Law and Sexuality

A commentary and resource on Law and Sexuality by Professor Chris Ashford and guests

Bareback and Gloryholes

I’m sad to say I’ve been a bit slow to discover this wonderful podcast about bareback sex and gloryholes/public sex.  It’s from  Distorted View Dailywhich is a daily comedy podcast.  The site describes how the presenter, Tim Henson, ‘scours the darkest corners of the web in search of the truly bizarre. He then presents his finds to you, complete with unique (read: crass, vulgar, childish, and inappropriate) commentary. For a half hour each day, sit back and witness this audiophonic trainwreck. After listening, you’ll feel much better about your own life.’

So…don’t expect a podcast extolling the virtues of bareback and public sex, although Henson is talking with bareback brother website architect, Mark Bentson – who I finally hear.  It’s a really fascinating interview covering a lot of ground.  A must listen for all my students and anyone interested in public sex, glory holes, bareback sex, and HIV transmission (including stealthing).

Check out the podcast here.  The podcast proper begins at 2.11.

You can check out Mark’s explicit gloryhole etiquette guide here and you can see the bareback brotherhood (also explicit) here.  You can also read my earlier blogpost on the bareback brotherhood here.

The remarkable thing (for me) about the podcast is that Mark sounds much more engaging, open and convincing than he does in text.  I’m already convinced, but it seems to me a pretty relaxed commentary in which you think ‘fair enough’ – at least at first.  He even deals really well with the “worth a bit of AIDS” line.  I also wonder how many males who have sex with men find these anecdotes familiar – especially the stuff about males who claim to be ‘safe sex only’.  Where Mark maybe comes undone is the use of stealthing – an activity that I continue to unreservedly condemn.  It’s a shame as I think his acceptance of stealthing undermines his wider bareback arguments.

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9 comments on “Bareback and Gloryholes

  1. Drew Drewboy
    October 9, 2011

    An excellent post .. trying to get the vid to work was interesting as well :))

  2. Chris Ashford
    October 9, 2011

    Which vid?!

  3. Mark (iBLASTinside)
    October 10, 2011

    Chris,I'm a longtime listener of Tim's podcast. Tim employs sound clips throughout, knowing them, I quote them. That's where the "bit of AIDS" comes from.The free version of the Distorted View you heard is edited down from the more robust discussion where you hear our full 35-minute discussion, where I do get to explain much more about my perspectives.Thanks for the kind words mixed into the rest. You might be shocked should we ever have a discussion how normal I really am.Mark

  4. Chris Ashford
    October 10, 2011

    Thanks Mark – it's Tim who used the "worth a bit of AIDS' line, not you…so you've lost me on that bit – he was using it to highlight the risk of bareback but you responded without hesitation -I was really impressed (sorry, I don't mean that to sound patronising).You and I agree generally on bareback sex – and I agreed with everything you said until you got on to stealthing – by which I mean to deliberately deceive. If someone thinks the other partner is using a condom and a condom has been sabotaged, or removed then it is non-consensual sex, it is is effectively rape. Nonetheless, I appreciate your honesty on the issue.I'm quite sure you're normal – but like other guys who commented on Twitter I was just surprised how you sounded – it's always strange when you hear/see someone for the first time 🙂 I think visibility of bare backers is an important issue as people think they must looks trance (as with all kink/non vanilla/safe sexual activities)

  5. Daniel Grey
    October 10, 2011

    I am not quite sure where to start in relation to the blog that you linked to. As someone who has been unlucky enough to be on the receiving end (pardon the pun) of a 'stealth' attack it is hard to hear someone being so blase about it. I can tell him that the six months of anxiety wondering if I had caught something was not pleasant. I didn't know about PEP at the time and it wasn't offered to me at any point.Interestingly, the guy who stealthed me was someone I knew and I didn't realise he had removed the condom until, well, I won't go into that.Regarding barebacking in general; I am somewhat of a hypocrit as I love the feeling, especially as I have a mid latex allergy. However, I only do it in relationships that are monogamous and tested, something I vowed after a syphilis scare some years ago where a pup lied to me.Incidentally, I was told at 17 by a staff member at the local GUM clinic that a surprising number of men in my city have HIV and other STIs and hide the fact, or simply didn't know, (the levels were discovered during general screening of samples taken at the clinic). A lot, the employee claimed, could be traced to one specific cruising spot and often barebacked or stealthed, especially younger or newly out gay men. As a result I can be over protective of my friends who join the BBBH or fail to use protection. I have known HIV+ men who have died and even though the treatments have improved it still is a life sentence with some possible unpleasant site effects. I knew a guy, whom I have now lost touch with, who was barely a kid and caught HIV from a sauna visit and/or regular fuck buddy. He went totally off the rails and basically didn't care any more. If he's still around I don't know… but I do know I miss him.

  6. Chris Ashford
    October 10, 2011

    Thanks Daniel for such a honest post, and for sharing the perspective of a 'victim' of stealthing.Your public sex point is absolutely right – these spaces rarely lend themselves to safe sex activity and thus as spaces for first sexual encounters, it can be a 'high risk' space. Presenting public sex as something practiced by tragic old men or as something that should simply be criminalised and stopped does little to help what it a very real public health concern.

  7. Elly
    October 11, 2011

    I agree. But also public sex has changed a lot in recent years – cottaging has declined and there are less gay saunas than there used to be. Whereas heterosexual people are more active with dogging and swinging. I just think the 'bareback' 'brotherhood' has an element of 'nostalgia' for a time when gay sex was more risque and more underground. That's fine as a fetish but it does not represent social reality.

  8. Chris Ashford
    October 11, 2011

    I broadly agree with you Elly although I'm not sure the comment about dogging is accurate. These things are difficult to get an accurate picture of but I would say whilst dogging had a 'surge' a few years ago, that's probably settled down now – and is probably less than the amount of male/male cruising that us undertaken. Cotttaging – although in decline continues. The commercial sauna scene seems a mixed picture in the UK and sex clubs more widely and internationally seem to be having a mixed time. I welcome the thought of anyone who does regularly engage in these activities.

  9. Elly
    October 11, 2011

    well dogging had a surge in the media, but if there is no research on it I guess we don't know if it has declined or expanded! I would be surprised if it had declined as I think heteros continue to expand their repetoir, and continue to become more adventurous sexually, as Mark Simpson said in his article: Straights Go Gay:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/jul/30/straightsgogay

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This entry was posted on October 9, 2011 by in audio, barebacking, HIV/AIDS, podcast, PSEs, public sex, public toilet, Resource, Sex.

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