Posts Tagged ‘safer sex’

World AIDS Day: Safer Sex, History, and Interconnectivity

December 1, 2009  |  essays  |  3 Comments

To be honest, I don’t use Sugarbutch often enough as a platform (ahem soapbox) to preach about safer sex practices, and I should. It is fucking important. Since I came of age in the ’90s, pretty much after the Lesbian Sex Wars and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, the people in the queer and kinky and sex-positive community I came into pretty much see safer sex as a given, which is what I learned early on in my process of coming to my sexuality. I am unapologetic about my use of safer sex practices, and while some folks I know have that pang of “oh crap I have to put a damper on the mood and go get my gloves and condoms,” I think that’s just part of the fucking.

I do get occasional comments about my stories on Sugarbutch and how the characters do not use condoms or other barriers. There are a couple reasons for that (in my head) but ultimately, whatever excuses I have for it are kind of futile. It doesn’t really matter if I understand it – the point is, I need to be modeling safer sex, so I will make a commitment to do so.

HIV and AIDS are obviously just one small part of what safer sex means. Honestly I’ll have to do some particular research if I want to make a whole safer sex post – I think in a nutshell it means a) use condoms, dams, and gloves and b) talk to your partners about their sexual history and c) get tested.

It also means, however, sexualizing the act of using barriers. Condoms are still seen as ugly, stifling feeling, and inconvenient – and if we can remake that sexy, more people will practice safer sex. I don’t particularly know how to do this, but I do know that in my own sex life, adding condoms into the process of strapping on a cock feels very gendered in a really hot way, and I have sexualized that act quite a bit. I have more to say on this, but until I get my own thoughts together, think about it: how would it look to sexualize safer sex practices in your sex life? How could you model safer sex in better ways?

If others have suggestions on important things to tell readers about safer sex, please let me know in the comments.

But: back to World AIDS Day. That would be today, December 1st.

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more World AIDS Day materials for download

Started on 1st December 1988, World AIDS Day is about raising money, increasing awareness, fighting prejudice and improving education. The World AIDS Day theme for 2009 is ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’. World AIDS Day is important in reminding people that HIV has not gone away, and that there are many things still to be done. According to UNAIDS estimates, there are now 33.4 million people living with HIV, including 2.1 million children. During 2008 some 2.7 million people became newly infected with the virus and an estimated 2 million people died from AIDS. Around half of all people who become infected with HIV do so before they are 25 and are killed by AIDS before they are 35. The vast majority of people with HIV and AIDS live in lower- and middle-income countries. But HIV today is a threat to men, women and children on all continents around the world. – World AIDS Day text from avert.org

I don’t really consider myself an AIDS activist, not specifically. Indirectly, though, yes – through safer sex advocacy, and through my ever-evolving knowledge of gay history – but I haven’t been heavily involved in a lot of direct AIDS activism.

When I think of AIDS, I always think of the history – specifically, the gay history, the ways that in the US, AIDS has been associated with gay men since the early 1980s. In fact, the first name for the disease, in 1982, before anybody knew what it was, it was called the “gay cancer” and then GRID – “gay related immune deficiency.” That turns my stomach, even now.

I identify more as the child of the AIDS activist movements rather than part of it myself; the activism has significantly declined since the 1990s, probably because the treatments have become more and more effective and the stigmatization around AIDS has lessened.

I often feel a really specific loss when thinking about this epidemic and the direct effects in the GBLT communities. The estimated number of men who have died from AIDS by contracting it through male-to-male sexual contact is more than 22,000 (according to avert.org’s transmission stats).

The LGBT communities lost thousands of people.

I remember meeting some older gay guy in college who was a guest speaker at one of my queer classes. He came in with a photograph of a big group of gay guys at a retreat weekend they’d been on, horsing around and cooking and having a great time being with each other. He said, of all of these guys, I am the only one left. I am the only one who made it beyond 1992. There is no reason it should’ve been me – I was no more or less careful than any of them. But for whatever reason, here I am. They are all gone.

And the absence was so tangible, in his voice, in his stories. He pointed them out, one at a time: this one was in grad school to be a social worker, this one worked with kids, these two were a couple who dreamed of adopting a baby, this one was an amazing writer, this one a pianist. There was so much talent, so much activism, so much potential, lost.

When I think of AIDS, I think of that history. I think of that scar left on the LGBTQ communities that I have inherited. I think of how scared some young queers are of sex, having been brought up on all this knowledge of disease and death. I think of some of my mentors, whose eyes still get glossy with tears when they talk about some of their dearest mentors, lost to this disease.

And now, in the 2000s, AIDS is portrayed pretty differently: a lot of the focus is on Africa and the rate of infection over there, and the rate of apathy over here. This is partly where this topic gets huge and nearly incomprehensible to me (like the difference between five hundred million and five billion dollars. I know there is a difference, I can do the math, but I can’t actually comprehend those amounts in worth and money):

Two-thirds of all people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa, although this region contains little more than 10% of the world’s population. During 2008 alone, an estimated 1.4 million adults and children died as a result of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. Since the beginning of the epidemic more than 15 million Africans have died from AIDS. (source)

Sometimes it seems like this is so far removed from me, but because of globalization and our increasing interconnectivity, and because of the injustices of a system which turned a blind eye to thousands of GBLT deaths, I still know I am connected to it.

I still wish I knew more about what to do about it. It feels like such a big, huge thing, and all I can do is scream into the void and pretend like my voice will do something. Ya know?

It seems like all that anybody’s doing in the US these days are those various (RED) campaigns – I think Starbucks has one, and The Gap, and somewhere I read today said Nike is selling red shoelaces – and I feel kinda torn about the way corporations do that. I think on the one hand, raising awareness, and using an already established brand to get information exposed to all sorts of people, is good, and raising more money is good. I feel like it’s not “real” activism, though, and not very effective, and often thinly veiled attempts to get more sales (because really, these are capitalistic corporations who honor the bottom line of making more money, no matter what their occasional campaigns to help humanity might be). So, I’m skeptical, but I suppose any money at the issue is good, and any awareness raised is good.

Alright, </soapbox>. Thanks for reading.

A few notable links I’ve run across today, also relating to World AIDS Day:

Blog for Lesbian Health Day

January 5, 2009  |  miscellany  |  8 Comments

Today is Blog for Lesbian Health Day in honor of the upcoming National Lesbian Health Summit taking place March 6 through 8, 2009, in San Francisco. It's only $30 registration for both days. "Instead of it being just a boring conference, we want to use it as a place to build grassroots, community-based conversations on our health and what health issues affect us. AND most importantly, how we can be leaders in championing our health and getting TPTB to pay attention to our health. This is a critical moment in our nation's history and we want to make the most of it."

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the hotel room (part three)

December 28, 2007  |  journal entries  |  2 Comments

Our story continues with our hero and heroine already in the midst of fucking in a hotel room near the Seattle airport. Read part one and part two.

For logistical sake, Miss DD reminded me that she didn’t actually take the spreader bar off until after she’d fucked me on all fours on the bed for a while.

She also had her hand in my ass, I’m pretty sure, while I was on my knees in front of her, while she was fucking me. Fingers, I mean; not her whole hand.

I forget how much I like double pentration. That feeling of being filled.

By then, I was practically insatiable. She had me by the hips, had my ass in her hands, in range of her slaps, my shoulders and arms stinging and sensitive to where she’d bitten me raw. Everything was sensation. I lost my sense of myself and only reacted to her touches, thrusts.

We detangled, she paused and removed the bar, and I dared walk to the bathroom, laughing at the look of myself with wrist and ankle cuffs, amused and deeply appreciative. It takes a lot for someone to get me into these. I can’t believe how uncomplex she makes it all seem; the minute I heard her laugh when she opened that hotel door, I was comfortable, comforted.

I came back to the hotel bed, pillows pulled onto the floor, white bedspread messy.

“Let’s have you bent over the edge of that bed, there,” she nodded to the side, near the wall, snapping another condom on her hard, huge cock, re-gloving her hand (one of them) over her makeup case that doubled as her domme kit.

(I too have one of those; of course, it is a black and orange toolbox. Oh we make quite the pair.)

I bent. Fiddled with my harness, she had losened it and the strap between my legs was completely unhooked now, cock lose and hanging a little awkwardly.

I stretched my arms in front of me, face down in the bedspread, and she lubed up her cock, slowly entered me, again, from behind, drew a finger into my ass – oh – and then a smallish plug.

“Don’t push this out,” she ordered, cock still sliding in me. I was dizzy, felt out of control of my body. If I’d been able to think about it any further I would’ve felt opened, vulnerable, exposed, but I could barely think, could only feel that distinct filling up embrace.

I am out of practice; the plug slipped out easily. I became aware enough of my muscles to clench, which made my cunt burn and throb.

“Better. Now keep it there,” she threatened, taking hold of my hips and fucking me harder.

She braced one boot behind her, on the wall, for better leverage.

I stretched my hands over my head, mouth gnawing at the bedspread. She had me at just the right angle and I was close to coming from her cock alone, a way in which I never come.

She felt it. “Put your hand on your clit.”

I did, but couldn’t get the right spot, the right release. I had no precision with my hand, felt like some big paw and all I could do was thrust against it.

I came nearly twice this way – I built up high to a thick peak, but without the precision of orgasm. Still, some sort of muscle clench and release.

She turned me onto my back and told me she wanted to see me come, wanted to feel me come around her cock, told me to do it, told me to remember my sweet revenge of topping her. It was all a blur, a fog, completely slowed down and every moment, every sensation happening at the same time.

I yelled out, screamed strings of obscenities, as I am prone to doing. She stood, my legs off the bed, then layed her body over mine as I came closer and closer, built up into a thick peak of sensation that gripped me in waves, moved through me. We both collapsed, wrapped up in each other for a sweet second, giggling and breathing heavy, moaning, still getting hold of my own body.

And, suddenly – “Roomservice!” – at the door.

I shit you not, the timing was that perfect.

I felt like hiding. Stripped, spent, and exposed, she scrambled for her slip – which she had removed to reveal amazing lingerie! black lace bra, garter! how could I not have mentioned that yet? – and answered the door.

She kept herself together beautifully and set down the roomservice she’d ordered, then scrambled back into bed, laughing.

“I can’t believe that just happened!”

“Me either.”

She put her arms around me, still on my back, and we laughed and grinned and I turned her over so I was on top and touched her skin, the curves of her hips, realized I had barely touched her body this whole time, barely felt her skin, and desire welled up thick in me to watch the way she would open, give in, give over.

“Put your cock back on,” she said. I did. “On the bed, on your back.” And she straddled over me, lowered her small tight body onto my cock and bent her head back, touched her clit.

God, oh god.

I was close to coming again, the way she rocked her hips back and forth, the curve of her neck exposed and vulnerable, one hand behind her as she knelt and rocked and slid against my cock. Oh it was gorgeous to watch. I thrust my hips in rhythm with hers. Brought mine up to meet her, pulled back, pressed.

She warned me she was close. Asked if it was okay – of course – and came, hard, let loose and ejaculated, my belly suddenly warm and wet with such a gush of liquid, and she shuddered, convulsed, collapsed.

My grey silk tie was soaked, practically ruined.

We kissed, held each other. I felt close to her, so close, under her skin, in all the creases of her.

But we were out of time. I had a flight to Alaska to catch. She rushed me into the shower, thankfully, and had a portabella burger waiting for me when I got out, the roomservice she’d ordered, complete with the most delicious wedge-fries I’ve ever had. That burger was about the most delicious thing I’ve ever tasted, let me tell you – there is nothing like food after your body is desperately fucked. I don’t even like mushrooms, but this was so luscious, perfect, flavorful. We split it in half and shared it, kissed, chatted on the bed as we gathered up our things, got dressed. She had a slice of chocolate cake, too, and we ate some of it with the rest of the strawberries, then, reluctantly, left the sanctity of our hotel room, and checked out.

She drove me back to the airport, dropped me off at departures.

“So, you want me to pick up your dry cleaning? The kids and I will miss you!” she joked. We kissed, and I teared up.

There’s something here. Something magic, something already under my skin. I didn’t beg to see her on the return trip, but I prayed she would want to.

I got back on a plane, headed off to see my family for the holidays, thinking of her, writing about her, the whole way.

Things that happened Thursday:

December 22, 2007  |  journal entries  |  2 Comments
  1. I got a replacement copy of The Leather Daddy and the Femme and read the first few chapters on the subway. The writing is smooth, eager, tumbling. So hot. I have more to say about this
  2. I stopped at Babeland and picked up primarily supplies – gloves, condoms, lube. Both by bucket of boy butter and my bottle of lube broke recently, the containers actually shattered. I also bought a softie sock and a leather cockring that fits around my wrist, which I like wearing as a bracelet. I played with the cocks (ohh, Vixskin) and whips and leather floggers and harnesses, looked curiously at the new bendy beads and that cone thing that is getting notice.
  3. I attended the reading for Best Lesbian Erotica 2008 and listened to sexy erotica read aloud. Words formed in mouths in a roomful of people.

What on earth was I thinking?

This was all entirely too much sex. Overstimulated, oversexed, I could think about nothing but getting off, which she had asked me – ordered me – not to do.

I went home and paced. Bit my lips. Walked briskly from room to room but with no recollection of my intention. Preoccupied with a glimpse in my mind of her, boots, heels, standing tall, looking up at her, she’s looking down at me, the way her voice breaks with a timber of callousness.

My body hummed, vibrated.

Everything was sex. The higher functions of my brain have been overridden by the animalistic urges, the desire to be fucked, give over, get off.

I tried to watch tv. Tried to do some freelance design work, to write some overdue articles. I continued to find myself staring into space, glassy-eyed.

I dropped to the floor. Began with push-ups, then sit-ups. Ten and ten. Ten more, then ten more. Crunches, then all the way up, until I was groaning and the muscles in my stomach were screaming and taught, breathing heavy, body tense begging for release.

Begging.

I beat my face to the floor until my arms couldn’t hold me up anymore, until I was panting.

When I collapsed, and my dick twitched against the hardwood. My hips wanted to buck against anything, everything. Thrusting and I put my hand there, just for some friction, some traction, and pressed my forehead to the floor, grinding against my palm through my jeans.

Too much, too much.

I could feel my clit through my jeans. Hard and slick already, eager against my hands and I let my hips wander, find rhythm, thighs clasping hard.

I couldn’t stop myself. I feared I wouldn’t be able to stop myself.

I stopped, throbbing, thrusting, frustrated. Beat the floor with my fist.

Twenty-four hours until the layover. I can make it.