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Subconscious Death-Wish of a Gifted, Young Black Man

August 9, 2010

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Terron J. Cook, 31, is a recently published author and a resident of San Francisco, Calif. In his writing he strives to reach out to the world through his experiences -- putting forth both positivity and brutal honesty -- despite his tumultuous past.

Terron J. Cook, 31, is a recently published author and a resident of San Francisco, Calif. In his writing he strives to reach out to the world through his experiences -- putting forth both positivity and brutal honesty -- despite his tumultuous past.

On my very first day in San Francisco I find myself in a well-known theater on Nob Hill. Downstairs there are video booths, most containing glory holes. The walls between the glory holes are truly by design, allowing for an empty, anonymous sexual act to occur, while blocking any opportunity for true intimacy.

I enter a booth next to a man I've made eye contact with. I pull my cock out, place it through the glory hole, and the well-built, handsome man on the other side sucks me for a while. There's a pause, and he whispers for me to come to his booth. I enter, he strips, and I slowly turn him around. I place the head of my cock at the entrance to his ass, simply to see if he'll stop me.

In the heat of the moment, he allows me to have my way. I slowly penetrate this hunk of a man. In the back of my mind, I know what I'm doing is wrong, and this one isolated, unprotected sexual encounter could lead to my ultimate demise. However, I proceed without hesitation.

Risky behavior has always been so appealing to me! The rush that it provides makes me feel so alive! A new city, multitudes of opportunities, and here I am willing to ruin it all, just to "bust a nut."

"What the fuck is wrong with you?" I ask myself, but it's too late to think "safety" at this point. I clear my mind, wrap my arms around this man, and shove myself inside him as hard as I can and shoot my load. I pull out of him, wipe off, and realize I've entered a new stage of my life making wrong decisions, again.

"When will this behavior cease?" I ask myself, while trying to avoid the eyes of the stranger I've just fucked raw. Will it take me becoming HIV positive to learn this lesson? I dress, clean up, and feel a sense of darkness, realizing just how many years have passed. Yet I'm still partaking in the same ignorant behavior . . .

A restlessness comes over me, as I realize the covenant that I have made with myself, as well as GOD, is now in place. If this is the case, then why the hell am I continuing to behave in such a dangerous manner, and refusing to wear condoms? I have dodged the "bullet" many times. With my refusal to adhere to safe sex, I continually wonder if my game of Russian Roulette will soon come to a very unhappy and unfortunate conclusion.

Honestly, what does such behavior stem from? Being beat down mentally, physically, and spiritually during our formative years greatly contributes to it. For me, I think it all began while growing up in Columbus, Ohio. I was molested by my middle-school history teacher, who happened to be an older Caucasian man. For a while, I thought dealing with my sexual trauma was my biggest worry -- until my father was murdered 11 years ago.

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I wrote my first book, Premonitions ... of a Young Man, Unscathed, to attempt to come to terms with all this. Writing it, I realized that one reason I enjoy anonymous sex as much as I do is my distrust for men, especially gay men. Writing this book also helped me to realize that there is NOTHING wrong with me. I am not "flawed." I am not perverted. I am a man, made in the image of GOD, knowing all too well that I will fall at times, but I must make the decision to pick myself up, and GOD will continually be there by my side. This type of unconditional love is what I feel that many gay men seek. Yet, most do not choose to behave accordingly to welcome unconditional love into their lives.

My distrust stems from various behaviors that I have been exposed to throughout the years, involving gay men. When you consider it, many gay men learned at a very young age to be dishonest and deceitful, all to conceal their true identity, as it was deemed devilish, ungodly, or plain perverted. This behavior simply perpetuates itself throughout one's life. Before long, a person begins to believe that how they are living is "acceptable," therefore projecting their lies and bullshit onto others, who are unsuspecting and being hurt in the process. Do you see the vicious cycle?

I began my sex life by frequenting outdoor parks, where men would meet in the back woods to have anonymous sex with other men who were not necessarily interested in immersing themselves into the gay scene. Most of my encounters were with married men who were not the least bit concerned with protecting themselves, as desire turned into a need which could be life threatening.

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This article was provided by Terron J. Cook.
 
See Also
Raw Emotion: Thoughts on Why Gay Men Bareback
Laying It Bare: Gay Men and Unprotected Sex in the Age of HIV/AIDS
TheBody.com's HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
HIV and Me: An African American's Guide to Living With HIV
Quiz: Are You at Risk for HIV?
10 Common Fears About HIV Transmission
More Views on HIV Prevention in the African-American Community

Reader Comments:

Comment by: Tone (Shreveport, LA) Thu., Aug. 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm EDT
I read this article an pd was very impressed with the honesty. However, I was shocked by the comments.

Mr. Terror Cook, I personally appreciate this article. This article was not written to impress but to express the thoughts that many of us deal with.

Be encouraged, sir.

Thanks
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Comment by: angel (new york) Tue., Oct. 9, 2012 at 7:39 pm EDT
brillant and honest, best of luck in your journey
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Comment by: TonyDewitt (NJ) Thu., Sep. 6, 2012 at 3:32 pm EDT
Well written article on the ins & outs of why anyone (gay, straight, male, female) participates in unsafe sex. Good reading for those who think that abstinence will end the AIDS crisis.
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Comment by: Amie P Wed., Dec. 8, 2010 at 10:11 pm EST
A miss is as good as a mile
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Sep. 7, 2010 at 3:53 pm EDT
@ Sinatra: Hello, there! What an emotional response you provided to my article. I Thank You for that. You are sadly mistaken on so many levels. First and foremost, I AM NOTHING LIKE MOST MEN. Secondly, if I was simply seeking a "wet-hole," and nothing along the lines of "Love," then I surely wouldn't be wasting my time speaking of such topics via the internet, my personal writings, etc.

Your stance on "Black Men" is so trite and comes off as an attack on ALL Black Men. I am NOT a representative for black men, or Black America. I represent MYSELF, and just so happen to BE a Black Man. Black Men are not inferior and surely possess the capacity to have anything that they desire. It's the mentality that holds Black Men back from such progress. I'm sorry to hear that you were "shitted-on," twice. It sounds as though your present day position contains much bitterness, mainly stemming from your past experiences. How dare you insinuate that Black Men are not capable of such a beautiful experience.

Unprotected Sex is a loaded gun for ANYONE. This issue has no regard to color. If you would have taken the time to actually digest the article, instead of picking from it what you wanted to, then you would realize that the article is a rumination/way for me to acknowledge my faults/behaviors that need immediate modification. Thebody.com is a wonderful resource for ALL people. For you to state that my article dictates just where this site is headed tells me exactly what type of individual you are. For you to state that African=-Americans are dieing because of articles such as mine is beyond ignorant, again showing me what type of individual that you are. Am I not allowed to express truth. I am not pointing anyone in the direction of UNSAFE SEX...simply expressing my thoughts AROUND unsafe sex, where the behavior stems for some and how to remedy such things.

Your spirit has obviously been touched in the WORST of ways, by someone, or something. Be encouraged.
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Comment by: Sinatra (Crystal Springs, MS ) Sat., Sep. 4, 2010 at 11:13 pm EDT
I think your just like the average man, just looking for a wet hole... When it comes to finding someone that is truly your soul mate and not just some random glory hole. One must associate with different environments and social groups. It's not always that your going to find this person overnight, but can't your "hand" work just as-well...until you do!

It is a all to often fact that Black Men want something that they can't have. Walls are always good until it's time for them to come down. Being a Gay Black Male, never really looking for love found it twice and both times "Shitted On".

Unprotected sex is the loaded gun for men of color and for you to post this article with a dignified respect for unprotected sex, shows just where this website is headed.

Education isn't telling Gay black men that it's natural to have unprotected sex in this day and age. African American people are dieing like flies because of ignorant articles like this!

Today every message that is needed to be reciprocated to the African American people should be that of Protecting themselves at all cost.

Great read on the sexual level, but on the prevention level of HIV/AIDS....I Don't Think So!

Sinatra Perryman
http://www.hivmississippi.blogspot.com
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Aug. 31, 2010 at 12:12 pm EDT
@ Anonymous: Hello! Thank You for taking the time to read and respond to my article. You touched on many valid points.

I can comprehend why men initially utilize condoms, and eventually thrown them out the window. It truly creates a divisive energy, even though it is the safest practice. Most people have a very strong need to connect fully with the person they are partaking in the act of sex with. It's just how it goes.

Secondly, this article does not apply to each isolated sexual encounter in my Life. There have been times when I have inquired about the status of the man whom I would be having sex with. At times, the response that I received was not an honest one, which I would find out after the fact. Other times, I did receive an honest response. I have found that many men lie about their status, which is not to say this is the case for everyone. It can be rather daunting at times dealing with "people," as it has become acceptable in the mind of most to be dishonest regarding their HIV Status. It's sad, yet true.

There have been times in my Life to where I feel that it is a waste of my time to even inquire about my sex partners HIV Status. This level of dishonesty is what I eluded to in my article when I discussed my distrust for gay men, or men in general. This is simply my reality. Truth seems to take a backseat in the gay community, for MANY reasons.

As of late, I have made it a point to exercise safer sex practices, although the struggle still remains in my mind.

I appreciate your candor. Here's hoping all is well! Take good care.

Mr. Cook

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Comment by: anonymous (sorry) (San Francisco, CA) Fri., Aug. 27, 2010 at 4:17 am EDT
Hi Terron. Thanks for starting this discussion about unprotected sex.

I've been positive since '91. Back then I was mostly safe but took calculated risks and eventually miscalculated. When I moved to SF, I used to go to these huge quarterly sex parties in the mid to late 90's. When I first started going, everyone used condoms. Then from one season to the next, literally just one season, most everyone stopped. It felt like, after having lived for over a decade being so afraid of sex, that everyone was just collectively tired of worrying about it. Currently I know some guys who are always safe, but most sero-sort, meaning they have unprotected sex with people who share their HIV status. Not the smartest thing to do for neg guys, given that someone having unprotected sex can convert and give it to someone else before they find out, and it's not really smart for poz guys either given that there are plenty of other, easier to spread diseases out there, but it's certainly better than nothing.

Which leads me to my question: Given your obvious predilection for honesty and open discourse, what keeps you from simply inquiring about the HIV status of your partners? I mean, I still like to have sex in bookstores and clubs too, but if there's any intercourse about to happen, disclosure is made and questions asked, even to the guy on the other side of the wall. "I'm positive, what's your status? Have you been tested for Hep C?" That kind of thing. Once the information is out, we can make a more informed decision on how to proceed and any temporary buzz kill is quickly forgotten.

The act of unprotected sex does not spontaneously create HIV. If you don't like using condoms, having sex with neg guys won't transmit it. So why not find out what's what with your man of the moment and go from there? If you can write articles about it and post them on the internet for all to see, why stay silent during the act? I'm not meaning to be accusatory, I'm just asking?
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Comment by: Bill (Fresno, ca) Thu., Aug. 26, 2010 at 3:13 pm EDT
So hilarious, being told to "wake up" by a man who barebacks strangers in a bookstore. "quotes" don't make "your" "honesty" any "more" "meaningful" or your "behavior" "any" less reckless. Honesty is a virtue but exhibitionism and bragging are "disgusting".
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Thu., Aug. 26, 2010 at 10:17 am EDT
@Bill: Hello, and Thank You for your words.

First and foremost, this article was written with pure intentions. I do not seek approval from anyone, and surely I am not attempting "impress," or "amaze" anyone with my honesty. Honesty speak for itself. Hence the reason there are so many positive responses to my article.

The questions posed by you are almost a wish towards me. Your questions are that of a very infantile nature, and are of course, invalid.

You speak of homophobia and racism, which neither are the case with me. It's sad that people such as yourself refuse to open their eyes and see the reality of things, let alone the fact that people such as myself are attempting to open the doors for "others" to be more open and honest. I know beyond the shadow of a doubt that MANY already have, and will continue to appreciate my story/words/perspective on things.

You need to get in touch with reality. Life is not some drastic measure should someone choose to partake in things that are unsafe, especially unsafe sex. I have plenty of education under my belt in the arena of HIV/AID's, so go back and read the article again. It's intent is to reach out to others. I surely wasn't eliciting such silly comments from people such as yourself. WAKE UP!


Take care.

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Thu., Aug. 26, 2010 at 2:17 am EDT
@Florence: LOL!!! I apologize, but I do not mean any harm when I say I laughed so loud when I read your response. I appreciate your opinion. However, I am a VERY TOUGH MAN. Yet, I don't have it in me to actually cause harm to another individual.

It is my opinion that TRUE POWER AND STRENGTH are misconstrued as being a "dangerous," or characteristic of an individual with a "complex." Lastly, I surely am not "revenging" on anyone. If that were the case, I wouldn't be writing ruminations over the internet.......

Thank You very much for your intrigue. Take care.

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Thu., Aug. 26, 2010 at 2:06 am EDT
@FogCityJohn: Hmmmmm...I have no idea where to begin. I must commend you on your beautiful response to that "guy" who attempted to degrade my article, and yours, to boot!

Thank You for taking time to layer the conversation in a way that maybe the gentleman could comprehend.

I have to wonder at times if people "choose" to behave in an elementary fashion, or it's unrecognizable in "their" own eyes.

Keep up the great insight!

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Thu., Aug. 26, 2010 at 2:01 am EDT
@Scott: Hey, there! WOW! Another extremely energetic, heart-felt response. Thank You! It is very refreshing to hear a similar perspective. Yet, to know that I am not alone, and there are others whom have also struggled in similar ways, and have moved away from such behavior.

I agree with your sentiments in regard to San Francisco. There is so much freedom here, with no accountability...(in my earnest opinion). The two simply do not mesh.

It's responses like yours that let me know that it's alright to speak my truth. Thank You for speaking YOUR truth. Hoping this note finds you well. Good Thursday to you!

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Scott (Chicago, IL -after 11 yrs in SF) Wed., Aug. 25, 2010 at 4:46 pm EDT
Terron, You sound exactly like me 10 years ago.

I could not, would not stop, and rationalized every sex act ("I won't get it this time"). I believe it is tied to self-esteem and sex addiction. I think there are more sex addicts than alcoholics in the gay male community, and it's powerful. I agree that it's because our formative years were different in ways hard to describe to people who have not gone through it. It's not an excuse but an explanation for the burden of having this burden to overcome. And it is a burden, contrary to what some may think.

I also think that as society changes and parents become more accepting of their gay children the general incidence of this (and other self-destructive behaviors) will start to taper off.

I have read that you feel really good about being in SF, but for sex addiction being in SF is like a drunk being in a liquor store with everyone telling you, "drink! we all do it! there's nothing really wrong with it!"

There are so many gay men in SF and elsewhere like you, but many do not have the introspection to even think about their actions much (in denial really) let alone discuss it in public. This is not just a gay male thing by the way - look at teenage pregnancy rates and out-of-wedlock births, etc. Thank you for sharing your perspective.
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Comment by: fogcityjohn (San Francisco, CA) Wed., Aug. 25, 2010 at 4:23 pm EDT
@ Dave (NJ): Since you've come into the comments to Terron's post and decided to attack one of my earlier blog postings as "idiotic," I feel the need to respond.

You apparently can't separate two different issues. In my blog and comments, I said (accurately) that in *truly monogamous* couples in which both partners are HIV-negative, unprotected sex carries no risk of HIV transmission. This is true by definition. No one who is uninfected with HIV can transmit it. If a couple is truly monogamous, and both partners are uninfected, then there can be no risk of transmission.

Your rant does nothing to refute that point. Your argument is a different one entirely, which is that there is no such thing as monogamy among gay male couples. Perhaps this argument reflects your own experience. Perhaps you yourself can't be monogamous. Or perhaps your partners have been unwilling to be monogamous. Whatever the reason, you should not necessarily assume that monogamy is completely nonexistent in the gay world merely because you are personally unaware of it.

I'm perfectly cognizant of the fact that statistics show that HIV transmission is occurring within the context of committed relationships. But that doesn't tell us whether those couples had committed to monogamy or not. In addition, while transmission is occurring among some committed couples, I sincerely doubt that it is occurring among *all* of them. How do you account for that? One possible explanation is that those couples are being truly monogamous.

In short, before you go off calling me or anyone else "idiotic," I suggest you get your facts straight and try to understand what I actually wrote, as opposed to what you perceive me to have written. This is a complex issue, and nothing is served by your attempts to treat all gay men as if they are the same.
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Comment by: Florence (Kenya) Wed., Aug. 25, 2010 at 9:41 am EDT
Hello Terron,
You not only sound ruthless but it feels like you can even hurt (I mean cause real HARM)badly.. I cannot even begin to explain how your words sound.. frankly I have never understood the anonymous sex bit, I am a woman anyway. but..are you sure that you are not "revenging" on someone? then it is psychological... thank you for bringing such thrillers into the thebody.com.
I mean some things you only read about.You know they can happen, but you do not imagine they actually happen in this world.. or it is just the author's creative idea.
You must have a complex for sure. I am not talking about the risks you take, NO.
I mean your sex life in too complicated for HIV to want to survive there...you are tough and rough
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Comment by: Dave (NJ) Wed., Aug. 25, 2010 at 12:16 am EDT
While Terron's post was apparently honest, it is irresponsible to participate in this behavior. He claims to know his status to be negative, but there is always a window where he could become positive and infect others! He is obviously a hedonistic and uncaring person. When fogcity john ran his idiotic blog about barebaking and advanced the notion that truly negative monogamous couples could engage in this behavior, and would be safe, he told me that I was wrong when I doubted that monogamy really exists in many relationships, especially gay relationships. Look at the stats and this fact bears out. MSM continue to be the group with the highest group becomming poistive. Further, for anyone to speak about unprotected, anonymous sex as being beautiful is not only sick but misinformed. One is asking for a positive status for HIV along with many other STD's! We need to stop fooling ourselves.
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Aug. 24, 2010 at 7:21 pm EDT
@ David: Hello. Thank You for sharing your opinions in this forum. You seem to have a very diluted comprehension of what this article entails. You're simply hearing what you choose to hear.

At no point in my article did I come even remotely close to "blaming" anyone for my behavior. I am simply "expressing" how I feel towards specific situations. We are ALL affected by circumstances in Life. DO YOU THINK THAT YOU JUST HAPPENED TO ARRIVE AT THE PLACE YOU ARE AT THIS VERY MOMENT? No, I didn't think so. Pay attention.

That's wonderful that you have never desired, or actually partaken in the act of having glory-hole sex, or bending a stranger over. However, you are no better than me, or anyone else in this existence. You're simply fooling yourself by even thinking you're superior. Such thoughts, leading to statements actually make you stand out, and NOT in a desirable way.

Before you attempt to belittle, berate, or pass judgment, take a GOOD LOOK AT YOURSELF WHILE STANDING IN THE MIRROR. And save your grammatical errors for a less desirable forum. Make it a wonderful day!

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Aug. 24, 2010 at 7:12 pm EDT
@ George: Hello, there! I really appreciate you taking the time to not only respond to my article, but the way that you finessed your response. You have a way with words. Thank You for your brutal honesty, and appreciation for the like.

Partaking in unsafe sex has been one of my biggest struggles. I am truly playing russian roulette with my Life, and it is no laughing matter. The endless hook-ups has actually grown rather tired, and has run it's course. Like you, I was simply looking to fill a void.

I realize that I do have a much higher calling, and that I need to value myself more, along with my Life, if I am to "fulfill" my calling. This road will not be easy, as it is always more difficult to do what is "right," as opposed to what feels good.

Thanks again for your quality, open, and honest response. You are appreciated! Be well.

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Aug. 24, 2010 at 7:07 pm EDT
@Mark: I don't really know where to begin with your type of response. It's obvious that you are not getting to the CORE of the article, it's intent, and it's purpose. I understand, as many individuals do not possess the capacity to do such a thing. They simply read about a guy having unsafe sex. LOOK CLOSER!!!!!!!

"I'm going to feel like a fool when my test comes back positive?" WOW! It's as though you're attempting to speak such an event to transpire in my Life. My "path" doesn't call for such a thing to come to fruition, so I completely denounce your statement. Be well.


Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Aug. 24, 2010 at 7:02 pm EDT
@Zeldap: Hello! And Thank You very much for your positive response to my article. It's nice to know that people can appreciate brutal honesty, especially in a world of constant judgment and denial.

Thanks a million! Be well, my friend.

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Bill (Fresno, CA) Tue., Aug. 24, 2010 at 5:55 pm EDT
Terron, do you think that the county is going to be "impressed and amazed" with your "honesty" when your partner notification interview includes the phrase "everyone at the bathhouse last Tuesday"? Do you think anyone is going to appreciate your contributions to the discourse when you publicly defecate in your pants because of side effects of HIV meds? Do you think the wives of the closet cases you infect once you seroconvert are going to understand that you did this because you were molested by a white man? Do you really think the're going to appreciate that you had a "subconscious death wish" brought on by homophobia and racism? Do you think their orphaned children will feel your pain?
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Comment by: T.rex (Los Angeles) Tue., Aug. 24, 2010 at 5:41 pm EDT
I don't understand the point of this article. What is its overall message? How is it of use to another person. Finally, i'll say that each man is responsible for his own actions... I don't care if you were beaten or raped as kid... Thats all the more reason to know its something not to do.
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Comment by: zeldap (L.A.) Tue., Aug. 24, 2010 at 1:11 pm EDT
Excellent, straightforward, honest article. Thanks for sharing it with folks, it's important to get more ideas out there.
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Comment by: Mark (St. Louis) Tue., Aug. 24, 2010 at 12:45 am EDT
Dude, u r gonna feel like a fool when your test comes back poz.
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Comment by: David (Illinois) Mon., Aug. 23, 2010 at 2:06 am EDT
I can't believe after all you claim to have been through, YOU blame, GAY men, you blame your family, you blame being molested, you also blame society as a whole for why you "JUST want to fu**"your words, not mine, it is sad, because people like you that behave and think the way you do, believe others think the same way, because you like sex the way you do, does not mean it is being HUMAN, get a grip on reality dude, NOT everyone sneaks around for sex, not every GAY man as you put it wants to stick their dick in a glory hole or fu** a stranger, STOP blaming GAY sex as a way to screw 100's or even 1,000's as you put it, I have been gay since I was born, and I have never wanted to stick my dick in a nasty glory hole, nor bend some stranger over and have my way with him, sick, and we do wonder why Aids is still spreading! Seak HELP dude
[Editor's note: Inappropriate language/personal attacks have been omitted from this comment.]
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Comment by: George (Los Angeles, CA) Sat., Aug. 21, 2010 at 8:56 pm EDT
Such an honest, insightful, and well written article. Thanks, Terron. It really hit home for me 'cause I've certainly "been there" and "done that".

But, I recently decided to get off that "ferry-go-round" and stop playing Russian roulette with my cock. I wish I could say I had some sudden epiphany or awakening but really it was just a growing dissatisfaction with the endless cycle of random sex. I simply got tired of it. It was not making me any happier and just filling a void.

Call it a change of mindset rather than a change of heart. I'm always gonna be horny and wanna engage in risky behavior- it feels too freakin' good. But, I realized I wanted MORE from life. I wanted more for me. Sure, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't feel like hooking up with an old F-buddy, someone online, or at a club. I'm tempted ALL THE TIME. But, I say "no" and move on. Just remembering (visualizing) how I felt after bare-backing usually does the trick now- all the anxiety, fear, uncertainty, and guilt that followed the act. No more. Just ain't worth it.

Anyway, I've rambled long enough. Stay safe if you can. You're definitely a thinking man rather than an emotional one which should make it easier for you to change if you decide to do so. Here's hoping you do.
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Comment by: Papa_J (Atlanta, GA) Fri., Aug. 20, 2010 at 1:18 pm EDT
Terron:
Most of us AIDS survivors didn't like condoms, either. Nor the stigmas of race, being gay, or on the "down-low", family drama, career failures, etc.
We took your same risks, not caring that we could get infected.
Don't tell me to "try it sometime" when I ended up in a hospice with end-stage AIDS, barely surviving!
[Editor's note: Inappropriate language/personal attacks have been omitted from this comment.]
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Thu., Aug. 19, 2010 at 8:54 pm EDT
@Rick: Hello, there. I find it interesting that your response is so abrupt, and judgmental. While I cannot necessarily say that I appreciated anything that you had to say, I certainly respect your right to voice your "opinion."

"Rationalizing stupid behavior," as you so eloquently put it, is the furthest thing from the truth. In your spare time, maybe you would want to make an attempt at fully ingesting the article, as many have truly appreciated the forthright nature in which it was written.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times...We need more honesty in ourselves, not to mention, in this world that we reside. Life is not black and white. There are more gray areas than I even care to attempt to fathom.

It is my hope that you rethink your rigid nature. There is truly no progress in maintaining such an attitude. Try and dig deeper. Thank You for your words.

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Rick (Newport, ri) Thu., Aug. 19, 2010 at 6:50 pm EDT
Didn't seem so impossible for that German pop stars partner to get it. Or any other straight guy. And the long term survival rates for this disease are hardly normal, nor is the quality of life anything approaching acceptable. You're just rationalizing stupid behavior. Frankly I can't imagine why this site is acting as your forum.
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Thu., Aug. 19, 2010 at 2:13 pm EDT
@H.ealthy I.nnovative V.entor: Hello! Thank You very much for your very insightful response. You actually touched on a few good points.

What I surmised from your response is that there are MANY individuals who relate to the desire, OR, actually participate in unsafe sex. It is extremely prevalent in today's society, yet, many simply do not educate themselves, nor do they care to acknowledge the issue.

Your words are appreciated. Make it a great day!

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: H.ealthy I.nnovative V.entor (Los Angeles) Thu., Aug. 19, 2010 at 4:10 am EDT
Your fears are so over-dramatized. Unless you have a herpes breakout on your dick or you cut yourself shaving within minutes before you fucked your anonymous pal your chances of getting infected are quite low. Also, If by chance your brief encounter was with a HIV positive dude and he is undetectable than you really have nothing to sweat. Try telling this story after getting fucked in the ass with a big puddle of cum injected inside. Then you have room to be worried. And even at that point your worry will be more about the stigma of being HIV rather than your worry of ultimate survival. Bottom line is everyone wants to have raw sex--duh!--and those who become HIV positive simply go on to have normal lives that don't really differ from HIV neg people other than taking a few pills a day. Like diabetes--right?!?
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Comment by: Taylor (Cleveland, OH) Thu., Aug. 19, 2010 at 12:09 am EDT
Why am I so mad? Because what you're doing is hardly any different than juggling chainsaws for attention in a trauma ward. How can you NOT understand why its insulting?
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Wed., Aug. 18, 2010 at 9:59 am EDT
@Sam: Hello, and Thank You for your words, which I have considered.

Much to the contrary, MANY PEOPLE do have the desire to hear from me, as you can see from the vast amount of comments. This is a very sensitive subject that needs more attention than it could ever be given.

You stated that "it is people such as me that give gay people a bad name." Let me help you to understand that I am ONE man, who is actually doing the world, in my humble opinion, a lot of good behind the fact that I am willing to be completely open and honest regarding my feelings on a topic that most simply stand in denial of. Consider it.

"Devilish behavior?" I completely disagree with you. The only thing devilish is when others have such negative feelings toward those taking a stand on what transpires within the heart, which will simply lead a person to make better decisions. Ease up, my friend. Life is about contemplation, which leads to healthier decisions. These decisions CAN NOT, AND WILL NOT stem from the choice to berate others. You be well!

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Wed., Aug. 18, 2010 at 9:48 am EDT
@Mike: I WANT TO THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART FOR YOUR EXTREMELY INTELLIGENT, CLEAR, CONCISE, AND HEART-FELT RESPONSE. It's as though you took the words straight from my heart.

Speaking from my heart/spirit is how I write, and attempt to deal with others in my life. Unfortunately, this is NOT the case for many. I couldn't have stated it better when you said that the judgment of others is why some fear being open and honest about serious issues in life.

I don't quite understand why individuals are so harsh, and nasty toward those who have strong convictions surrounding very sensitive subject matter.

No matter what, I will continue to be open and honest, not only with myself, but with each and every person that I encounter in this life. NO matter WHO judges me.

Mike, I applaud your honesty, integrity, and articulate style. Keep the good energy moving! Great day to you!

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Henry (NYC) Tue., Aug. 17, 2010 at 9:54 pm EDT
Teron, just make sure you have good health insurance. It's getting increasingly harder to access HIV meds and treatment; there are now 2,937 people (and counting) on ADAP waiting lists throughout the country and eligibility requirements are becoming more and more strict.

I think part of your lax approach might stem from knowing that HIV is treatable. For many it is but the treatment is expensive and the US does not offer its citizens health care.
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Aug. 17, 2010 at 7:27 pm EDT
@Michael: Hello! And Thank You so very much for the insightful response. Yes, I have been extremely lucky to remain negative, while partaking in unsafe sex for so many years.

As my life is taking shape in a major way, and I am opening up to others, emotionally, in a way that I never have, I realize the importance of keeping myself healthy, and that will require me to either abstain from intercourse, or put a condom on it!

Thanks for the positive energy! Hope this note finds you well.

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Aug. 17, 2010 at 7:19 pm EDT
@Papa_J: Hello, and Thank You for your response. You are very misinformed if you have the notion that I am some "down-low" case. I live my life on the forefront, and have absolutely no desire to hide, nor do I feel the need to parade around.

Living from an authentic place is a characteristic that is often misunderstood, and berated by most. While my decisions to partake in unsafe sex may not be healthy, from a mental, or physical standpoint, there is no freedom like living from a genuine place in ones' heart/spirit.

Judgment is NOT the way. Listening, communicating freely, and projecting genuine nature "IS" the way. Give it a shot! You may actually like it! Until next time.

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Aug. 17, 2010 at 7:14 pm EDT
@Lola: I want to sincerely Thank You for a beautifully articulated response. Your words really resonated with me.

The decision to partake in unsafe sex has much to do with the fact that I have an extremely strong desire to be "connected" with someone, something that I have never really experience. This is not an excuse, simply my reality.

The outpour of comments, direct e-mails, and Facebook requests have really made me take a good look at myself, as well as my decisions wrapped around sex, relationships, and friendships.

Thank You for your honesty, and positive energy. Make it a great day!

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Aug. 17, 2010 at 7:11 pm EDT
@Andy: Thank You for your opinion. While I do not feel that there is any "tragedy" present, I do feel as though I am not alone, and that the type of honesty and forthright nature contained within my article is compelling enough to make others (self included) truly consider future decisions, when it comes to safe-sex.

Best,

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Aug. 17, 2010 at 7:09 pm EDT
@Safe Sex Advocate: Thank You so much for your insightful advice on the female condom. I have actually never attempted to utilize it, but have heard that it works well.

Thank You also for taking the time to respond. All the best to you!

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Aug. 17, 2010 at 7:07 pm EDT
@Taylor: WOW! I truly appreciated how passionate your response was. For the sake of clarity, I have not, and am not blaming my behavior on my past. I am simply a man who is ruminating on the decisions he chooses to make. No harm, no foul.

Why are you so angry? Furthermore, my article is far from insulting. And anyone who finds it as such may want to re-read the article. I find it interesting that so many individuals paid homage to the article.

It's clear to me that if more individuals lived a more "honest" life, not only with themselves, but with their immediate surroundings, there would be less behavioral issues. Make sense? Of course it does.

All the best to you, Taylor!

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Tue., Aug. 17, 2010 at 6:59 pm EDT
@T.P.: THANK YOU so much for your clear and concise comment. I have absolutely nothing to hide here. And quite frankly, I have reached a point in my life to where I am really sick and tired of all the"down-low" mentality. I am also sick of all of the "gay-hype." I'm a MAN before all else, the type of guy that this world wouldn't expect to be so frank about his stance in life.

I appreciate your words, T.P. Thanks for the positive vibes. Take good care!

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Andy (Davenport, Iowa) Tue., Aug. 17, 2010 at 4:42 pm EDT
The real tragedy here is not that a nearly middle-aged obscure author feels compelled to endanger himself, but that there truly are "young, gifted" men of all races whose lives are destroyed by this virus despite having fewer opportunities to protect themselves.
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Comment by: Taylor (Cleveland, OH) Tue., Aug. 17, 2010 at 4:11 pm EDT
I wound up poz and can't identify what I did that was risky. Maybe I was "stealthed". I didn't get any chances to screw up and ruminate on how it made me feel and what emotional baggage was making me do it. There was no touchy-feely online post, just a tragic surprise during a routine HIV test. I never willingly barebacked strangers in a bookstore. I never barebacked anyone. To come on here, on a forum with people who got it from rape, deception, lying partners, transfusions and yes, even occasional but rare human mistakes---and broadcast your multiple incidents of stupidity amidst continued fortune---is insulting. Stop trying to blame it on your past. Stop having some pathetic pity-party about how being gay makes you feel bad enough to make stupid decisions. Take responsibility for your life. Go to the doc and get some viagra for your condom issue, shut up and stop putting yourself at risk. Your story disgusts me, and you clearly don't deserve your luck.
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Comment by: t.p. Tue., Aug. 17, 2010 at 10:51 am EDT
@papa_j: i think you're mixing up the definition of the so-called "down-low." terron isn't hiding that he's into men, nor is he pursuing relationships with women. in fact, he's saying these things using his own full name on a site that gets millions of viewers, being honest and using his experiences to be instructive, knowing he'll be open to criticism from many sectors of his communities. kinda the opposite of the down-low, no?
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Comment by: safe sex advocate (Western US) Mon., Aug. 16, 2010 at 6:09 pm EDT
Thank you for telling your story so truthfully, which helps us all to understand the real, lived experiences of our fellow human beings. I want to suggest that you try using the so-called "female condom", which is safe for use during anal sex with both men and women. To use anally, you remove the flexible ring on the closed end of the condom. Many men find this ring appealing to use as a cock ring. I have heard from many men that since the "female condom" is inserted by the "bottom" (receptive partner), the "top" (insertive partner) often finds it more comfortable because it does not have the confining feeling of a regular condom.
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Comment by: Lola (South Africa) Mon., Aug. 16, 2010 at 6:13 am EDT
Mr. Cook: I read your article before the weekend and I kept on thinking about it over and over again, every chance I got. It is quite scary, but thanks for bringig that to light. From the comments already posted, it is clear that a lot of us do not want you to be a statistic, it would really be sad being one, having gone there with both your eyes open, with this magnitude of information you already possess and also, that is readily available. I somehow believe that you know you are gay but are appalled by the evry thought. You want to have a meaningful relationship, but are too scared to settle for only 1 man. There are many gorgeous, intelligent, healthy gay men out there (-ve and +ve), who could give you what you think you want only if you stop regarding yourself as one of a kind, and an untouchable... You seem too good and wonderful to let this indecisiveness ruin your life. I do commend you though Mr. Cook for being so brutally honest and sharing with us your innermost battles and demons. A great read indeed. May you be blessed!
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Comment by: papa_j (Atlanta, GA) Sat., Aug. 14, 2010 at 10:52 pm EDT
Oh, great. Another gay black man on "the down-low". Just like so many "straight" married men of all races, it all comes back to denial.
When you finally test positive for HIV, are you going to disclose this to your victims? Will you then use a condom? I'm gusseing no.
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Comment by: Michael (Toronto) Sat., Aug. 14, 2010 at 1:57 pm EDT
Thank you for sharing your story. Now, as a young(27), black, educated man, who also was sexually abused, I also fell into the same trap(having unprotected anonymous gay sex). For me it took only two times before I got infected. Count your lucky stars that you are not infected. I hope you take the time to reflect on your past behaviour and find the courage to engage in a meaningful relationship. Even when you find said relationship, I would hope you wear a condom, cause even then you could not be certain said person might actually be aware of their status.

Good luck.
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Comment by: Paul M Smith (Wiltom Manors FL 33334) Fri., Aug. 13, 2010 at 3:55 pm EDT
Terron's article really saddens me. He presents as such a wise, gifted, talented black man who has sex with men. Terron is doing what so many of us do. Making excuses for his death-wish behavior. He is taking the "victim role" where there is this force inside of him that compels him to act in a certain way that defies his will power. He is right, we are human and we naturally have a sexual drive that is often quite compelling (it may even be greater in men), however, in the face of the potential health dangers and consequences of unprotected sex, he will not convince me that he just can't help himself. He is showing willful disregard for his safety when he penetrates a stranger w/o a condom- pure and simple. Yeh- Yeh! Growing up gay in America is the pitts. It downright sucks for most of us. Bad things have happened to us. We have had to lie, connive, hide and deceive to make it to adulthood and then we continue to do it until we reach a point in our maturation that we have the courage and self worth to accept being gay and then learn to make descent lives for ourselves and take responsibilty for our choices. Terron needs to step back a moment and take ownership of the choices he makes. The moment he decides to enter the bookstore that has the stalls, take out his dick and put in the gloryhole, he is off to the races and he knows it. The idea of safe sex is not, nor does he need it to be, part of his lexicon. So, if a young black talented and gifted man wants to victimize himself to the forces of greed, lust and willful self indulgence, I don't know how we can help him. Maybe he does have a desire to commit suicide slowly and painfully while getting his rocks off easy and often. His choice, but far to often I encounter men like Terron who feels hopelessly compelled to engage in risky behavior over and over again and rationalize it away as - the devil made me. I'm not buying it. Some good psychotherapy may be helpful. hit me back with your thoughts

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Comment by: jack (LA) Fri., Aug. 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm EDT
I see a lot of rationalizing by the end of this story. I don't know if you've stopped having bareback sex, or still do, or if someone coming across this page shares the same rationalization... if so:

Yeah, you're being an effing idiot. in 2010, there's no reason for new HIV cases to occur. It's not like a cold you get from getting sneezed on. It's from idiots like you who take one too many risks, and in a three month window where you don't know you finally turned poz, you start knockin' up other dudes with HIV. Simply ridiculous. You might not be a "gay culture" gay, but you're certainly just waiting to be a statistic.
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Comment by: Eddie (Houston, Tx) Fri., Aug. 13, 2010 at 1:08 pm EDT
I read your post and I felt compelled to write back to you. While I appreciate your brutal honesty, I felt that you needed to hear a brutal answer. Terron, wherever you are, this is the kind of message I may want to read,If I come across one, but don't want to hear from you or anyone who engage in unprotected sexual behavior. Your behavior is unacceptable,selfish, destructive,irresponsible,reckless,unethical,insulting,inexcusable,and if it is not illegal, It should be.Although It is well known that there are consequences for an adult of being abused as a child among other things,I classify your "honest story" as a negative message for all infected,non-infected young,adult gay men,heterosexual,women,children,activists,scientists,non-profit organizations,government institutions,the body.com, and even the people on this forum, or any other forum who work tirelessly to fight HIV/AIDS. Please seek help because even if you are a "gifted" individual, you are not exempt from other STD's that you may pass on to others,and I hope you don't have any, the "others" maybe more prone to become infected with HIV once they have been infected with any another STD's, for example; Hepatitis A,B,C or Herpes type 2,Syphilis, etc... Those are perfect bridges for HIV to infect other people. If you don't care about yourself, then please think of the damage people like you maybe causing to the world in terms of HIV/AIDS, that is. Let's be a part of the solution not part of the problem. You seem like an intelligent person and I hope you put your talents to work for a positive cause and do the right things.
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Comment by: Mike (North Carolina) Fri., Aug. 13, 2010 at 11:23 am EDT
All of these incredibly judgemental and negative comments are prime examples of why it's so hard to have honest, open dialogue about what fuels barebacking behavior. It's almost impossible for individuals to honestly explore why they or others seek unprotected sex because of the judgement of others.

Instead of judging people like Mr. Cook, or even recommending "treatment" like we could possibly understand him or his situation from a brief essay, how about we simply offer support for him to discover why he's making the choices he makes.

Many of the commenters here and even Mr. Cook seem to view bareback sex as being a death-wish or being intrinsically evil. The very real consequences of HIV infection should not be overlooked but I do believe that it is internalized homophobia that drives us to label as deadly or evil what straight people do all the time without stigma. Unprotected sex is not an automatic death sentence - and not just because of the medicines that help manage HIV (some of which have terrible side effects) - not all such sex leads to infection. Should we think about not just our own health and pleasure, but that of our sexual partner(s)? Yes, absolutely. But gay men can and do have low or non-risk unprotected sex. Of course, one has to know that the other individual is both honest and knowledgeable about their status (some people assume that they are negative without being tested), but it is possible to have that kind of physical intimacy.

I think the reason that men bareback is complex and complicated and reducing it to pop-psych explanations is unhelpful and counter-productive. We also need to quit stigmatizing men who are honest about their feelings or motivations or we'll never get anywhere in reducing, much less eliminating HIV infection.

My best to you, Mr. Cook. God bless.
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Comment by: Sean (Oklahoma) Fri., Aug. 13, 2010 at 8:39 am EDT
Hey, Terron, sounds to me like you've "got it bad, and that ain't good"! (Do you know that song?)

My advice to someone like you is go live way out in the country, far from people, and get sex out of your system. It's an addiction. It may take three or four years to forget about it and to get used to not having it. Meanwhile, way out in the country you should be far from temptation. And from that distance, by way of writing letters or emails, you should be able to locate a genuine partner. Take it very very slowly with him and insist that you both show each other evidence of getting tested before you eventually make your relationship physical.

You need to take immediate steps to make risky sex impossible for yourself!

(And don't trust that God will keep you safe either! It's *you* that's got to keep *you* safe.)
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Comment by: Steve (Liverpool, UK) Fri., Aug. 13, 2010 at 8:30 am EDT
Terron, I completely empathize with you and applaud your honest writing. I think this kind of integrity is what is missing in many communities and relationships. At times when I read comments from this site, and other HIV related/gay male sources there is another layer of politically correct, contectual lingo which renders authentic trust with open dialogue completely veiled. I was heartened by your reference to deception and the double identity we learn to live with since childhood. The survival instinct to be deceptive is, I believe, far more daunting to conquer than "coming out" is. Animal instinct which you referred to is deeply interwoven with subconscious designs for power, love, and survival. Afterall we will do more to find love and security than we would do to feed ourselves as psychiatry has proven. In my experience as a gay white male I have reasoned that we live with calculated risks in this life. I have worked closely with HIV/AIDS community based organizations and was raised in a faith community. I lived through the horrific ravages of the HIV epidemic in the late 80s and 90s. I now live thankfully in a time when HIV is a managed chronic disease along with many other diseases. It was a tough reality when I learned a few years ago I was HIV+. Nonetheless, like you, I am challenged to live in a society plagued with anonymity. I think most of us yearn for the experience of "feeling fully alive and connected." At times I choose well and at times I do not and reap the consequences for all my choices. The reality is, life is very short for all of us, and we must live fully, love deeply and hopefully leave the earth better for those who come after us. I think if I have done that, then I can say this has been a meaningful and rich life. I wish the very best to you and that your life will continue to offer the beauty of who you are created to be. Not everyone can handle such brilliant transparency--keep on keeping on...
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Comment by: Peter (Dunedin, New Zealand.) Fri., Aug. 13, 2010 at 8:26 am EDT
Terron, thanks for this wonderfully frank article.

I'm a bottom, and I know exactly why I am HIV+. It's because the pleasure that I feel when I am being passive is mind-blowing. There simply is no other physical high that can compare to it. This is simply because of how my body and my nervous system responds to anal sex. So I craved being involved in passive sex. That desire was SO strong that I was prepared to let someone top me with or without a condom. Most of the time though I encouraged the use of a condom. However, when one forceful guy didn't give me a chance to object, I was so caught up in the thrill of the oncoming pleasure that I let him continue. And that one occasion was the occasion that got me. Now I have HIV because of it. I am responding "well" to HAART, but I have had continuous side-effects that nothing can be done about and evidence is emerging that HIV continues to do damage to the body's organs despite the effectiveness of HAART on viral-load and CD4 count.

Terron, you may well want a monogamous loving relationship with one man, but I don't believe it is a desire to connect deeply that causes you to have unsafe sex. You do it because, as you say, it simply physically feels a lot better than sex inside rubber.

It's a swine of a choice! All that wonderful rubberless pleasure, or living with the awfulness of HIV for the rest of your life. Which is it to be?

That one time when I had unsafe sex (and the guy infected me) brought me THE most extraordinary pleasure I had ever experienced. Ten years on I still know that was the best sex I have ever had. But it was not worth what I have gone through since and what I must continue to go through for the rest of my life.

Please, just accept this. Unsafe sex, Russian roulette, just IS NOT worth it IF YOU LOSE . . . and sooner or later unsafe sex WILL ensure that you DO lose.
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Comment by: a female perspective (Botswana) Fri., Aug. 13, 2010 at 2:38 am EDT
Mr. Cook,

Your honestly was frightening (as others have said) but also refreshing. You're right that this is a very human issue, and if it weren't, we would all find it very easy to use condoms and we wouldn't be where we are today. as i said, i do find it refreshing. as a woman there have been many times i have pressured a man to use a condom, but i have many guy friends who say that ladies also pressure their guys not to use them. so i don't think it's all about 'male pleasure'. this is not a gay thing, or straight thing or even a guy or girl thing. i think you're getting closer to the heart of the matte when you say that it is about intimacy and "closeness". As a person who has worked in this field for many years it is one of the biggest challenges we face. sometimes i wish more people would be honest like you. i think if it's out in the open then we maybe we can all come to terms with it? maybe? i don't know the answers. but i am really tired of us denying that this is reality. if we were all using condoms then we would not have any incidence rate. here's what i do know: i will likely re-read your post again and again because it is one of the most honest pieces i've ever seen about this issue and if we just go on screaming ABC we are closing our eyes to this reality. i'm not supporting you in not using condoms - i think it's really risky, but i also am not judgin you because i think a lot of people are going to read your post and feel like they are loooking into a mirror. thanks for the honesty. stay good to you.
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Comment by: Sam (Detrpot, MI) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 10:08 pm EDT
We do not want to hear from your unhealthy experience and willed behaviors.It is people like you who give this shameful image of gay people and you are telling the world of your devilish acts.
You are blaming other for their behaviors when you were the hungry wolf.
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 9:21 pm EDT
@Simon: A very interesting response. First off, let me touch on the concluding portion of your response. Yes, while my behavior may be risky, there is an element of divisiveness that utilizing condoms creates. And while it IS extremely risky, there are two consenting adults involved in the process of partaking in "unsafe" sex. Consider it.......

When you make the statement "I may need to seek expert help, do you HONESTLY think that a SO-CALLED "expert" is in a position to alter the reality of my formative years, my present day reality, or the reasons associated with my choosing to partake in such acts. This is REAL LIFE, and we are humans who bleed blood. Emotion runs so much deeper than consequence. If I am putting myself at risk, so be it.

So, before you suggest one seek "expert help," you may want to step into life a bit further. Thank You very much for your thoughts.

Humbly,

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 9:13 pm EDT
@Dwayne: Hello! I truly appreciate your opinion on this very sensitive subject. While we are all entitled to our opinions, this issue is much deeper than what most can fathom. Furthermore, I am not one to hate anyone. There is not an ounce of hate in me toward Caucasian men. Why would there be? The childhood trauma that I was forced to endure has the "potential" to have an adverse affect on me. Yet, it does not, in any way, shape, or form.

Being preoccupied with my own "pleasure" is hardly the case. The act of sex involves "two" individuals, and while I am the top man, that does not negate the fact that there are two parties involved. Food for thought. Again, your opinion is respected, yet, invalid.

Peace.

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 9:03 pm EDT
@Kirk: Thank You for the strong advice. So many individuals in my life have provided the same words. Although I struggle with my decisions in this arena, I realize that I am at a crossroads, and MUST make better decisions, or cease intercourse, altogether.

Reading my own piece of writing, along with the posted comments has forced me to deal with an issue that has somewhat plagued my mind/spirit throughout my entire existence.

The time is now to begin doing the "right" thing. Thank you for your thoughts, Kirk.

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 8:57 pm EDT
@DP: Thank You for your candid response. Yes, I have rather fortunate, considering the amount of "risks" that I have taken. As I continue down this path, I realize that I may not continue to be so "fortunate."

Pondering on the future, and my decision-making skills is at the forefront. Tomorrow is not promised, nor is my health. I appreciate all that you had to say.

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: Dee C. (East/Southeast, Tx) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 7:49 pm EDT
I can understand where ur coming from bcause most gay men are dealing with the same issues but most arent as lucky as u are(like myself)and ive never did the bookstore, bathhouse and park thing bcause it wasnt intimate/personal enough for me plus i like knowing the person a little. To me most gay men are like sneaking around behind theyre family and friends back to get what their bodys craving for that one brief satisfying moment then they go back to their so-called normal life instead of realizing early on that "this is who i am so u learn how to deal with it" and be who a person is. Being a black gay bttm from the south who lookd for relationships or love from guys that i thought loved and cared about me then eventually learning that EVERYONE has their issues sexually unfortunately i rekindled an old flame with a guy that i had previously loved me(or so i thought) until afterwards he told me that he had gotten sick and went to the ER and they told him that he had AIDS(all in one day and this was around 1991 when HIV test took weeks to get the results)so i knew that he had known it previously bcause he had been in prison.I would never wish what ive gone through since 2000 when the virus started showing bcause i didnt want to believe it so i never got tested, now looking back when i didnt have anonymous bcause i didnt want to get sick bcause i thought since i knew the guys and they liked or cared about me they wud of told me or offered to use a condom but he didnt i think bcause i didnt love him like he loved me and he knew that he cud give me something that wud keep us together foreva and i wud ALWAYS remember him which is the hardest part bcause we were cool/friends. Mr Cook learn to love YOU and find a guy whos gonna love u like u love u and u wud return that favor unselfishly. And always think about u having to tell guys or ppl that ur poz and not having that support from a love one that u can go home to that wud be understanding. Be safe & take care
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Comment by: DP (London, England) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 2:48 pm EDT
Hey OP, great post. Incredibly honest, and I understand where you are coming from. I know you know the dangers, but I had to say - I had unprotected sex with a stranger once in my life. Once. Guess who is now infected? You have been really lucky so far (assuming you do actually know your HIV status for certain). Just one little thing I can throw in - if you lose your hard on with a condom, try masturbating a few times with one on - that gets you used to getting em on quick and effortlessly as well as used to the different sensation.

Good luck to you, and thanks again for a rather insightful yet scary post.

DP
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Comment by: Kirk (Dallas, TX) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 2:34 pm EDT
Mr. Cook,
Your honest sharing of what you are thinking and feeling is very commendable. I have been there and I also had the same "reasons" but now I am part of the "positive-community". I am so happy to tell you that I was once there and now I am not but the consequences follow me forever. Please, do it differently. Stay negative.
Cares.
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Comment by: Dwayne (North Dakota) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 2:22 pm EDT
"When I partake in a sexual escapade with another man, I need it to be fulfilling in all aspects, and utilizing a condom simply does not afford me that pleasure."
That statement reflects the author's level of preoccupation with his own pleasure, excluding the needs of others, (including their health). I would imagine if the author indeed seroconverted someday, this behavior would continue.....and likely be confined to Caucasian men, whom he seems to specifically hate, due to his childhood trauma.
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Comment by: James A Bryant (Atlanta Ga) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 1:59 pm EDT
Remind me of myself some 4 years ago...
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Comment by: Madison Bleu (Maryland) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 1:51 pm EDT
And this is just one of the reasons why there is so much stigma associated with HIV/AIDS. This is why so many ppl believe that ppl who contract the virus 'deserve' it.

I'm a negative but I'm an advocate who's just joined the fight -- overcoming my erroneous beliefs about the people who live with this disease has been a struggle but I'm doing it because I know that nobody deserves to contract a potentially fatal illness and I genuinely care about those who are infected.

So please do whatever it takes to change your behaviour because your putting yourself and others at risk and fueling the fires of stigma.

Peace & Blessings,
MB
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Comment by: Simon (London England) Thu., Aug. 12, 2010 at 1:27 pm EDT
You sat - 'I can't maintain an erection in a condom, or at least, that's what I've convinced myself of. I use this as an excuse to not use them.

When I partake in a sexual escapade with another man, I need it to be fulfilling in all aspects, and utilizing a condom simply does not afford me that pleasure. In my earnest opinion, safe sex is absolutely ridiculous, yet necessary. It creates rigidity, as well as a wall in the middle of what is designed to be so beautiful. There is something about barebacking that allows me to feel close to the man directly in front of me".

There is of course a self-destructive element in many of us relating to the experience of 'otherness' and often terrible childhoods, but I think you need to think about how any of the hundreds of thousands of people who have died prolonged brave unwanted deaths might answer what you say? Think of LIFE, and if you can't find life then for heavens sake seek help. I thought I was immune and I NEVER consciously took risks nd I got infected. What about your partners, and the tacit contempt it shows them? You are not on your own in this and you must forgive me if I say I think you may need expert help.
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Comment by: Terron J. Cook (San Francisco, CA) Wed., Aug. 11, 2010 at 10:50 pm EDT
@John: Thank You for your words of wisdom/encouragement. While I recognize how self-destructive my behavior has been, and continues to be, I recognize the underlying issues which assist in my decision making.

As time passes, I know that my better judgment will get the best of me. Maturing spiritually, as well as mentally will foster growth in various areas of my life.

I appreciate you taking the time to comment on my post. This is one area of my life that I have continuously struggled with. Along with the hand of GOD, I know that I can conquer this. Be well!

Mr. Cook
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Comment by: fogcityjohn (San Francisco, CA) Sun., Aug. 8, 2010 at 11:03 pm EDT
Terron: This is a beautiful and extremely frank post. Thank you for being honest enough to discuss this topic openly. I know there are many men in your situation who will relate to your experience.

While I fully understand how hard it can be to adhere to safer sex, I sincerely hope you'll find a way to do it. I want you to protect yourself. This club I'm a member of already has way too many members. I don't want to see you become one of them.
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