James Connor can answer all your questions on gay relationships, sex, health and love. James is founder of the
website www.freshsx.com and his new DVD label has
just released it's first movie featuring James in action. It's available now from the OutUK
online store ShopGay. The opinions he gives in Ask James are based on his experiences as a gay man who enjoys all
love and sex. He's not a qualified doctor, trained counsellor or therapist but his advice is like that of a close
The Ask James Archive has loads of questions and answers
featured in previous editions of the column.
This Week - HIV+ Sex, Only Oral please and Lube me up good
Danny asks: My best friend is in a relationship with a guy who is HIV positive (he got it from a blood transfusion when he was only 12). Now my friend told me he has been having unprotected anal sex with his boyfriend. His HIV+ boyfriend uses a condom when it's his turn but my friend tops the guy bareback. I'm worried for him that this is too risky, but he says there is little risk for an HIV-negative guy to top a positive guy. What are the facts?
James says: Hi Danny, yes you are right to be concerned as any unprotected sex between two guys is risky, especially when one of the partners is known to be HIV positive.
It is known that when having anal sex the risks are much higher for contracting HIV for the guy who is bottom than for the guy who is active, however that doesn't mean that you are safe as a top when having sex without a condom. Furthermore if you are having sex with someone who you know is HIV positive then any sex whether top or bottom should always be with a condom.
The City Clinic in San Francisco, which is part of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, state that they have found "the risk of HIV transmission to a bottom during unprotected anal sex is 15 in 1,000 versus 3 in 10,000 from a bottom to a top". These figures would suggest that it is more risky as a bottom however they also show that there are still significant risks as a top as well.
There has been some interesting research into couples who are in a sexual relationship and one has HIV and the other doesn't. They found that of all the couples who always used condoms none of the HIV negative partners had contracted HIV and of the couples who did not always use condoms about 10% of the partners had caught HIV.
You really should chat with your friend and tell him that there are considerable risks of contracting HIV from his partner unless they always use a condom for all anal sex, whether top or bottom. He needs to get some advice from his local sexual health clinic and get himself tested, then be sure to use condoms on each and every occasion.
Roy asks: I am in just about every way a gay man, but I am only really interested in having oral sex. I tried anal sex several times, but have never really been turned on by it. Is there something wrong? All my gay friends seem to think that I am missing out. Should I be concerned? Am I in a minority amongst gay men?
James replies: Hi Roy, not all gay men enjoy anal sex and this can be for a variety of reasons, the most common of which is a bad past experience. You could have developed some anxiety about sex or even a total lack of desire to have anal sex. Anxiety can actually make sex less enjoyable and this can lead you into a spiral where the anxiety about having sex each time gets worse and worse, because each time you worry more about it.
Your feelings may also be down to not really finding out what you are happy with sexually. Some guys try being top and bottom and then decide on one or the other and stick with that, almost for life. Actually it's much better to realise that no one is purely a top or a bottom!
We are all to a certain degree versatile and really it depends on the situation, who we are with and whether we are able to trust our sexual partner and be relaxed as to which role we actually prefer. Try not to fall into the trap of thinking that you are either a top or a bottom and that is your sexual preference for life! Realise that sex and sexuality is something that grows with you.
Maybe you should try and find someone who is very relaxed and easy going about sex. Someone who you get on with and feel relaxed with and someone who you can talk about sex with and laugh with as well. Sex isn't something to be taken too seriously as it is a lot of fun and needs to be treated as such.
Try this and see if you enjoy anal sex more. If you don't then maybe you should just tell your friends that you don't enjoy anal sex that much but you aren't missing out as there are so many other great things you can in sex than just fucking!
Simon slips this in: Hi James I'm confused. You always talk in this column (I'm a regular reader) about using lots of lube - but what sort is the best, and frankly what are the differences. There's old fashioned KY, Liquid Silk which I quite like, Vaseline, Elbow Grease, something I saw called Boy Butter .... silicon lubes and now even silicon/water lubes. What's a boy to choose? And what's Desensitising Lube then? Is it safe?
James answers: Hi Simon, yes well I always say to use loads of lube for 2 reasons really. First, lube makes anal sex much easier for the bottom and helps avoid small tears in the lining of the anus, and second, lube also is very important in preventing condoms from splitting. Now as for which lube that is a difficult question as you rightly say there are so many different types.
I guess the condom friendly lubes can really be split into two main types though - silicone based and water based.
The silicone based ones, and the most popular of these is Eros, feel oily and don't dry out and last much longer than water based ones. You also don't need as much of a silicone based lube.The main downside of them is that they can stain sheets and also it can be hard to get rid of the lube after as it doesn't wash off so easily. However, most gay guys do seem to really like silicone based lubes, especially Eros!
The water based ones, such as Liquid Silk, are not so sticky as the silicone ones but they do not last as long and you need to apply a lot at the beginning and then keep applying it as it will dry out. The great thing with water based is it won't stain the sheets and washes off very easily.
Now there is also a new generation of lubes coming on the market which are a mix of silicon based and water based. They offer the staying power that a silicon lube provides without being sticky. LubeXXX is one of the first companies to offer this and I must say it is really great!
What you need to do is try out some different ones to see what you like but I have to say that from all the porn shoots I have done most of the guys tend to go for Eros or ID and most tend to prefer silicon based as well but make up your own mind!
As for desensitising lube! These have a numbing effect and so make anal sex easier for the bottom and they can also delay ejaculation. Be careful though as anal sex should never be difficult so if it hurts the guy who is bottom you should stop and relax and then start again. If you want to use it to delay cumming then try stopping fucking when you are close and relax and then start again a bit later instead!
The most important thing with all these lubes is to make sure they are condom friendly. They will all say on the label if they are latex safe or not. The golden rule to remember is that oil breaks latex so never use vaseline, massage oil, hand creams or lotions as a lubricant. Elbow Grease and Boy Butter are used for all sorts of other activities but never for fucking as they are not safe with latex condoms.
All these lubes can be purchased from the ShopGay Online Store so there's no excuse for not trying them all! Enjoy! :-)