Do you find that the sex you have is sometimes not the sex you want? Maybe you’ve taken risks that you later regretted. If so, recognising what went wrong can be a big step towards getting back on track. In the latest issue of FS magazine from GMFA, the gay men’s health charity, three guys tell all and get some advice.
Jaime, 19 from Essex, tells his story: “My friends say I am a bit of a tart because I snog a lot of guys when we go out, which I do, but I don’t have sex with all of them. I probably have a proper shag once or twice a month. I always try to use condoms. If a guy asked me to shag without condoms, I would say no. But sometimes you just get carried away, you don’t want to stop and go through the whole condom business.
“I don’t know anyone with HIV, although I know lots of people do. I’ve never had sex with anyone who has it. It’s like I know lots of people get other things like gonorrhoea, but I never have. I don’t want to catch anything, but if it happens I guess I will deal with it. I think going to a clinic would be embarrassing and I wouldn’t do it unless I thought I had something. Until then, I am just enjoying myself.”
HIV expert and professional counsellor Andrew McDonald gives his advice: “Obviously nobody wants to catch anything, but the strategy “I don’t want to stop and go through the whole condom business” is not a good one in the long run. Having a clear strategy when it comes to sex makes it easier to cope with those difficult times when you’d rather not talk about it and you allow yourself to take unnecessary risks.
“You wouldn’t just suddenly jump out of a plane without a parachute because you got carried away in the moment, would you? The same applies to the belief that Jamie has that he has never has sex with someone who has HIV. Perhaps he thinks he’s never sat next to anyone on a train with diabetes or the flu, but he probably has. You can still enjoy sex without putting yourself at risk. Always wear condoms and don’t assume that everyone you have sex with is telling you their whole life story, or even knows whether or not they have HIV or another STI.”
Matthew Hodson, Head or Programmes at GMFA, comments: “As few people die from HIV/AIDS-related illnesses in the UK any more, every year there are more men living with HIV. That means it’s more likely you’ll sleep with someone with HIV if you’re having sex with lots of guys. If you assume that every partner is HIV-negative, you may put yourself at risk. The best and most reliable way to protect yourself and your partners is to wear a condom.”
To read more real sex life stories from other guys, look out for your copy of FS, issue 119. It’s available for free in gay venues and GUM clinics across the UK or can be downloaded at www.gmfa.org.uk/fsnation.