Gay Sex Clubs, Poz4Play, and Serosorting

http://www.poz4play.com/

 

Stigmatized Gay sex club culture is based on the idea that gay men are spreading diseases through the use of unprotected sex and drug use. While some of these stereotypes can ring true with some people, it seems that gay sex clubs and gay men fall under much more scrutiny then straight sex clubs and straight people in general, because of the higher frequency of gay men of any race being infected with HIV. Why such stigmatizations? In the clip linked above, Mark King, a gay man living with HIV, takes a tour of a gay sex club. He eludes to the fact that he chooses to no longer frequent gay sex clubs because of the way he affiliates the clubs with a drug he had previously been addicted too. The culture he felt was something that would strike up his drug use again, but he is very familiar with what actually goes on in the sex clubs, so he is not someone making opinions about something he is completely unfamiliar with. He takes a mostly unbiased tour of the sex club while seeming to be only rather critical of the fact that there is “bare backing” (sex without protection) that occurs in the club. The man giving him the tour explains that he provides protection at all the parties he hosts, however it is the own individuals choice as to whether they want to wear protection or not knowing that there is the potential for a partner to be infected with HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

This is where the idea of serosorting comes in. Serosorting is the idea that a person chooses to limit their sexual partners to someone whom is of the same HIV status as themselves. The Poz4Play party allows HIV gay men whom choose to participate in serosorting, to only interact with other men with the same HIV positive status as them. This in turn attempts to allow HIV positive men to experience the same type of sexual experience of a sex club while not infecting people who haven’t already tested positive with HIV. I think what concerned Mark King with the idea of serosorting is that this may encourage unprotected sex assuming that you are with a partner whom has the same HIV status as you. Other sexually transmitted diseases could potentially be more easily spread, and it may cause men who are not HIV positive to assume that those that are HIV positive are only attending these parties and not attending sex clubs regularly.

 

The idea of claiming your status and being proud of it is, in my opinion, a great one. I think that this topic directly relates to our class topic of sex, as it discusses and tries to come up with a way for HIV positive people to feel comfortable with their status and own it in a scene, the sex clubs that is, that most likely would not be welcoming to people on a regular basis who are openly HIV positive. HIV and sexually transmitted diseases is still a very tough topic in that no one is required to tell someone else if they are positive for anything. Hopefully with an outlet like a HIV positive party night at a gay sex club, it will open up a greater dialogue and comfortable level to make everyone comfortable to being open and honest with the partner they choose.

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