January 23, 2004

Fucking the Constitution Isn't Like Oral Sex

—it doesn't leave any DNA evidence behind.

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January 22, 2004

A Little Story

Marjorie Ingall

A very personal little story, about how hard it is to conduct safer sex education in the dead-tree medium. It illustrates, I think, why the web an essential resource for honest discussion of safer sex aimed specifically at teenagers.

I used to be a Senior Writer at Sassy magazine, where I was responsible for the magazine's health column. One day in 1994 I realized that I'd been getting a bunch of suspiciously similar-sounding letters from teenagers urging me to write that condoms actually don't protect you from AIDS or pregnancy. "You need to tell your readers that condoms are ineffective because they slip off or break 50% of the time," the letters urged. Furthermore, they insisted, "the AIDS virus is small enough to slip through the holes in condoms."

Huh? This is flat-out wrong. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), when used consistently and correctly, condoms slip off or break less than one-half of one percent of the time. Latex condoms are very good protection from HIV and STDs; it's animal-skin condoms that are iffy (1). Obviously the letter writers weren't making any distinctions between latex and animal-skin.

I wondered why all the letters, from all over the country, authoritatively used this "condoms break 50% of the time" statistic. Where'd they get it? And why did they always pair it with the "fact" that even if condoms mysteriously managed to stay on (or miraculously failed explode like cherry bombs), the teeny and wily AIDS virus was no match for them? My belief is that so-called counselors with a religious and moral agenda were willfully feeding kids misinformation. Sunday school and health teachers in right-wing communities were telling kids the only way to stay safe was to be abstinent. Now, it's true that total abstinence is the only sure bet in the pregnancy and disease-protection sweepstakes. But telling kids "just say no" and offering no further information or advice is utterly unrealistic in a country where 75% of kids lose their virginity by 12th grade.

I wanted to write something in my column countering this misinformation kids were clearly getting. And most of all, I wanted to explictly tell readers how to use a condom. We've all heard the phrase a million times: "Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, prevent the spread of AIDS." But what does "consistently and correctly" mean, anyway? Not all kids know that condoms roll only one way (when a condom won't roll properly, it's probably inside out). Not all kids know that the guy wearing the condom should pull out fairly soon afer he cums (before he gets flaccid, lest the condom slip off when he pulls out). Not all kids know to hold the base of the condom when they pull out, to reach down and check periodically during sex that the condom is still on, to leave a bit of space at the end of a condom without a reservoir tip, or to avoid using oil-based lubes like hand cream, Vaseline or vegetable oil with condoms. Not all kids know that condoms can degrade in sunlight or in a battered wallet. In short "consistently and correctly," as a phrase, doesn't give you many specifics.

I thought it was especially essential for girls to get this information, especially since studies indicate that women are 10 to 20 times more likely than men to get HIV from unprotected sex with an infected male partner than vice versa. But when I tried to say what I just said in the previous paragraph, I was stymied. There was no way the word "cum" was gonna get by the publisher, the senior editor insisted. I tried "ejaculate," a stilted and giggle-inducing word which I felt made me sound like an uptight, nebbishy girdle-wearer. Nope. The publisher nuked it; advertisers would be horrified. Hands tied, I finally ended up writing, "If you're unclear on exactly how to use [a condom] properly (it's not just roll it on and go) read the direction or order a free borchure from the CDC's National AIDS hotline, 1-800-342-AIDS." Way to be helpful.

Later, in 1995, I was asked to write a safer sex book for an entertainment juggernaut (hint: a network that features the innovative convergence of music and images that rhymes with Femme Pee Wee). In my first meeting with the roomful of executives, I explained that I wanted the book to discuss non-penetrative sex, that I didn't want to relegate "the gay stuff" to chapter 17 or whatever in the way back of the book, and that I wanted to be realistic about the fact that teenagers are for the most part sexually active. At the time, the roomful of executives nodded eagerly. But when they actually saw the first draft, they felt it was "too pro-sex." They also felt that "the gay stuff," which I introduced in Chapter 2 as part of a general discussion of sexual identity, was "much too prominent." Finally, they were unsure about whether they wanted a book written for teenagers at all. Maybe it would be better to do a book that adults would buy for their teenage children. Or maybe they should collect a bunch of celebrities' stories about their sex lives (oh yeah, that'll glamorize safer sex!). And obviously I should only quote attractive kids who'd be willing to be photographed for the book. Reality check! By limiting the options that way, you eliminate any teenager who might say something private or stigmatizing.

We went around and around. The executives kept changing their mind about what they wanted. I felt I made compromises; I moved the gay stuff to the back of the book and added some pro-abstinence stuff to the front of the book. Finally it was decided that the entertainment juggernaut would bring the project in-house; I was paid off and set free. But I kept hearing gossip about the internal debates about the future of the book. To assuage my guilt, I ended up writing an impassioned letter to the president of the entertainment juggernaut begging her to do the right thing and publish a real safer sex guide, not some glitzy celeb-riddled volume made toothless by anxious lawyers. I never got an answer. Two years later, the book still hasn't come out. I presume they're still wrassling with it.

And now we have the World Wide Web. The lovely, link-y Web. Here we can have no page counts, no space restrictions, no skittish fashion advertisers, no censorship. (Yet, anyway.) Here we can let readers make up their own minds about thorny, still-debatable issues like the safety of oral sex rather than telling them what to do. Here readers can explore the specific topics that interest them, with ease and privacy.

And here I can chant "cum cum cum cum cum" as much as I want.

Used by permission.

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The Female Condom

Since 1977 there have been at least six patents awarded in the United States for a female applied condom, only one of which has made it to market. This condom is produced by the Female Health Company which is based in Chicago. The Female Health Company owns the worldwide rights to the female condom including international patents issued in the U.S., Japan, The European Union, The People's Republic of China, Canada and Australia. In the U.S. and Canada it used to be marketed under the name "Reality" and in the rest of the world under the name "Femidom".

This product is currently being marketed in the US with the name Female Condom.

This condom tends to be difficult to find in shops and when found is very expensive in comparison to normal latex male applied condoms. You can purchase it online through Condomania if either you are unable to find it at your local pharmacy or you are concerned about privacy.

While the FDA says that you can expect a 84% effectiveness rating for the female condom there is some controversy about this with some, such as the Female Health Company, believing the condom is under rated because of an inherent bias towards male applied condoms. With "perfect" usage efficacy may go up to as much as 95%, which fits nicely with the figures for "perfectly" applied male condoms, but this figure should not be relied upon. It should be noted that the condom is relatively new to the market and because it is a new technology the methodology for testing it may not be as complete as that for latex condoms.

As with any medical device the female condom is most appropriately used under the supervision of a doctor and should be used in conjunction with both STD and pregnancy counseling.

  • Through UNAIDS millions of female condoms have been distributed to countries including South Africa, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

  • Neither the CDC nor the FDA, to my knowledge, has studied the use of the female condom for male on male anal sex but it is being used that way in the gay community. Here is a commentary by Harlon Davey.

  • Female condoms are currently the only female applied condom choice a woman has to protect herself from STDs if she is sexually active. With the female condom the only choice and women at such a high risk of infection women seek protection from spread of AIDS. [CNN]

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  • January 11, 2004

    Women & Safer Sex

    Women are one of the fastest-growing population with HIV, but
    not much information has been written for or about them. Here
    are some topics of special concern for women.

    Lesbian Safer Sex

    Are Lesbians At Risk for Contracting HIV from Each Other?
    Yes!! There have cases reported since the mid 1980's which
    indicate that women are transmitting HIV (Human Immunodeficiency
    Virus) to each other.

    Download a Lesbian Safer Sex Guidelines cut-and-fold
    display to stand up on your nightstand!

    Women and HIV/AIDS
    Through December 1994, the Centers for Disease Control and
    Prevention (CDC) received reports of 58,428 cases of acquired
    immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) among adult and adolescent (13
    years and older) women in the United States. The proportion of
    women among cases in adults and adolescents has increased
    steadily, from 7 percent in 1985 to 18 percent in 1994.

    Women and HIV Infection

    Women, who were once falsely reassured that they were not at
    risk for heterosexual transmission of HIV, are now showing the
    fastest-growing incidence of AIDS in the nation. Among other
    statistical evidence that AIDS is affecting more women is the fact
    that the disease is now the No. 4 killer of American women between
    the ages of 25 and 44.
    (A series of the VA AIDS Information Newsletter)

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    Are Lesbians At Risk for Contracting HIV from Each Other?

    Yes!! There have cases reported since the mid 1980's which indicate that women are transmitting HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) to each other. Despite these reports the Federal Government's Center for Disease Control (CDC) does not include female to female transmission in its AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) reports. Many lesbians mistakenly believe that they are not at risk. HIV is transmitted when blood, vaginal fluids, breast milk or semen from an HIV infected person enters your blood stream.

    Lesbians can be infected with HIV through having unsafe sex (with women or men), donor insemination, sharing injectable drug works, piercing, tattooing and blood transfusions.

    BE AWARE: Drug or alchohol use impairs judgement in many areas including practicing safer sex.

    Because we do know how HIV is transmitted we can define some guidelines for safer sex and explain which risky sexual behaviors are
    potentially risky.

    Whether a sexual behavior is safe or unsafe depends on the chances of your partner's bodily fluids coming in contact with your blood.

    • Wet kissing is safer unless either of you have a sore or cut in your mouth or bleeding gums. After you brush your teeth or floss, wait a half an hour before kissing.
    • Touching your lover's breast, massage, masturbation and body to body rubbing are safer—as long as there is no blood or breast milk exchanged.
    • Sores or cuts on the fingers, mouth or vagina of either partner can increase risk during vaginal and anal contact. Using a glove can prevent a way for the virus to get into your blood stream.
    • Unprotected oral sex is risky, especially when your
      partner has her period or a vaginal infection. To make it safer,
      cover her genital area (vulva) with a latex dam (also known as a
      dental dam) or you can cut open a condom to make a barrier. If a
      woman is infected, her menstrual blood, vaginal secretions and
      ejaculate will have the virus in it. HIV has been found in these
    • Sex toys are safer when used by yourself, but should not be shared without a new condom being put on them.
    • S&M or rough sex is safer if there is no blood
      involved. If you are piercing each other clean the needle with
      bleach. In shaving use separate razors.

    Lesbian Safer Sex Guidelines







    (Touching Yourself)

    Vibrators or other sex toys
    (Not shared)

    Dry Kissing

    Body To Body Rubbing or "Tribadism"
    when fluids are not involved


    Wet (French) Kissing

    Shared hand & genital contact with a barrier
    such as a fingercot, glove, or latex dam (a square piece of latex)

    (Oral-Genital contact) using a barrier

    using a barrier


    Shared hand, finger & genital contact

    with cuts or sores

    (Oral or Tongue to genital contact)

    without a barrier


    Cunnilingus without a barrier during menstruation

    Femal or male ejaculate in the mouth, vagina or anus

    Rimming without a barrier

    Fisting without a barrier such as a glove

    Sharing sex toys without a barrier

    Sharing needles of any kind, i.e.:
    to shoot drugs, pierce or tattoo the skin

    Drugs, Needles & HIV

    If you inject drugs, don't share your equipment ("kit" or
    "works"). If you have to share, clean the equipment between use by
    flushing the syringe and needle with bleach and water, then flush it
    with clean uncontaminated clear water.

    If You Are Considering Pregnancy

    If you have sex with a man or use donated sperm, make sure he has
    two HIV tests six months apart and tested negative both times. The
    first test should be six months after his last possible exposure to
    HIV. The donor must have no possible exposure to HIV between his last
    test and donation. All licensed sperm banks test their donors
    carefully and test the sperm twice.

    Sex with Men

    If you have sex with a man, the man must wear a condom for vaginal
    and anal intercourse. Additionally, if you engage in oral sex, it is
    necessary that a man wear a condom. HIV is in semen and pre-ejaculate.

    If You Think You Are Or Have Been At Risk For HIV Infection

    If you believe you have been exposed to the HIV virus,
    get the HIV test. Early detection leads to early treatment
    (intervention) which slows down the progression of the virus. to be
    sure of your results, wait 3-6 months after your last risk before
    retaking the test.

    It is understandible to be scared if you think you might have been
    exposed to HIV. Take a calm and realistic look at the risks you might
    have taken. Take advantage of the resources we've listed to help you
    answer any questions you have regarding risky behaviors.

    Regardless of your HIV status you should practice safer sex now to
    protect yourself and your parter form HIV and STD's (Sexually
    Transmitted Diseases).


    Southern California............................(800)922-2437
    Bilingual Hotline (English/Spanish)............(800)400-7432
    Northern California (English/Spanish/Tagalog)..(800)367-2437
    National AIDS Hotline..........................(800)342-2437
    In Spanish.....................................(800)344-7432

    The Center: L.A. Gay & Lesbian Community Services Center

    Art Direction & Production: Deborah Hanan
    Photography: Maria Elena Boyd
    Models: Jenny/Tina, Robbi/Tracy, Amazon, Nico

    Used by permission

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    January 10, 2004

    Abstinence, Condoms, and Safe Sex—Sorting Out the Confusion

    The recent launch of CDC's Prevention Marketing Initiative (PMI) and, especially, the airing of its new public service announcements have generated a flurry of public comments, most revolving around the abstinence versus condoms issue. Both messages are incorporated in the PMI repertoire because both are critically important strategies for preventing HIV infection.

    But what IS abstinence?

    CDC's prevention messages encourage abstinence, but studies have shown that the term means different things to different people. For some people, abstinence means voluntarily refraining from all sexual acts, and is often grounded in moral or religious beliefs. For HIV prevention and other public health purposes, abstinence may be defined as refraining from practicing sexual activities that involve vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse.

    Delaying the initiation of sexual activity, or practicing abstinence during adolescence, is a valuable health behavior for young people. It also prevents unintended pregnancy and the transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), many of which can have severe or permanent side effects. (Many people are not aware of the extent and number of STDs in the United States—in addition to gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes, other serious infections are widespread in the general population, such as chlamydia, human papillomavirus [genital warts], trichomonas, and hepatitis B.)

    Abstaining from sexual activity is a 100 percent effective method of avoiding sexually transmitted infections. For most people, however, abstinence is not a lifelong goal, but a temporary, reasonable, and healthy strategy to adopt during certain periods of one's lifetime, e.g., during the emotionally vulnerable adolescent period or between marriages.

    Having sexual intercourse with only one uninfected (and faithful) partner is equally as effective as abstinence, but is effective only if it is practiced consistently by both partners in the relationship. (Having a series of monogamous relationships is not a safe prevention strategy.)

    To be sure that a person is not infected with HIV, two

    separate HIV-antibody test results, 6 months apart, should be

    obtained after any behavior that might have resulted in HIV

    infection. If the second test is negative 6 months after engaging

    in the risky behavior, that person can be reasonably certain that

    HIV infection is not present.

    What exactly is risky sexual behavior?

    Any activity that would allow the exchange of body fluids

    (semen, vaginal secretions, or blood) could result in the

    transmission of HIV if one of the partners is infected. This means

    that all penetrative sexual intercourse (vaginal, oral, or anal)

    is risky if latex condoms are not used, or are not used correctly.

    Having anal intercourse presents an increased risk for both

    homosexual men and heterosexual women. Most heterosexual

    transmission occurs through vaginal intercourse, and oral

    intercourse has also been reported to transmit HIV.

    Kissing generally does not present a risk, but because of the

    theoretical risk of HIV transmission through blood that might be present in the mouth, CDC does not recommend engaging in deep (French) kissing with an infected person, or a person whose infection status is unknown.

    What about Safe Sex?

    Using a latex condom correctly and consistently (i.e., for

    each and every act of intercourse) provides a very high degree of

    protection. To request a free brochure on the correct way to use

    a condom, call the CDC National AIDS Hotline at 1-800-342-AIDS


    Making Responsible Choices

    Sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV infection, are

    preventable. Individuals have several responsible prevention

    strategies to choose from, but the effectiveness of each one

    depends largely on using it consistently (every time). Those who

    practice abstinence will find it effective only if they

    consistently abstain. Similarly, those who choose any of the other

    recommended prevention strategies, including using condoms, will

    find them highly effective only if used correctly and practiced


    (CDC HIV/AIDS Prevention. Summer 1994. DISTRIBUTED BY GENA/aegis

    (714.248.2836 * 8N1/Full Duplex). SOURCE: Department of Health and

    Human Services.)

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    Safer Sex

    The following is a pamphlet written in June 1991 by Liz A. Highleyman and was last updated 3/22/93. AIDS knowledge increases and changes rapidly. For updated information, contact the numbers listed below.

    Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is believed to be caused by a virus called HIV, which weakens the immune system and makes the body less able to fight infection. A person who is HIV+ (tests positive for HIV antibodies) may have no symptoms, or may have opportunistic infections such as certain cancers or pneumonia. There is currently no cure for AIDS, but it can often be controlled with drugs. HIV+ people may be symptom-free for years, and people with AIDS (PWAs) may live for years with the disease.

    In the age of AIDS, everyone should know about safer sex. HIV can infect anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, sex, age, race, or economic class. While the incidence of AIDS is much higher in some populations than in others, it is not who you are that can give you AIDS, but what you do.

    Only you can decide what kind of sex is right for you and what risks you will take. Some people take all possible precautions with every partner for their own peace of mind and so they do not have to rely on others for their safety. Others choose to forgo some or all precautions depending on their relationships and lifestyle.

    This brochure talks about various risk factors and offers suggestions for making sex as enjoyable and risk-free as possible.


    Safer sex recommendations vary greatly. Many AIDS organizations and public health departments promote stringent guidelines. People rely on this advice to make life-and-death decisions, and it seems better to err on the side of too much rather than too little caution. Other people (especially those in groups with a low incidence of AIDS) figure that statistically most people have less chance of getting AIDS than of being struck by lightning. They are unwilling to restrict their sexual options in the face of such low odds, especially since this plays into the anti-sex agenda of moral conservatives. When people are told to restrict most of their favorite activities, they may ignore safer sex advice altogether. Given the low or indeterminate risk of certain activities (such as unprotected oral sex), some AIDS organizations and activists put an emphasis on avoiding the most risky ones (such as unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse).


    "Low Risk" Myths

    You cannot tell whether someone is infected by their appearance or lifestyle. Most HIV+ people do not look sick and may pass on the virus unintentionally. ``Nice people'' can and do get AIDS. Marriage, long-term relationships, and monogamy are no guarantee against AIDS if one partner has been previously infected. AIDS was recognized in 1981; the virus has been around even longer. A common rule of thumb is that a negative HIV test is not reliable unless the person was tested at least six months after he or she had engaged in any unsafe activity. One unprotected encounter with an infected person is enough to transmit the virus.

    Sexual Orientation

    Men who have sex with men account for most U.S. AIDS cases. People who have sex with members of the opposite sex make up a growing proportion, especially among women, urban populations, and IV drug users; in several countries heterosexual sex is the primary means of AIDS transmission. Women who have sex with women account for a small number of cases. The labels gay, lesbian, heterosexual, and bisexual are not reliable indicators of sexual behavior. Some gay men and lesbians have sex with the opposite sex, some heterosexuals have sex with the same sex, and bisexuals may have sex with either, both or neither sex. Current self-identification does not indicate past sexual activity.

    "Unusual" Activities

    Some sources recommend against unusual and stigmatized sexual practices such as s/m (sadomasochism), sex with multiple partners, fisting, and sex for money. With knowledge and precautions, these can be done with minimal risk of AIDS. Such warnings are based on moralism not medicine.

    Drugs and Alcohol

    Drugs, ``poppers,'' and alcohol may impair your judgement, leading you to take risks that you would not otherwise take. They can also weaken your immune system, making you more susceptible to infection with HIV and other illnesses.

    If you're HIV+

    Practice safe sex even with partners who are also positive. This can prevent infection with new strains of HIV (which could make you more ill), as well as other diseases which can be especially dangerous for a person with a weakened immune system.


    Communication is important, but consider carefully the wisdom of relying on honesty. It is possible that a partner might fail to remember or neglect to mention a risky activity, especially one that happened a long time ago or one that is stigmatized (such as same-sex sexual activity or needle use).


    The highest amounts of HIV are found in blood and semen. HIV is present in smaller amounts in vaginal and cervical fluid (especially if a woman has a vaginal or cervical infection). Recent studies show that pre-cum does contain HIV, although it is debated whether it is enough to transmit AIDS. There are no studies of the amount of HIV in female ejaculate. Very little HIV is present in saliva, sweat, and tears; these almost certainly cannot transmit AIDS. Anal and vaginal intercourse account for most documented cases of sexually transmitted AIDS, while oral sex accounts for a few cases. Other activities have not been shown to cause AIDS, but theoretically could present some risk because they can allow HIV-containing body fluids to get from one person to another. Studies show that HIV may be absorbed directly by cells in the mucous membranes. The safest activities are those that avoid any way in which HIV-infected blood, semen or vaginal fluid can get from one person's body to another person's mucous membranes or bloodstream.


    / Unprotected anal intercourse

    / Unprotected vaginal intercourseS

    / Sharing needles (for drugs, piercing)

    -+ +- Sharing implements that draw blood (whips, knives)

    | | Unprotected oral sex on a menstruating woman

    | | Unprotected oral sex on a man with ejaculation

    | | Unprotected oral-anal contact

    | | Getting urine or feces in mouth, vagina, ass

    | | Unprotected fisting or finger fucking

    | | Unprotected oral sex on a man without ejaculation

    | | Unprotected oral sex on a non-menstruating woman

    | | Sharing uncovered sex toys

    | | Anal intercourse with a condom

    | | Vaginal intercourse with a condom

    | | Oral sex on a man using a condom

    | | Oral sex on a woman using a latex barrier

    | | Oral-anal contact using a latex barrier

    | | Fisting or finger fucking using a glove

    | | Petting, manual-genital contact

    | | Deep (French) kissing

    | | Spanking, whipping that does not break the skin

    | | Bonadge and discipline play

    -+ +- Masturbation (alone or with partner)

    / Hugging, touching

    / Massage

    / Talking dirty, phone or net sex, fantasy


    Sexual activities fall on a continuum from high risk to risk-free. Activities at the top carry a high risk of HIV transmission (especially for the receptive partner). Upper-middle range activities carry a minimal or indeterminate risk. Lower-middle range activities carry a theoretical risk. Activities at the bottom are completely safe.


    Use latex condoms for vaginal and anal intercourse. Use a water-based lubricant (K-Y, Astroglide, Probe); oil-containing products (Crisco, Vaseline, baby oil, lotion, whipped cream) can destroy latex. A drop of lube inside the condom may increase sensitivity. Don't use saliva as a lubricant.

    Other contraceptive devices do not protect against AIDS. Products containing Nonoxynol-9 (a spermicide) can kill HIV and may provide extra protection, but should not be relied on alone. Some studies show that Nonoxynol-9 can cause genital irritation that may promote HIV infection, especially with very frequent intercourse. The effects of ingesting Nonoxynol-9 are unstudied.

    Blood-to-blood contact is the most direct route of HIV transmission. Sharing needles (for drugs, steroids, piercing or tattooing), razors, or any implement that draws blood is dangerous since blood may be left on used implements. Clean needles by rinsing several times with bleach then with water. Avoid contact with blood in s/m scenes. Whips or knives that break the skin should not be used on another person until disinfected with bleach or a cleaning solution.

    Use an unlubricated condom for oral sex if a man will come in your mouth. For oral sex on a woman or oral-anal sex (rimming), use a dental dam (latex square), a condom or latex glove cut to produce a flat sheet, or non-microwaveable food wrap. Rinse powder off dams before use. Use all barriers only once and only on one person.

    Oral sex on a man without ejaculation or on a non-menstruating woman is thought to be a low risk activity. There is a risk that HIV could enter through small cuts or openings in the mouth, gums or throat; avoid brushing your teeth two hours before or after oral sex to minimize abrasions.

    If you share sex toys like dildoes or vibrators, put on a fresh condom for each user (and when going from anus to vagina), or clean with bleach, alcohol, or soap and water.

    Use latex gloves for finger fucking or fisting to guard the wearer against infection through cuts on the hand or arm, and to guard the partner against injury from fingernails.

    Touching and kissing are safe. It is safe to get cum, vaginal fluid or piss on unbroken skin. No AIDS cases have been traced to kissing, including deep (French) kissing.

    Precautions against AIDS can protect you from other sexually transmitted diseases such as gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, herpes, yeast infections, amoebiasis, and hepatitis B. Preventing other STDs can in turn minimize your chances of getting AIDS, since many STDs cause sores in the genital or anal area or around the mouth which can provide a path for HIV transmission.


    CDC National AIDS Info Line: 1-800-342-AIDS

    Spanish AIDS Info Line: 1-800-342-SIDA

    AIDS Info for the Deaf: TDD/TTY 1-800-243-7889

    Gay Men's Health Crisis (NY): 1-212-807-6655

    San Francisco AIDS Foundation: 1-415-863-AIDS

    Info on current clinical trials: 1-800-TRIALS-A

    If you think you may be infected with HIV or if you want to be tested for HIV, call your public health department, a local AIDS resource office, or a local gay hotline. To get involved in the fights against AIDS, call your local AIDS service provider or your local chapter of ACT UP.

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    What Is Safer Sex?

    Safer Sex

    In the age of AIDS, everyone should know about safer sex. HIV can infect anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, sex, age, race, or economic class. While the incidence of AIDS is much higher in some populations than in others, it is not who you are that can give you AIDS, but what you do.

    Aids Proofing Your Kids


    aware, putting condom machines in schools, or lecturing them on

    abstinence. Unfortunately and tragically, our various

    governments think so. Too many public health and educational

    authorities unfortunately think so. Too many writers and

    celebrities unfortunately think so. WE'RE GOING TO SHOW YOU

    HOW, in upcoming articles, you can effectively teach, without

    embarrassment, and get your kids to practice and develop the

    habits of safer-sex and/or abstinence.

    Sex Myths
    Four gay guys talk about common sexual misconceptions and how they respond. Good advice for anybody. (video clips)

    How to talk with a partner about smart


    But lots of people aren't doing what they know they should

    because they are uncomfortable talking about their

    decisions. They're too embarrassed to bring up the subject;

    they fear rejection; or they just aren't sure how to say what

    they want to say.

    SM: Safe Magic for Gay Men

    Members of the SM community are very familiar with negotiating

    safety issues. And so it is no surprise that we were quick to respond

    to the danger of HIV/AIDS. We were among the first to integrate safer

    sex principles into our lives.

    Unfortunately, the danger is not yet past.

    Just Say Yes

    Just Say Yes means having a positive attitude about sexuality—gay, straight, or bi. It means saying "yes" to sex you do want, and "no" to sex you don't. It means there's nothing wrong with you if you decide to have sex, and nothing wrong with you if you decide not to. You have the right to make your own choices, and to have people respect them.(Este librito est‡ disponible en Espanol)

    Just Say Yes is an irreverent and unabashedly pro-safe-sex, pro-woman, pro-queer, and pro-choice comprehensive sex education pamphlet. It was originally written for Chicago High School students by the Coalition for Positive Sexuality Highly recommended, very opinionated (some people might disagree, for instance, about their negative opinion of IUDs and Norplant), but right on target.

    Hot Sex, Safely (outside link)
    The goal of this guide is to give people of all genders, orientations, and preferences the information they need to perform a wide variety of sexual acts safely, pleasurably, and comfortably. (from the Society for Human Sexuality at the University of Washington)

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    Just What Is Safer Sex?

    What is safer sex anyway? We use the word safer because all sex can have consequences—from emotional consequences to diseases and pregnancy. If you decide to be sexually active, you owe it to yourself to learn about what behaviors are risky, and how much risk you want to take.

    What is Safer Sex?

    Check in here to learn about what is safer and what's riskier.

    Plus how to talk to your partner about safer sex; AIDS-proofing

    your kids. Safe S&M and more.

    Is Oral Sex Safe?

    Experts agree that oral sex is less risky than unprotected

    vaginal or anal sex. But how safe is it really?

    Can you get HIV from giving a guy a blowjob?

    Women and Safer Sex

    Women are one of the fastest-growing population with HIV, but

    not much information has been written for or about them. Here

    are some topics of special concern for women.

    Multimedia Gallery

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