For the writer asking Dan to endorse condoms for oral sex -- I'm disappointed that Dan didn't address when they said they were almost suicidal waiting for STD results. While it's important to be safe(r), we also need to address the stigma around STDs so that people don't contemplate ending their lives because of one. That seems the more important issue to me.


One of the best movies I've ever watched is called Stevie - a documentary by the same guy who filmed Hoop Dreams. Instead of inner city Chicago, this time he's revisiting his Catholic Little Brother in poor, rural Illinois.

One of the twists of the film is that, not long after starting the documentary, Stevie, now an adult, is accused of molesting his ~9 year old niece. Now, Stevie is an adult with a host of developmental disabilities and was abused and abandoned by his parents. Steve James (the filmmaker) uncovers an analysis by one of Stevie's case workers while he was a child (probably around 8 or 9). The report said ~"Is likely to molest children when he grows older, who he sees as his emotional peers".


1 - No one should use a flavored condom. Gross.
2 - If you were suicidal because you're worried you got herpes from giving an unprotected blowjob... you really should be undergoing heavy therapy. That your entire life revolves around your orientation... may be part of the problem. Remember when college kids used to brag about how university expanded their horizons and see things that are beyond their perspective? Now they're bragging about how little they can pay attention to and learn. Sad times.

Side note for Dan - We knew at least by 1989 that you couldn't get HIV from oral. I remember quite vividly our teachers being like "you can't get HIV from kissing, sharing clothes, or using the same toilet seats" etc - a lot of things 2nd and 3rd graders like us might have wanted to avoid if a classmate / parent / friend had HIV. I do feel bad the I had better elementary school Sex Ed than most kids get through high school. God Bless Seattle Public Schools.


The gender queer, biological female sounds emotionally stunted. If your life revolves around your gender identity and you have had suicidial thoughts over potential STIs, you should be seeking therapy.

I didn’t comment on BFD letter, but the number of readers who write in thinking they have identitified a sexual deviant seems high, and I doubt that non-professionals are good at this as they might think. While I appreciate that there exist hypothetical children out there, there is with certainty someone being accused on slim facts. The witch hunt aspect of such an accusation seems very real, and like the witch hunts of old can lead to terrible consequences.

Like the swallows returning to Capistrano, another weekly round up includes a letter accusing a male letter writer or the male partner of a female letter writer of being emotionally abusive or an incel.


So let me get this straight: this LW is willing to wipe out three decades of Dan's good work because of a single comment?


"Pulling out the rubber gloves"? Unless you were going to put a finger in someone's ass, that's just weird.


There are worse things than having an STI. Like suicide, for instance.


@7 Yes, but it seems to me LW is writing from her (young, combative) perspective as a college student way way way back in 2008?


@LW: I do hope you will consider therapy or continue therapy, possibly throughout your life. Some of us are wired through experience and genes to have suicidal responses to events like your STD scares that for most people would not provoke such thoughts. You may also be more attentive to what others say than most people are, like Dan's comments on your campus staying with you for many years. If you are "wired" like this, and your letter suggests you may be, you can with time and work change this to some extent, and where you can't, understand your neurocognitive uniqueness and have a happier life surrounded by the world of thoughtless / heartless neurotypicals.


@7 she was referring pretty explicitly to an STI that she didn't actually get from performing unprotected oral.

Now, what type of symptom might one suspect was an STI symptom from oral that a doctor would then test for? There's only 1 - a cold sore.

But actually let's imagine it was from unprotected intercourse. Now firstly, she says that "several sexual partners were not honest about their status". Now, all yourself, what sti did LW not get that several of her partners lied about their status of? They didn't an have HIV, we can be fairly certain. That might cause suicidal thoughts, but we can almost certainly eliminate that possibility. I guess several of her partners could have had gonnorhea/chlamydia, but again, she apparently had symptoms butt not the actual condition, so that seems less likely. I'm going with herpes, and lw is an unreliable narrator.


@10 and @11 -

Go FUCK yourself, you homophobic piece of shit.


Can we get rid of the troll, Dan. They have had free rein for weeks now.


Slither back into the long grass troll, like the snake you are.


I just want to know if the troll lives in a city, or consumes food made from domesticated animals. He seems so determined that if something causes or even encourages the spread of disease, it shouldn't be done, ya know, because "biology and epidemiology and Science!" I assume he's trolling using the excellent wifi he has in his remote cave somewhere.

(Sorry, sorry, I know I shouldn't feed him.)


@15 I was just complaining elsewhere on the internet about people not getting the "free rein" metaphor right. Thanks!

Trolls really don't bother me all that much. @10/11 at least tries to focus on factual arguments.

So the article copied and pasted into @11 is from April 1987 and can be found here:

@11 made certain strategic edits to the article as well, including its second paragraph which read:

"In an address to the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, the nation`s oldest medical academy, Reagan refused to support a broader federal role in fighting acquired immune deficiency syndrome, which has been diagnosed in more than 33,000 Americans and has been reported in 99 countries."

I would note that the first NY TImes article about AIDS appeared in July, 1981 ( Reagan's response cited here therefore came after at least a good five years of inaction and silence. Had AIDS affected almost any other population in the US, five years of inaction would have had heads rolling in the federal government, including the Surgeon General and HHS Secretary.

Furthermore, the idea that "a strong reliance on such moral principles as marital fidelity and sexual abstinence outside of marriage," is an effective response to a disease that so disproportionately affected gay men shows just how out of touch—no doubt deliberately so, for political purposes—Reagan was. I need not point out that same sex marriage was nowhere on the horizon in 1987. I take Reagan's refusal to see gay men's existence as pandering to social conservatives and a moral failure of the highest order. Your own desire to associate yourself with it is a grave comment on the state of your own soul.

Your analogy with the measles is an interesting own, since our modern approach to HIV prevention is actually very similar. We do not advocate "prevention" of measles by withdrawal from activities where the virus might be passed along. Instead, we advocate the use of vaccines. With HIV, today we advocate the use of PrEP playing a role just like that of a vaccine. How are the two approaches different?


Oh well. This comment section was fun while it lasted.


Ignore them Marty. They’ll be gone Monday.
Ok Corydon @18, no problem. I didn’t know it was a metaphor.
I remember the time of the AIDS epidemic, cbu, and I was watching from the sidelines, mostly. In the seventies, lots of straight identifying men experimented with homosexuality and my husband had been one of them.
Those were dark and inhumane times.
Now it’s the refugees copping the cultural neglect.


@Dan - if I remember, you've said on the lovecast or in the column that you had two friends who contracted HIV from giving blow jobs but you never gave details - were they total tops always used a condom (bottoms / vers could have gotten stealthed), did they have recent dental surgery or other risk factors?

HIV from a blowjob is less supposedly less than one in a million so you either have two million gay male friends... or two very unlucky friends. If you'll pardon the math, I know hundreds of guys who've given BJs to 100s to 1000s of guys: which makes >100k total BJs in my extended friend, colleague and acquaintance circle, and never heard of anyone contracting HIV from giving a BJ.


@Dan please keep emphasizing the importance of condoms for anal, even if on PrEP. HTLV is pretty scary, and it can spread by unprotected anal:

Most people with HTLV are asymptomic carriers, it is not part of routine testing, it spreads through blood / body fluids (unprotected anal). It has a long incubation time. All the ingredients for another pandemic!

We need to get back to the standard of condoms being routine for anal and PIV with hookups and non-fluid bonded partners.


@22 It's a personal pet peeve. Lots of people on the internet talk about giving someone "free reign," not understanding where the phrase comes from. I'm so used to seeing it done wrong, I really like saying something nice when it's done right :)

I'm not old enough to have personally experienced things pre-AIDS, but I did come out at the height of the crisis. It absolutely affected and continues to affect how I relate to my sexuality, as I'm sure it does for most gay men my age in various ways. I don't know if that qualifies me as a refugee.

One thing I have learned is that I absolutely refuse to accept it as a moral judgment. Viruses, bacteria, and diseases and disorders in general have no moral content. HIV and the common cold are the same thing fundamentally: viruses looking for hosts to help them replicate. It's not useful to categorize those viruses into "shameful" and "not-shameful."


See, I even spelt it wrong Corydon. Reign. Thanks, I’ll try to remember. Glad I brought you some cheer.


Lava, the point was you spelt it right. People say "free reign" as if it's a metaphor referencing the reign of a king, but it's a reference to reins, like you use to control horses. "Free rein" therefore is not controlling the choices the horse would make naturally--letting it choose for itself. He was pleased you got it right :)


The courage of gay men looking after each other, and others fighting to stop this plague, which AIDS was back then, shone bright lights during a tragic time in our culture.


Oh, thanks ciods. These phrases pop into my head and I hope I follow thru with the spelling.
The three main contenders for POTUS in foreverawayland,
Biden. Saunders. Trump.
We’ve got a general election in three weeks, that’s all the time we give these bastards to sweet talk us. You guys torture yourselves.
Three old white men. Not one woman is up there. What does it take?




@27 Yes, absolutely...I'm not expressing myself well this weekend but you did indeed get it right :)

As for your question in @30, I'm not one to donate to political candidates, but Elizabeth Warren got me to open up my wallet. Beyond that and talking her up, I just hope for the best. Not much else to do.


Dumbo I am, now I get it all and how it was a metaphor. ...this old brain ain’t what she used to be, ain’t what she used to be.


Commie has finally shown his true colours. Time to come up with yet another alias, since I'm sure this bullshit is going to get him kicked off.

Corydon @18: Pedantry high five, or should I use the also often-incorrect "hear, hear!" Free rein/reign is one of my bugbears too. Guess not many people ride horses nowadays.


Dan should have taken the opportunity to educate the young boy in the ways of the world. If you’re going to be sexually active with random strangers eventually you’ll catch something that requires treatment. Every gay man I know over 30 has at least one good “after three weeks he finally texted me back to say he had syphillis...” story. So either become celibate, settle down now or thank God most things have a cure


The troll basically just said that humans want to have sex even though there are consequences that dramatically affect their lives, health, mortality, etc. Which is not new, it's been one of the defining aspects of being human since we crawled down from the trees. So basically the only thing you are arguing is that since humans could just abstain, we shouldn't fault people in power when they refuse to promote and advance any of the medical technology that makes sex safer. It's not a coincidence that the same people who think gay men should've just stopped having sex during the plague years also want to limit women's bodily autonomy. The GOP is basically a death cult by now anyway so it's hardly surprising, but Regan said all that shit in 1987.

So even though I know the troll doesn't care, for other casual readers who might not have been alive at that time, I'd like to add to Corydon's post. Let's just take Reagan's 1987 statement at face value- the main problem was a lack of ready researchers and facilities to deal with the magnitude of the crisis in the later 80s. Too bad the president in the early 80s didn't make combatting the epidemic a priority back then so that they didn't have this infrastructural problem by 1987. A good time to do that would've been in 1982 when Congress held its first hearings about the epidemic and the media started drilling the POTUS spokesman about it at press conferences and the CDC and the PHS made it a national priority or the next year when WHO did the same internationally. Regan did utter the word "AIDS"- he did so for the first time in 1985, and yes, by 1987 - after thousands of people had died- he publicly declared it a top priority but lamented that the physical limits of facilities and trained people restricted the US's response. So I guess you are correct that the POTUS in 1987 behaved responsibly- it's the POTUS in 1982-1986 that did not. I wonder who that was? Oh, snap.


@41: With you and your ilk lurking around here, we'll never have the problem of #9.


The original @41 — which was deleted while I was writing the new @41 — contained a list of a dozen maladies the commenter claimed some quack doctor could cure just as easily as he "cured" their herpes. #9 of 12 was "low spam count."


@13 I wasn't


My guess while reading was that she's referring to either discovering after sex that a partner was positive, she tested, found out she was negative, and now attributes her negative status to the barriers she used, or she has been exposed to HPV (like most sexually active women) and is referring to waiting on Pap results or something more intrusive like colposcopies to see if she has cervical cancer- which does in fact kill thousands of women a year. The reason my mind went there is because of the gloves thing - she's using extreme barriers now which would make more sense for something like HPV or herpes (and not necessary for something like HIV which is a much more fragile virus) but it would be weird to get suicidal over the thought of getting herpes. I mean, none of us want herpes but cancer is way scarier. Also, despite the fact that HIV is no longer a death sentence, over 10000 Americans still die from AIDS related causes every single year, so let's not get so complacent about it that we'd wonder why an LW might be so distressed over it. I agree that the suicidal levels of stress while waiting for results coupled with a description of their entire life revolving around their orientation and sex indicates a person who is quite an outlier, but I don't suppose extreme anxiety around STIs or wearing gloves is necessarily any odder than adult babies or people with blueberry fetishes, etc.

Also cocksuckers, gargle with listerine for at least a minute afterwards, seriously. It's definitely not a failsafe but it cuts the risk of gonorrhea in half. Since that's the one with the growing antibiotics resistance, it's not a bad idea to give it a shot. Costs you nothing and does reduce risk a bit so why not?


Troll, hundreds of thousands of women die every year from childbirth. Even more are harmed. So I guess het people are doing it wrong too since the way they are having sex does in fact kill them and others. Monogamy does not prevent this. Abstinence does. I suppose we should let the species die out. The world would be better for it. But something tells me that you have different rules for gay sex and straight sex though plenty of religious right relics like yourself hate women as much as they hate gay men so who knows. Maybe it's just sex in general that you hate?

"Judeo-Christian" values do jack shit to decrease the mortality rates from any sexual activities. What makes sex safer for straight women likewise makes it safer for gay men: improved sanitation, universal access to modern medicine & tech, government investment in societal infrastructure including health care, and the societal acceptance of sexuality for people other than straight men. And Moses was totally down with slaughtering ethnically different men, women and children as well as with kidnapping virgin girls to be the assigned wives for his frustrated young male followers which frankly are exactly the 'Judeo Christian' values I see on full display these days. Once I realized this, the apparent contradiction in values between the religious right of my youth and the current crop of MAGA alt-righters disappeared.


Re: condoms for oral sex. I've sucked condom-covered dicks, but it was an act of kindness for paranoid guys just coming out as gay or bi, not a particularly erotic experience. It was satisfying for it's own reasons. Men who are beginning to crack open their closet door just a little, and venturing out timidly and with everything covered, need our support too.


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