Your Sixth Sense: Can You Trust It?
September 23, 2013
What About HIV?
I think most people would agree that knowing if a person is genuine, or lying through their teeth is important, although perhaps impossible to ascertain for certain online. Take a look at this (genuine) profile from a hook up site: what do you think? Is this person trustworthy or not and does it matter either way?
"Versa, hung GWM, business guy, 45, discreet, looking for hook ups in the Chicago area. Into most scenes with other discreet guys, love group play. HIV negative and STD free." (headless nude photo of Mr. Average attached)
Okay, how many of you screamed "married" on reading that? I certainly did purely because of the repeated word "discreet." Someone who wants discretion has something to hide, or doesn't want the world to know (theoretically okay) but please; "into most scenes" and "love group play" ... not much discretion there. Okay, he doesn't say "Bi" so maybe we can let the discretion part go but our instincts may well have gone "strike one." Based on the requirements of this guy, do we then trust his assertion that he's HIV and STD free or have the alarm bells already gone off? He doesn't say, "tested as of ..." which means very little anyway but this is clearly not LTR material and his preferred sexual scenes don't exactly inspire credibility in his STD claims. I still say "married" but have no evidence to back that conclusion up, except my sixth sense that this guy is not all he says he is. Now I realize that one man's meat is another man's baloney, so maybe you came to totally different conclusions.
The point I'm trying to make is that consciously or not, we use our sixth sense to evaluate people even where the contact is minimal. Where HIV is involved, it's much easier to lie online than when speaking directly to that person. However, in social and possibly sexual real-life situations, that piece of information may be crucial. Certainly when chatting someone up in a bar, or anywhere else, you should try to be open to your sixth sense abilities. Most people won't ask outright if you have HIV, or talk about their testing practices. They may talk about condom use, or may claim to be "clean" but we all know that you should assume every new contact is positive and look after yourself.
In lands where criminalisation of non-disclosure is an issue, it's vital that you get your evaluation of the other person's credibility right. So we have to have all the radars working at optimum and look for clues and try to analyse them before going any further. Look at their eyes when they're talking about difficult subjects. If they won't look you in the face, that may trigger a sixth sense reaction. Similarly, body language, discussion avoidance, bullshitting and so on, will help your gut feelings form. You may have to set aside the sexual attraction aspect for a while, to get an unbiased feeling of what he or she is like but either way, you need to establish a firm opinion of where they stand on HIV before having sex with them. That doesn't always mean confessing all yourself. Your sixth sense may warn you that that would be premature and have consequences but after what may be a short conversation and interaction, you will probably have an idea of how you want to proceed and that will be based on intangible conclusions arising from your interpretation of signals ... in other words, your sixth sense.
You may think that sharpening your sixth sense skills is an impossible task when you don't really know what you have to work on. However, it may sound horribly New Age but every day, opening your eyes and really looking at something may help. By looking, I mean looking beyond your first impressions. Look out of your window and for a few minutes, count the number of new things you can see. You'll be amazed at how much you normally miss. Cannabis users will know what I mean but really seeing that there's so much more to a scene than at first appears, helps you become aware of what that scene contains. Similarly, closing your eyes and really listening; how many sounds can you now hear that had passed you by? Eat a sandwich and try to taste the different components separately, not just as one homogenous taste sensation. Stand on a street corner, close your eyes and cover your ears and just smell your environment; you get the idea. Sixth senses employ these skills all the time, so practicing them can't be a bad idea and besides which, you can appreciate the world around you so much more.
Finally, you're chatting to the hottest guy, with the smoothest lines ever and already imagining what you're going to do to him later. Suddenly you get a feeling that you can't shake off: this guy isn't good for me; sexy as hell but bad news; there's something that just doesn't fit. It's going to be difficult but trusting your instinct may save you a great deal of trouble later. Open yourself up to your sixth sense; you may not always be right but it's maybe better to be safe than sorry.
Read Dave's blog, HIV, Neuropathy and More: Avoiding Becoming a Nervous Wreck.
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