Don’t want to use condoms? Or maybe you’re into barebacking (intentionally having sex without using condoms)? No matter what your reason, you might want to think for a second if it’s worth it….you can get HIV or other STDs from having unprotected sexual contact with someone who has HIV or another STD. “Unprotected” means sex (anal or oral) without barrier protection, like a condom.
You are ALWAYS safer using a condom. Also, remember, even if barebacking might be cool in some gay communities, a few minutes of pleasure definitely is NOT worth the potential serious consequences of getting an STD or HIV.
Not only are condoms important to prevent HIV, especially for people living with HIV, but you gotta use condoms consistently and correctly. What does this mean?
- Use a new condom with every act of anal or oral sex.
- Use condoms correctly, to keep them from slipping off or breaking (directions are usually in the box, or visit this guide for using condoms and dental dams.
- Use the right kind of condom. Latex condoms are highly effective against HIV. (If you’re allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms.)
- Use a water-based lube when you use a condom for anal sex. Lubes reduce friction and help keep the condom from breaking. Do NOT use an oil-based lube (like petroleum jelly (Vaseline), hand lotion, or cooking oil). Oil-based lubes can damage condoms and make them less effective.
Be careful: Condoms with the spermicide Nonoxynol-9 are NOT recommended for HIV/STD prevention. Nonoxynol-9 (N9) irritates rectal walls, which increases the chance of HIV/STD infection if infected body fluids do come in contact with them.
Hand jobs, hot wax, and holding
In additional to sexual acts that carry high risk (anal sex) or some risk (oral sex), there are many ways to get off, have fun, and connect with other men that don’t involve any risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. In addition to avoiding STDs, these acts help to broaden your sexual repertoire, give alternative forms of pleasure, and build connections between you and your partner in new ways. A quick list of options can include:
- Mutual hand jobs, each with your favorite lube
- Frottage or “dry humping” to orgasm (or not)
- Massage incorporating oils, wax, chocolate syrup, or honey
- Nipple play – teasing, licking, twisting – soft or hard as each prefers
- Role play – act out scenes that excite you (cop/motorist, jailer/prisoner, etc.)
- Bondage or kink – explore safely – utilize restraints, handcuffs, or other gear to enhance sensual pleasure
- Uniforms and clothing
There are many resources available to those interested in exploring alternatives, including gay fetish sites. Just Google “gay fetish” to find them. For a look at a site related to how gay men might connect beyond sexual acts, click here.
For activities specific to California, visit these resources: