Note: This blog contains sexually explicit content.
One of the most un-talked subjects about HIV is dating. Yes, we hear about heterosexual women dating negative men or positive males dating negative males but no one talks about the nitty gritty such as how do they have sex with their negative partners? Do they always have protected sex? How did they initially approach sex as a couple? Was the negative partner scared to death to have sex with their positive partner etc.? Because I have been with both men and women, I can speak from a heterosexual as well as a lesbian perspective on this subject.
Moreover, let us be honest. No one really wants to have sex protected. Sex feels better unprotected. Skin to skin contact is exhilarating, intoxicating, sensual, most pleasing, and the orgasm from it is mind blowing with a partner whom you have incredible sexual chemistry with. But protected sex is great also nonetheless. Is the feeling exactly the same? No, not at all to me.
As a lesbian, most women do not want to use a dental dam to perform oral sex on me or have to worry about using finger condoms when touching my female genitalia. As an ex told me last night, "I always cut my finger and I had to worry about your bodily fluids getting inside those cuts or eating you out with saran wrap. I was not comfortable with it and I don't know when or if I will ever be comfortable with it. It's something you have to ease into." Do I believe she would have contracted the virus even if she had cuts on her fingers and had fingered me? No, I don't believe so, because I had an undetectable viral load at that time, which greatly lowers the chances of transmitting the virus.
In contrast, other women who are educated request that I don't bring condoms or that they would prefer to have sex without them. Now some people would say I'm a horrible person for agreeing to let any person (man or woman) do that. I disagree based on the fact that transmitting HIV between two women is slim to none and more than likely would only happen if there was a sexual toy such as a dildo shared between us and blood got on it or I had bleeding gums and performed oral sex on a female. Also taking my medicine and being undetectable (having less than 200 copies of virus in one drop of blood) dramatically reduces and just about eliminates the chance of me transmitting the virus. So yes, a female can lick and kiss all over my body without protection yet not contract HIV from me. My most recent ex was educated and we did everything unprotected. She remains negative for HIV as well as all other STDS.
Interesting enough, negative men don't care nearly as much about whether or not a female has HIV. Are they more likely at first to automatically use protection? Yes, but as time goes on they are less likely to feel the need to use protection. I have a positive friend who can attest to this. Usually men are less afraid of having sex with an HIV positive woman, at least from my experience and observing other positive women with their negative male partners. Some are educated on it and do know that it is much harder for a man to contract HIV from a woman. Is it possible? Yes, but it is less likely.
In conclusion, the bottom line is no one talks enough about HIV and the specifics of sex. But don't think for one second that there aren't people in the world who wouldn't have unprotected sex with an HIV positive individual. Also don't think that every mixed HIV couple (positive partner/negative partner) has protected sex all the time, including every sexual activity that involves bodily fluids. Open up your minds. More importantly, educate yourself.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official positions, recommendations, or opinions of The Well Project. Please see our articles for more information on Safer Sex, Oral Sex, and Dating and HIV.