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We Need to Stop Shaming Men Who Like Bareback

I’m not a monster for topping guys raw

bareback bottoming

By: Kenneth

I didn’t even pack condoms for my trip to Provincetown this 4th of July. Usually, I delude myself into thinking, “Maybe, I’ll use one,” or “Maybe he’ll want me to use one, and it’ll be good I came prepared.” This time though, I didn’t even pretend.

Over the years my condom use has changed drastically. Before I took PrEP, I was as close to 100% as you could get while still drinking, doing drugs, and sleeping with a bunch of various dudes whose names I didn’t know.

It was a pain in the ass. Half of the time I would lose my erection while putting on the condom, or I wouldn’t be able to finish, or it would slow down the momentum — ruining the moment. Now I know this is not the case for most gay men, but for me, it was more than just a minor nuisance. Often times, I didn’t have sex because condom use was so cumbersome.

That said, with my lifestyle, and my sexual activity, I knew how important it was for me to wear condoms to protect myself from contracting HIV and other STIs. Without condoms (and PrEP), it would only be a matter of time until I contracted HIV.

Then, about almost three years ago, I started PrEP. Truvada was a game changer. My uncle, an older gay man, warned me that if I started PrEP, my condom use would drop significantly. I assured him that wouldn’t be the case. Like the advertising for Truvada made clear, I was using it in case of a slip up, because I’m human, and because mistakes happen.

I wasn’t going to start breeding guys left and right just because I started PrEP.

For a while, I proved my uncle wrong. I used condoms with little to no slips. When I started dating my now (ex) boyfriend, I was even more aware, strictly adhering to condom use. He was not on PrEP. He had major side effects when he tried it.

Because of this, he was using condoms with other guys. (We were in an open relationship.) He really wanted me to use condoms as well, which I completely understood and respected. It wouldn’t be fair if he was using condoms, while I wasn’t. Additionally, he didn’t want to be put at unnecessary risk.

But since we’ve broken up, I’ve been on a little (read: big) sexual rampage. My condom use has been thrown out the goddamn window.

What’s also surprising to me, is the few guys who ask to use a condom before having sex. I had always been the one to bring up the talk of STIs and condoms, but now that I wasn’t the one asking, it wasn’t getting asked at all.

When I started on my bareback spree, I initially felt incredibly guilty. I thought I was being irresponsible. I thought I was being slutty. I thought I was being a “bad gay.” But the more guys I met who barebacked, the more I realized something.

Barebacking is a large component of many gay men’s sexual identity. It’s a part of the “pig” identity – a label which many gay men proudly claim. The modern pig is breeder who embraces his raunchy and sex-positive lifestyle, unabashedly unashamed of who he is.

There’s also a right way and a wrong way to ride raw. The thing is, you eventually will get gonorrhea or chlamydia (or various other STIs, but in particular, those two) if you’re going around sleeping with everyone without protection. PrEP only protects you from HIV; no other STIs.

Since my raw sex-capades have begun, I have gotten chlamydia once and gonorrhea…twice… It’s just going to happen. I also live in New York where gay men are having a ton of damn sex. There’s also more gay sex going on in NY than any other city I’ve ever lived in, and I’ve lived in Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco.

So you will get something if you stop wrapping it up.

This means you should be getting tested regularly. I do every two months. You should also still be having the conversation with your partner. It can be short. “Just to let you know, I’m neg, on PrEP, and was tested for all STIs X weeks ago.” Then, when you do get an STI, you tell the men you’ve been sleeping with. In my opinion, you not only have an obligation to those men, but also an obligation to the gay community.

At the end of the day, it’s a trade off. For me, at this point in my life, it’s worth it to have sex raw. It feels so much better. I don’t have to worry about losing my erection or not being able to cum. I can throw myself fully into the sexual experience without being all up in my damn head.

The price of that is taking two different antibiotic doses a year, having that awkward call/text exchange with guys I’ve slept with after being diagnosed positive for an STI, and feeling like death for the few days after I take antibiotics.

So I plan on continuing to f*ck raw. I’ll do my best to minimize risks and will keep getting tested. If I start getting an STI monthly, then yes, I’ll probably cool it with the unprotected sex. I also don’t want to take too many antibiotics that they no longer are able to effectively cure STIs… that would be a pretty big problem.

But in the meantime, the pros of unprotected sex still far outweigh the cons. There’s nothing wrong about that, and I shouldn’t feel guilty or ashamed for living my g*ddamn best life.

The views shared here are by the author only.

 

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