Big Dumb Sex

swimmerguy's picture

Ah, Big Dumb Sex.
Well, I waited for a while to tell you guys something, cause I wanted to be able to say what I'm going to say now: I'm fine.
I'm sorry to sorta put spoilers on the ending here.

See, truth is, I've been naughty. Some of you may remember when I mentioned a sexual experience I had at camp about 3 months ago with that insipid douchebag Daniel.
I left it ambiguous, but yeah, that was kinda unprotected.

So basically, for the past 3 months, I've sorta had a weight hanging over my head.
It started in late August, until then, my fucking short-minded douchebaggery self hadn't really thought about it. But at that time we were in Acadia National Park, which, whether you've been or not, it's beautiful.
And all that, looking around and seeing the beauty, made me think about how happy I was to be alive. Around that time, however, I developed an evening cough that didn't go away for a few weeks.
It was at that point I remembered something I'd before read but not much thought about before, the acute symptoms of HIV infection.
Terror immediately poured into me like an icy liquid poured through the top of my head, hitting my stomach with a bang before spreading out to all the appendages, causing alternate sweating spells and freezing spells.
I immediately the second I got the thought started researching on the short and long term effects of HIV, hence that little research paper I posted a few weeks ago.
I learned a lot of shit.

I was immediately hugely cheered by some components, such as the very low infection and transmission rates on HIV generally, although of course I did have the riskiest type of sex possible.

But none of that took away that fear, which grew as I thought about it, of life and death.
See, most of the other STI's don't scare me so much. Not that they wouldn't be a clusterfuck shitstorm in their own right, but most of them won't kill you.
Chlamydia and gonorrhea, for example, are curable and often don't do that much to you, although if left untreated could sterilize you.
Herpes, though incurable, has few problems other than occasional outbreaks of sores.
And Syphilis, though the most fearsome save HIV, still doesn't do that much to you. It gives you a little painless lump for a few weeks, then a rash, then goes away for years.
In 2/3 of people, it never presents symptoms again, but in that other third, it can cause some serious problems, and can kill.

But at least that's curable.
HIV isn't.
Especially before the anti-retrovirals started to be invented, a relatively young person infected with the virus could be nearly positive, barring some other unfortunate chance event, that they would die of it eventually.
And that after a long decline for years including the sapping of strength, wasting, persistent cough, etc. etc. etc.
Before death.

Seeing all those beautiful mountains and forests and oceans in Acadia reminded me how much I still wanted to do.
My goals and hopes, like pulling something like a Chris McCandless Into the Wild.
You get the picture.
But the problem is, even though the virus is much much much more treatable now than it ever has been before, it's still a serious liability, a huge financial commitment to afford the lifelong drug regimen.
I'd need to always be working to afford that shit, I wouldn't be able to ever do the things I always wanted to do.
And the financial commitment isn't the worst, it also just causes general health issues, a constantly compromised immune system and GI tract, and people do still die of it.

Chances are, if I had gotten HIV, I would be on anti-retrovirals sometime in the next few years, and would have to continue them for the rest of my life. I'd have a chain of pills connecting me to a job and a domestic suburban life, as well as the other terrifying shit and a reduced life expectancy.

It made me feel so incredibly fucking stupid to have had even a low chance of compromising the rest of my life for literally 5, 10 minutes when I'm fucking 16, I'd throw out all my plans out the window at the very fucking beginning.

So, well, I knew I needed to do something. I looked into testing programs around the area to see if there was somewhere I could get like a free, confidential test.
Found one, back in September and shot a few messages back and forth with a guy named David who works there, about testing and how it would work, etc.
After that, just a weight on my shoulders for the next month and a half.
Today, I went in for a 3 o'clock appointment. I met David, and he was super cool and awesome and we talked about shit, and he gave me this almighty cool little fast blood test, pricked my finger and let it sit for 20 minutes, and it was done.
I didn't even realize how much of a burden it'd been until it was lifted off. Though the chances of having it were tiny, tiny, the consequences involved are just fucking mind-boggling.

So then he took some blood for a Syphilis test, gave me some condoms and some pamphlets for a gay group he runs, and sent me on my way.
First of all, what a fucking cool deal, I mean, there are pretty few things in America I can say are exactly as they should be, our prison system sucks ass, school system too, even our healthcare system.
But that kind of anonymous, free, easy testing, I was like shit, that's awesome.
(There are some who want to make minors have to get parental consent for reproductive health services, which might be one of the worst fucking ideas in history. I'd probably have gotten over myself and told my parents I needed a test, but a lot of hassle was avoided by letting me test myself and tell my parents if needed, and be duly chastened by myself and my own fucking dumb actions, rather than by parental punishment.
Learning is always most effective that which you do yourself

So basically.
This hellish clusterfuck has some not exactly positive but at least learning elements in it.
I was able to contemplate death in a whole new way. When I was actually thinking about death as in I could have a deadly disease, it really puts you in a different sort of perspective.
I'm, well, not exactly an atheist, but sort of non-religious scientific spiritualist.
Which means, I think there might be something after death, but I think the only safe assumption to make in life is that there isn't.

I was finishing up rewatching the whole series Six Feet Under about a month ago, and there's one point, in the last episode of the second season, where a guy with pancreatic cancer is near death when the main character walks in.
He tries to comfort the sick man, but he gasped about how scared he was, how fucking terrified he was of dying, and yet there was nothing for it. Nothing could preserve his life even a second longer.
And right there, his clock stopped, and he slipped away.

Now that hit me especially hard that time I watched it because it made me think of like Freddie Mercury who spent years battling HIV and then AIDS before dying on his deathbed after a long slow decline.

Which made me think harder and yet harder about the horrible horrible stupidity of what I did.

Sometimes it seems like it'd almost be easier to have had HIV in the early days of the virus when there were no drugs.
You'd have like 8, 10 relatively healthy years before your real decline, and you'd know you weren't living much longer than that.
You'd always have an excuse to do things, there's no waiting, planning for the future, because you'd know your future at most includes a decade more that isn't spent in sickle health.

All of that has made me think and gain a lust for the things I've always wanted to do.
That's why I feel more and more tortured day by day in high school, doing the same thing day after day after FUCKING DAY, God, why not just live one day and kill myself? What's the point of living the same day over and over again.
That's why I want so badly, with all my heart, to get in on the CBYX Germany Youth Exchange, so I can finally fucking get out of here, see some of the world.
Will it be hard? Oh fuck yeah. Will it be scary? Fucking terrifying, leaving behind everything I've ever known, my parents, my house, friends, even my language in favor of an unfamiliar culture in a town of complete strangers who speak a language I barely know.

And yet I want to so badly. Hard and scary are nothing when compared to the thought of wasting my life on some domestic suburban housewife thing.
I'm not sure if you think differently or not.

In essence, I've learned a whole lot about myself and my priorities from this terrible weight on my shoulders (first of all, no unprotected sex, it's just not worth it).

So to all you guys, I'm not going to tell you what to do, but try to think about death, about the end of your fucking existence.
Just a bit. No need to brood on it too long.
But you need to understand it's there. And you have to understand it. It changes everything.
I, a in most measures pretty smart teenager, heard all the warnings, time after time, about don't have unprotected sex, and shit.
And yet at the first opportunity, I ditched those warnings, and I got lucky (or rather, not spectacularly unlucky, but whatever).
Some old person telling you to stop fucking around probably won't be very effective.
So I would just wish for you guys that you think about your life, what's really important to you that you get in before you die, and see if having unprotected sex is worth the possible risk of throwing it away.

If it is, so be it, but please then get tested regularly so you at least don't pass on HIV if you ever catch it, because that horrible virus will never be stopped until gay culture changes to be less promiscuous and more focused on living for other reasons.
Honestly, I did it, it's not scary at all. It's a little nerve-wracking the first time, and a little awkward, but I would have 0 hesitation about going in there again if I had to.

Now, as cost-benefit analyses go, I'd say smoking weed is way above drinking alcohol, which is way above smoking tobacco, which is way above unprotected sex.
(It shows how ridiculous society is by having the most short-sighted activities be legal and the least short-sighted one illegal.)

I don't advocate to anyone throwing away enjoyment for longevity, but at least stick to the drinking (not totally wildly) and smoking weed part of the scale, where I think I wanna try to aim, and avoid the ridiculous short-sighted pleasures to be gained at the unprotected sex end.


jeff's picture


"Some old person telling you to stop fucking around probably won't be very effective."

When have I ever?! ;-)

Glad this burden has been lifted for you, babe.

"You can judge the whole world on the sparkle that you think it lacks" - Dawes, When My Time Comes (

elph's picture

Ditto to Jeff's light-hearted comment...

Actually... we're overjoyed for this upbeat report! No hyperbole there!

As an ancillary... you may find some explanation here for why the teen mind may not be fully equipped to assess risk:

Why the teen brain is drawn to risk

This study has been treated in greater depth in some of the more-scientific online journals this past month... Want?

(btw: With much personal experience... I fully appreciate how difficult it can be to delay a much-needed sexual release... it can truly be something that denies any satisfaction but...)

Bosemaster42's picture

Happy your okay,

I'm even happier you learned something from all of this.
If anyplace can allow you to reflect so deeply on life, it's Acadia National Park. It's a very beautiful place. Sometimes, in the latter part of the afternoon, the fog will roll in from the Atlantic and completely change the atmosphere around you. It's kind of surreal because it happens so quickly.

anarchist's picture

When did you have anal sex, anyway?

I thought it was all oral. And you can't get HIV from that.

Anyway, this reminded me of a story my geography teacher told me a couple of weeks ago. He had an uncle who he really loved (and who gave him money every time he saw him). Then his uncle got AIDS and he was gone in a month or something like that. It makes you glad you don't live in the '80s, doesn't it?

It also reminded me that I have some early symptoms of Parkinson's disease. But that won't affect me much, will it?

But again, I'm really curious why you thought you had AIDS when you, to my knowledge, have never had anal sex.

jeff's picture


To be clear, you can get HIV from oral, it is just highly unlikely. It would have to be a cut inside the mouth or something like that. So, it's not a zero risk activity, just on the very low side of risk.

As for swimmerguy's anal adventures, he wrote three months ago: "Anyway, long story short, I fucked him. More accurately, got fucked by him."

"You can judge the whole world on the sparkle that you think it lacks" - Dawes, When My Time Comes (

elph's picture

A bit crude...

a link to the original Journal would have sufficed...

But shouldn't clarification have been left to swimmerguy to offer if he were to so choose?

jeff's picture


Why make it a treasure hunt? I always rather an answer than a "Maybe you'll get your answer if you go read a lot of text on this page..."

If I used those words to describe things, it would be a bit crude. But, a direct quote seems fine.

If people have genuine questions about the waiting/testing/etc. experience, that's fine. But it's not some secret, and I'm guessing this is swimmerguy's first day of NOT thinking of HIV for 3 months, so I'm trying to let him stay happily unfocused on it.

"You can judge the whole world on the sparkle that you think it lacks" - Dawes, When My Time Comes (

elph's picture

I was wrong... OK?

I guess that I'm continuing to feel a bit chagrined by our PM exchange of yesterday where I was the one indicted for being gratuitously insensitive to swimmerguy's emotions (passage subsequently deleted)...

Can we please let it rest and go on?

jeff's picture

Of course...

Yesterday was no big deal, though. I just read that as being knowledgeable that he was going to the test, whether that was the intent or not, so it seemed like information gained through pm's should remain/be referenced in pm's, until that information is public disclosed.

Whereas today, it is public information...

"You can judge the whole world on the sparkle that you think it lacks" - Dawes, When My Time Comes (