I’m a single gay male in my late 20s. I’ve met a guy I really like. We haven’t yet been sexually active with each other, but we’re planning to get naked and sweaty (and break out the ropes and blindfolds) over Christmas break. But here’s the “problem” – he happens to be HIV-positive. Before you start yelling at me for calling his status a problem, let me elaborate. I’ve had sex with poz guys in the past, but the thing is, I didn’t know it at the time. I’ve always been safe and sensible, and my last HIV test came back negative. I know the risk is no greater with this new guy than it was with any of the poz guys I’ve slept with before, but I’m still not sure how I’ll react emotionally when we go to bed.

Is it fair to him to warn him that I might feel a little nervous having sex with him? HIV isn’t supposed to be a “deal breaker,” he’s got it and can’t change that fact, and I’d feel guilty putting another burden on him in the form of my own insecurities. What should I do?

Neg Kinkster In The Heartland

Unless HIV has been found to burn fat, repair damaged split ends and act as a natural male enhancement since the last time I Googled the virus, your friend’s HIV status is a problem. While HIV infection may not be the fatal illness it once was (so long as you have access to life-saving drugs), it’s still no picnic. It’s better to be neg than it is to be poz – and that’s a fact, not a thought crime.

Presumably you’re aware of this guy’s HIV status in advance because he had the decency and the courage to disclose it to you. The decent and courageous thing for you to do is to disclose your nervousness to him. Before you break out the ropes and condoms, he needs to acknowledge the risks you’re taking on when you sleep with him and do all he can to minimize those risks.

Ask him if he’s being treated. Inquire about his viral load. Impress on him – in a good-natured, matter-of-fact way – that you desire to remain negative. Emphasize the importance of condoms. Tell him that you apologize in advance if nerves get the better of you the first time out. And leave the bondage and blindfolds off the menu until you’ve established a real sense of trust.

And finally, you have to accept that you could get infected even if you do everything right. If you’re going to have insertive sex with this man, you can only minimize your risks, not eliminate them. Condoms break, condoms leak – rarely, but it does happen. He shouldn’t sleep with you if he can’t promise to do his best to keep you negative. But you shouldn’t sleep with him if you can’t promise not to hold it against him if you wind up positive.

I’ve been married to my husband for two years. We’ve been separated for a year now, as he’s overseas. Sex was never a focal point in our relationship prior to marriage, which was fine by me, since I was abused as a child and needed to address those issues. But since we’ve been married, whenever I want to talk about sex, he’s very evasive. Now he tells me that he feels it is time for him to leave sex behind. He says he doesn’t even masturbate anymore. When I last saw him I noticed that his penis seems to have shrunk. Can a person’s penis atrophy from lack of use? He has (or had) a lovely, thick, 8-inch beauty.

Crazy Ol’ Cock Kisser

There’s only one thing I know of that can permanently shrink a man’s dick: a course of female hormones in advance of sex-reassignment surgery. Those will shrink a man’s junk, destroy his sex drive, make it difficult for him to maintain erections, and cause his balls and prostate to waste away. So it may not just be sex that your husband intends to leave behind, but his sex. Or it could be something else. But when someone’s being evasive and distant – emotionally, physically and geographically – it’s usually something big.

A few years before I met my boyfriend, I met someone in my family. His mother is my father’s first cousin. Anyway, we met at a family get-together and ended up having sex. Would it be dishonest not to tell current or future lovers?

One Shameful Secret

You’re not going to make the cut for the U.S. Incest Olympic Team doing your father’s cousin’s son, OSS. But don’t take my word for it.

They are second cousins,” says K.C. “Second cousins can marry in every state of the U.S.” K.C. is one of the editors of a website that aims to destigmatize cousin couples. At you’ll learn that first cousins can marry in 26 states, Mexico, Canada and all of Europe. So having a one-night stand with a second cousin isn’t anything to be ashamed of.

What was I thinking? In last week’s column, I told Hawt And Royally Depressed to be honest with his wife. Some readers felt my suggested opening lines – “You have gotten fat and unattractive and my sex drive is nil; can we do something about it before I bail on you?” – weren’t helpful. Rereading it, I have to agree: That’s terrible advice. A full accounting in next week’s column.

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