Tag Archives: sexual relationships

3 People and An HIV Positive Baby?

The problem is so common there is a term for it. Andrew shares his personal struggle trying to deter the “bug chasers” from his “gift” (NSFW).

drewsmonologueI have been around the block quite a lot and I thought I had seen and read everything and that nothing would shock me…but I was wrong! A few years ago I was chatting with friends on Gaydar when a bisexual husband and wife started talking with me. At first all was going well- just casual chats. Soon this changed to a very sexually infused conversation so I told them I was HIV+. I thought that this would be the end of it and that I would get the usual comments back when I disclosed that I carry what some had labelled “THE GAY PLAGUE”.

But much to my shock they got even more eager and horny saying ,“Oh please fuck us bareback!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t even here looking for sex, let alone sex without a condom. I tried getting rid of these people who seemed to be looking to become positive but this didn’t work. So I tried explaining to them the downsides to having a disease like this: the tiredness, the slow healing, stigma and losing friends and family due to misunderstandings. None of this sunk in. If anything, it seemed to turn them on even more. By this time, I had resorted to my basic instincts and frankly told them where they could insert their desires and that I wanted nothing to do with them.

Now I’m not a fan of children in anyway and avoid them and their screaming like a medieval person would avoid a plague infested rat, but on this occasion I had to act.

You see, what got anger levels way up was they had said above all else they wanted me to fuck the wife bareback filling her with my “poz seed” and making sure that she fell pregnant by me so that they could have a positive baby! I felt sick and disgusted and so scared of the fact that there were people that not only wanted to be “POZ” themselves but would actively seek to create a new life- a baby who would be born with this terrible life-altering disease.

So I did what any decent human being would; I blocked the people, warned the room, and even spoke to Gaydar themselves, letting them know that the profile in question was seeking to purposefully contract “HIV” and to get the lady pregnant with a “positive” baby.

Gaydar said that it wasn’t within their control and that they didn’t have the right to tell people what they could or couldn’t do on their website and that I should just ignore them. Now I wasn’t satisfied with this outcome so I turned to the charity which offers advice to people about “HIV” and other STIs, ‘Terrance Higgins Trust’. I thought that they would agree with me and make a stand; tell Gaydar to block these people from the site and at least help educate people more. But no. They said as well that they couldn’t control what people did and that it wasn’t their place to tell Gaydar what to do.

I was lost and didn’t know what to do about this situation aside from carrying on telling people who wanted bareback with a positive person that they would be very sorry and have to deal with so much grief both from stigma and dealing with side effects of medication. Most people saw how stupid what they wanted was and changed their minds but some still went on looking and would search out those that were known as “Gift Givers” who would infect these “Bug Chasers”, as they called themselves.

Due to this situation, I have avoided Gaydar. Once people had learned I was HIV Positive they were drawn like bees to honey and it depressed me so much seeing their stupidity time and time again that I would at times cry.

There were a few things I realised due to this terrible event. The education of sexually communicable diseases needs to be increased and made openly available along with better display of condoms in shops, and that websites and other places that people can go for sex take more responsibility for dealing with people who are actively searching for the “GIFT” of disease from those people who are infected.

Monologues are independent stories and the opinions shared are the author’s own.

 

The POWER of 300 CONDOMS

Have condoms ever played a role in your relationship breakup? One Condom Monologuer reveals the mind changing powers a stolen box of 300 condoms can wield in unexpected ways, at least momentarily. 

I wasn’t in love with my boyfriend anymore. I had been keeping it to myself for about a week and didn’t have the heart to tell him over the phone as we made plans for his upcoming visit. He was driving to stay with me in my cramped college dorm room in order to celebrate our much anticipated one year anniversary. The big to-do was less about commemorating the great times we’d shared over the past year and more a manner of awarding me credit for having survived dating this maniac for so long.

Boyfriend X wasn’t such a bad guy- just a very territorial one with impossible demands and little intention of letting me experience college life to its fullest (aka hanging up the phone to go make some friends for once!). The length of our relationship was chiefly indebted to our overpowering physical chemistry and how we spent about 90% of our time together naked. Our budding sex life obscured two people who were otherwise very confrontational and unhealthy together.

Our passionate escape from the reality of our situation was facilitated by my boyfriend’s job as a stock boy at Shaw’s supermarket.ShawsCondoms

In addition to great discounts on groceries, Boyfriend X’s employment gave him exclusive access to unguarded stock-room of condoms which he quickly made a habit of slyly stuffing into his coat pockets after punching out. After I successfully faked a weekend of anniversary merriment it finally came time to overcome the temptation of rampant sex-capades and the burden of guilt, and to simply end the strenuous relationship once and for all. Heart racing, I picked up the phone to call my soon-to-be ex-boyfriend. We greeted each other as per usual and just as I was preparing to drop the bomb he announced,

“Guess what?! I just stole an economy pack of condoms from Shaw’s! There’s like 300 in there! Now what did you want to tell me?”

I’m not sure what I felt worse about: not being able to do this in person, dumping him so suddenly right before the holidays, or having our break up coincide perfectly with his biggest heist yet. Nothing reminds you more that you got dumped than an unopened box of 300 condoms.

Monologues are independent stories. Opinions expressed are the writer’s own.

How I Met Wanda

Upon yet another relationship break-up due to disclosing her HIV status, Virgina meets Wanda.

I was dating a guy for a short while and it was the same old story. He was head over heels until I disclosed my HIV status. He insisted it was not a problem but every day he became more distant and expressed many fears including death, dying, illness and whether I had someone in mind to care for me on my AIDS death bed. Nothing I said reassured him or removed his basic fear. About a month into the new relationship I decided to do us both a favour and call it quits and he was relieved. I saved him the trouble of looking like the bad guy in walking away from fear of HIV.

As we were walking towards my house during the break up we passed a sex shop. I watched an episode of Sex and the City where the women used a great vibrator- the Hitachi Magic Wand – and the best part of the vibrator was, it was electric. No more drawers full of batteries. After watching that particular episode I really wanted one but, being the pathologically shy person I am, it was impossible for me to go into a sex shop and buy one. So for years I walked by and only thought about it.

Sam Jones' and the "neck messager"

Sam Jones and the “neck messager”

Suddenly I turned to him, handed him $100.00 and asked him to go into the sex shop and buy my vibrator. When he came out I said good bye and never saw him again. But I am now the proud owner of Wanda and let me tell you, she is every woman’s dream. Sometimes there is a silver lining in a cloud.


Why Not Have Sex With Someone Living With HIV?

 “Positive Sex ideally would involve disclosure being met with acceptance and understanding, not rejection and stigma. Positive Sex would involve the elimination of terminology that is discriminatory on the dating scene and a shift within the public whereby people would consider dating a person living with HIV, without fear or stigma.”- Gail from the HIV Disclosure Project.

The HIV/AIDS pandemic of the 1980s led to a surge of condom campaigns. Now when we hear the term “safe sex” we immediately associate it with male condoms, the Pill, unwanted pregnancy, STIs. HIV transmission is discussed in sex education, but what’s neglected are the specifics about HIV as it is today: how it is manageable, what “undetectable” means, why terms like “clean” are harmful, what the hell is PReP (Pre Exposure) and PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis). And we certainly never discuss the possibility of having a healthy sexual relationship with a person living with HIV.

The reason is because, frankly, there is still fear associated with the virus. People like Gail, Jessica and Jolene, founders of the HIV Disclosure Project, know that HIV stigma persists just as it did 30 years ago. It permeates our fears of “death, dying, contracting the virus through protected sex, casual contact, fear of dating a person who is living with HIV as others may think they are positive as well (guilty by association). Fear that people living with HIV are highly contagious”, Gail describes in our interview. “Many people know the facts about transmission and yet are afraid that there might be some “unusual” accident which will lead to infection.”

The Stigma Cycle

Safe sex messages have traditionally been built on fear and as a result, the campaigns have failed miserably; from that fear is born stigmatization and prejudice against people who are HIV-positive. People who choose to disclose their status risk being verbally and physically abused, risk rejection and isolation, risk discrimination by being “outed” (loss of control over who knows their status), risk discrimination in the workplace, schools, with housing, health care and violations of basic human rights. People are deterred from getting tested and treated regularly; it results in silence about one’s status; thus the virus continues to be transmitted. “It’s what we refer to as the Stigma Cycle,” Gail explains.

To fight the stigma born out of fear, the HIV Disclosure Project facilitates open discussions about how to make the dating scene more inclusive of people living with HIV. “We provide a safe, non-judgmental space for people living with HIV to role play, practice a variety of techniques for disclosing if they choose to, while aiming to empower individuals to have options, externalize stigma and challenge public perception of people living with HIV. We want to have PSAs (public service announcements) that ask the question – Why not have sex with someone who is living with HIV?”

HIV DisclosureThe HIV Disclosure Project

The idea for the Project started with three colleagues- Gail, Jessica and Jolene -who saw a need for a supportive workshop where people living with HIV could “discuss, disclose, practice disclosure, find comfortable and timely ways to gauge when to disclose or not, and to process feelings that derived from stigma and rejection,” Gail says.

“People living with HIV also needed a space where they could challenge and change dating terminology which perpetuated stigma and fear of HIV, including terms such as “clean”, “disease free” and “dirty”. New terminology was needed to describe one’s status that excluded negative connotations and included acceptance, tolerance, and a willingness to consider dating a person who is living with HIV.”

At the time, there were no written manuals on disclosing HIV to sex partners. Granted funding from ACCM (AIDS Community Care Montreal), the three colleagues wrote a manual titled “Positive Sex” and designed a pilot workshop that resulted in much success. The Disclosure Project received further funding from the CIHR (Canadian Institute on Health Research) through CTAC (Canadian Treatment Access Council) where Jolene works as Program Manager. Workshops are now being implemented across Canada in collaboration with ACCM. Jessica facilitates these workshops.

I asked Gail how we might de-stigmatize sexual relationships for people living with HIV. The answer might seem controversial but it reflects upon the fear tactics that are often utilized in government supported sex ed programs and why we need to adopt Positive Sex frameworks in public health.

“What needs to be reinforced in the mainstream are the basic facts about HIV transmission and repeated public service announcements and education which tells the public that it is socially acceptable to have safe sex with a person living with HIV, that having sex with a person living with HIV does not mean they are going to contract HIV. There are many sero- discordant couples who have been in long term relationships where the HIV negative person remained negative.”

“Positive Sex” is the new “Safe Sex”

Image from http://www.ctac.ca/positive-sex

Image from http://www.ctac.ca/positive-sex

Gail, Jessica and Jolene bring up an important point about the meaning of “safety” that is taught in sex education. What’s often overlooked are issues of emotional safety, such as consent and self-esteem, that are both cause and effect of sex. Few curricula teach consent or communication in a way that is relevant to sexual diversity. Instead, outdated sex education shames discussions of sexual pleasure and desire, and the different types of relationships humans are a part. The Disclosure Project views this type of shaming in opposition to what is positive sex.

As Gail explains, “Positive sex to us means finding ways to successfully disclose one’s HIV status while not feeling threatened, stigmatized or experiencing any negative reactions while disclosing. Positive Sex also involves challenging and changing public perceptions of people living with HIV. In the past, safe sex campaigns were based on fear and as a result, thirty years into the pandemic, there are many misconceptions that perpetuate fear and stigma which need to be challenged.”

“Positive Sex ideally would involve disclosure being met with acceptance and understanding, not rejection and stigma. Positive Sex would involve the elimination of terminology that is discriminatory on the dating scene and a shift within the public whereby people would consider dating a person living with HIV, without fear or stigma.”

To learn more about The HIV Disclosure Project follow them on twitter @sexpartnersHIV. Like their Facebook Page for daily prose, thoughts and poems related to HIV and disclosure.

For information on HIV transmission, prevention, safety and risks refer to ACCM and CTAC.  There are a lot of them, but other helpful resource are: CareXO.com, the YAHAnet (Youth, the Arts, HIV & AIDS Network) and The Life Foundation. There is also an excellent article by The Body.com with medical information about the risks HIV transmission when having sex with someone who has undetectable viral levels.  Keep yourself informed!

Condoms and Kama Sutra: An interview with Vena Ramphal

I spend a lot of time in the sex-positive community trying to connect with new people. Somewhere along the way, I found myself clicking through the gooey rhetoric of tantric sex. Like, “It’s the art of disappearing inside each other”…“It dissolves the boundaries between two people…even beyond having a body.” I came across an article by Vena Ramphal in the Huffington Post. Reading her breakdown of systems and terminologies, it struck me how oversimplified pop culture portrays tantric sex.

While I know little about the discipline, I think it’s fair to place it in the sex-positive category. But where do practicalities of safer sex come into play? I mean, it’s not common to see condoms in erotic drawings of the Kama Sutra.  Do tantric sex coaches ever implement condoms when teaching “spiritual awareness”?

How do tantric professional approach issues of STIs? Of sexual health?

Follow Vena on Twitter @VenaRamphal

Follow Vena on Twitter @VenaRamphal

For Vena Ramphal, safe sex begins with emotional intelligence. Vena Ramphal (PhD) is a philosopher and teacher of erotic pleasure and romance. Her background is in yogic-tantric philosophy and the pleasure traditions of the Kama Sutra. She is also a twitter poet, offering insights into the subtleties of intimacy. We agreed to an interview and she shared her thoughts on sex positivity and safer sex.

How do you define “sex positivity” or sex positive approaches in education and counseling? How do you relate to this within your work?

For me, sex positivity is simple. It says, ‘Sexual pleasure as good not guilty.’ To be sex positive is to see physical intimacy as being good for people. This is a very different frame of reference to our dominant cultural understanding which see sexual pleasure in terms of morality.

To look at sex as a nurturing experience that engenders physical, mental and emotional wellbeing is a good basis on which to generate sex positive discourse. In my work I help people to reframe their attitudes to sex on this basis.

Does the use of condoms and other safe sex practices enter the discourse of sexual pleasure/awareness? How have you dealt with this in your work?

In my work the practicalities of safe sex – such as condoms and sexual health checks – are a base line. There are still a lot of people who don’t get regular sexual health checks – especially those in their fifties and above, so it’s really important to have this conversation.

However, I also coach people to think about safe sex more subtly – as a practice in emotional intelligence.

For example, it takes emotional intelligence to know what you want to do, and what you don’t want to do with your body; and to communicate during sex especially when your partner asks for something you don’t want to give.

Safe sex is about holding your own boundaries and respecting your partner’s boundaries – their body, their mood and their desires.

We need to integrate the idea of safe sex into discourses on sexual pleasure. The health and safety side of sex – condoms etc. – is still seen as inhibiting pleasure, so people are reluctant to talk about it. They’d rather talk about the fun stuff. Getting them to think about safe sex as an emotionally intelligent thing to do, gives them a new way of looking at the practicalities of wearing a condom.

What do you feel is an important problem in mainstream consciousness about “healthy sex” and how do you suggest to fix it?

I think the baseline problem is that in mainstream consciousness sex is still seen as forbidden fruit. This injects guilt into sexuality and however subconscious this might be, it creates a fundamentally unhealthy relationship with sex.

We need to change our cultural mythology of sex. It’s a big ask but I think we need to free sex of guilt. We’ll accomplish this by changing the way we think and feel about sex. Of course this is a multi-aspected task. Our cultural mythology is told through so many media, from language (swear words are an interesting example of how we damage our relationship with sex) to movies and sex education policy.

I think a good place to start is to develop the highest regard for your own body, irrespective of sex. This is something that we can all do for ourselves without external help. Replace critical thoughts and feelings about your body with appreciative ones. Give up saying anything disparaging about your looks. This is only a first step but its a significant one because your relationship with your body is the foundation for your sex life.

In the field of sex counseling and education, what sets you apart from common approaches and what defines your work?

I’m a philosopher of sex. To me, sex as an expression of self. The technicalities of good sex are only the first step. I think the really interesting questions are underneath the technicalities. Questions such as ‘How fully are you giving your attention to the point where flesh meets flesh?’
‘What sexual attitude do you bring to bed with you?’ ‘What effect does sex have on your emotions?’

For me, the flesh is the most immediate and complete expression of self, more than thoughts or words. When I’m educating people about the technicalities of good sex we discuss their intentions and attitudes towards sex and their partner.

Also I teach a self-centred rather than relationship-centred approach to sex. This isn’t about being selfish but about knowing what you want and what you don’t want. It’s about knowing how to read your own desire and listen to your body. On this basis you learn to hold your partner’s body and desires in the highest regard

What do you think it is about your identity that brought you into the field of sex education?

I think the human body is extraordinary. I’d say that my experience of the world is primarily kinaesthetic. I trained in classical Indian dance from the time I was seven, and loved it. My first career was as a dancer and choreographer. To me the body is precious because of its capacity to express who-I-am to who-you-are. Sex is the most intricate and intimate form of that expression.

I feel sad when I see people in poor relationship with their own sexuality. Its a missed opportunity. I’m glad to be able to help people improve their approach to erotic pleasure so they have more fulfilling sex lives.

More with Vena…

Follow Vena on twitter @VenaRamphal

For easy, practical tips on becoming sexier 28 Days to Being Sexier http://tinyurl.com/PassionTips

Vena’s blog http://venaramphal.wordpress.com/

Workshop ‘The Art of Conscious Romance‘ London, 26th May

Website http://www.venaramphal.com/

EXTRA VIRGIN by Sébastian Hell

1993 was a great year. Pearl Jam released Vs., a perfect rock record; Nirvana released In Utero, their best record; the Toronto Maple Leafs couldn’t get to the Cup Finals despite gut-wrenching performances by Doug Gilmour and Félix Potvin; and the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup for the last time so far, a miracle-working Patrick Roy taking a very average team to the highest honours almost all by himself against Wayne Gretzky’s Los Angeles Kings.

In what was probably June of that year, the decisive Cup Finals game between the Kings and our beloved Habs was at home. My family had season tickets, but I opted out of going and instead set my sights to La Ronde, the local Six Flags amusement park, with a bunch of friends and maybe catch a bit of the end of the riot afterwards; I didn’t end up with a free TV, but I lost my virginity to a 19 year-old chick I picked up at La Ronde, so all in all, I must say it was a decent night.

It was a time when I was slimmer, when I would wear two band t-shirts at once and tie a third one around my waist with the logo facing outwards toward those behind me; it looked pretty fucking cool to me, and I was the only one doing it – it was my style, easily identifiable.

It wasn’t rare for me to get hit on in those days, what with a tall athlete’s frame, long straight rocker hair and a shyness I hid behind feigned confidence. Often, I would leave with girls’ telephone numbers. That night, I left with the girl.

Normally, at almost 15 years of age, after a day of walking in the sun and light entertainment, I’d be ready to go to sleep by 1AM – but not that night. That night, in the basement where I often slept (I had an actual room on the second floor, but my little brother and parents also slept there, so I had the basement as additional living quarters where I could sometimes get more privacy, especially at night) it seemed I was going to get a go at it. She was older than me, at least 4 years, and she knew what she was doing. She even interrupted a make-out session to ask, specifically, ”do you know what you’re doing, have you done it before”?

”Yes”, I was quick to reply, ”of course”. It wasn’t really a lie, because I had lived that moment time and time again, millions of times, in my head. And already I knew the gizmo I carried around in my underpants through and through – I’d lived with it my whole life, after all. And I knew ladies’ equipment pretty well, too, having already toyed around that area enough in the couple of years previous to this night on an average of maybe once a week – just not actually been inside there with my machinery.

So the mouths went from the mouth to everywhere our hands had been previously, and came time for the fatal question – one that I’d previously had the answer wrong to, which had cost me an earlier deflowerization: ”do you have a condom?” This time: ”yes”! We had a winner.

So together we struggle to release the condom from its packaging, succeed, and together we put the fucker on.

KABLAM!

I ejaculate right then and there.

I had tried condoms on before, even jerked off into them. Never had it had that impact on me. But this time, maybe it was the nerves, the sexual tension, the fact that she was so hot despite wearing way too much make up, the lack of experience on my part, but it happened. I came in the condom before even entering the comfort zone.

I tried getting away with it, too, and lucky for me I’m still pretty well hung even when getting flaccid, so we made do, having soft-cock sex. She did her best to pretend not having noticed, and we still went at it for a few hours.

Believe it or not, that was not the most embarrassing moment of the episode. No, that came the next morning, when we went upstairs for breakfast, with the parents at the dining table.

”So, Sébastian, are you going to introduce your friend?”

Oh, yeah.

Her name was Katia, and I never saw her again. But I did see a few of her friends for a while, including a very short but very hot girl, my age, named Manon – a name usually reserved for people over twenty years older than she was. She was a blast – and she still has a cap of mine that I really loved, corduroy, all black, with an Esso insignia in front – sarcastic branding was all the rage then, and would be even more so the following year.

Monologues are independent stories. Read more of Sébastian Hell at Hell’s Rumblings