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Thursday, March 27, 2014

¿DO YOU THINK WE CAN EVER ADDRESS THE REAL 'SIDE EFFECTS' OF BARE-BACKING?

We as gay men have been told to ‘always use a condom’ by health professionals for many years now and it is good advice in most sexual circumstances. We have been shown how to use them, even by porn stars and we have lots of choices when it comes to what condom we want or need. But there are considerations regarding condoms and  bareback sex that have not been discussed or considered as broadly as they may need to be.

We, especially as gay men, have been bombarded with safer-sex messaging, telling us that condom{less} sex can lead to contracting HIV/STDs. Leading me to believe that a lack of basic knowledge regarding condom use, and the protection it offers, is not the foundation of why most men who choose to do so have unprotected sex. I think most of us know at least the basics of HIV/STD transmission.

I am often surprised, and occasionally shocked, at how some in  HIV/STD prevention view and approach gay men who are fully informed on safer-sex practices and choose to bareback. There are some who immediately judge men who choose to engage in condom{less}sex as either being uninformed, in denial.

It is worth stating; I believe strongly that it is the right of all adults to have consensual sex in whatever way they choose to have it as long as no harm is caused to another.

Sex that is the result of agreements made between sex partners on the level of ‘risk’ that is acceptable are, in my opinion, ideal.  A conversation like this sounds simple but a risk reduction strategy that is acceptable for one individual isn’t necessarily good and/or appropriate for another making conversations regarding safer-sex difficult to approach and once started, have the potential to complicate the sex and/or ’spoil the moment’.

Discussions that may risk having sex may be barriers to condom use themselves, as it may be easier to just ‘go with the flow’ rather than take the risk of having ‘the conversation’ and possibly lose your desire or the opportunity to have sex simply by having the conversation.

Hopefully all sex that takes place with your partner is acted on according to informed decisions that are reached together, decisions that include the topics of condoms and bare-backing as well as other forms of a sexual risk reduction (although condom{less}anal sex is not in and of itself considered a risk reduction technique, while cumming outside of the anus may be considered a risk reduction strategy).

In regards to condom{less}sex, the question many in health hope to answer is; ‘why do gay men have condom{less}sex’? The assumption is that when answers are found the ‘problem’ of condom{less}sex can be addressed.

There are flaws with seeking simple answers as to why men bareback and then looking for solutions that can be applied to a broad group. The first flaw is that there is an unfortunate assumption in the question. The assumption being; there are straightforward reasons why men choose to have unprotected sex and that these ‘reasons’ can be categorized and subsequently addressed in an ‘intervention’.

I believe that there are a host of reasons why men choose to bareback that cannot be understood outside of the context of an individual. Why we choose to have sex, who we choose to have sex with, and what we choose to do once these choices are made can also be very fluid and unpredictable.

In regards to bare-backing and condom{less} sex we must acknowledge that the same person may not have the same reasons for not using a condom during sex and that reasons for condom{less}sex may change at different times in an individual’s life, according to the person(s) they have sex with, the settings they choose to have having sex in, and/or under different combinations of these variables.

Why men choose to ignore condoms can also include one’s physical condition and libido, emotional health and even spiritual beliefs, some of which can change even during a sexual encounter.


The bottom line is that there are many ‘side effects’ associated with condom use and there are reason why they are not used that are complex, mixed, and very individual.

4 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. wow ANOTHER fan for the flame? thanks I'll TAKE it

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  2. While the issue is definitely important and worth being tackled, I don't believe you've expressed your views in a very articulate manner... I read you, sometimes re-read you, but I don't feel your position is being clear... Especially when you're using phrases like "condom{less} sex "... I'm like: which one are we supposed to pick, since they are the opposite? lol
    Personally, I I think bareback is wrong, even in flicks, but I must admit it is hot to watch! WHY? Because it's natural! We weren't supposed to use these horrible rubber socks around our dicks in the first place... But some evil people INVENTED that disease and as long as it won't be eradicated, well... I'm saying we're gonna have to use condoms...

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