The Dailyxtra.com (Canadian) had an article posted earlier this month by MIKE MIKSCHE titled “Barebacking over brunch.” Barebacking is nothing new even during the worse periods of AIDS. It’s impossible to keep people from doing something that is so natural as touching skin to skin, gay or straight it doesn’t matter. On that premise I have always tried to keep my readers up on the latest of PrEp. As Truvada came into the scene not as an anti-retro viral but as a Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis.
A preventive of catching HIV it changed the whole notion of barebacking to it’s ok to say what we do even though we have been doing it all along for the guys that never stopped having bare back sex.
To those that made friends with rubbers and made the impossible of making them work for them thinking on the alternative, Truvada was the miracle outside of a cure that allowed them to express themselves sexually the way they always wanted.
So here it is Barebacking over Lunch!
I met Clive for brunch just after 1 on Sunday afternoon. I didn’t think I’d be seeing him again so soon. He was back in town for a conference, and despite me avoiding him in San Francisco after the bear party, he still wanted to see me. I wanted to see him too.
I’d gone through his Facebook photos before he arrived. There was one photo of him as a young boy — maybe seven or eight years old — clutching a snake in his fist. The snake was no more than an inch away from his face, and he was calmly observing it through his dark, timber-framed glasses. I never would’ve been able to do that as a child.
I felt a strange connection with Clive; probably because we both shared the same curiosity about life and sex. But he was far more fearless. Maybe that’s why he had no problem barebacking while on PrEP.
Clive was the first person I knew on PrEP. I met him when I was still with DH, and we were looking for a third. Ironically, the threesome never happened because of PrEP: Clive wanted to fuck bareback, but neither DH nor myself had heard of Truvada and we didn’t want to take any risks.
Despite that missed connection, Clive and I kept in contact. I had a lot of questions about Truvada, which he gladly answered. We linked on Facebook, and he had sent me information about the American clinical trials and their accuracy. He seemed confident with the drug, even though it was shown to reduce the risks for people who are at high risk of contracting HIV by up to only 92 percent. He explained that the results didn’t take into account if a subject forgot to take their medication regularly — the results were showing that it was seemingly ineffective because some people in the trial weren’t using the drug correctly (or at all). He told me that when the results were modeled for guys who take the drug 6 or 7 days a week, PrEP is expected to be 99 percent effective.
Clive stayed near the airport for most of the week, but got a room downtown on Saturday night. We agreed to have brunch the following morning after he visited the Art Gallery of Ontatio. When I arrived at the diner, he was standing by the counter and waiting to be seated. I had forgotten how handsome he was.
“What about the conference?” I asked after we took a seat. “How was that?”
“It was okay,” he said. He worked for a pharmaceutical company that produced cancer drugs, which helped those who were dying live a little longer — his words. I wondered whether his experience in the pharmaceutical industry made him trust PrEP so wholeheartedly. Half the literature he’d sent me was way over my head, scientifically speaking; they didn’t make me any less nervous about being on the drug. It was hard to believe that I wouldn’t need to worry about HIV any longer. I had worried about it my entire adult life, and to be honest, I always thought that I’d end up with it, like it was the fate of every gay man. The fact that I could take a pill everyday and not worry anymore seemed too good to be true.
Clive loved the idea of having a complete stranger cum in his ass — it was his thing, which I could understand. I wondered whether fetishizing cum had existed prior to the AIDS epidemic. It’s because of cum that all of those people died, and it’s strange to think that a fluid could have so much power and could destroy so many lives. Now, cum seems to be the forbidden fruit. I’m far too afraid to fuck raw, but I had been finding myself drawn to bareback pornography in the recent years. I loved watching young men being fucked bareback and often wondered how they got there.
Clive, on the other hand, was living this sort of porn. As we had breakfast, he told me stories of going to sex clubs and taking more than one load. The idea of him testing the limits of PrEP made me think back to that photo of him as a child — the snake so close to his face that it could have bitten his nose. I wanted to have that same fearlessness; to have my ass filled with load after load until cum oozed out of my hole . . .
. . . I wanted to have that same fearlessness; to have my ass filled with load after load until cum oozed out of my hole. I wanted to shit cum, sweat cum and snort cum, just so I could taste the drip at the back of my throat.
I thought PrEP would be my free ticket to do all of those things, but my doctor made me promise that I wouldn’t. The fact that Clive did, though, baffled me. “Have you always trusted PrEP?” I asked.
He was surprised by the question. “I always liked the idea of barebacking,” he said. “Before I started using PrEP, I’d let guys put the tips of their cocks in my ass but just quick, never fully in, nothing dangerous. When I heard about Truvada, I got a prescription right away, and yeah, I started getting fucked raw. For the first few months, anytime I got a cold I was convinced that it was HIV. I thought to myself, that’s it, I went too far, I’m positive. A part of me felt like I deserved it. Turned out that those colds though, were just colds.”
Later, he had another scare. He had developed relations with three men that he’d have bareback sex with on a regular basis. Clive had been seeing them separately for a few months when one of the men told him that he’d seroconverted. A month later, it happened to another. “It’s not like if somebody is undetectable: there’s no real risk then. But when they don’t know they’re positive, they’re usually extremely infectious,” he explained. He was sure that nothing was going to save him; two of the three guys he was sleeping with were now positive. But, again, he was fine in the end. Truvada saved him.
He stopped asking people if they were positive or negative after that. It didn’t matter. He worried about other STIs just like anybody else (and got screened regularly for them), but didn’t feel that the sex he was having was any riskier than the sex straight folk have — many don’t wear condoms either. I assumed that anal sex was more dangerous than vaginal sex, even if HIV is out of the equation, but he did have a point. There’s always a risk with sex, even with a condom, so I guess it’s a matter of how much risk you’re willing to take. The only way to have safe sex, really, is abstinence. Fuck that.
“I travel a lot,” Clive continued. “When you’re in a hotel room, alone, day after day, there isn’t much else to do other than have sex. I’ve had a lot of unprotected sex. Like, a lot, and I’m fine. I’ve only had one STI since I started using PrEP.”
“So why do so many people have a problem with it?” I asked. “Some gay guys hate it with a passion.”
“Personally, I think it’s about morality.” He didn’t have to say anymore — I understood. After the AIDS epidemic, gay men were made to feel like they deserved to be sick because of their promiscuity — like it was punishment. It seems like some of us still feel that we deserve it. There also seems to be an underlying fear of mutation: if gay men continue barebacking, will something worse than HIV will develop? Could something like that even be possible? But if that’s the fear, should we even be worrying about those kind of extreme hypothetical situations? Should we be living in constant fear of what ifs? Maybe we already do.
Clive was very curious about Loft 18+ and Urge, but after brunch he decided to go to Steamworks instead so he could have a shower before heading to the airport. I volunteered to walk him over after we paid the bill. “Where do you live?” he asked me along the way. I wasn’t sure if he was implying that he wanted to come back to my place. He asked so innocently that it was hard to tell.
“We already passed my place,” I said.
Even if I could sleep with him, putting the loyalty issues with DH aside, would I have been able to bareback with Clive? Probably not — I had to trust my doctor. He asked me not to, and he’s much smarter than I am when it comes to these subjects. I guess I also worry about Hepatitis. Doesn’t mean Clive was wrong to choose otherwise — I support his decision.
When we arrived at the alleyway by Café California I kissed him goodbye. I kind of wished that he didn’t have to fly out that night. He let me exist as I was with all my fears and hang-ups, no questions asked. Sure, I didn’t really know him that well, but he was starting to feel like a brother to me.