Summer Loving (Monday, July 30th, 2012)

Or is it Summer Lovin'? Both names are used. Anyway, it's THT's 2012 condom info campaign for 'gay men':

We have launched our Gay Man’s Guide To Condoms (Everything they didn’t teach you in school), with the aim of ensuring gay and bisexual men are properly equipped to protect themselves and their partners from infection. What do you think?

(front page of and, from the look of it, their Facebook page, 31st July 2012)

Well, they say 'and bisexual', but going to the page, we see not one mention of the b-word:

The gay man's 0 guide to condoms (Everything they didn't teach you in school 1.)

Every gay man needs to know about condoms 2. They’re cheap, simple to use, and the best way to keep you and your partner safe from all kinds of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.

Terrence Higgins Trust has created the following guide – a short refresher course in the humble condom – that we hope will help you and your partner 3 have a better, safer sex life.

Nice packet

Every guy should have his own personal stash of condoms tucked away somewhere. But it’s unwise to hang on to a condom that’s gone past the expiry date printed on the wrapper. Find out more 4.

Size matters

Cocks come in a smorgasbord of shapes and sizes, so it’s important to select a condom that fits yours properly. Read more.

Get it on

The moment has come. Find out more about putting on condoms

Stay slick

A good dollop of water-based lube will make anal sex a far more pleasant experience for both of you 5. Find out more.

Grand finale

After coming, hold onto the base of the condom firmly to stop any cum leaking out and to stop the condom coming off inside his 6 arse. Then pull out. Use each condom only once.

Wrap the used condom in a tissue and put in a bin. Condoms put in a toilet can block it.

Grab a handful

Free condoms and lube are available from many gay 7 bars, clubs, saunas, backrooms and gyms, sexual health clinics, HIV clinics, some doctors’ surgeries and health centres, gay 8 social and youth groups, as well as from HIV or safer sex organisations.

Condoms can be bought in many different places such as chemists, supermarkets, late night garages, gay 9 shops and vending machines in clubs and pubs. Many websites sell condoms.

0. We know that many bisexually-behaving men do not identify with 'gay', never mind as it. Merely labelling this a 'gay man's guide' excludes many men who we know have high condom education needs: they will not see it as relevant to them. Calling it 'A man's guide to condoms and anal sex' would be more inclusive without the need to mention vaginal sex (that's a whole other argument).

1. Actually, they did. I accept that this the exception, particularly thirty-cough years ago, but perhaps having a bisexual man (a sex ed specialist too) do the sex ed at my school helped.

2. And bisexual men?

3. Note that's singular.

4. Interestingly, the 'find out more' links go to much better material. There aren't any obvious gender or sexuality related howlers, even if there's no direct link to the 'using a Femidom' page which is the main one to mention vaginas – their use in anal sex is just mentioned in the final one sentence paragraph and misses out the crucial tip of removing the inner ring. There's also no direct link to the 'problems with condoms' page, which mentions things like emergency contraception.

5. And vaginal sex? Despite the fact that this is not labelled as a CHAPS campaign, it is only concerned with sex between men, even though it's nominally aimed at 'and bisexual' men too and we also know that many gay-identified men have sex with women. What's the message here? Don't use condoms for anal sex with women? Don't use condoms with women? Real gay men don't have sex with women? All of those?

6. Here's a simple example of what they should have done. Change 'his' to 'their' and it becomes gender neutral. Or you could say 'inside them' instead of 'inside his arse' and it covers vaginal/oral sex too (and in fewer words!)

7. Bisexual ones?

8. Bisexual ones? How many gay (as opposed to LGBT..) youth groups are there?

9. Bisexual ones? The really interesting omission here is 'sex' shops.

So, once again, when THT say..

ensuring gay and bisexual men are properly equipped to protect themselves and their partners

..what they really mean is 'ensuring men who identify with "gay" are properly equipped to protect themselves and their male partners'.

The fight goes on.

Update: It's a sign of how strong the cultural norm against withdrawal is that it took me several days to notice something else – the assumption that the condom wearer is going to come inside his partner!

This is despite the current Making It Count framework saying that one of the choices that health promotion aimed at men who have sex with men is supposed to tackle is 'ejaculating outside or inside the body', with the strategic goal of having men choose to do outside their partners more often, thanks to increasing their motivation and power to do so. It was the idea behind GMFA's wonderful 'Come like a pornstar' (i.e. outside your partner) campaign from a few years ago, for example.

Here, you only take your penis outside "after coming".

Update 2: The press release is in the THT website's media section:

Terrence Higgins Trust launches guide to help gay men avoid ‘condom mishaps’

Monday 30 July 2012

As part of a new HIV prevention campaign for gay and bisexual men in London, HIV and sexual health charity Terrence Higgins Trust has launched an online guide to tell men everything they need to know about condoms.

Thirty years on from the beginning of the HIV epidemic, condoms remain the best way to guard against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Terrence Higgins Trust has launched The Gay Man’s Guide To Condoms (Everything they didn’t teach you in school), with the aim of ensuring gay and bisexual men are properly equipped to protect themselves and their partners from infection.

Cary James, Head of Programmes at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “Condoms are the bedrock of HIV prevention, but with sex and relationships education patchy at best, too many men are being sent into the world with inadequate advice on how to use them. We know most gay men use condoms most of the time, but they may not realise that certain things – like storing condoms in a warm place or using spit as lube – can still cause the condom to break. This new guide aims to help men avoid condom mishaps and enjoy better, safer sex lives.”

The Gay Man’s Guide To Condoms can be found at As well as guidance and tips on the best way to use condoms, the guide also contains links to a special offer on the NHS Freedoms website, offering packs of 24 condoms for the price of £5 for the three month duration of the Summer Lovin’ campaign.

Currently, one in seven men on the London gay scene has HIV.

The Summer Lovin’ campaign, funded by the Pan-London HIV Prevention Programme, will provide information via adverts in gay media and posters in gay venues. Terrence Higgins Trust will also be distributing 5,000 Summer Lovin’ condom packs in clubs and bars across the London gay scene.

So a 'gay' headline, a couple of 'and bisexual's towards the start, then it's gay all the way.

Well, almost all: note the penultimate paragraph talks about "men on the London gay scene" rather than, for example, "gay men on the London scene". Does this mean that gay and bisexual men on the scene have similar HIV infection rates? (Quite possibly, although I strongly suspect that it will depend on whether you're talking about identity or behaviour.) Or does someone think that there are only gay men on the scene?

We do know that bisexually behaving men are less likely to see ads in the 'gay' media and venues.

We also know that bisexually behaving men are less likely to use condoms most of the time they're having sex, but see above…

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