OA_show('Wallpaper');
OA_show('Leaderboard - Xx90');
Choose your edition:

Search form

Gays can't have sex

Ideas

Gays can't have sex

Gays can’t have sex. We can have only “safer sex” or “protected sex” (where condoms or any other form of barriers are used). The sad part of “protected sex” is that it implies that sex between men is not safe, adding to the load of homo-negativity and internalized homophobia that we have to cope with on a regular basis in a straight-dominated world. This is one of the thin edges of the wedge that allows for the internalization of shame. And for members of ethnic minorities, that shame can resonate intensely. I prefer “safer” over “protected.” It carries less stigma and is less sex-negative.
 
Contrary to our heterosexual counterparts, if we (gay men) have sex with no condoms, no prevention, then we become barebackers. The word bareback comes with a whole bunch of negative connotations, as if the plain and simple act of two (or more) men having sex is evil, twisted and predatory. Fear-based HIV- and other STI-prevention campaigns have led me to believe that if I repeat the word bareback out loud three times, the ghost of AIDS past will make an appearance that will drive my anxiety all the way to a sexual health clinic. There I will sit in the waiting room between Shame and Guilt reminiscing about my early days doing psychotherapy in a hospice and out-patient clinic in Mexico City for HIV-positive people in the late 1990s — where 80 percent of my practice died of HIV/AIDS. 
 
When a gay man’s identity is in part connected to his sexual practices, and the sexual practices he engages in are considered “problematic,” then by definition a part of that gay man’s identity will be considered problematic, too. That’s what silences many gay men who struggle with their sexual health. No wonder that the decision of whether to wrap it up or go bareback can be so complex and anxiety-provoking that a lot of men decide to skip it and not think about it. 
 
The truth is that in 2013, most of the gay men I know still struggle with shame, guilt and self-hatred connected to their sexual identity and sexual practices. A lot of them report feeling judged and rejected by their peers when they talk about struggles with condom use or their ideas about engaging in sex without condoms. One of the problems that is left outside of the HIV/STI prevention equation is the impact that internalized homophobia (shame, guilt and self-hatred) in a straight-dominated world has on gay men’s sexual health. In my practice I find that once gay men work through feelings of shame and guilt it’s easier to tackle sexual-health concerns and risk-taking behaviours.
 
If we are going to engage in a conversation about why STIs like syphilis, chlamydia and super gonorrhea are on the rise in Ontario, we also need to consider the impact that sexual health has on the emotional health of gay men, and vice versa. For me, a strength-based approach to the STI dilemma involves focusing on funding priorities that carve a space for gay men to work through the immense amounts of shame and guilt that shut down sexual health conversations. Strengthening gay men’s mental and emotional health actually helps gay men’s sexual health. That’s where we can find hope. We need to question the narrative that says safer sex should be like a religion, where the condom becomes our beacon of hope and redeems us sinful homos, turning us into healthy gays and not a statistic for the Public Health Agency of Canada. 
 
While this might seem to an outsider to be simplifying the decision-making process for the gays — “You either wear a condom or don’t” — having only two options is bound to cause apprehension and complicate sex matters for any homosexual or man who has sex with men (you don’t need to be self-identified to be an MSM; you just need to like doing it with a dude). To work from a resilience position means that we need to change the pattern from restricting gay men’s choices to creating room for making informed decisions, and respecting them. 
OA_show('Text Ad - #1');
OA_show('Text Ad - #2');

Comments

problem with gay attitude
As a gay man I always knew I was gay an totally ok with it ever since I was a kid.I could never understand these "GAY ACTIVISTS " who claim to be fighting for our rights were acting so stereotypical fem gays and making us gays look weak and effeminate.
Nothing turns me off from a gay man and gay culture than weak fems gay s would act like they wish they were born female.
I would also like to point out that the gay bars have to really shape up . They are so filthy and dark I'm amazed nobody is killed or injured in a fall 'cause these bars are so dark inside.
As for men in Toronto where the hell are they or do they only come out for the GAY PARADE to show off what steroids can do for you.Gay men in Toronto leave me wishing i were straight , Gay men have this attitude to act up like a screaming "fag on the rag".Where the hell are the REAL MEN in Toronto!!!!
Please
Just put on a condom already and stop going down this rabbit hole. We have a duty to protect ourselves and others, whatever our sexual orientation.
Great editorial
I thought this was a great editorial, particularly in light of the other stories in XTRA on sexually transmitted infections that did exactly what the editorial said the news media should not do.

XTRA has sensationalized the news by saying that syphilis is spreading like the common cold (really? Let's stick to the facts) and suggesting that STIs are so common that we queers are all diseased (and at the same time XTRA is making money off phone lines, internet chat and porn ads that XTRA blames for making STI education harder to do!).
Is David Perlich paying for his own drugs?
I wonder if David Perlich is paying for the full cost of his anti-HIV drugs, or if he relying on his employer's drug plan or a government drug plan to pay most of the cost of those drugs. I understand that anti-HIV drugs cost about $2,000 per month (or $24,000 per year). I wonder if Perlich would feel so free if he had to pay the full costs of his own anti-HIV drugs for the rest of his life.
pride comes before a fall
David Perlich, be careful not to brag too much. Scott O'Hara a poz gay man wrote exactly the same thing as you in the early 90s when healthy, sexualized and proud. O'Hara championed poz barebacking and claimed that neg gay men were sex-negative and repressed and that poz gay men were a higher species of liberation, in fact that being poz WAS gay sexual liberation while trying to remain neg was sexual repression and collusion with the right wing fundamentalists. Scott O'Hara died in 1998.
Gift giver
David, no matter how much you delude yourself... you're nothing more then a gift-giver looking to breed. As for this article, it seems to work on the premiss that the only way for gay men to have any true sexual intimacy is through anal sex. WTF? Not all gay men have anal sex or even like it, there's also nothing really ''gay'' about it, straight people do it to. No matter how you slice it, anal sex is a dangerous behavior that exposes people to HIV. That's a fact and no amount of sappy, self-entitled, blubbering will change that.
David
You are clearly a threat to the state sanctioned diagnosis narrative spewed by state sanctioned/sponsored supporters of criminalization nim-wits. What no guilt? No Shame? How on earth will I make a living on the backs of the "struggling" Gays?
Free at last
I agree. I was negative for 38 years, I tried very hard to stay neg, but something happened. It was basically an accident and the details don't matter -- because I'm poz now, regardless of how or why. On the one hand, the stigma and judgment is real and it really does suck. On the other, I'm in fantastically good health, not unlike before. On many levels I wish it hadn't happened, but that doesn't really matter now. In hindsight though, when I think about the years when I was neg, I realize how incredibly stunted my sexual and emotional life were as a result of coming of age in the midst of the first HIV crisis. My sex life was so shackled and I worked very hard to stay safe. The few times I slipped up (because I'm human), even if it was only for 30 seconds, I would be wracked with guilt and panic and remain celibate for the next 3 months before getting tested; it was a horrible way to live. Now, I have to confess, and I know this will flip some people out, but I feel so much freer and fulfilled as a sexual and human being. In the past I virtually never played in a risky manner. Now I virtually never use condoms. I don't place others at any kind of risk without their prior informed consent though (ie, I only play bare with poz guys or neg guys who have made a conscious decision to play unprotected with poz guys with undetectable viral loads; I've never passed anything along to anyone). I feel more fulfilled as a person, I have had virtually no other STIs and I am in great health mentally and emotionally. I wish it were safer for my neg brothers to have this liberation that I never truly experienced when I was HIV-negative. This is why I am hoping so much for the functional cure therapies that are on the horizon now and will be here in our lifetimes. So that other gay men have the hope for a more holistic and fulfilling sexual and emotional existence. I am still a responsible person, but, paradoxically, I feel healthier now than I ever did before.
I'm just like you....see
Let's blame and pathologize the (poor struggling)Gays and continue to perpetrate our internalized oppression and self-hatred through imposition of internalized oppressed homos claiming to be something else (while striking normative behaviour)but in fact only perpetrate the shit and are given a voice on xtra to do so. But this is what a Social Worker does. Little love notes left by fellow Social Worker such as David Brennan won't take away what you're doing. You are blaming the Gays for their oppression and using nice words such as "barebacker" and "problematic" to describe an issue that is in fact state sponsored CRIMINALIZATION and PERSECUTION that has penalties which includes prison. (Your own normative behaviour suggests support for the state and it's imposition of will and education)Stop FUCKING OPPRESSING ME! Alright? Shall you start addressing the real issue Mr. Social Worker? And keep your hands off my choices I don't NEED you to educate me about anything, let alone have you of all people begin a dialogue. And stop pathologizing me! What is wrong with these people?
Thank you!
Marco, your words are amazing...it is so important that we enjoy and celebrate our sexuality and not reduce it to "good" and "bad." There is so much grey between all those extremes...Thanks for writing this. Awesome!
Sign in or Register to post comments