June / July #2 : Sex - by David Feinberg

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues




Table of Contents

S.O.S.

Bill T. Jones On Top

How TB Came Back

Remembering Rudy

Home HIV Testing Is Near

Home Free?

Strubco and the Home Test

Community Support?

C'est Magnifique!

Marlon Riggs, 37

Pas de Deux

Bad News Barrer

Finnish Your Veggies

Who's Tim McCarthy?

Flex This

POZ VCR

AIDS Law

POZ Biz: The Cure

See No Evil

Tribute

Speaking the Truth

Overheard

Urban Angels

Acting Up

AIDS Zen: Morning

Essay: World AIDS Conference

Animal Farm Redux

Life

Sex

Health

Alternative Health

Media

HIV Standard of Care

Going Home: Gene Schneider



Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


email print

June / July 1994

Sex

by David Feinberg

Oral sex just ain't what it used to be

It had been a long time since I had spent an entire afternoon dedicated to oral sex. It was Sunday. My only viable alternative was seeing Babyface at the Film Forum. With glee and sheer abandon I took the #1 uptown to nosebleed territory and found myself at the Miller Theatre of Columbia University. Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) and the Columbia Gay Health Advocacy Project have sponsored a community discussion on "Oral Sex and Possible HIV Transmission."

I came armed with a bottle of Spa water, a baggy filled with leftover tortilla chips from last night's My-Ex-Finally-Moved-Out party and remnants of the Sunday New York Times for he inevitable slow parts.

At the very least I was expecting a fascinating tearoom, I mean, snack breaks. Would the symposium include a section on technique? I was hoping for demonstrations and more than willing to host a workshop in my swank gay bachelor pad. Alas! After two hours of scientific data regarding the mechanics of transmission of HIV, the biology and virology of mucous membranes, the viral content of pre-ejaculatory fluid, I was tempted to solder my button-fly jeans permanently after the next time I urinated; I doubted I would ever be able to hold my member again without wearing two sets of latex gloves. The information wasn't particularly damning; it was, however, powerfully de-eroticizing in clinical detail.

One scientist, discussing the difficulties of culturing pre-ejaculatory fluid, mentioned its extreme viscosity. He claimed certain samples can stretch up to several feet. This, I knew from personal experience and my extensive videographic research. I would posit the popular penchant for prodigious penises to be somehow related to the phenomenon of autoerotic asphyxiation. Three years ago I learned two significant lessons from a highly inadequate boyfriend (inadequate, not due to his endowment, but because he already had a boyfriend): 1. It is possible to forget your gag response; and 2. Never attempt to suck someone off within twenty minutes of ingesting a slice of pizza (Sicilian or Neapolitan).

Once again a brave and valiant lesbian saved the day as she discussed how the fellatio paradigm didn't necessarily apply to oral sex betwee women. As she listed what William James refers to as The Varieties of Religious Experience (licking, sucking, munching, biting, lapping, tonguing, thrusting, swirling, swallowing, gargling, spitting, gumming and so on), the male members of the panel turned a whiter shade of pale. One was on the verge of fainting. GMHC's Lesbian AIDS Project has an apt acronym: LAP.

The bottom line was: Yes, it happens. Anecdotally, people have become HIV positive through oral sex. Anal sex is a far more efficient method of transmitting the virus. In the early years of the epidemic, the prevalence of unprotected anal sex masked whatever transmission was occuring through oral sex. Now as more and more people are using condoms with anal sex, or simply refraining from it, transmission through oral sex which was hidden is now apparent.

My gut reaction was, "Kill the messenger! Kill the messenger!" With an automatic rifle and enough ammo I could easily rub out the entire panel of experts and specialists. Unfortunately, during the question and answer period, the friends I was sitting next to took the mike and contended that he himself had become HIV-infected from oral sex at that very campus! Earlier in the afternoon, he had showed me his ad in The Body Positive. I only wanted to know so I wouldn't inadvertently respond to his ad. I recalled with shame that day in 1983 on Jones Beach when I passed a friend a copy of the Native, forgetting I had circled several ads.

I left unsatisfied. I wanted concrete figures and guidelines. I wanted to be able to measure on-site the probability of transmission using calipers and LCD metric devices. I wanted someone to definitely say that "data consistently suggests the per partner infectivity is about 1 percent," in which case, I would stop after 99 partners. Someone in fact did make this statement during the course of the afternoon, although I would hesitate to refer to it as any more than a preliminary hypothesis. But the point is moot. I'm already positive. I'm left with the possibility that I might have seroconverted even if I hadn't had unprotected anal sex on June 3, 1982 at 27 West 11th Street, Apartment 10, New York City.

Scroll down to comment on this story.





Name:

(will display; 2-50 characters)

Email:

(will NOT display)

City:

(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules



Hide comments

Previous Comments:


         

[Go to top]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar
POZ on Twitter

Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Should the U.S. gay blood ban end?
Yes
No

Survey
Smoke Signals

more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.