You know what the biggest problem with the internet is? Other than the fact that it’s a massive time-suck, rewards people for being assholes, and is responsible for the creation of (ugh) “internet celebrities.” It’s the fact that the internet has created an entire generation of people who can never be wrong. If you’ve ever seen people argue on the internet, you probably know that it’s less about exchanging ideas and coming to a reasonable compromise than it is two sides screaming “You’re wrong!” and “No, you’re wrong!” until everyone hates everyone.
The worst kind of internet argument is one in which one side manages to censor the other side, which is exactly what happened when queerty.com ran a post slamming a Facebook community page devoted to barebacking. One day after the post went live, Facebook banned the page from its site for two weeks before reinstating it.
Look, I think people should be wearing condoms and should be responsible in the sex they have, especially when you consider the rising rate of STIs and HIV. That being said, you can’t encourage safer sex by censoring bareback sex any more than you can make yourself louder by putting duct tape over someone else’s mouth.
Whether or not you think there should be a barebacking page on Facebook, most of us can agree that censoring something on the internet will contribute jack-shit toward encouraging people to throw on condoms. If anything, you’re just pissing off people who practise bareback sex and making them less willing to consider arguments in favour of safer sex.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter which side of the argument you’re on here: it’s no one’s place to censor another person who disagrees with them. Whether you’re for safer sex or prefer bareback sex or if you never have sex at all, as a competent and consenting adult, you’re entitled to the kind of sex you want with other adults of equal standing. Of course mistakes happen, and people are going to have to accept responsibility for their sex lives, but it’s not your place to accept responsibility for what others do in the privacy of their own bedrooms. (Or bathhouses, or hotel rooms, or restroom stalls, or . . . Well, you get the point here.)
If there’s anything we can pull from this, it’s that it might be time for us to reevaluate how we encourage people to practise safer sex. There’s no such thing as 100-percent safe sex, and there’s always going to be a certain degree of risk no matter what you do. However, censoring bareback sex isn’t going to convince anyone to wrap it up.
There are plenty of reasons you should try to protect yourself during sex: STIs are a bitch, as is an unwanted pregnancy, and HIV is still a huge problem in the gay community. Yes, condoms don’t feel as good as unprotected sex, but long-term, they’re preferable to burning piss. Either way, it’s better to be honest and open about sexual health than it is to silence anyone who disagrees with you.
Check out Xtra‘s behind-the-scenes look at barebacking in porn.