The New York Times has noticed that bareback sex is a thing gay people are doing, which is breaking news from about the mid-1990′s when (according to Wikipedia) gay publications like The Advocate first took note of the phenomenon of gay men having unprotected sex and, in some cases, deliberately seeking HIV infection.
Anyway, the Times, perhaps after failing to find a celebrity to comment on the issue, goes to the next best source for information on epidemiology and behavioral psychology… an English professor from SUNY-Buffalo. Who provides this analysis:
What I learned in my research is that gay men are pursuing bareback sex not just for the thrill of it, but also as a way to experience intimacy, vulnerability and connection. Emotional connection may be symbolized in the idea that something tangible is being exchanged. A desire for connection outweighs adherence to the rules of disease prevention.
And some guys are apparently getting intimate, tangible, emotional connections 10-20 times a night in bathhouses.
It also seems that the readers of the NY Times, based on the comments, are in complete denial that this phenomenon exists, and think the author is just making it up to attack the gay community. Liberals choose to blame the recent dramatic increases in HIV infection rates on “the stigma attached to HIV.” Um, excuse me, but don’t stigmas usually make people avoid those things to which stigmas are attached?
In the real world, stigmatizing a behavior results in less of it: Which is why people don’t use the N-word in public any more and smoking has declined as a social activity. When the social stigma is removed … as with HIV infection and teenage pregnancy … you get more of those things.
Bareback sex has major health complications vis-a-vis the transmission of HIV and other STDs that contribute to the high cost of health care. Make you wonder why Bloomberg didn’t try to outlaw it. Hooking up for raw sex with strangers is at least as dangerous as a Big Gulp. Probably.