Category Archives: internet

Bareback.com?

So perhaps these websites for men interested in bareback sex have been around for a while, but I have been unaware of them.  Recently, a friend informed me of one such site, barebackrt.com, however several more exist.   At first I wasn’t quite sure what to think.   Upon digesting this concept some more, I came to an initial conclusion that perhaps these sites could serve as an online forum for serosorting i.e. a place where HIV+ men could find other HIV+ to have bareback sex with, and where HIV- men could presumably find other HIV- men for bareback anal sex.

Indeed, this is what bareback.com, the “original bareback only site” envisions:

“Now at BareBack.com you know that we are not AIDS Nazis, condom wrappers or fearful fools! What we are is a community of gay men who like the feel of raw nasty sex and want the whole world to be able to spray our holes!

That’s why we embrace a policy of containment. What does that mean – It’s simple. If poz boys stick to poz boys and neg boys stick to neg boys AIDS will be over. It’s just that simple.”

Or is it?  So although the same site site intro states that “The only drugs you should use should come from your doctor! Nothing makes you more likely to fuck up, get sick or be an asshole than poppers, meth or other party drugs.” So, I can say that I have heard negative men, who know they are negative, fucked up by drugs, tell me that they have used this site to search for men, and HIV status was irrelevant – the bottom line was the negative men just wanted bareback sex and such sites were the easiest place to find it.   Then of course there are the men who don’t really know if they are negative since they haven’t been tested (the site encourages people to know their status), but just like to assume that they are negative even though they have had unprotected sex with everyone under the sun, because it is easier for them to personally accept.  Such “negative” men will go onto to have sex with men who truly are negative who utilize the site.  Also, positive men may not always sero sort, and may have sex with negative men who agree to take the risk of having bareback sex with a positive man, simply because they like bareback sex.

While I am not judging anyone’s sexual preferences (I can not with a clear conscience say that plastic up one’s ass is sensual or comfortable), I guess the thing that irks me about such sites as a physician and public health practitioner, is that there are no sites (at least that I know of) promoting dirty needle use  for IV drugs or unsafe blood transfusions.  While I acknowledge men who want to have bareback sex will, and will find any avenue to do so, why must we create an avenue to directly promote this behavior? Why can we not have a “safe only” site? Upon googling I have found nothing.  While mainstream sites such as Grindr and Manhunt allow users to state their safe/bareback preference, are there sites dedicated exclusively to safe sex?

As bareback.com notes, users need to be made aware that not only can HIV be contracted by bareback sex, but other STDs such as gonorrhea and herpes can also be shared between bareback partners.   I just still can’t see the value of such sites from a HIV eradication/prevention standpoint.  Perhaps someone can comment to offer me some insight?  I know the mainstream porn movement has sought to not glamorize bareback pornography, and this is a battle that is still being fought as one can find bareback porn as easily as they can a hookup on Grindr.  In my ideal corner of the earth, I would hope that everyone using such sites was already aware of their HIV status, understood the risks that bareback sex poses, and made an educated choice which would put both them and their partner at the least risk possible.

Manhunt Cares

I know it has been ages.

So here I am in Roatan, Honduras, an island off the coast of Honduras working at a medical clinic.  I have finally encountered what is like to be  gay in a place of no gays, what so many readers experience on a daily basis.  While there are many expats here in Roatan, there is no gay bar or social gathering place.  No frank discussion about sexuality of any sort.  My boyfriend is coming to visit at the end of this month.  He is flying into San Pedro, the second largest city in Honduras after Tegucigalpa.  I am going a day early so I will be there to meet him at the airport the next day.  In an attempt to meet friends to show me around the city, I logged on Manhunt.  While presumably, the majority of people log onto this site for sex, I was hoping to meet a friend to show me around the city when I arrive and make sure that I don’t get mugged.   Although, I must admit, my picture on the site is an unsavory one from the days when I used to troll for sex.

Through my sifting through the weeds of Manhunt, which I just discovered through Wikipedia has over 4 million profiles, I discovered that they have a campaign called “Manhunt” cares.  For all the gross things that happen on the site, I applaud the site for at least taking the effort to provide information on HIV and STDs to such a large audience.  I must admit I couldn’t watch the whole video due to bandwidth issues but it looked like it was pointing individuals in the right direction.  The links to organizations also feature several international locations which is always great to see (although must note Honduras is not on there).

So when you’re busy hunting for men  you can also hunt for places to get tested for HIV!

Sex and HIV in the age of GRINDR

So I must admit I am an Android boy in a committed relationship for the past six years, so I have not had the experience of using the iphone application GRINDR to seek out sex partners.  However, from what I understand, if I wanted to, I could find someone with 300 feet of me to suck my dick and fuck me, and know his exact location, all in the span of about 4 seconds.  According to their website, GRINDR “uses GPS technology in your iPhone or BlackBerry and Wi-Fi in your iPod touch or iPad to determine your exact location and instantly connect you with guys in your area.”

This instant sex is not anything new, as we have had sites like Manhunt, Adam4Adam and gay.com (wow I have not visited those sites until now for several years since my single days; visiting them now provokes an eerie spookiness for multiple reasons).  However, this GRINDR business takes a whole unnecessary chat equation out of play.  I don’t have to ask you your location, as I already know it from the phone.  I don’t have to ask you to send a picture, as I already see your picture.  And much like online chat, when I talk to you on GRINDR, much like when I talk to you on gay.com, I will not ask you about your HIV status. Perhaps I will lie about my status on my GRINDR page, saying I am negative when I am not.   While it’s difficult to say if GRINDR has created additional risk for HIV transmission, perhaps, just perhaps, it brought instant sex to a newer generation who had not stumbled upon or used sites like Manhunt. And with sex with strangers, there is always the risk of HIV transmission, unless 100 percent of the people meeting on GRINDR engage in safe sex with their GRINDR mates 100 % of the time.  And perhaps, just perhaps, if I am looking for multiple sex partners, while doing a drug such as crystal meth, I will find more partners more quickly, with the use of a mobile device as opposed to sitting at my computer.

Then of course, there’s my passion, the global tilt.  According to Wikipedia, GRINDR has been reported activity in countries as far reaching as Iran, Iraq, Israel and Kazakhstan.  In such countries, there is indeed potential for GRINDR to contribute to the HIV epidemic.   In countries where homosexuality is taboo, many times homosexual activity is conducted underground in secret without protection. Individuals who have access to cellular networks, but not the Internet and computers will be able to find immediate sex partners and engage in sex.  

What ever happened to going to the bar to find a nice man and getting to know him before getting in his pants? Ah, technology.