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Opinion Piece

Put on a fucking condom

Originally published in The Sydney Star Observer, December 2 2013

EVERYWHERE I look, bareback sex seems to be new the new trend with gay men. On Grindr, Manhunt, Scruff and Gaydar men are often asking for “raw sex”. There are even dedicated sites.

Bareback parties are a new and exciting trend. We have to take off the condom to make sex “raw” and “exciting”. How fucking stupid!

A report from a little while ago from the Kirby Institute showed a marked increase in Australia of STIs, with HIV infections increasing by a whopping 10 per cent. After years of successful campaigns to reduce the levels of STIs, the trend is now reversing, and at a very worrying pace. The research said that the gay male community is one of the reasons for this.

Professor David Wilson said: ”HIV is no longer the death sentence it once was. With good, effective treatments, it can keep people alive to almost a full life expectancy. So I think it’s perhaps a little bit of complacency that’s set in.”

He continued: ”Unfortunately it does appear that, particularly in the gay community, condoms are not being used as much.

“And we’re seeing that particularly among the young men, those in their twenties, those that weren’t exposed to a lot of the public health campaigns of the eighties and nineties.”

I repeat, how fucking stupid!

I mean, I get it. I understand that we don’t see HIV as a life sentence anymore. As someone in my 20s, I missed the campaigns that were around in the 80s – the campaigns that made it clear how bad these diseases can be. With this perception I guess I can see a mindset in which bareback sex is seen as a risk worth taking. I can see how you could think that it makes sex more exciting, more worthwhile, more thrilling.

But really it is just a stupid thing to do.

There is nothing edgy, exciting or enthralling about STIs. They are serious. They have real life impacts hurting you and the people around you. HIV is an infection that requires life-long treatment treatment that can often have very negative side-effects. Other STIs can cause infertility, reduced sexual performance and other often very painful symptoms. There is nothing at all edgy, exciting or enthralling about that.

And because of that there is nothing ‘vanilla’ about wearing a condom. It isn’t about taking away the excitement of sex, or even making it less enjoyable. It isn’t about being boring or ‘taking away the fun’. It is about making sure you don’t catch a disease or infection that could stick with you for life. It is about making sure that one sexual encounter doesn’t leave you with a life-long disease or illness.

The bareback sex trend is stupid. And it should be called out as such.

It’s as simple as that. For yourself, your family, and your friends, just put on a fucking condom.

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About Simon Copland

Simon Copland is a freelance writer and climate campaigner. In his spare time he plays rugby union and is a David Bowie fanatic. He is a regular columnist for the Sydney Star Observer, blogs at The Moonbat and tweets at @SimonCopland.

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