International AIDS Conference: Blog 3: the pleasure and intimacy of bareback sex

The 10th  International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific has just finished in Busan, Korea. On behalf of The Pleasure Project, our brave reporter Revati  hunted out mentioned of good safe sex or any mention of pleasure in sex education at the conference.

Revati is an old time pleasure propagandist who has written sexy tips and  run pleasure workshops.  So she is well equip to seek erotic safe sex in Busan.

Here is her third and final  post. She found someone talking about sexual pleasure as a motivation for sex.

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I’ve been at the Asia Pacific AIDS conference for a week and so far, in all the sessions I have attended, only one person has spoken about pleasure and the need to recognise pleasure as a key motivator for safe or unsafe sex and that was a question from the audience.

But hurrah. At last I found someone who confronted the elephant in the room. Dr Malonzo, from Brokenshire College in The Phillipines, please step forward and take a bow.

Dr Malonzo’s study looks at why men having sex with men choose not to us condoms, or have “intentionally condom-less sex” aka “bare-backing”. bare- backing was initially a description used in the 1990’s  by HIV positive men who declared their intention to have sex with other HIV positive men without condoms. It has now become the term used to describe condom less sex in a more generic view, regardless of HIV status. So for example, there are pornography studios who specialise in bare back films, sex workers or dating sites who use the term.  Dr Malonzo studies the current phenomenon in Davao City in The Philippines in interviews with 40 young gay men.

Many of them felt that bareback sex feels good, is their own choice and demonstrates intimacy in their relationships.

Although knowledge was not always great, quite a number of the men thought that HIV could be transmitted in the hot tub or swimming pool. But all the participants knew that condom-less anal sex carried considerable risk.

The study recommends that there should be more focus on testing and signs of HIV infection and “ Focus on the men’s desire for intimacy, closeness, and pleasure needs”

So people we need to think harder about how we can replace bare-backing with other ways of getting intimacy or feeling intimate. Unfortunately condom-less sex has become a sign of  trust, a deeper relationship or commitment.

So pleasure seekers, what could be the replacement ?


 

 

2 Comments

  1. The issue of pleasure is starting to be addressed but we still have a long way to go.

    There are several concepts which need to be addressed

    1. the focus on equating condom usage with safe sex. fucking without condoms does NOT always equate to UNSAFE sex and we need to consider the contexts in which sex without condoms is safe and/or low risk. And condoms do not equal safe sex – they do not protect against ALL sti’s and are not safe if not used properly. So we need to transcend this paradigm.

    2. we need to make the distinction between pleasure and natural sex. many activities can be associated with pleasure and intimacy that do not involve fucking without condoms. so it is erroneous to equate fucking without condoms solely with pleasure but hark back to the deeper roots of the nature of sex and how common and natural sex without condoms is for all people not just gay and ms men.

    3. we need to recognise the distinction between rational instincts and logic and sexual instincts and logic. they are not the same thing and while in a contemplative state we may be able to rationalise risk in sexual contexts this isn’t always going to be the case during sex where passion, urge and instinct come to the foreground as a bodies modus operandi

    4. finally we must address the stigma of fucking without condoms and more closely examine the guilt and shame hiv prevention and education attribute to natural and instinctual behaviours.

    it is not about normalising sex without condoms but recognising that it was always and already normal.

    • Thanks Mark – for very thought provoking comments. I guess on your last one it boils down to what we see as normal or natural. Sex without family planning could be called natural, but then having a child you don’t want or an abortion that you may not survive might also be normal and natural. But not your choice.
      I totally agree that once lust takes over rational thought may slip – but that’s were ensuring we find condoms, safe sex, a range of intimacies sexy and not see condom-less sex as the ultimate intimacy – we will be closer to getting turned on, crazy with lust and getting some good safe sex.
      I agree that talking about condoms as safe sex limits the notion – and tunes us out to a range of sexy possibilities. Whoever turned down a naked massage from someone they fancied. But does your sex ed teacher at school talk about that – rarely. Penetration is viewed from all sides as “sex”.

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