February 12, 2014

“Dear Daddy,

“I am HIV negative, I always use condoms, I always ask my partners HIV status before playing and I never have any kind of sex with anyone whom I know to be positive. While I love exploring the kink community, it seems that many participants are HIV positive. As a result, I feel there is an expectation that you must be poz-friendly to play. I’m very open to playing and exploring, but all too-often i have to draw the line at sex and some have accused me of being poz-phobic. I want to find a place in the kink community, but I fear I’ll be shunned for ‘not playing well with others.’ “

Daddy Kenneth Every person has a right, and responsibility, to protect themselves from HIV using whatever means they are comfortable using. Sero-sorting (having sex with someone who’s HIV status matches your own) and condom use are two methods of protecting yourself from sero-conversion. Using both these methods in conjunction with each other makes sex safer for yourself. There is nothing inherently poz-phobic about protecting yourself. That said, there are poz-phobic ways of telling someone that you are not going to have sex with them because they are positive. Phrases like “I only have sex with guys who are clean” imply that positive people are dirty somehow. Telling others that someone is positive after they have been responsible people and disclosed to you is pretty rude as well. Equating HIV and STI’s with drug use by using phrases like “DDF” is another way to stigmatize positive people. So long as you are not doing those things, and are treating positive people as people first; I think you can safely say you are poz-friendly, without having sex with positive men.

All of that said, merely asking someone if they are negative does not guarantee that you’ll get an honest answer. A better question to ask a potential sex partner is “When was your last HIV test, and what was the result?” Every sexually active person should know the answer to this question, and you can gauge the potential risk to yourself based on their answer. It’s also easier to tell with this question if someone is lying because it asks them for specific information, not a multiple choice option.

There are also other things to consider when vetting potential sex partners. Having barrier-protected sex with a positive person who has a medication-controlled low or suppressed viral load is safer than having barrier-protected sex with a person who has recently converted and has a high viral load. Reacting poorly to an honest answer that is not the one you prefer means that person might reconsider being honest next time he’s asked that question. Talk about a vicious cycle, if negative guys treat positive guys like shit when they’re honest, they are not going to be honest, which is a pretty shitty thing for a positive person to do. Always remember that positive people are people first, and should be treated as such.

As for playing in the kink community; it does not necessarily mean penetrative sex. When negotiating with potential play partners, you can take penetrative sex off the table right away and then lay out the kinky stuff you’re into. Many people will be willing to play within your limits, and those that are not will let you know during negotiation. So long as you are respectful about your approach, you should be respected in return. You can get flogged, tied up, blindfolded, electrocuted, punched, spanked, and mummified without ever being penetrated. Some folks in the kink community specifically look kinky partners that they can play with without having penetrative sex, because they have a partner at home who’s not kinky; they may get their kink on with you, and get their sex on with him. Much of what we do can be done without breaking the skin or penetrating an orifice. Stay true to yourself, and expand your limits without crossing lines that make you uncomfortable, and you will soon be known as someone who plays well with others, but has reasonable limits.

Do you have an question for “Ask Daddy”? Send it to me, for a chance to have it answered in a future column.

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