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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Savage Love Letter of the Day

posted by on October 28 at 15:50 PM

I’m a 29 year-old gay male. I’m in a 5 year relationship. My partner and I are both HIV negative and we bareback with each other. We have a certain degree of openness in the relationship (mostly when we are on vacation or one of us is out of town), and we always play safe when we are playing with people outside the relationship. We get tested every six months for HIV and everything else and we’ve always been clean.

Even though we always play safe outside, we both get turned on by barebacking. We like bareback porn and the idea of barebacking is hot to us. One onf my unfulfilled fantasies is to be the bottom in a bareback gang bang. We are going on vacation in a few months with a couple we’ve been friends with for a few years and have played with. They are good friends and we trust them. They are both negative. Recently we were hanging out and the idea of the four of us barebacking together when we are on vacation came up. We agreed that if we did this we would all get tested the week before the vacation, and we would only do this during our vacation. Once we are back home, no more barebacking.

So, my question is this: Is this a totally stupid idea and the first step on a slippery slope? Or is this a situation where we are all going into this knowing there are certain risks but we are going about this in a reasonably pragmatic way? Should we do this, or leave it as a fantasy and enjoy a safe vacation?

Heading To Fantasy Island

Officially, HTFI, I’m opposed. Testing the week before you all go away isn’t going to reveal a recent infection, and being a bareback gangbang bottom could—could—place you at risk. And you may find that once you cross this line, crossing it again (and again and again and again) won’t seem like a big deal, and your very greasy ass will be sliding down that very slippery slope.

But… if you trust these guys, and if they’re SAFE with others, and if you bear in mind that you can get infected doing things generally considered “safe” (like oral), and if you trust your partner, and if realizing this fantasy is really important to you, well, you’re a grownup. You have a right to weigh the risks against the rewards, assess your circumstances, and make the call. Some fantasies are worth taking risks to realize. But you have to accept the potential negative consequences going in, HTFI, and recognize that they could be severe.

And how much is the realization of this fantasy worth to your friends? Perhaps they would be willing to swear off all outside play—your and your boyfriend too—until this vacation. So you all test now, both couples remain strictly monogamous for the next three months, and everyone tests again before you head off on vacation. You won’t know for absolute certain that everyone is still HIV negative, but the odds will be much lower. If the prospect of the four of you getting to throw the condoms out for two glorious weeks is tempting enough for everyone to commit to no outside play (or no outsiders) until after your vacation, well….

There would still a risk, though—there’s always a risk.

RSS icon Comments


There's always exceptions, but chances are if you're having multiple partners, you're probably telling them the same things about your sex and protection choices. Not necessarily, but it's something to consider.

Posted by Dougsf | October 28, 2008 4:09 PM

i don't think he's mature enough if he is still refering to it all as "playing"

Posted by um | October 28, 2008 5:00 PM

Everything Dan said (i.e. you're a grown up, you can reduce risk, but there's still risk, etc.).

My additional two cents:

You (and your partner & friends) have a tremendous gift, of being hiv- (so far in life). Once you lose this you can't get it back. I've had enough friends die of aids who didn't get a choice, who didn't know how its spread and how to play safe. And I have enough friends who are living with hiv and see the shit they have to go through daily and weekly that it's make it hard to imagine that anyone would willingly increase their chances of being infected.

Don't do it.

Posted by I am your Mother | October 28, 2008 7:29 PM

Sounds like the guys looking for an excuse to get overly risky. He can make his own excuses, but Dan shouldn't help out.

Tell him he's being stupid.

Posted by TLjr | October 28, 2008 8:00 PM

These men are all adults, if they all get tested regularly and are getting tested before the trip I don't see why they shouldn't have their fun. Dan, I have a serious question. Are there actual studies about oral sex and HIV or are you basing your statements on anecdotal evidence? I've never met someone who contracted the virus through receptive oral sex and if I did I'd probably just assume they were lying about having unprotected anal sex. My pervy and cum-guzzling inquiring mind wants to know.

Posted by DENVEROPOLIS | October 28, 2008 8:47 PM

...more importantly, remember that a fantasy indulged is a fantasy destroyed...

Posted by RHETT ORACLE | October 28, 2008 10:09 PM

Congratulations, Dan. You've finally advocated serosegregation. I regret that its taken you this long and even though you still can't bring yourself to say the word, baby steps are a good start.

Posted by montex | October 29, 2008 2:46 AM

#7, you're trying way to hard to find something to criticize. Dan never advocated anything, not even barebacking.

Posted by Tracy | October 29, 2008 3:54 AM

I think this is a bad idea. A test means nothing, since it can take up to three months or more for antibodies to appear, and more importantly, human nature being what it is, there is a high risk that somebody may not be telling the whole truth about their recent sexual history.

Posted by K | October 29, 2008 5:09 AM

Wow. We're thirty years into this and someone still wants to justify fucking whenever and whoever he wants. This is why infection rates are up.

@3 is right: HIV/AIDS is the gift that keeps on giving --- and there's no return counter.

Posted by Hartiepie | October 29, 2008 5:40 AM

After what I've seen, I say stay as safe as you can. You don't know the kind of fire you're playing with.

Posted by Vince | October 29, 2008 7:01 AM

Quite frankly, I think the writer is trying to balance risk with desire in a fairly honest way. We're all turned on by something dangerous and stupid, and at least he's admitting it to himself.

We've all met those loudly "monogamous" guys who then end up getting HIV, syphilis, etc. etc. How does it happen? Well, most deal with their reckless fantasies by bottling them up tight and not even humoring the thought of what they'd really like to do out loud - it's fear versus lust, and for a long time fear wins. Until one day when lust turns the table for a few hours...and they do something stupid that can't be undone. That "just say no" shit never works.

At least this guy is actively thinking about the fantasy, thinking about the risks, and trying to find a way to accomodate his lust and reduce the danger with some open communication and a few somewhat-intelligent (but not foolproof) precautions.

Is he entering dangerous territory? Absolutely. Is he doing it more responsibly than most? Yes, you clucking hens, he is.

Posted by Yeek | October 29, 2008 7:04 AM

HTFI, if you're reading this... At the age of 29, I was doing just what you were doing. Open relationship, barebacking only with my partner, blah blah blah.

But, one night my partner didn't use a condom with a trick. He didn't tell me. 6 months later he tested positive. We had been barebacking the entire time.

I went through a year of HIV tests waiting for the dreaded result. By some miracle I never seroconverted, while he went downhill rapidly before starting (then brand new) ART therapy.

We broke up, not because of HIV, but because I couldn't trust him any longer, and the strain of repeated testing pushed us both over the limit. We still keep in touch, and although he's still on a drug cocktail, his health is pretty terrible, and has quite a few side effects.

In the past couple years, 16, count them, 16 of my good friends who practice "serosorting" have seroconverted. It's not a very good method of HIV prevention.

Moral of the story: Your one night of fantasy could become a lifetime of regret. Really ask yourself - is a hot one night possibly worth a potentially shortened lifetime of meds and telling people you're positive before sex? If it is, then go for it. Maybe nothing bad will happen. Maybe it will. But there's no going back. And yes, it's a slippery slope. After a hot bareback gang bang do you really think you can go back to condoms and get the same feeling?

(PS I'm not sex-negative or anti-POZ. To this day I am negative and my husband of 8 years is positive. We fuck all the time. We use condoms. They work.)

Good luck, and stay safe.

Posted by Your Auntie Grizelda | October 29, 2008 10:01 AM

@ 13

Thanks for your heartbreaking story. You said it better than I could have.

Way back in the day, when AIDS was new, we dreamed of a day when we would know how this disease was transmitted, and how we could protect ourselves.

When we learned how, we dreamed of day when the rate of new infections would drop to virtually zero, because we'd all lost so many of our lovers and friends.

It breaks my heart to face the reality that so many young gay boys are still getting infected every day of the week, even when we know how to stop getting infected, and its not all that hard to do.

When you are HIV + you lose a lot of your life. Its like having a part-time job that eats up your time and drains your money instead of paying you money, and its a part-time job you can't ever quit.

What won't you be able to do if you are living with HIV, just because you have less time and money to spend on things? Maybe you won't be able to go back to school, or maybe you won't be able to develop as an artist, because what time you do have will be spent on making the rent first, maybe you won't be able to run as a political candidate for a cause you care about.

Yes, there are HIV + people doing all those things and more, and more power to them. But there's no way to deny that living with HIV brings a bunch of challenges and barriers that take more time, money and willpower to overcome.

If the quality of your relationship depends on possibly increasing the risk of you or your beloved partner to this kind of future - especially when you have the choice not to - because fucking without condomns is really so impportant, perhaps you should reconsider your'alls relationship. Usually when people really love and care about each other they want to protect themselves and their loved ones from harm.

Yes, its good to consider your fantasies in a conscious and thoughtful way, and its generally good to ask what other people think about possible choices and mull over their responses. Yes, you are a grown up and will make whatever choices you will.

Many times in life we all are faced with having to make a choice when we don't have enough information. This sounds like one choice where you have all the time in the world to consider the options and the consequences.

I'd say please make darn sure whatever you decide is worth the risk.

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