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Focusing on pleasure

Lessons from pig sex

"In the work that I do, and among the folks I talk to in the community, there's a real sense of wanting to talk about pleasure, wanting to talk about what we do well, and who," says Duncan MacLachlan of the AIDS Committee of Toronto. Credit: Nathaniel Christopher photo

Pigs have a lot to teach gay men about healthy living, says Duncan MacLachlan, the gay men’s outreach coordinator for the AIDS Committee of Toronto.

MacLachlan spoke at the Desire and Defiance: Pig Sex Project portion of the Gay Men’s Health Summit.

“I am a 43-year-old muscle short boy. I am a total pig, which means I like most of the things you guys in this site love: fisting, big dildos, cocks, big rosebuds, hairy men, lean men, muscle men, big bears, daddies, bikers, skinheads, tattoos, piercings, nipple play, WS, and the list goes on,” MacLachlan read from one profile posted on recon.com, a hook-up site for men into fetish gear.

The Pig Sex Project is an expanding series of community consultations with men who identify as sex pigs or who are interested in pig sex. Before coming to Vancouver, the project held two consultations in Toronto.

“The second one occurred because at the first one some guy said, ‘This is amazing. Finally, this is really exciting and we want more of it!’ And, of course, being pigs, that’d be appropriate,” MacLachlan notes.

The Vancouver workshop, held at Steamworks bathhouse after the summit, elicited great discussion, according to co-organizer Jody Jollimore of the Health Initiative for Men.

“I would say that, by all accounts, the event was a great success. In the end we had 27 gay guys participate in the workshop. Five facilitators (four from Toronto, one from here) met with small groups in various locations at the bathhouse, including two sling rooms and the gym.”

HIV prevention work is traditionally focused on risks and vulnerabilities, notes MacLachlan, so by focusing on pleasure, the Pig Sex Project represents a new approach.

“I think that we’re in a time and a place where there’s real need for celebrating sexuality,” he says.

“In the work that I do, and among the folks I talk to in the community, there’s a real sense of wanting to talk about pleasure, wanting to talk about what we do well, and who. We’re creative particularly with sexuality. This is a real strength and a real source of resilience for us.”

MacLachlan describes the project’s participants as pro-sex, pro-choice, anti-stigma and very much about pleasure and desire.

He also notes the discrimination some pig sex enthusiasts face within the gay community.  “With guys into pig sex, these guys are kind of sexual outlaws and some would say deviant,” he says.