Homosexual Birth Control: A Pill a Day

About a week ago, a menstrual like flow started streaming out of my ass.  It begged a few questions, which I asked of my doctor.  That’s after telling him about the few days prior when I picked up a rather aggressive hitchhiker who pitched a nicely sized tent and camped out in my backyard.  By the end of his stay though, it felt more like he had moved in and renovated the space (if you catch my drift).

I digress.  My doctor seeming less than amused ordered me not to have sex for at least three weeks to allow my injuries adequate time to heal.

From rug burn (let’s not forget the sheet burn I got in my early twenties) to broken ribs, “love is a battlefield,” and I’m a wounded warrior with the scars to prove it.

Putting cuts, bruises, and other minor bedroom “boo boos” aside, a good romp in the sack can be dangerous and accidents do happen. Now I’m not suggesting we all run out and get knee guards (When you go downtown, find other positions that are more comfortable for Pete’s sake!), but I’m all about protection. Bullies still roam the playground, and I’d rather not monkey around with sexually transmitted infections or diseases.

In July 2012, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved what I like to call “homosexual birth control.” That’s the use of Truvada as a daily HIV preventative. Commonly known as PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), HIV-negative people take HIV treatment drugs (antiretrovirals – ARVs) daily to reduce their risk of becoming HIV-infected.

After my doctor declined to put me on the medication, I decided to enroll in a study currently underway at Harlem Prevent Center.  Researchers want to know if taking the drug less frequently than it’s currently prescribed will also be effective.  The study is “designed to identify PrEP pill-taking schedules that participants are more likely to follow and determine if these schedules influence healthier sexual practices.”

Randomly divided participants find themselves assigned to one of three-groups: Truvada once a day, Truvada twice per week and another Truvada pill after sex, or Truvada only before and after sex.  Yours truly belongs to the first group.

Among my concerns in the homosexual community is this perception that “the pill” is a license to have unprotected sex.  In fact, that’s the reason my doctor refused to write me a script in the first place.  He suggested my sexual habits (although frequent in nature) do not place me in a “high-risk” category, and he did not wish to do anything to “deter my socially-responsible behavior.”  

When I pressed him on the issue, he openly admitted he put a few dozen patients on the regimen.  They have unprotected “bareback” sex and although they’re not testing positive for HIV, they come back in the door any number of STDs.  We all know, chlamydia doesn’t always hang out alone.  That girl likes to throw slumber parties with some of her closest friends, which sort of gives a whole new meaning to, “Nighty-night.  Sleep tight.  Don’t let the bed bugs bite.”  Don’t you agree?!

Again, I digress.

The Big Apple is home to some of the best fruit in the barrel.  But in any bushel, you’re likely to find a worm in at least one apple and all it takes is a bad one to spoil the bunch.  That’s why I caution anyone who subscribes to the notion that an apple a day (or in this case a pill) will keep the doctor away.

The Dating Pool: Getting Ready to Make a Splash

That “show about nothing” actually taught us something about dating.  Seinfeld may be roughly two-decades removed now, but we can still take away a very valuable lesson from the show’s cynical characters (Jerry, George, Elaine, and yes — even Kramer).  Simply put:  unless we learn from our failed relationships, we are doomed to repeat history.

Now, I’ve dated my fair share of winners who turned out to be losers.  Who could forget the handsome pilot?  The minute I let him into the cockpit, he took off!  Or what about the producer I went undercover with when he worked at ABC’s 20/20?  That remains one of life’s unsolved mysteries.  And don’t get me started on some of the people I’ve dated in the medical community!  They poked.  They knew how to prod.  But at the end of the night, they had absolutely no bedside manner.

I digress.

A friend recently brought to my attention an interesting article that boils “happily ever after” down to a science.  As the New York Post put it, “in love, as with genies, we only get three wishes.”  Susannah Cahalan quotes relationship expert Ty Tashiro, who encourages singles to stop “wanting everything and getting nothing.”  To find a mate in the irrational world of dating, he says we should learn to “weed out the undesirable traits and [rethink] our views about what really matters in a romantic partner.”

As I prepare to dive back into the dating pool, I openly admit I’m a bit leery of the deep end.  But, I’m sure it beats some of the shallow “men” (notice I use that term loosely) I’ve been flopping around with lately in the kiddie section.  One thing’s clear:  I must re-evaluate my approach to the “dating game” because that will ultimately determine whether I sink or swim.

Fast Love: It’s ‘Sexual Healing’

Sometimes, the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else.  New research backs me up on this one.  

In a study of 170 undergraduate students, researchers at the University of Missouri found 35 percent had rebound sex “to cope with distress and to get over the ex-partner” within a month of a failed relationship.  The study appears in February’s issue of the Archives of Sexual Behavior.  Among other things, it says people who sought out fast love “to cope with negative feelings… were more likely to have sex with a stranger and to continue having sex with new partners over time.”

Over the last six-months, I’ve been distracting my heart and entertaining my body with men (many, many men).  Rebound sex offers us a way to fill the void.  It’s liberating, makes you feel attractive again, even confident.  Putting the instant gratification aside, it’s affirming to feel that touch.  And on that level, what we really have here is “sexual healing.”

“Whenever blue teardrops are falling and my emotional stability is leaving me, there is something I can do. ”  Take it away, Marvin Gaye!

Living Single: Party of One

I never cared too much for love.  It was all a bunch of mush that I just did not want.  But this morning, I woke up to reality and found the future not so bright.

In my early thirties, I’m coming to terms with the fact that your cake doesn’t always turn out the way you hoped.  But that doesn’t mean we have to settle for crumbs.

As I get ready to blow out another candle, I’m reminded that I’m not so unique I should be spared experiences other people must endure.

Cry me a river.  Build me a bridge.  I’m basically over it.

I just find myself pondering a rather thought-provoking question that I conceived of by sarcastically putting a spin on a popular phrase:  You are what you eat, but what’s eating at you?

To borrow a few more lyrics (you’ll notice I do that a lot too), I think Whitney Houston put it best:

Each day I play the role of someone always in control.  But at night, I come home and turn the key.  There’s nobody there.  No one cares for me.  What’s the sense of trying hard to find your dreams?  Without someone to share it with, tell me what does it mean?

Living Single has been the theme song of my so-called life and that’s been fun, but I’m finally ready for a spin-off.  We’ll call it “Real Love.”  Someone to set my heart free.

As the late Beatrice Arthur once said (playing the role of Dorothy Zbornak on the sitcom The Golden Girls), “If you take a chance in life, sometimes good things happen.  Sometimes bad things happen.  But, honey, if you don’t take a chance, nothing happens.

I’m ready to take a chance.  After all, one really is the loneliest number.

No Strings Attached (NSA): Lie to me, Pinocchio!

As city dwellers, we live in a “concrete jungle” surrounded by millions of strangers (any one of whom might secrete a pheromone so powerful it ignites an animal-like lust that threatens to erupt from our bodies).  In that sense, New York is more like a “human zoo.”  We find ourselves on overcrowded subway cars packed like sardines, feeling more like caged panthers in heat.  Clawing and scratching, we’re on the prowl:  the predators eager to pounce, the prey ready and so willing to be devoured!

MyItsGettingHot

We’re known as “the city that never sleeps” because we work hard,  and we play even harder!

Long before Lady Gaga even dreamed of going into the recording booth with R. Kelly, I could cast a look and reel a guy in without saying a word.  My eyes do all the talking.  “You can’t have my heart and you won’t use my mind, but do [whatever the fuck] you want with my body.”

If I do open my mouth, you might expect to hear something along these lines:  “You like what you see, no?  Want to see more?”

Call it a one night stand, or maybe you prefer one hit wonder.  I’m talking about throw me down, cut to the chase, hardcore sex.  No.  Strings.  Attached.

It’s all fun without the hassle of being tied down (unless, of course, you enjoy being gagged with your hands cuffed to the bed post) until someone falls and gets hurt.  One minute you’re lucky in lust but after time passes, you find yourself in a one-sided romance.

That’s why the rules of engagement require you follow what I like to call the “Law of the Jungle.” You must be able to establish and respect boundaries.  Be honest with each other about emotional needs (or lack there of).  Communicate.  Negotiate.

At the end of the day or night (as is often the case) a “no strings attached” encounter is merely a business transaction.  He’s got the goods.  You’ve got the services.  I would, of course, always be sure to insure my products because once an exchange goes down, some things are NOT always refundable or covered by warranty (if you catch my drift).  #UseProtection.

But, I digress.  You’ll notice I do that a lot.  Have fun, shoot a video if that floats your boat, and smoke ’em if you got ’em!

Heartbreak Hotel

My heart recently fell out of my ass and shattered into a million little pieces when it hit the floor.

Were it plump and fleshy like well-ripened fruit, perhaps it would have just bruised a little.  But instead, my heart was frozen solid, cold as ice – as though it had spent years castaway in frigid tundra.

Too naïve to recognize the symptoms of heartache, would you believe I actually went to a hospital emergency room convinced the heart-throbbing pain in my chest was symptomatic of a heart attack?

It's sad, but true.

To add insult to injury, the DJ in my head kept cueing an endless array of heart-wrenching songs that played through my mind like a broken record and initially did little to alter the soundtrack of my life.  From Genesis’ “Hold On My Heart” to Celine Dion’s “Where Does My Heart Beat Now?,” I liked to “cry me a river.”

Any girl who’s had her heart broken feels my pain, but we all know these things typically get “better in time.”  “Seasons change.  Feelings change.”  Now Mister DJ has me singing and dancing to a whole new beat.  We’re “moving on and keeping strong.”

Caviar – A Homosexual’s Delicacy

“Caviar should be round and hard and of adequate size.  And it should burst in your mouth at precisely the right moment.”

Goldie Hawn (playing the role of Joanna Stayton in the 1987 romantic comedy, Overboard) said it.  Yours truly mocked it.

Talk about a line laced with sexual innuendo!  What must have been going through my parents’ minds as they heard their then five-year-old little boy mimic it – over and over again – remains a mystery.

I digress…

Point being:  the writing was on the wall even at an early age.

Now as a single man of the homosexual persuasion, “caviar” is one of my favorite pastimes.  And I’m not talking the “dollar-99 fish bait” one got in his early twenties either.

“Ugh!  What is this gelatinous muck?!”

No, no.  I’m talking about the cream of the crop.

What is it about my ability to make the alpha male go weak, buckle at the knees (while I’m on my knees), and moan in a fit of ecstasy and sexual pleasure that gives me such a euphoric high?   Is it the lure that although he may seem detached and emotionally unavailable, I’m somehow hoping that the way to the gay man’s heart is through his crotch?

Sometimes it seems I’m a glutton for punishment.

Sure casual sex provides the thrill without the responsibility.  But after spending the better part of the last decade bobbing for apples in the Big Apple and coming up empty, have I somehow managed to hollow out my core?  At what point have I swallowed enough?