Considering Popping Your Cherry? Here's Some Basic Info
When it comes to sex, don’t worry about words like “gay,” “queer,” and “bisexual.” You’ll find the word that fits — and it might be none of these. You don’t have to define yourself to the world in order to experience sex between men. If you’re curious, questioning, or interested in sleeping with another man, this is for you.
Sex between men is a beautiful, passionate, awesome thing. It’s also a difficult thing to do when you’re starting off. Do you want to try anal sex? Do you want to kiss, suck, rub, or touch? What do you try first? Where do you begin? How do you keep yourself safe from sexually transmitted infections? These questions and more are covered here.
Those who are sensitive to frank discussions about sex are invited to click elsewhere, but consider this: If you are outraged by content that addresses sex openly and honestly, I invite you to examine this outrage and ask yourself whether it should instead be directed at those who oppress us by policing our sexuality.
For all others here are our suggestions:
1. First things first: Make sure you can easily and safely access medical treatment. That may mean waiting until you’re 18. Sorry, but this medical info is necessary and important, so let’s get into it first.
Men who have sex with men and transgender women are most at risk for HIV and have high rates for other sexually transmitted infections like HIV, STDs, and STIs. (An STI is a sexually transmitted infection, and an STD is a sexually transmitted disease. STDs and STIs are often used interchangeably and as synonyms, but they technically mean different things.) That fact doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have sex (more on that later). It just means you need to be in a place in life where you can get routine medical testing.
Yes, you do need to take sexually transmitted infections seriously: All sexually active people do. Having any sex puts you at risk for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and other sexually transmitted infections, or STIs. Thankfully there are many ways you can protect yourself.
PrEP is the once-a-day dosage of a pill you can take to prevent HIV infection. PrEP stands for: pre-exposure prophylaxis. The only drug approved for PrEP is Truvada, but more are on the way. PrEP requires good health insurance and an understanding doctor who is aware of your health needs. In larger cities, the LGBT Community Center may have a list of doctors them may recommend who are more understanding of our needs. Let me be clear, the number one protection against diseases is a condom.
Get the three-part Gardasil vaccine. It’s important: Regardless of how much sex you’ve had — and especially if you’ve had none — it’s a wise idea to get the three-part Gardasil vaccine for HPV. For people with no sexual history, Gardasil vaccinates you against strains of HPV most commonly associated with certain types of cancer. For those with sexual history, the Gardasil vaccine is still recommended, since it may still be able to fight future strains of cancer-related HPV. OK, enough medical stuff, for now, let’s move on.
2. Men who have sex with men are not automatically gay: If “gay” doesn’t sound right for you, don’t worry — not every man who has sex with men is gay. Some MSM (men who have sex with men) are bisexual. Some are questioning and unsure what to call themselves. Don’t worry about the words and labels — you’ll find a word that fits you in time when you’re ready. Until then, you’re allowed to experiment and experience sex. You always will be.
3. Being emotionally ready for sex is important too: You’ve probably learned the ins and outs of being physically ready for sex. But how do you feel about sex? Sex is emotional. Although you may be physically ready to start having sex, you might not be emotionally ready.
Make sure you’re in a good emotional place. This doesn’t mean that you “have everything figured out” and have a clear identity to present to the world. It just means you’re ready to experiment, to start an adventurous journey and see where it goes, and you’re ready to tackle the challenges as they come.
4. Sex between men is not like porn: Guys with years of experience don’t have sex like that. Even porn stars don’t have sex like that — not in real life.
5. There’s no “right time” to start: As queer people, we find there’s a lot of stuff we have to work through before we start having sex — stuff that your straight peers don’t face. We don’t develop a sexual language or sexual identity along the same timeline as them. Thanks to a culture that is and always will be hetero-oriented, queer people are often delayed. Many of us wait until we have safe space and medical resources to start having sex. Many of us wait until we leave our parents and have our own places to live — which affords us the privacy and freedom to start experimenting. Many of us wait until we find a community of others like us — potential sex partners included.
6. The first time might not be perfect: Sex is awkward, especially when you’re new. That’s because you don’t know what you’re doing. The mechanics of sex may feel uncomfortable and painful. Don’t worry, you just need practice. Don’t decide after one bad experience that sex “isn’t for you.” Don’t give up. Just know that you’re a beginner just starting your lessons.
7. You might not be able to start having anal sex immediately: It might not happen the first time. Anal sex requires a lot of trust and patience when you’re starting off — and a lot of lube. Don’t set the expectation that you’re going to do it successfully on the first attempt. If you don’t, no worries! Foreplay is awesome. Making out, hand jobs, sucking, and even gentle kissing and massaging are a great way to start.
8. You do not have to know what you want: You probably won’t, at least for a little while. Some people come out of the gate thinking they know exactly what they want sexually, but most of us are unsure. You may have watched some porn, such as on GayTies.com, but you don’t know how it translates to your life, or to the people you’re attracted to. Don’t worry. No one knows what they want in the beginning. You’ll base your desires off what you experience.
9. Heads up: There’s a lot of terminology coming your way. Ask what words mean: You will be thrown a lot of terminology, especially if you look for sex with men on hookup apps like Grindr. Words like top, bottom, versatile, bare, raw, party, safe, poz, neg, cum, daddy, dom, sub, boy, otter, bear, pig. The list goes on and on. If you don’t know what something means, ask.
10. Just to get you started, here are a few definitions: A “top” is the active partner (the inserter) in anal sex or the inserter in oral sex. A “bottom” is the receptive partner. These roles define what you’re physically doing in sex — nothing more.
A bottom isn’t “the girl.” Bottoms don’t have to be smaller, submissive, or feminine. A top isn’t “the man,” and doesn't have to be masculine or dominant. These sex roles don’t define how you behave, how you dress, or how you date, and they have no bearing whatsoever on your worth or your attractiveness. They just define what you’re doing in sex. That’s it.
You don’t have to exclusively enjoy one or the other. In fact, many people are “versatile,” meaning they enjoy both topping and bottoming in the right scenario or with the right partner. And, people change.
11. You’re going to make mistakes: You’ll trust the wrong people and have less-than-awesome encounters. You’ll probably develop unreciprocated feelings for someone and get your heart broken. You’ll meet people you thought were great, who turn out not to be great. This is what you’re supposed to be doing right now. You make these mistakes now, learn from them, and are better prepared going forward.
12. Don’t make decisions about sex from one or two bad experiences. Many guys decide bottoming just “isn’t for them” after a couple failed attempts. And many people have messy first-time attempts and decide sex “just isn’t for them.” Don’t jump to conclusions about yourself or about sex from one or two experiences. Your first attempts will not be perfect, and they’re not meant to be. Keep trying.
13. Bottoming might hurt: Anal penetration might hurt the first time you try it. Your ass has to expand to accommodate a penis, and this stretching can hurt. If you go too fast or don’t use enough lube, you can injure yourself. Going slow and gentle, using plenty of lube, communicating, and taking frequent breaks is how you get better at it.
14. Yes, sex might be messy: If you’re having anal sex, you might get messy. Don’t freak out or call yourself a “failure.” You’re not a failure. That’s just what the body does. If you want to research different methods of cleaning men who have sex with men do, go for it. Many guys douche before sex, but douching is not a requirement to have a good experience.
You can use water to clean your butt (specifically, the lower part of your rectum, the space just inside your hole) with a handheld anal rubber bulb (lube the tip) to squirt water up your hole. Rinsing a few times is sufficient to be clean for sex. Using a laxative or enema up your butt is going overboard. NEVER insert a hose and “force” water up your rectum. You could hurt your insides.
Not every guy douches before sex. A healthy, fiber-rich diet (lots of veggies, less meat) eliminates the need to douche for some. Others just don’t worry about it — they have fun and clean up after. Whatever you choose to do, remember that you can’t completely avoid messes all the time. If you’re having anal sex, you’re going to encounter poop at some point. Just consider it part of being human.
15. The wonderful benefits of sex far outweigh the risk of STIs. A common STI like chlamydia might require you to stop having sex for a week or two while the medicine clears it up. But a lifetime without sex means a lifetime without the awesome, beautiful, wonderful, sexy people you get to share your world and your bed with — people who will make you feel strong and beautiful and powerful. They’re worth it.
16. Sex gets better: I promise. I didn’t advance to the point of really loving sex until I was in my mid-20s. In most of my early years, I felt frustrated, inhibited, and unsure of what I was doing. Sometimes I still do.
17. There is one other thing which I hope you will consider more as just common sense. Look at the person you are interested in meeting, or who is interested in meeting you. Does he appear to be healthy mentally, physically? Is he a heavy smoker? Heavy drinker? User of drugs? Is he grubbing looking? Does he come across in your initial conversation as someone who has sex with a whole lot of guys? Has a lot of one-night stands?
I know that I am sounded judgmental; sorry about that. But I want to connect with guys who take care of themselves, as well as someone who seems kind, patient and caring. You don’t have to feel love – of course not – but how about feeling respected and being self-respecting.
18. This is a fact gay youth have to face: teenagers under the age of 18 do not have any legal ability to hide their medical history from their parents. In the United States, patient privacy laws like HIPPA only apply at legal age. So if you’re in the closet and don’t feel safe coming out to your parents and talking to them about your sex life, wait.
(Pub until 6/23)
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