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Realities

Some of us have been hearing the message to use condoms for more than 20 years. Some of us aren’t only sick of hearing about them, we’re sick of using them as well. It’s time to take a fresh look at condom use. It isn’t just about HIV anymore. It isn’t just about personal responsibility anymore.

Condoms remain the best protection against HIV transmission, and they reduce our chances of getting or passing on other STIs during sex. The personal, social, physical and financial impacts of living with and treating HIV, Hepatitis C virus (HCV) and other STIs are enormous.

Here are situations that may apply to you, and sex positive ideas to try that you may not have thought or heard of before:

I was too high to use one.

Plan ahead and think about what risks you’re prepared to take before you get high. If you’re planning to party, maybe it’s best to decide not to fuck, or make sure that you party with friends who can reinforce safety.

I wasn’t sure if he wanted to use one.

Some of us have unprotected sex because we fear rejection or a lost opportunity for hot sex. Be assertive with your partner and let him know - either in words or through your actions - that if you’re going to fuck, you want to protect both of you by using a condom.

TIPS: If you find it hard to talk about, you can also try these nonverbal cues: make sure condoms and lubricant are in view and within reach of where you have sex; place the condom on yourself or on your partner to show that you want to use one; or you can refuse to fuck and have another kind of sex instead.

I’m the top so I don’t need one.

Being the top (the one doing the fucking) doesn’t mean you can’t get HIV or other STIs. It’s true that the bottom (the person getting fucked) is at greater risk, but many guys have gotten infected with HIV by being the top. Whether you’re a top, a bottom or both, using condoms when you fuck protects you and your partner.

Fucking


We fucked for a bit without one before putting one on.

Sometimes we fuck for a while before putting on a condom. In fact, pre-cum has higher concentration of HIV than cum (ejaculate). Research shows that delaying condom use can lead to HIV infection. Use a condom from the beginning. This will reduce the risk of getting and giving many STIs as well.

Every time I try to put on a condom, I lose my hard-on.

This is often both a physical and a psychological problem. To start, make sure the condom is the right size for you, that you know how to put it on expertly, and that you feel comfortable with it. You’ve probably already done this.

Cockring

TIPS: Practice while you jerk off. A small amount of lube inside the condom can make it easier to apply. Try fetishizing the feeling and look of a sheathed dick. Try using a cock ring. There are many sizes and styles. Ones that are adjustable are safer and more comfortable.

If you‘re having challenges, your doctor may be able to help. Review your prescriptions. Some medications (including some anti-depressant and HIV meds) make it more difficult to get hard and to cum. Other prescription options may be possible for you.

You may also want to discuss ‘errectile dysfunction’ (medical term for the condition) with your doctor. Two classes of drugs are available, ingestible (i.e. Viagra™) and injectables (i.e. ‘triple mix’). Each type has their advantages and disadvantages.

Some guys experience a sense of psychological liberation when they no longer have to worry about getting and staying hard. This allows them to relax and enjoy fucking with condoms more.

CAUTION: Ingestible dick drugs can have catastrophic negative interactions with Tina and poppers. To learn more about these drugs please click here.

TIP: Using less poppers and less Tina will enhance your ability to get and stay hard.

It interrupts the mood.

Of course it does when it feels like an interruption. If applying a condom is integrated into foreplay, it’s more likely to become a sexy experience rather than a chore. Applying a condom doesn’t have to be something the top does. In fact, the top is more likely to maintain a hard on and enjoy the experience if he gets to relax and be stimulated at the same time. If you like to bottom, expand your sexual skills and invest in learning how to apply one to your partner in a sexy way. You can learn a technique for rolling it on with your mouth. This can feel great for your partner and provide a seamless transition.

TIP: Become an expert fluffer! If he has trouble staying hard, expand your cocksucking repertoire with exciting new sensations that can stimulate him more.

TIP: Take care of the practical stuff by planning ahead. Have condoms, lube, towel, etc. accessible and have enough lighting to see what you’re doing.

I don’t like how it feels once it’s on.

Good fit is important. If it feels too tight, it probably is. If it slides off too easily, it’s too loose. Condoms should be tight enough that they aren’t easily pulled off, but should not be uncomfortable or tear when you use them. Condoms come in different sizes. They vary mainly in their width (the circumference of the condom), not in length, so think about how thick your dick is.

TIP: Try using a drop of water based lube inside (at the head) for greater comfort. Experiment and try different sizes and brands. Condoms come in different shapes, colours and flavours. Using condoms can be fun and sexy.

I wish I had more sensation.

Many guys do. Sensation can be enhanced by using more lube. Apply water-based lube to the outside of the condom. If your ass feels dry it probably is. Keep your partner’s ass well lubed. Add lube while you fuck. This is critical with Tina use. (Your ass will tend to be drier, you’ll have more stamina to fuck longer, and it’s easier to lose track of time.)

Some condoms are made thinner than others. Try using a thinner condom than you’re used to for more sensation. Be aware that it may tear more easily especially under the rigours of rough, extended sex. Check often.

TIP: Polyurethane condoms are usually thinner than latex ones and also transmit heat better. Be aware that polyurethane condoms don’t stretch as well as latex.

I’m already HIV+.

Risks for transmission are higher for the bottom. It’s important to use condoms if you’re fucking in order to prevent the spread of HIV, even if they ask you to fuck them bareback. Both you and your partner equally share this responsibility.

We’re both HIV+.

Poz to poz equals ok. Maybe not. Guys who are both poz tend to minimize the risks of transmission with each other because poz sex used to be simpler. Things have changed. Today, we have to manage growing threats like the increasing number of HIV strains, drug resistant HIV, and HCV. The impacts to you or him of co-infection with HCV, or receiving drug resistant forms of HIV, could be huge.

What are your assumptions? Are you assuming he has an undetectable viral load? Are you assuming your partner knows his STI status? Remember he can be positive for STIs and not show symptoms. Please be aware of the potential risks and take precautions to protect yourself and him.

TIP: For more information about HCV and other STIs please click here.

Why should I bother? At my age, I don’t care if I get something.

As older men, some of us might think that getting HIV, HCV or other STIs isn’t a big deal. We may even think the price is worth it because we find it more difficult to find sexual partners. If that’s the case, we might not insist on using condoms. But staying healthy is important. Condoms are important for us too. If you’re older and have trouble keeping a hard-on, talk to your doctor. If you’re bottoming, insist on your partner using one when he fucks you.

Fucking


I’m in a relationship.

Being in a monogamous relationship simplifies your sexual life and reduces your potential exposure. Guys structure their sexual lives in relationships differently. A relationship isn’t automatic protection from infection or re-infection with HIV, HCV or other STIs. Negotiating what you want in your relationship and keeping it safer can be complex and can change over time. Investment made in expanding your comfort level discussing safer sex with your partner can bring greater honesty and intimacy into your lives together.

Each of us has to take responsibility for ourselves. He’s a big boy. I’m doing what i want and he’s doing what he wants.

Safer sex messages have encouraged us to take care of ourselves. The assumption has been that if each of us knows the risks and takes care of ourselves, then we’ll all use condoms to avoid getting or passing on HIV, HCV and other STIs. We know that assumption doesn’t hold true today.

It’s time we started to look out not only for ourselves, but for others. Most of us who are STI positive are concerned about transmitting STIs to others. The next time you are about to fuck or get fucked without a condom with a friend or casual partner, think twice. Isn’t your health worth it? Isn’t his?

TIP: We have included an article on risk reduction tips for barebackers. You can find it here.


Adapted from Actoronto.org with permission


 
   
 
   
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