Is there anything more boring than oral-sex war stories? Seriously, who wants to hear a cum-soaked hagiography of someone's greatest kneepad sessions, unless it's presented in a three-color multimedia display with a box of tissues and a remote? Let's stop fetishizing it, mythologizing it, and wanting it, and talk about just how dangerous oral sex really is.

Let's start with barfing, shall we?

The Gag Reflex Lie is one of the first things I learned as a dick-sucking novice, and it is the first myth of oral sex that must be exposed. As far as oral histories go, the book of love dubiously omits the chapter wherein readers are informed that they will invariably throw up at least once while going down. But you will. Rule number one, then: Never splash your partner's thigh with vomit. Unless he's some puke-lovin' psycho, this is wildly unsexy. Your boyfriend at the time--let's call him Ben--might not understand the sudden hurl, and might think you're a complete nimrod not worth the time it took to unbutton his fly in the bathroom stall. Later in life, you may feel that you've gotten your evil throat tickle under control. You haven't. Remain vigilant, or your one-night stand--let's call him Michael--might not be as forgiving as you'd like when you spray his brand-new Nikes with the sherbet-colored sum of your reverse brunch.

Still, when it comes to oral sex, misplaced puke is the least of your worries. Here's some amazing, myth-busting news that isn't news at all: Sucking cock can get you HIV-positive faster than a Detroit street junkie's needle. "No way," you pout with those wet, come-mouthfuck-me lips. "I'm careful. Nobody shoots in my mouth, I've never had a cavity, and I floss with Glide!" Sounds great, guys, but some of the statistics on oral HIV transmission will give you lockjaw so fast you could clamp a Prince Albert in two.

Cast me down and call me the Blowjob Cassandra, but hear my story: I know with 100 percent certainty that oral sex, and oral sex alone, was how I progressed. Not good enough? How about some "anecdotal" evidence: At least three of my positive friends converted in exactly the same manner. (By the way, that's 75 percent of my close HIV-positive friends.) There we all were, the supposedly enlightened queer children of the '90s, a Brotherhood Under AIDS, feverishly pasting up our AIDS posters with dire warnings on everything from getting fucked to using poppers to voting Republican. Our gay male culture, burdened from the get-go with a disproportionate emphasis on oral sex as the "safer" sex, is in serious need of a punch to the nuts over this issue.

Whatever your reasons, be they stubbornness, horniness, or plain horny stubbornness, the next time you slob down on stick-pussy, you need to fully grasp this scientific fact: An HIV-positive man, particularly a newly infected one, sheds pre-cum virus faster than a collie sheds fur in summer. Even men who've been positive for years, taking cabinets full of antiviral medications, have more than enough HIV in their "hidden reservoirs" (conveniently located, for the most part, in the testes). To put it bluntly, giving head to somebody you don't know is like sucking a loaded gun. So in the alleged, paraphrased, words of Sylvester Stallone: Cradle the balls, lick the shaft.

Finally, some good news about oral sex: You get better at it. At 33, I've definitely figured out my technique: the subtle effect of a tongue-lashing, a wet caress, a well-timed moan--all powerful weapons in the suck wars. While finding the cocksucker within took a lot of practice, and left me with rivers of sperm washed under the bridge, I can honestly say--it didn't suck.