense “real people” to me and not an anonymous performer in a bareback porn, their unsafe sexual practices affect me more.  In a strange way, I want to care about them.  I want to save them.  And after my cock metaphorically fantasizes about them or the images on their blogs, my head ultimately just feels sad and helpless.

Postscript

PussyboiCumdump responded to another follower about negotiating his HIV risk.  The question: “With the anon loads how do you protect yourself?  Or is it just a risk?”

PussyboiCumdump replied, “It’s just a risk if you’re taking raw loads in your holes. Being clean here has been a huge amount of luck honestly, but it also is about being smart. I am a slut, but I don’t frequent sex clubs, bathhouses, glory holes, arcades, theaters, etc. - those places are harder to know what you’re getting yourself into. I ALWAYS ask, I look for any physical signs like shit leaking out of a guy’s dick or weird lesions or whatever, and I more times than not am getting with guys whom don’t sleep around as much as I do. That makes my odds a bit better. And I keep myself very clean as well and get tested regularly. Not much more we can do.”

I don’t know how to really comment on his reply.

Postscript Part 2

IvyJockboy whose Tumblr blog Confessions of A Manic Ivy League Jock replied recently to my question about how he manages his HIV risk.  He writes:  “one way is to sleep with positive guys that are on meds and undetectable. it’s counter intuitive, but waaay safer than bb with a guy sehfidenifying as “neg”. Any neg person that doesn’t use condoms consistently is a gamble. people forget that it just takes one time with one guy. The MOST contagious guys are the newly converted. they are the ones that spread it. it’s more comfortable to live in a false reality of still being neg after taking 6 anon loads at the bathhouse than to get tested and deal.

If you’re a top Kelly, you’re in luck. hiv is EXTREMELY hard for tops to contract during anal homosexual sex. it really takes a poz untreated blood bottom… or if you’re getting sloppy seconds and fucking with another guys cum. I know several Top man whores in their late forties and fifties that have never worn a rubber. it’s better to bottom for a total top that’s drug free.

lastly you can go on Prep. it’s an hiv preventative drug Truvada. it’s used for high risk populations. At the end of the day one has to weigh the benefits and risks. I can have amazingly hot porn quality sex anywhere. I love feeling a guy’s body seize and jerk as he shoots inside me. (less risk if you have him pull out). I’m not all that worried about hiv. The stigma and misunderstanding and misinformation is the hardest part, not the health aspect. if the cost is taking 1 or 3 pills once a day that keep me healthy, stop me from spreading, and gives me an amazing sex life. it isn’t so bad. it’s not 1984 or 1994. we need to stop the judgement and get guys tested and on meds. i’m on ambien sorry for the lack of form”

Again I am a bit speechless.  His reply is an interesting mix of knowledge and bravado with a lecturing tone as if I don’t know anything about HIV.  One fact he doesn’t seem to know is that HIV meds only are really effective for 28% of those infected.  (This statement is now I realize in error.  See below.)  Now I am really angry and sad. 

This statistic seemed odd to me, but I did not dig further.  Thankfully, I thoughtful reader named Perry clarified the 28% statistic.  He replied, “This percentage of ART suppression in HIV-infected people is so low primarily because most HIV-infected persons are not diagnosed, not accessing care, or not taking medications. The reason is not because medications don't work.”  Thank you Perry for helping make sense of a vague number.

Here are some other Great Within posts on HIV, AIDS, and pornography:

Death/Grief/Absence/Presence: Felix and Felix

31 Seconds of Anger, Terror, Shock and Ambivalence:  It's Never Just HIV

AIDS, Masculinity and Representation:  A Conversation with Jack Mackenroth

Postscript: AIDS, Masculinity and the Representation of the (Gay) Body

The Absent Body:  Felix Gonzalez-Torres, AIDS, Homosexuality and Representation

All Male "Live" Nude Revue

4 comments:

  1. Kelly, this post has really stuck with me for several days. Gay men and their relationship to pornography fall into two categories, I believe. There are those who have identified as gay all their lives regardless of when they 'came out' officially and those who came out much later, the deniers i call them--in their adulthood. The first group embraces pornography as a sexual outlet, the latter refuses it. Gay men spend an inordinate amount of time lying to their themselves, their family, and the outside world. It starts early and I'm not sure it ever ends as witnessed by your simultaneous stimulation and repulsion by bareback pornography. I understand that. It's something I've been thinking a lot about lately--that dichotomy of fascination and repulsion with the homosexual sex act. You missed the '70s, but I can tell you that contemporary bareback porn gives you an accurate look into the liberation of gay men from that time period. Our sexual activity was a defining aspect of our new found freedom. Bareback sex represents that freedom. It is the rejection of the repression of disease and societal disapproval of our sex lives. That rejection is stimulating. It was then and it still is today. I say you should enjoy watching it and set aside those feelings that inhibit your enjoyment. It will always be there regardless of your enjoyment or your condemnation.

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    1. Thank you Robert for reply. It is interesting how one's historical context shapes one's beliefs and ideas. I have always been queer and have never denied it to myself. For me, pornography which I discovered in the mid-80's emerged out of a desire to see positive gay images which were virtually non-existent in popular culture at that time. I think of young kids today and how lucky they are to have some many positive images of "gayness" to digest.
      And while I get your understanding of bareback porn, for me, who grew up with the condom so to speak, it still makes me uneasy like by consuming such images I am promoting behaviors that lead to bad consequences. And as I said in the post the 2 Tumblr bloggers who are barebackers seem to me more "real" and I worry about the consequences of their behaviour and how that behaviour must be fueled by deep sadness and loss.

      Again thanks for your thoughts!

      K

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  2. Thanks for the post. Be careful about your statement: "One fact he doesn’t seem to know is that HIV meds only are really effective for 28% of those infected." This percentage of ART suppression in HIV-infected people is so low primarily because most HIV-infected persons are not diagnosed, not accessing care, or not taking medications. The reason is not because medications don't work.

    You can find the original source here.
    http://pag.aids2012.org/Abstracts.aspx?AID=21098

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    1. Thank you Perry for your clarification about that statistic. It did seem somewhat odd to me. I guess I should have done some more digging.

      Thanks again!
      Kelly

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