On Valentine’s Day, some men bring their women chocolates. My man would bring Tight Cheerleader Tramps in 3-D.
I knew he was into porn when I met him. But he was conflicted: Was he
addicted? And how would I feel about it? So he decided to kick the
habit and go cold chicken. For our first four and a half years
together—I’m positive; he’s negative—we ditched the visual aids.
last Fourth of July, he kept calling me at work, worried that I’d be
“late for the fireworks.” I arrived to a different sort of
pyrotechnics: a path of vibrators and whips pointing toward a
crotchless fishnet bodysuit and stilettos. Redressed for success, I
found that he’d hauled both TVs into the bedroom and had them playing
porno simultaneously. Thank God our finances have grown, because after
that night, our cable bill did, too.
The next morning, we made a
pact: We’d watch—but always together. We didn’t want the flicks to
substitute for our great sex life. But before long, I became
addicted—to watching unsafe sex. Specifically oral sex, the cunnilingus
variety. We had long ago decided we’d have only safe sex—not low-risk
sex, but absolute safe sex. It’s fabulous. But suddenly, I wanted his
face between my legs, no barrier.
We don’t do the barrier
thing because we don’t like it. We have plenty of hot alternatives:
toys, outfits, role-playing, intercourse with a condom. But no oral sex
on me. My husband watched, fascinated, as I kept fast-forwarding to the
69 scenes. I hadn’t told him about my oral fixation, because I know
he’d want to please me—and I didn’t want to risk his safety. In the
past, I’d included safe sex even in my fantasies (condoms don’t bother
me at all; I even like them). But if I saw any barriers on the screen,
I’d yawn. For the first time in 15 years, I was actually thinking about
something unsafe. It was sort of liberating—but how to experience it
without hurting my husband? What if I were with a woman? Would that be
cheating? I could reinvent myself as a cute poz lesbian, at low risk
for reinfection. But I know my man wouldn’t accept infidelity. So I
suggest the dental dam again. We both groan—in dissatisfaction. I
consider joining Cirque du Soleil to learn tongue contortionism.
rainy afternoon alone, I used the motorized buddy till the batteries
died. It wasn’t enough. I stared at the black TV screen. I knew we’d
agreed to watch together. So I took my finger and moved it slowly
toward...the play button. I began to feel sick to my stomach. I
realized I didn’t like myself much. And then it hit me: Stop the
nonsense. I’m with a hot, sexy man. This fixation isn’t even about sex.
As a recovering alcoholic, I know it’s about wanting “what’s not
available this time.” I’m not saying people with HIV don’t deserve the
right to fantasize about whatever sex act they want. And for many
people, of course, whether positive or negative, it’s what you can’t
quite see or experience that becomes the turn-on. I had to separate the
erotic from the neurotic: Not being able to have unprotected
cunnilingus doesn’t necessarily make it hot. I needed to realize that
violating trust—the trust my husband has placed in me and the trust
I’ve placed in myself—is a huge turnoff.
cherry-flavored vaginal microbicides that kill the virus will finally
arrive, and I’ll buy stock in the company. Meanwhile, we’ll celebrate
Valentine’s Day unplugged.