Dear Sexpert: What Can I Do To Reduce Risk When Having Bareback Sex?

Hey Jerome,

I’m a 26 year old gay man and I’m thinking about going bareback. Are there any tips you can give me to make it less risky? I know having sex without a condom is much riskier than having sex with one. I was just hoping that there was a way I could play the way I want while being as safe as possible.

Hungry Hole

Sexpert Dictionary: Bareback (verb) – Sex without a condom. The term is mostly used by gay men. Heterosexuals tend to use the words raw, or natural to describe the same thing.

I’m very glad that you had the forethought to ask for advice on this topic. Too often people think that a condom is the only way to decrease the risk of STI/STD transmission. That is a very dangerous way of thought because if they don’t want to use a condom then they won’t think to take other steps to decrease the amount of risk their taking on.

From your email, I know you’re aware there are risks but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t let you know the reality of what you’re planning to do. Anal sex is the riskiest of all sex. Sex is a word that, in this instance, means anything 1 or more people can do using only their bodies. There are several reasons for the high amount of risk:

  • The anus/rectum is highly populated with blood vessels.
  •  The tissue is very susceptible to damage
  • Viruses, like HIV, can easily pass through the lining of your intestines

I’m not going to sit here and lecture you. Everyone reading this can easily click here to learn all about safer sex practices, risk factors and everything else they need to be safer.  While those are important things to cover, in this case they would only serve as an attempt to shame you into compliance. I don’t believe in using the scare tactics that a lot of other sex educators often use in a futile attempt to dissuade people from doing what they want to do. So, let’s move on to your question.

If you are having or, in your case, preparing to have condom free anal sex the first thing you need to do is get a checkup. HIV, which is often the biggest worry for gay men, HPV and Hepatitis are your biggest concerns. All of these viruses have a harder time infecting people who are healthy.

Make sure to keep up on your vitamins, exercise, diet and all the other stuff that your doctor nags you about. It’s a good an idea to converse with your doctor and ask about the latest medical findings that may increase the strength of your immune system or otherwise make your body less hospitable for infection.

Next you need to be following your grooming tips. Just a few weeks ago I wrote a very in depth article about grooming for anal sex. You should make sure to follow every tip in there, except you need to stay away from soap and enemas with anything accept water. Harsher things could dry out your insides making them more prone to small tears that will increase your risk of catching something.

Next you need to make sure that your anus is as pliable as a prepubescent Asian gymnast training for the Olympics. This means regular anal play, 3-5 times a week. The point is to make sure that your muscles and tissues are tough enough to handle the wanton bareback pounding you’re seeking. Keagel exercises will also help you to strengthen your pelvic and sphincter muscles.

When not using a condom, the most effective way to limit your risk is to limit your exposure to bodily fluids. This means no seeding, breeding, or cream pies. All of those are terms that describe ejaculating inside the anus or vagina. If, by chance, someone does cum inside you then you should push their semen out immediately. I know that there is an allure to keeping it inside you, but it will greatly increase your risk of disease transmission.

You will also want to limit your number of partners. The fewer partners you have, the less likely it is that you will end up in bed with a guy who has a STI.

Thus far these have all been tips for you being a receptive partner. That is because, other than using a condom, there is almost nothing you can do as the penetrative partner to reduce your risk for infection. The only option you have is circumcision and I’m not sure if many people would willingly choose to have surgery on their penises just so they could have safer unprotected sex.

Before you go whole hog with bareback, try using a female condom. It is just as effective as the male condom but is inserted into the receptive partner. It would provide a totally new sensation. That may be enough to get the desired effect without the undesired risk.

A lot of bareback advocates bring up sero-sorting, having sex with men who are either HIV+ or HIV- exclusively, as a way to reduce risk. However, the reality of the situation is that horny people will tell you anything to get a piece. You simply cannot trust people you have not built a relationship with, which makes sero-sorting nearly impossible. Then you have to remember that there is a period of up to 3 months between the time a person is infected and when they may have a positive test result. During that time they are brimming with newly hatched HIV cells that are just dying to call your body home.  

This last tip may seem like a no brainer but it’s important for me to say. Do not use drugs. They will damage your judgment and enhance all those primal feelings it’s already difficult to ignore. It’s just a bad idea all around.

No matter what you do, just play smart. If you, or anyone reading this, has any more questions don’t hesitate to ask.

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