Saturday, 9 October 2010

Take One Penis and Add Condom...(and don't mention the shit thing)

The latest issue of GT carries a piece on having better anal sex or so it might seem on first glance. The piece is entitled 'Be a Better Bottom' and is written by Shaun Evelyn who talks to Gordon from the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT). The piece channels the campaigns that GMFA has been long running nationally. This very issue of GT includes a promotion for 'Sex: The Sex Course' and the aim of these courses is I've always imagined, to get men through the door and open to learning about safe sex. The basic idea seems to be, tell people about sex but incorporate condom usage into the description so as to normalise condom behaviour.

Now, I've never been on one of these courses and so the GT piece is the closest I've got to experiencing this integrated approach. Perhaps if you're 15 you'll read it and take it at face value but I suspect anyone above that age will approach it with a degree of weariness. Advice such as don't douche too much, instead eat a high fibre diet is typical of the preachy high minded and utterly unhelpful advice that leads to people switching off. I don't question that it's well meaning but please? Maybe I'm not the target group and the campaign is a huge success (which beggars the question, what would condom attitudes and HIV rates look like if they were unsuccessful?)

At this point it's worth remembering that one of the great unspeakables about anal sex is shit. Still reading? The thing is, few people want a shitty dick. Douching (where a guy squirt water up his bum repeatedly and squirts it out prior to an encounter) minimises this particularly vile situation occurring (and the inevitable embarrassment that follows). One of the best reasons for using a condom is avoid the shit on dick scenario.

The other bit of advice is to discourage popper use. Poppers are intended to make your arse muscles relax (or in my case, make me red faced and feel as if I'm having a heart attack - does somewhat kill the moment), and consequently once relaxed, able to take a cock without (or with reduced) pain/discomfort, or to more generally enhance the orgasm.

It seems to me that a piece that has lines like 'lube is the slip to our slide' sounds as if it has been trotted out a thousand times on courses (I should know, I trot certain phrases out year after year). A piece that acts to entice a reader with 'be a better bottom' and does nothing but preach about safer sex will be seen by more jaded readers as a somewhat cynical move.

If we approach sex advice with cynicism, where will that leave us? It can only be a matter of time before bareback porn companies and their supporters/fans start to produce anti-condom sex advice. I have a feeling they'll face up to the 'shit question' and we may find they, like their porn, become seen as providers of a more authentic message.

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