The cute robots in this video are about to get down 'n nasty after hooking up through a gay chat site. There's just one problem: the horned up bareback bottom forgot to ask the top about his HIV status. What follows is a funny, pornographic (NSFW), painfully realistic "negotiation" in which stupidity rules the day.
I have had conversations exactly like this one. And I'll go even further: in my crystal meth days, I had chats like these through glory holes. "If you're clean, we'll do it raw," the gentleman in the adjoining booth would suggest, to which I would reply, "You're going to take the word of a stranger you're talking to through a three inch hole in the wall ...?"
The joke, if there really is one, is on the bareback bottoms who "restrict" their hookups to men who claim they are negative. These misguided folks are almost certainly already positive and don't yet know it, leaving the door open for them to infect others.
The lesson in all this, of course, is not to put your life into the hands of someone you've known for five minutes. Or five months. The responsibility not to get exposed to HIV (and hepatitis and other STDs) is entirely yours. And another thing: If you're a sexually active "man about town" and your last HIV test was months ago, the results don't really matter anymore. Go get a new one.
I exchanged e-mails with the producer of the robot video, who prefers the anonymity of cyberspace but nevertheless has strong feelings about the curious mating habits of the gay male. "If (HIV negative) guys are out there having anonymous sex with strangers, they're having plenty of contact with HIV+ guys." he wrote me. "Is there really something that they'd do with a stranger from Manhunt or Grindr that they wouldn't do with someone who says he's HIV+? It seems that what bothers them is knowing the truth."
"I'd like to think that gay men could educate themselves enough to apply a safety standard to their conduct that doesn't stigmatize anybody," he goes on, perhaps a bit optimistically, "rather than hide behind a curtain of fear and blame.
I explored a lot of this territory is one of my older videos, "Mark's R-Rated Sex Pig Blog." In the video I discuss risks like barebacking and reenact my glory hole conversations (left), complete with a wall, a hole, and my friend Brian playing "the mouth." And since the video was done before I got a handle on my meth addiction, you can see the ravages of addiction on my face, which is a lesson all its own.
This funny, bawdy robot video says more about the state of gay male sexual risk than any of the horrid public health campaigns out there today. It is exactly the kind of message I would have praised in my recent video conversation with HIV activist Sean Strub about HIV prevention campaigns.
If you want to do something about new HIV infections among our gay brothers, here's an easy task: send this video to every sexually active guy you know.
Sometimes the truth hurts. In this case, it's also hilarious.
Kudos to Maureen McCarty of The New Gay for flagging this video for me. Finding potty-mouthed robots chatting about risky sex is exactly what makes a good editor, I always say. -- Mark
Comment by: Stephen
Thu., Feb. 21, 2013 at 3:48 am EST
I found this article full of judgement and misunderstandings about humans varied sexual desires.
Pointing the finger at what you may deem as bad behavior only stigmatizes the behavior and forces those that participate to conceal or be ashamed. It doesn't address the issue itself. Which is how can we protect those that will behave in this way, because they find it hot. People are going to behave like this irregardless of the risk because the pleasure to them outweighs any pending risk.
People are kinky. Some people find the risk to be the most arousing part. The gamble of it all I suppose. But who are we to judge? Some like it hot, eh?
Comment by: Davids
Fri., Oct. 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm EDT
I read your article and found it to be very true. and right on target. most bottoms who like it raw very seldom ask the status of the guy thats getting ready to have his way with them. I've seen it many times. and the truth is most bottoms dont actually care if the guy topping them is neg or poz.
Comment by: Michael
Tue., Mar. 15, 2011 at 1:45 pm EDT
Mark from Beiruit and Vik:
I never willingly screwed without a condom, and doubt there was a break or a removal since I was in the habit of checking afterwards. Gross but true. I had too many partners but I can count on one hand the number of guys who've cum inside me. HIV is the only STD I've ever been diagnosed with. It makes me sick whenever I hear people say things like "you need to start wearing condoms", as though I was the red robot. I just wanna scream at them. I did everything right, I used the condoms, they're not 100% effective. If they were, the condom companies would be broadcasting that on their packaging instead of vague phrases like "when used correctly, condoms reduce your chances". I'm honestly a little angry that I got it while some of these "red robots" are going to remain neg, with their futures and dignity intact despite their stupidity and bigotry. As for the idiots who say things like "i've never met anyone in real life who claimed immaculate infection", I assure you, its because the reactions we get border on hostility, not because we don't exist. Stop calling us "immaculate infections", we don't pretend that we're virgins.
HIV is a terribly unfair disease. An entire generation was lifted from their deathbed with the introduction of combo therapy. 1996 was basically a line in the sand, and most of those who stood on the wrong end of it are dead. Geography, class and genetics basically dictate whether this is a death sentence or a "chronic manageable disease" today. Chalk the routes of transmission up as another way that HIV is unfair. Kudos to thebody.com for publishing the stories of a few others who got the disease despite wearing rubbers. Kudos to thebody's docs for sticking to their guns about the possibility of certain forms of transmission, and kudos to Mark King for showing how idiotic the gay sex scene is. The lie of the infallible condom forces us into "deserving" and "undeserving" camps, and its misleading.
Comment by: Vik
Wed., Mar. 9, 2011 at 8:09 am EST
I completely agree with Marc from Beirut. I am also a 27 year old sexually active gay guy. I never had bareback sex-not ever. Rarely bottomed. And still got this awful virus.
So, my point is there is no cuh thing as 100% safe sex. There is ALWAYS an element of risk in having even protected sex with strangers. broken condoms, bleeding gums who knows...it takes a fewseconds for it to happen. However, HIV lives in me forever now.
Comment by: Marc
Mon., Mar. 7, 2011 at 4:23 am EST
Hello Mr. King
I guess I've got HIV after the condom broke, it happened once with me and I was toping or maybe through Cuts, sores, or bleeding gums in my mouth that I did not notice or even expired condoms.
I have never done bareback And I was always careful to not do anything unsafe even I always played top, thinking that a top is sometimes less risky to get the virus but here I am 28 years HIV positive and started the treatment from 3 month ago and was always afraid from getting that virus. And please know that even knowing your partner from long time this can still put you at risk as no one of us can know the other person's life and health so clearly at 100%.
So tell your Cute Robots Mr. that most of the gays these days are well educated and most of them are applying safety standard but it is a nasty tricky virus and many are still getting it even with safety standard. So only once the condom broke, a bleeding gum, small cuts or sores can put your life into the hands of treatments.
Mr. King with all respects to your video it was better to write or do other animation story to push the world scientists to heat up, to rush and find a cure very soon for us all not just for gays but for everyone for every child, women, man who deserve a safest world.
Comment by: Tad
Fri., Mar. 4, 2011 at 2:24 pm EST
Wow, Michael from peoria, that was some winner you came in contact with on craigslist! I can't believe him!! Obviously mental issues there. I haven't had any bad experiences so far although have had guys lose interest in me after finding out but it's usually at an early enough stage where you say to yourself " well, if he is like that then I don't need him part of my life anyways" :)
Best of health to you.
Comment by: Kirk
Sun., Feb. 27, 2011 at 3:06 pm EST
It is funny but also sad that I have also engaged in such behaviors. Yes, it was ignorance, but thankfully I am not that way any longer. I think an add like this would help some re-think their habits and maybe even get tested themselves. Love you for loving us.
Comment by: Greg
Sun., Feb. 27, 2011 at 7:16 am EST
I really like your video. Its really true of what most can expect online. If i cast my mind back to when i first came out - saunas were alot like that , are you clean, now its just the internet replaced the saunas
Comment by: Roberto
Thu., Feb. 24, 2011 at 8:32 pm EST
I love this video. It happens a lot. A guy once asked me if I was positive and I said yes then he said why don't you have it on your MH profile? I said because is not everyone business. He replied I would still have sex with you but we have to use protection then I asked myself wouldn't you still protect yourself no matter what the other person said?
Comment by: Mark
Sun., Feb. 27, 2011 at 8:44 pm EST Why are guys only concerned with HIV? Safe sex is safe sex. What about herpes, chlamydia, hepatitis? Long before I had any experience with an STD I got the sickest I have ever been from eating an orange. Days in the hospital, weeks of medication all because the really nice (and cute) guy that climbed the tree and picked the orange for me didn't wash his hands well enough.
Why do we expect other people to keep us safe when having sex? We wear seat belts, buy insurance, and turn on our headlights at dusk. All because we are taking personal responsibility for our safety.
We shouldn't expect the other guy to be concerned with our health if we aren't. You may be lucky but then again you may be like me and spend the rest of your life wishing you had been more careful and less trusting. He may not even know...
Comment by: jim
Thu., Feb. 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm EST
Whoever created this video is my new hero.
I have a strong belief in non-violence, but when I hear someone use the term "clean" in regards to HIV I want to punch him in the mouth. I don't care what right wing religious yahoos say about me, but to have other gay people speak about people with HIV in such a way is infuriating beyond belief.
As someone who was diagnosed with HIV in 1988 I find it a sad state of affairs that in 2011 just about the only negative, discriminatory behavior regarding HIV that I encounter seems to come from the gay "community" I felt much more accepted 15 years ago than I do now. I don't judge someone for rejecting me as a sexual partner because of my status. Not every person can deal with every thing and as long as he's honest and respectful about it that's a decision he has every right to make. However, it annoys the hell out of me knowing that same person will probably turn right around and jump on someone bareback with no questions asked. Between my undetectable viral load and the fact that I never have anal without condoms I would probably be the safest sex the guy's ever had.
It is somewhat unfair for those of us who have been around since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic to expect young gay men to have the same attitudes and reactions to HIV as we do. They have not experienced it as we have. The problem is the pathetic state of health/sexuality education in this country. A lot of the young men I encounter are frighteningly ignorant, not just about HIV, but about std's in general.
Comment by: Michael
Sat., Feb. 26, 2011 at 1:43 am EST Gay men have embraced the childish idea that it is other people's responsibility to keep them HIV-. Not only does this vest the burden of safety in those who have the least to gain from it, but it leaves those who presume themselves negative sitting ducks for anyone who is unaware of their status, and creates a situation where getting tested is a liability. This adds up to a recipe for disaster, which we see manifested in climbing HIV rates and greater numbers of poz youngsters who are surprised by their results. In a world where bareback websites give users the option to say "negative only" without a hint of irony, its a wonder that infection rates aren't even higher. The person who wrote this video understands this well. The sad truth is that the dialogue may not even be fiction. Just a few weeks ago, after exchanging pics and before even meeting, I disclosed to a guy from craiglist. His response? "You need to be honest with people. I'm going to report you to the police". After casually explaining that I *had* been honest with him and that disclosure is not a criminal act, but falsely accusing someone is, I asked what exactly he intended to report me for. His response? "I'm careful who I sleep with. Maybe you should have been too". No lie.
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