I’m Alexander Cheves. I am a writer, author, and sex educator. My nickname is Beastly. I give adult advice — no question is off-limits. To ask me something, email AskBeastly@gmail.com or send me a message via the Ask Beastly contact form.
WordPress has barred my site from hosting ads or generating revenue because I write about sex. This is thanks to harmful legislation like FOSTA/SESTA. Love, Beastly is 100% reader-supported.
Please be a patron on Patreon and help fund this site for $3 a month. Patrons receive special perks, shout-outs, and gifts from me. You can also make a one-time donation here. And if you like what you read, please share it.
I have a problem that started a year ago approximately. First of all, I was diagnosed HIV positive 3 months ago. Like many people I got infected because I started having unprotected sex, this was because I started having a problems using condoms. Every time I was with a hook up everything went well, we had some foreplay and my dick is erected but then, when I put the condom on, I lose the erection completely and it’s something that gets me really frustrated at that time (I’m a top). I started not using condoms sometimes but now, in my case, i need to use them mandatorily, but the problem still persists and I really don’t know how to handle the situation. I don’t know if it’s something psychological or something else. Hopefully you can give me some advice.
I’d like to take the opportunity to thank you for your articles. They helped me A LOT when I was depressed about my diagnosis and made me feel much better.
Hi poz brother,
Your message is very kind. Your question illustrates a major problem in the condom doctrine. Various people fighting AIDS — including the bombastic Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation — have smeared HIV prevention methods that don’t involve condoms as a primary preventative (and he has supported his arguments with unfounded, anti-scientific rhetoric).
Weinstein mostly takes aim at PrEP, a daily pill for HIV-negative people that prevents HIV. Like other anti-science scaremongers, Weinstein has touted a disaster scenario that PrEP (currently the drug Truvada) will eventually fail and that other organizations including the Centers for Disease Control are actively pushing PrEP as a replacement for condoms in some kind of anti-condom conspiracy.
Although this claim is patently false (the CDC clearly states on its official website that PrEP should be used in conjunction with condoms to be most effective), PrEP doesn’t mean much for us, people living with HIV. Luckily, PrEP is not the only HIV preventative. Being HIV-positive and undetectable — achieved by taking anti-HIV meds as prescribed — makes you undetectable and unable to transmit HIV. This is called TasP, or treatment-as-prevention. So PrEP and TasP are automatically two condomless HIV prevention methods.
But HIV isn’t the only sexually transmitted infections out there. PrEP and TasP don’t protect anyone from gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and other common STIs. And with these, you simply have to weigh risk versus reward. I choose to forego condoms, because I don’t enjoy how they feel. Therefore I am at higher risk of catching gonorrhea and syphilis, and I get frequent STI testing to catch these infections quickly. I know many HIV-positive men who refuse to use them. If asked, I imagine many of them would describe similar problems with condoms as you do.
They don’t feel great. Many men can’t stay hard when using them. And sexually active men who have sex men aren’t going to use an HIV prevention method that doesn’t feel good — regardless of the risks.
So let’s talk reality. You’re not going to want to continue using condoms if you can’t stay hard. Your meds can prevent HIV, but what do you do about other STIs? Nothing, except get tested frequently — at least once every three months, and if you’re having lots of condomless sex, I recommend getting a full STI screening once a month, or even more frequently. In your STI screenings, you should try to get tested for everything, including Hep C. Tell your doctor to be thorough.
Very frequent testing is what barebackers (guys who don’t use condoms) do to minimize the spread of STIs like gonorrhea and syphilis in our midst. If you catch something, get treated for it and don’t fuck anyone for at least two weeks. It’s true that this isn’t a preventive healthcare method — it’s a responsive one, so it’s automatically more taxing on the body and less healthy in the strictest sense. Frequent antibiotics and other medicines used to treat STIs are hard on the immune system (as well as your gut and colon health). But these are the risks I choose to live with. A realistic public health approach must take into account practices that people will actually adhere to — and available data shows that men who can’t get hard wearing condoms will not use them. So, this is the next best thing.
An HIV diagnosis is hard, but I hope someone has told you by now that you’re going to be fine. Your sex life will continue, and it may be even better than it was before — mine was. It does not have to be a sterilized sex life marked by a thin latex membrane wrapped around your dick.