has put a whole new dimension on sexual activity. Just
when effective birth control and modern medicine gave
us a way to avoid unwanted pregnancy and cure sexually
transmitted diseases, it reared its ugly head. So ended
friends died left and right, while many, many survivors
embraced either safer-sex or no sex as a lifestyle. Fifteen
years later, medical advances are beginning to change
AIDS from terminal to chronic. We're all breathing easier
as the plague becomes more and more manageable.
that doesn't mean that it's over.
became a leather man just after AIDS had begun to do its
worse. As we look around today, it's obvious that AIDS
decimated the gay leather community. It's most likely
that it wasn't leather activity, per se, that is responsible.
The "good old days" of the '60s were filled
with unprotected sex, rampant drug and alcohol abuse,
and unsanitary practices that would have killed most anyone.
of us who survived learned and it's important that we
remember the lessons we've learned. I'm not going to go
into all the details of safer-sex but I will emphasize
the need for it. Simply put, play with every partner as
if they were infected. Never share toys that aren't sterilized
between uses, never do anything that transfers bodily
fluids between individuals, and don't endanger your health
with immune-suppressive activity, such as drunkenness
and drug abuse.
then are slaves and masters to do?
"Expectations and Regulations" spells it out
this way: "Once the slave is the master's property,
the master will be responsible to keep him as healthy
as possible. The master will want to keep his property
at full value and so will not command or treat the slave
in a way that jeopardizes or diminishes his value. A healthy
slave is a valuable one."
everyone looks at it this way, of course. We frequently
see ads that seek "HIV negative" slaves or hear
talk about using condoms only "until your slavery
both cases, there is the as yet unspoken, but all too
obvious, idea that there are conditions within which safer
sex practices can be ignored. That kind of thinking only
leads to eventual tragedy.
will except married heterosexual couples in a monogamous
relationship, but other than that there is no reason to
exchange bodily fluids.
can hear some of my gay friends shaking their heads that
I don't include monogamous homosexual relationships as
well. There are those who say that two HIV-negative men
can get it on safely without being "safe" or
that two HIV-positive men are already infected so there's
no use in playing safely but I disagree with both opinions.
a matter of common sense and "risk management."
I don't think we can eliminate all risk. The only completely
safe sex is no sex, just as the only completely safe kind
of travel is to stay home. If you do that, then you can't
blame your accidents on traveling. They will happen. On
this planet death is the only way out. That doesn't mean,
though, that we ought to be courting death or doing things
that make it more likely to occur.
exempted monogamous married couples from the bodily fluid
restriction only because procreation is something they
may want to do. Unmarried persons probably aren't going
to breed, so they ought to keep their fluids to themselves.
partners run the risk of introducing variant forms of
the virus into each other's systems. In as much as HIV
mutates easily and therefore can adapt in order to survive
various antibodies and drug therapies, we need to eliminate
the possibility of introducing new strains of the virus
into anyone's body.
doesn't mean abstinence. In fact, there are endless erotic
possibilities in SM. The vast majority of leather activity
is safe, and even the most kinky practices can be made
safer with a bit of forethought. The over-riding considerations
are cleanliness and the use of barriers against the transmission
ropes, slings, whips, gags, dildoes and the like clean
is a perfect job for any slave. There's nothing expensive
about soap and water. Rinsing insertable toys in bleach
(diluted in water in a ration of one to ten) is highly
recommended as well.
toys may not stand up to washing like a butt plug would,
but there are ways to disinfect them as well. See "Leather
And Latex Care: How To Keep Your Leather And Latex Looking
Great," by Kelly Thibault, (ISBN 1-881943-00-3, Daedalus
to the idea that "A healthy slave is a valuable one,"
brings us to considering the possibility of conflict in
the master/slave scenario. What happens if a master wants
to fuck his slave without a rubber or if the slave wants
it to happen?
are those, I'm sure, who will say that the master has
a right to fuck in any way he desires. I understand the
sentiment. Rubbers diminish the intensity of the action.
They can be a distraction from the heat of the moment.
Some men can't stay erect when they put a rubber on. In
spite of those possibilities, condoms prevent infection
and thereby save lives.
a matter of getting used to them. Try different brands,
sizes, and kinds. For a long time I relied on the free
condoms distributed at the bars. They work well and it
was easy to grab a handful as I was going home.
had problems with them, though, in as much as very often
they were too tight, so tight in fact that more often
than not, when I had an orgasm in one, it would be painful.
I found ways to avoid that. For one, I would rip off the
condom and shoot my load elsewhere and safely. Interestingly,
many bottoms enjoyed the sight of my jism squirting onto
I tried a larger size of condom and found they delivered
greater pleasure, eliminating the disagreeable tightness.
It's a matter of trial and error. Often, too, it's a matter
of just getting used to them.
and large it all goes back to being responsible.
are a great many aspects to leather sex: pleasure, authority,
sadomasochism, love, dominance and submission. You get
the idea. None of them removes the need to be responsible.
is a major attribute between SM players. Without it, the
master/slave relationship, or any relationship for that
matter, quickly deteriorates and ends. It's a two-way
master is such because he accepts responsibility as part
of his role. The slave accepts that his master is responsible,
though he or she still retains self-responsibility as
well, even if only to insure that the master's property
remains healthy and of great value.
master I pass some of my responsibility on to my slave.
He is required, for instance, to clean the toys, to buy
the condoms, and to put them on me. In the heat of passion
a responsible master might have to remind his or her slave
to get a rubber. It's all part of a healthy relationship
and keeping it that way.
1996 by Jack Rinella. This material may not be copied in
any manner. For permission to reproduce this essay, contact
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