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Goddess in a Muumuu

AIDS Changes Sexual Self-Image

December 1999

It took getting an HIV-positive diagnosis for me to realize I was a sex goddess.

If there is one thing that will improve a girl's sex life it is finding out she has AIDS. Oh, you must be thinking I made a mistake. What I really mean is my sex life must be over.

Errr, wrong. It was through being HIV-positive that I learned to communicate with my partner exactly what I wanted in my sex life.

No more lying back, staring at the ceiling and thinking of England. Times a rollin' on by. And it isn't that I think I will be going anywhere soon. I feel that whether you live to be 30 or 80, life's a short story.


My Prediagnosis Body

The thing that really improved my sex life was I started to love my body. I have to admit that after years as a fitness trainer in New York City, I was quite the critical babe when it came to bods. I fasted -- or should I say "cleansed" -- for 15 days of every month to keep mine in "Reebok" condition, and dispensed advice freely. I remember doing a consulting job for Mademoiselle magazine when a model asked me, as she grabbed what on a well-fed woman would have been a stomach, "How can I get rid of this?"

I told her that she could have internal organs removed. I also said that this could be fatal. She said she would think about it.

Along with all the women I know, I have been taught that our bodies are not good enough. Oh yeah! Let me get on all fours now and feel comfortable after reading any popular women's magazine, or perhaps spending a pleasant evening watching all those chubby chicks on Melrose Place.

Looking back, it would have been much easier to have admired my buff body. Unfortunately, things happen.

Butter Therapy

My first move after getting my test results was to go to a diner and order French toast with syrup and butter -- extra butter.

I don't think I've had butter since 1971. I made up for lost time and bloomed about eight sizes. I was kind of depending on that wasting thing but it never happened.

Eventually, I realized my proclivity for gorging was not taking away the pain. Now, not only was I diseased, I was fat. I don't know which is worse in our society.

Years later when I did get sick and lost a lot of weight, no one could stop saying how great I looked. I would wheeze my thanks and wonder if they make coffins in size two. But I am getting ahead of myself.

Anyway, I tipped the scales at 180 and being five feet tall I was resigned to baggy floral prints. It was from this muumuu reality that I became the sex goddess I am today.

Since I lived in NYC I had gotten used to having men ogle me, which is not saying much because you could be half-dead and in the right neighborhood and you're considered a hot number.

But when I moved to suburbia, the contrasts were sharp. No one was looking. (OK, the population is predominately gay of the male variety, so what?) On the other side of the river where the heterosexuals lived, I didn't get a second glance, either. Am I so shallow that I base my sexiness on the disgusting leers of horny men and the marvelous comments that fall from their ever-wise lips ("Hey babe, have I got a seat for you"). Yes, OK. Well, I used to be, anyway.

Learning to Love All of Me

It was out in the wilds of suburbia that I met the first man I would have sex with as a fat, bug-infested babe. So he was a little over 90, but he had most of his own teeth, at least the front ones. No, he wasn't that bad and maybe I wouldn't be with him under other circumstances (like never).

I did learn that there can be benefits in seeking out short, dumpy, balding men in their late 40s because this man had the largest penis I have ever seen! But it was more than that; he adored me. He instilled in me this truth: I was more than my fat and disease. We had an affair and for the first time in my life I walked around naked in broad daylight in front of a man.

I learned that it has nothing to do with how you look or how much you weigh, it's how you feel about yourself. I started to have this thing happen which is kind of the reverse of a thin woman who thinks she is fat. I was a fat woman who thought she was a goddess.

I changed my perception about cellulite. It must be good -- I have it! This guy was so turned on by my confidence (actually, he would be turned on by a dry muffin) but throughout the years I have learned that the attitude works. I've never wanted for a relationship, sex or love since.

There have been a few duds but the better I felt about myself, the better the men got. No one cared about the weight or the disease.

Honest to Goddess

Now if I want my lover to dress up in a cowboy outfit and watch me pee (don't say nothin' till you try it) I just make the request. I was once a two-legged plague, with no sex esteem. Now I am an HIV-enhanced, juicy, ripe goddess.

I don't recommend getting infected to improve your sex life. You can do it without any sexually transmitted virus. Just remember next time you have your legs wrapped around the neck of the person you love (or whoever), don't try to suck it in. It's goddess flesh, baby!

This article has been reprinted at The Body with the permission of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA).

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This article was provided by AIDS Project Los Angeles. It is a part of the publication Positive Living.
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