Guy #199 – A quick history of AIDS…

Movies are almost instantly dated by the technology they feature. You could probably rank every James Bond film chronologically just by looking at 007’s phone.

Likewise, you can date gay culture quite accurately by looking at the role of one of its biggest villains: AIDS.

I was born in 1982, around the time AIDS began its massive killing spree. The first thing I ever heard someone say about homosexuality was that homosexuals were people who get AIDS, homosexuals and Magic Johnson.

That, in effect, was my introduction to the gay scene.

As time evolved, so did AIDS.

Most people diagnosed with HIV in the 1980s died.
People contracting HIV in the 1990s expected to die, but then a lot of them ended up not doing that.
At the turn of the century, being HIV positive mostly meant you could never have sex without a condom again. Not a great stigma to carry, but a definite step up from getting the Philadelphia treatment.

This day and age antiviral medication allows most people with HIV to attain an undetectable viral load, which in turn means they can’t transmit the disease.

In the 1980s, having unprotected sex with an HIV positive Guy was a game of Russian roulette. Today, having sex with an ‘undetectable’ is about the safest lay there is.

And then there’s Prep, or Pre-exposure prophylaxis. Virtually unheard of ten years ago, Prep has probably surpassed Beyoncé as our go-to daily dosage of empowerment. The dialogue below is very common among gay Guys these days:

– Do you want to use a condom?
– I’m on Prep, so…

“I’m on Prep, so…” essentially means “I hate STD’s as much as the next Guy, but I’m horny enough to run the risk of peeing in agony for a week and knowing the risk of HIV is pretty much negligible at this point and not discounting the fact I’m really very horny and that condoms for all their merit do reduce fun by a factor of some number I’d happily calculate if it wasn’t for me being so horny and all this talk of condoms is not doing wonders for my erection, so…”

Ten years ago, not using condoms was restricted to Guys in committed relationships and irresponsible daredevils. Today, we hate condoms more than we fear HIV.

The story of Guy #199 marks the first time I saw the effect of Prep on gay culture, and it made me realize just how much AIDS has evolved over the years.

I met Guy #199 a few years ago at this orgy. I had heard about Prep and how gays were going bareback because of it. At the time my attitude toward Prep was hesitant at best. Having lived through the 1980s, I was very much conditioned to view barebacking as reckless. For all its downgrades over the years, HIV and AIDS were still scary.

Not so much to Guy #199.

I was lying on a mattress, comfortably riding out my wave of XTC, GHB, ketamine, cocaine and weed, when Guy #199, clearly as high as I was, lay down next to me and started touching me up. I wasn’t that much in the mood for a Guy, but Guy #199 was good looking, not something I’d turn down easily.

Passive as a captured bird I granted Guy #199 an attempt to bring me to life. It worked, right up to the moment he wanted to sit on me.
I stopped him, a little taken aback by the fact he didn’t want me to put on a condom. That, to me, was a first.

It’s not that I never had any unprotected sex before, but it had always been a somewhat careful albeit misguided consideration. And without exception, I had always come to regret it.

Most gay Guys will know what it’s like to give in to temptation, only to frantically check for signs of acute HIV infection the weeks after. Every time I barebacked a Guy, the slightest hint of a fever, sore throat or malaise would send my thoughts into overdrive, and I would vow to never take risks like that again.

Only to end up taking the very same risk after my next HIV test came back negative.

I honestly can’t remember how many times I’ve checked Wikipedia’s signs and symptoms of acute HIV infection, desperately trying to find any that ruled out HIV as the reason for my runny nose, headache or mysterious itch.

So when Guy #199 wanted to ride me without having the obligatory chat about how clean we both were, it struck me as too impulsive. He didn’t even ask if, in terms of diseases, my johnson was magic or tragic.

“Don’t you want to use a condom?” I asked.
“I’m on Prep, so…” Guy #199 rebuffed.

Guy #199 could tell I wasn’t comfortable going bareback with a stranger, so he gave me a condom and we partied like it was 1999. No doubt the party would have been better without the rubber, but being unfamiliar with Prep I anticipated another Wikipedia session I wanted to avoid.

Having sex with Guy #199 wasn’t bad, but I couldn’t shake the thought of how blithely this Guy barebacked his way through life.
It’s a thought that prevented me from starting Prep for quite some time.

Until more and more Guys around me started doing it. In the last few years I came to realize Guy #199 was not an exception but rather a first Mohican in a generation of gays to whom barebacking is back on the menu.

From the early 80s to the mid 10s, a period I commonly refer to as all my life, condom use was the nigh undebatable standard.

Then Prep came, along with HIV positive Guys with an undetectable viral load, and with it HIV gradually stopped being scary.

In August of 2018, I caved: I started taking Prep, blessed to live in a country where the stuff is accessible and affordable.

A few weeks ago, I ran into Guy #328. He was gorgeous and he wanted to do me.

“Do you want to use a condom?” he asked.
To which I said: “I’m on Prep, so…”

I’ve been checking Wikipedia’s signs and symptoms of chlamydia ever since.

Guy #109 – That time STD’s were sexy…

Common as they are, no one particularly enjoys talking about STD’s. The human body is an ecosystem of countless miniscule organisms, but it’s the few that make you die or feel like you’ll die peeing that hardly come up in conversation. The reason is simple: STD’s cover our body in icky shame.

So when Guy #109 came over for an evening of sex it came as a surprise when he told me his hot body had hepatitis.

I quickly realized Guy #109 had to go through life broadcasting this disclaimer each and every time he encountered someone he wanted to have sex with. Or rather, he chose to be honest.

Honesty to me is hotter than STD’s are icky, so Guy #109 telling me his liver was at constant risk of succumbing to the dark side immediately turned me on. I also empathized with him, imagining what it must be like to hold off on foreplay with a chat on infectious disease all the time. I’d probably feel like a waiter handing out a roll of toilet paper in lieu of a menu. We don’t like to talk about STD’s because we fear it will ruin our appetite.

Yet when Guy #109 opened up about his hepatitis he became more human than his hot body had previously suggested. I told him I had no trouble having sex with him and his liver provided I couldn’t see the latter from the outside.

That’s when it became apparent how disastrously poorly educated I was.

Unlike HIV I had always ranked hepatitis as one of the more forgettable Bond villains. I knew one could get shots to prevent getting hepatitis and always figured there’d come a day I would. Until Guy #109 told me I never knew how contagious hepatitis really is, or how lucky I’d been never to have gotten it.

Guy #109 told me we couldn’t have the sex we had both anticipated, at least not until I arranged for myself to get vaccinated.
What we could do was get naked together and tease the living daylights out of each other, which is what we did on a number of occasions over the next few months.


It was actually kind of hot to be with Guy #109 and not do what we wanted to do. It allowed us to get to know each other in a way we would never have known each other had sex been on the menu from the get go. When I finally was protected against hepatitis the sex between the two of us was cathartic, which it has been pretty much every time we hooked up since.

Every few weeks or so, Guy #109 and I would get together, cuddle up to watch a movie, eat pizza and have awesome safe sex. Hepatitis had stopped being an issue the moment Guy #109 opened up about it. And he may very well have saved me from getting it myself someday.

STD’s, as it turns out, are kind of hot.



Relationship summary:

LENGTH: 4 years and counting
FORMAT: Friends with benefits
SEX SCORE (0= The concept of ranking sexual partners <–> 10 = The best sex ever): 9.2

Guy #57 (Part 2) – Me and my Wikipedia…

Did I mention Guy #57 and I had unprotected sex?

Well, we did. Many times.

It was about a week after our last date when I found out he was dating someone else. I was devastated.
A few days later, I woke up in the middle of the night with the highest fever I ever had. Going delirious on a broken heart is the absolute worst way to lie awake at night.

The next morning I was on Wikipedia matching my symptoms with possible diseases. Of all possible diagnoses, Acute HIV Infection stood out as the most perfect match.

In my heart I knew I was about to become part of a statistic, that small percentage of Gay guys no gay wants to be a part of.

It was impossible to hide my symptoms from my mother. I needed half a day to recuperate from climbing the stairs. Knowing my mother to be the same hypochondriac as I am, I knew she was just as terrified as I was. Not for HIV specifically, but for whatever disease could have possibly struck her son.

I knew being HIV positive would be better than getting leukemia or some other lethal Wikipedia article. At the same time I was most afraid of having to tell my mother that her son had come down with a case of HIV. I didn’t even go there in our conversations. I acted cool and did my best to hide my worries. In response, my mother did the same.

When my symptoms didn’t disappear after two weeks I finally went to see a real Wikipedia, my doctor. I started off my consult by telling my doctor I was HIV positive. When I explained what I had done with Guy #57 my doctor more or less agreed that HIV was indeed probable, given my symptoms.

I emailed Guy #57 to say I was being tested for HIV. It wasn’t the kind of email I enjoyed writing to the first Guy I ever fell in love with. Guy #57 never responded on the issue, which made me worry even more.

All in all I spent three weeks being absolutely sure I somehow had to tell my mother I had done that one thing she had advised me not to do with Guys. I spent a lot of time on Wikipedia those weeks, constantly on the lookout for a diagnosis not as bad as HIV. I already pictured myself being surrounded by people acting politically correct toward my HIV status. In my mind it had already become a part of my identity: Oh, that’s uncle Lennard, he’s the gay uncle who has HIV from sticking it up a Guy he dug for a weekend, but we don’t treat him any differently.

I was quick to loathe my new self.

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One of my best phone calls ever came from my doctor, when he called me to say I had a mono infection. I would have jumped in the air, but instead stayed in bed for the next four months.

A mono infection sucks, but those four months were good for me. I watched all eight seasons of 24 in as many days. Things did start to become boring after a week or so. 24 isn’t half as exciting the second time.

A mono infection sucks, but it beat being HIV positive. I could tell my mother was equally relieved. Upon hearing the news my mother and I hugged each other, that’s how glad I was I didn’t have to talk about her son and his bareback escapades.

A mono infection sucks, but some people get other calls from their doctor. I’m not sure what’s worse: Thinking you’re HIV positive or knowing you’re HIV positive.

For those that know, I hope the latter is better.

Guy #49 – Knocking on heaven’s door…




In October of 2009 I landed a job that required me to spend a few months in Madison, Wisconsin. I was given a car, a hotel room, a laptop and a salary. In return I had to spend my days in a classroom getting a basic feel for the software my employer developed.

I did get a basic understanding of how computers work.

I also got gonorrhea.

If you give a predatory gay guy a hotel room, a laptop, a car and money, he will thrive like Donald Trump at a KKK rally. Getting dates in Wisconsin is easy when you have a car, money and a hotel room at your disposal.,,,,, and Facebook were but a few of the online places where one could get gonorrhea in 2009. Like I said, I had gotten a basic understanding of how computers work.

Guy #49 was as lovely as he was hot. Of all the Guys I had browsed in the Madison area he was by far the cutest, so I hooked up with him first. We had a great evening in my hotel room. He even spent the night with me. I love falling asleep in someone’s arms, even if they belong to a stranger.

When this stranger called me a week later I was thrilled, expecting an invitation for a second date. Why else would someone call me after spending the night with me?
“I’ve been having this weird painful feeling in my ass for a few days,” Guy #49 told me over the phone. It struck me as an odd choice of words to initiate a second date. He continued by saying he had seen a doctor and that he had been diagnosed with gonorrhea.

I had never disobeyed the rules of safe sex, but I guess I did bend them on a few occasions, such as that time with Guy #49. Gays often don’t use a condom when they knock on heaven’s door.

At the advice of Guy #49 I made a doctor’s appointment.
However, before I even made it to a doctor peeing became as frequent as it became hurtful and my penis started secreting slimy stuff as if it was auditioning for a role in Ghostbusters.

I’m all for gay pride, but I didn’t feel much of it when I pulled down my pants in front of my doctor and a nurse.
Two days after that glorious moment I called Guy #49.
“So I tested positive for gonorrhea too,” I said.
“Well, I’m glad we both know now.”
What followed was a conversation in which we both stated it didn’t matter who had given gonorrhea to whom, even though we both thought we had gotten it from each other.

Guy #49 made me realize how lucky I am not to have been born 20 years earlier, when AIDS consumed a generation, or 20 years later, when antibiotics may no longer be effective as they have been for me. 20 years earlier and I might not have lived past the 1980s. 20 years later and I would have spent a lifetime peeing in agony.

These days a lot of gay guys do more than just knocking on heaven’s door without a condom. Nearly everybody claims to practice nothing but safe sex, yet whenever you get down to it you’ll find that a shockingly large number of people are willing to make an ‘exception’ for you. I don’t think safe sex is the standard anymore.

Sometimes I wonder if there will be another generation of gay guys traumatized by a disease they alone appear to be vulnerable for. Knocking on heaven’s door might not be that much of a metaphor ten years from now.

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Guy #49 and I never had a second date. Gonorrhea is simply more disgusting than casual sex is pleasurable. Seriously, I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone to be grossed out by their own penis.

It took me one pill to shed the disease from me. Regardless, I felt shame being part of a statistic, a certain group of people that gets an STD. I even felt shame toward my employer. It’s not that I ever told my boss about my Ghostbusters audition, but I did feel bad getting gonorrhea at his expense.

Also, I had to refrain from having sex for a while. Suddenly the hotel room, the car, the laptop and the money had lost their value.

I did learn a lot more about how computers work though.



Relationship summary:

LENGTH: 8 hours, followed by two awkward phone conversations
FORMAT: Intimate sleepover
SEX SCORE (0 = Gonorrhea <–> 10 = The best sex ever): 8.7


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