Hooking up online is always a tricky game of disclosure. You’ve got to show enough of your best assets to turn your audience on without coming across as a desperate slut. Nevermind the fact that most of us online are a) somewhat desperate; and, b) by most standards, extremely promiscuous. It’s all about the fantasy.
I’ve always been terrible at pretend play. I hate Halloween. I loathe charades. And in reaction to the ridiculous obsession with being “straight acting” on websites like Adam4Adam and Manhunt, my online profiles cheekily (but accurately) inform readers that I’m “gay acting.” When it comes to chatting online, I favor honesty over fantasy – a fact that costs me sex on a regular basis.
Let’s take a look at a recent example. Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I was chatting with a 38 year-old guy with the most gorgeous nine-inch cock. He was handsome, built, and wanted to breed me till the sun came up. I was game, but there was just one problem: my ass was still sore from the night before. I always hate making up lame excuses for not hooking up, so I told him point blank my problem:
Me: I’d really love to fuck, but to be totally honest, I’m still sore from getting fucked last night.
Him: Dude, that’s gross. I'm gonna pass. Being first to the party is great, but second... or third... no thanks.
Me: And I say this with all sincerity: nobody on this site is first to any party. Ever.
Him: Whatever. Nobody wants to fuck a whore.
I’ve been faced with encounters like this ever since I started hooking up with guys 15 years ago; generally they involve much harsher language. I’ve never been ashamed about my sex life or my desires. For many guys, that’s a deal breaker. Too many guys out there are deeply ashamed of their sex. It’s embarrassing for them. They’d rather pretend that we’re all boys next door who “never hook up” but make an exception or two (or 264) on their road to monogamy.
When I started taking Truvada for PrEP, I thought somehow that it would help me cut through some of the bullshit out there. I could finally have the sex I wanted, without shame or regret. I suppose I was naïve. Two weeks ago, you may have noticed a column over at The Huffington Post by David Duran bemoaning that only “whores” were lining up to take Truvada. “Having a ‘there's a pill for that’ attitude is absolutely disgusting,” Duran complained. Reading his woefully inaccurate piece, I found myself face-to-face with the same kind of shaming and pretend play nonsense that has plagued HIV prevention since the beginning.
Duran’s ostrich-in-the-sand approach to sex is just another version of the sexual shame that led my potential hookup to “pass” on having sex with me. They both want to be first to the party. It’s the very same stigma that leads many gay men to not get tested. To not discuss HIV with their partners. To pretend like only whores get HIV – which, by the way, does not include me, you, or the guy who came in my ass last night. In short, it’s what’s driving plenty of infections.
Truvada can help stem those infections, but dangerously misinformed haters out there like David Duran pop up at every turn to shame gay men into pretending like they don’t need it – that they’re just normal good boys who make exceptions every now and again. Taking Truvada didn’t make me a whore. I was a whore long before I started taking Truvada. Despite all the harmful work that the David Durans of the world do to make me feel dirty and ashamed of the sex that I have, I’m proud to be a whore. Truvada helps keep me negative. It can help keep others negative. Let’s quit the whore-baiting, and start the real work of prevention.
As always, please get in touch with your experiences on PrEP! I’d love to hear from you: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jake Sobo is a pen name used for anonymity. Jake has worked in the world of HIV prevention for nearly a decade, and is eager to share his experiences taking PrEP. Having closely followed the development of PrEP from early trials to FDA approval, he was excited to give it a shot when it was approved for use among MSM for preventing HIV.He has spent the better part of his adult life having as much sex as possible while trying to avoid contracting HIV, and started taking PrEP as a way to help him stay negative. He is well aware that the drug is not 100% effective and that he could test positive; while he hopes that does not happen, he knows that he can rely on his numerous HIV-positive friends to deal with that situation should he seroconvert.