. . . I wanted to have that same fearlessness; to have my ass filled with load after load until cum oozed out of my hole. I wanted to shit cum, sweat cum and snort cum, just so I could taste the drip at the back of my throat.
I thought PrEP would be my free ticket to do all of those things, but my doctor made me promise that I wouldn’t. The fact that Clive did, though, baffled me. “Have you always trusted PrEP?” I asked.
He was surprised by the question. “I always liked the idea of barebacking,” he said. “Before I started using PrEP, I’d let guys put the tips of their cocks in my ass but just quick, never fully in, nothing dangerous. When I heard about Truvada, I got a prescription right away, and yeah, I started getting fucked raw. For the first few months, anytime I got a cold I was convinced that it was HIV. I thought to myself, that’s it, I went too far, I’m positive. A part of me felt like I deserved it. Turned out that those colds though, were just colds.”
Later, he had another scare. He had developed relations with three men that he’d have bareback sex with on a regular basis. Clive had been seeing them separately for a few months when one of the men told him that he’d seroconverted. A month later, it happened to another. “It’s not like if somebody is undetectable: there’s no real risk then. But when they don’t know they’re positive, they’re usually extremely infectious,” he explained. He was sure that nothing was going to save him; two of the three guys he was sleeping with were now positive. But, again, he was fine in the end. Truvada saved him.
He stopped asking people if they were positive or negative after that. It didn’t matter. He worried about other STIs just like anybody else (and got screened regularly for them), but didn’t feel that the sex he was having was any riskier than the sex straight folk have — many don’t wear condoms either. I assumed that anal sex was more dangerous than vaginal sex, even if HIV is out of the equation, but he did have a point. There’s always a risk with sex, even with a condom, so I guess it’s a matter of how much risk you’re willing to take. The only way to have safe sex, really, is abstinence. Fuck that.
“I travel a lot,” Clive continued. “When you’re in a hotel room, alone, day after day, there isn’t much else to do other than have sex. I’ve had a lot of unprotected sex. Like, a lot, and I’m fine. I’ve only had one STI since I started using PrEP.”
“So why do so many people have a problem with it?” I asked. “Some gay guys hate it with a passion.”
“Personally, I think it’s about morality.” He didn’t have to say anymore — I understood. After the AIDS epidemic, gay men were made to feel like they deserved to be sick because of their promiscuity — like it was punishment. It seems like some of us still feel that we deserve it. There also seems to be an underlying fear of mutation: if gay men continue barebacking, will something worse than HIV will develop? Could something like that even be possible? But if that’s the fear, should we even be worrying about those kind of extreme hypothetical situations? Should we be living in constant fear of what ifs? Maybe we already do.
Clive was very curious about Loft 18+ and Urge, but after brunch he decided to go to Steamworks instead so he could have a shower before heading to the airport. I volunteered to walk him over after we paid the bill. “Where do you live?” he asked me along the way. I wasn’t sure if he was implying that he wanted to come back to my place. He asked so innocently that it was hard to tell.
“We already passed my place,” I said.
Even if I could sleep with him, putting the loyalty issues with DH aside, would I have been able to bareback with Clive? Probably not — I had to trust my doctor. He asked me not to, and he’s much smarter than I am when it comes to these subjects. I guess I also worry about Hepatitis. Doesn’t mean Clive was wrong to choose otherwise — I support his decision.
When we arrived at the alleyway by Café California I kissed him goodbye. I kind of wished that he didn’t have to fly out that night. He let me exist as I was with all my fears and hang-ups, no questions asked. Sure, I didn’t really know him that well, but he was starting to feel like a brother to me.