by: Luis Blasini
I have lived two decades as an expatriate American in the slums of Tijuana, Mexico. That notoriously, well-known border city is all that you would expect – legions of willing prostitutes of both sexes brandishing their wares blatantly on broken sidewalks, unbridled drug addiction of any narcotic you could ever want and sold without discrimination to anyone, throngs of arrogant American tourists waving fistful of dollars in hunt of sordid sex-drenched fantasies they would never dare attempt stateside, all amid a nightly carnival of writhing flesh copulating in unison without consequence or abandon to a salsa beat.
And, I do have to admit, after relocating from Los Angeles and their over-opinionated, over-labeling attitude on the way gay lifestyle should be lived, it was quite liberating to say the least.
I had done my share of living a life of lascivious excess – hell, I even kept detailed notes on the subject at the time in a popular online blog. Countless liaisons in sordid hotel rooms, bar dark rooms, porno theater seats, alleyways, bathrooms in cantinas and mildew-covered saunas. I had found myself getting fucked fore and aft by scores of Mexican men. Never was I asked or approached with the idea of using a condom. Never.
Were condoms and AIDS awareness available? Very much so. I recall that on nights too hot to remain in the over-crowded cantinas, so much so that the clientele spilled out onto the sidewalks, I would watch as groups of people would clomp through plazas and cafes where gay revelers congregated, passing out fistful of condoms and brochures on HIV and other STs. The condoms were either thrown discreetly onto the floor or in trash bins or the pamphlets shoved into back pockets to be “read later.”
This wasn’t through arrogance or ignorance of the men. It was more due to their Catholic upbringing and on how they were instructed by the church that condom use was frowned upon and then backed on top of that by the ever-present machismo mentality.
It is a fact – a tired, long-winded, drawn out fact – that the HIV statistics in Tijuana is catastrophic. 40% of the male population is harboring the disease, and most do not even realize it. That’s 1 out of every 4 men in Tijuana. One out of four in a city of three million is HIV positive. Statistics that would turn any whore into a God fearing saint.
Did I care? Nope. As a fact, I never gave it any thought. Each night and many times during the day, I would prowl the gay districts of downtown Tijuana – Plaza Santa Cecilia, Zona Norte, Park Ingerente Guererro, all three porno theaters and seven bath houses – looking for an easy sexual fix fueled by an acquired methamphetamine addiction. Happy in the fact that it was always readily available in lieu of the all-powerful American dollar.
So, it’s a sure bet if you found yourself getting screwed by some handsome Mexican man in Tijuana, expect not only he to be condomless, but also receiving a load of semen up your ass without him thinking twice about it.
Do I prefer barebacking to the safer route of condom protection? Of course, I prefer it. Who doesn’t? There is nothing better in the world than being in a passionate fuck fest without those pesky sheathes of rubber between you and a hot cock and the moment when you can feel – actually feel – the semen being squirted into you. It’s complete bliss.
Yet, that point is nulled when the insidious reality of careless abandon rears its ugly head. One by one, my close friends began to get sick and die. Juan Carlos being found dead in a park after months of being ill. Hector passing away in his mother’s arms from battling complications for two years. Enrique rolling over and dying in a cantina booth from “The Flu.” Philippe dying alone in a filthy hotel room. Jacob dying in a hospice. Juan dying in a café. Pedro, Thomas, Marcos, Timothy, Marlon, Hunter. All dead. Not one over thirty years of age. It was sobering.
And, the bittersweet part was that I emerged unscathed. I fled Tijuana – at the time, I realized it was a sexual death trap – and traveled throughout Mexico only to settle in Ciudad Juarez across the border from El Paso, Texas. However, I found that the desert city harbored more of the same. After a decade in Juarez of mindless, irresponsible decadence, the grief of losing so many so dear to me there sobered me up.
I relocated back to the states. The condescending, label-happy, clique obsessed gay culture of the United States. The party was over. The depression from too much death loomed over me. I had myself tested – something I never previously thought about – and, except for a weakened liver and slightly, deranged mental state from drug abuse, I was fine. Now, I live in a cookie-cutter setting the exact opposite of what I knew, adored and reveled in.
Has the idea of barebacking or swallowing semen during oral sex in the gay community changed even here in the States? No, not really. Most gay men will state they practice protection — when in reality, they do not. In the heat of the moment, no red-blooded man will grind the passion to a halt and inquire who brought a condom. “It kills the moment,” stated several when the issue had been brought up in a recent discussion
Before you, Dear Reader, begin thumping your chest and screeching, “I do!” No, you don’t. Not always.
And the recent advent of glamorizing “bareback” fetishes in adult videos and advertisements has not hampered the threat. It all comes down to personal choices, I guess. Do I advocate condom use over the thrill of raw bareback fucking after years of scoffing at the possibility that I would catch any STD? Yes. I do now. After twenty years of reckless debauchery without responsibility or limitation – yes, I do advocate strongly against barebacking and unsafe oral sex. I have eleven and very close reasons as to why. And, they are eleven too many.
A word to the younger generation out there living as if there’s no tomorrow – which, of course is not wrong at all – simply, take a moment and slip a condom on. You’ll live to fuck more.
Luis Blasini hails from Los Angeles, California. He is a published novelist, poet and world traveler. He enjoys a good drink and laugh among friends. If you would like to know more about the author or purchase one of his novels, please visit his world-reknown blog at www.borrowedflesh.blogspot.com