As avid readers of TheBody.com are well aware, Bob Frascino, M.D., who'd helmed the Safe Sex and HIV Prevention forum since 2003, was the reigning master of the "Strange but True" question response. On Sept. 17, 2011, "Dr. Bob" passed away suddenly, a loss we'll feel for as long as feelings exist. To honor his intelligent, rambunctious, compassionate spirit, which has fortified our site for so many years, our "Strangest but Truest" collection this year is a tribute to him.
We scoured our "Ask the Experts" forums and nominated 10 posts we felt were the "best of the worst" (six posts from this year and four previous winners). Many of you voted on which of the 10 finalists was the most bizarre. Each post was rated from 1 (not strange) to 5 (extremely strange). We then tallied up the votes and calculated their average ratings.
The "Winner" (a.k.a. the Loser)
Silent but Deadly? ("Winner" of Strangest but Truest Posts of 2009)
(Average Rating: 4.63)
I inhaled some scentless farts recently. I know inhalation is a route of medicine administration, so things you inhale do get into your bloodstream. I also have a weak immune system so that increases my chances of contracting HIV (I have a master's degree in public health, so I know about these things). Should I get tested?
From Dr. Bob's response: "If HIV were transmitted by airborne farts, wouldn't everyone who has dinner in a Mexican restaurant be infected?"
The Final Nine
Here's how the nine other finalists shook out:
Pounding My Pillow: Can Bedding Give Me HIV?
(Average Rating: 4.35)
I made a sex toy by cutting a hole in a pillow and, well, having sex with it. When I masturbate with my toy, sometimes my semen gets in the pillow. Will this practice eventually lead to HIV infection?
From Dr. Bob's response: "Are you perhaps concerned that Mr. Pillow has been having unsafe sex with other guys when you weren't poking him?"
Ziploc: It Keeps the Freshness in (and, Apparently, the HIV) ("Winner" of Strangest but Truest Posts of 2008)
(Average Rating: 4.34)
Two weeks ago, I masturbated using two Ziploc plastic bags. Now I have a fever and my throat is sore. Did I give myself HIV?
From Dr. Bob's response: "Are you one of Sarah 'I can see Russia from my house' Palin's kids perchance??? Or perhaps you've been homeschooled or maybe you're just another victim of Dubya's disastrous abstinence-only sex (mis)-education program?"
Risk of Sticking Random Objects Where the Sun Doesn't Shine?
(Average Rating: 4.30)
I was alone and being stupid, and I put an old toothbrush and a sun umbrella tube in my anus. I did it a few times, and bled once or twice. I only washed these objects with water before I stuck them up there. Has anyone ever become HIV positive in this way? I'm killing myself inside with this question!
From Dr. Bob's response: "Dude, you stuck a toothbrush up your butt? How many times have I told you that's not the best way to reach those back molars?"
Airing (or Rubbing) the Family's Dirty Laundry: Will I Get HIV?
(Average Rating: 4.24)
I've been using my aunt's used panties for masturbation for almost a year -- I smell, lick and rub my penis on those panties. My aunt's not HIV positive, so will I get HIV by doing this?
From Dr. Bob's response: "You've been spunking up your auntie's panties for a year and she hasn't caught on yet? Apparently she must not be the brightest bulb in the tanning bed."
When "Bless You" Is an Understatement ("Winner" of Strangest but Truest Posts of 2007)
(Average Rating: 4.23)
I sneezed on my penis right after I masturbated. Could I have gotten HIV?
From Dr. Bob's response: "Sneezing and spunking almost simultaneously must have been quite a rush! But why would that raise concerns about HIV? You can't give yourself HIV!"
Great Ways to Spend Your Lunch Break at Work? ("Winner" of Strangest but Truest Posts of 2010)
(Average Rating: 4.21)
I used the handle of a spoon as a dildo. I forgot to wash the handle before I used it but it didn't look dirty. While using it I got a cut around my anus, which bled a little. The spoon was in a kitchen drawer at a busy workplace. I'm pretty sure nobody'd touched it for at least an hour. Any risk of HIV if somebody with a cut on their hand touched the spoon an hour before I stuck it in my butt?
From Dr. Bob's response: "Well, if you were hellbent to sit on kitchen utensils, I guess we should be glad you didn't pick a cheese grater."
Gay Guy Gone Straight! Did I Put Myself at Risk?
(Average Rating: 3.41)
I am 30, gay, and have always played safe in the past. I hurt my back and my doctor sent me to a physical therapist. I arrive at the place, and a nice girl takes me to the room where I get a very therapeutic lower back massage. But then she starts to play with my penis! At first I was hesitant but figured "why not, it feels good, the hell with it." So basically, I strayed from gay. Am I at risk for HIV from this?
From Dr. Bob's response: "Let me get this 'straight.' ... When you arrived the place was 'Me Love You Long Times Asian Massage Parlor' and the physical therapist (aka "Nice Asian Massage Girl") massages your back and Mr. Happy with oil until you pop your cork??? WOWZA."
The Canine Epidemic: Is My Puppy at Risk for HIV?
(Average Rating: 3.12)
My puppy bit my friend who's HIV positive (a friendly bite, no deep wound, almost like a scratch). Can my puppy get the virus? What are the risks?
From Dr. Bob's response: "Even if your precious pooch Toto turned into a vicious Cujo and bit you, there is no risk of HIV transmission. The same applies if you bit him back ..."
Will a Wash and Pee Keep Away HIV?
(Average Rating: 2.90)
A married, topless woman I don't know recently flagged me into her hotel room, and we quickly had unprotected sex before her husband could catch us. I've never made such a stupid move, and now I'm worried about HIV. Right after I ejaculated I immediately pulled out to check for any cuts or nicks, and ran into the bathroom to wash my penis. I also urinated with force. Did I minimize my chances of becoming HIV positive by washing and peeing right after sex?
From Dr. Bob's response: "I would advise you level with your wife and use latex condoms ..."