More bad advice from the Manhunt “Cruise Director” Michael Alvear

You have to be a Manhunt member to read the Cruise Director posts, so I’m including it here – apologies for the long excerpt!

How Do I Overcome My Fear Of Having Sex?
By transferring your irrational fear of safe sex into a rational fear of unsafe sex.

Yo, Mike!
I had my first HIV test about two-and-a-half years ago. I’m sorry to say that I had it done because I was a bit “irresponsible” in my teen years. Glad to say my test came back NEGATIVE and ever since, promised myself I’d never have unprotected sex again. Unfortunately, that has not been 100% the case. I’ve had two more HIV tests since, both of which were a requirement at the companies I’ve worked at. I am once again thankful to say they were both negative.

However, the whole HIV-test process has taken a real emotional toll on me, since I have become terrified of having sex. Every time I meet I guy I’m scared to go near his dick, for fear I might catch something. The fact that condoms are not 100% safe makes me terribly uneasy and incapable of having a good, nice fuck.

This is becoming a real problem for me. Monogamy is not an option since I do not have a boyfriend (tho would love to get one——ideas?). I’ve had NO SEX for months now. I’ve been literally living off of porn. What should I do? I know it’s a good thing being responsible and not being promiscuous and all that crap, but I’m going crazy here! I need sex! I love to fuck and I love to suck dick, so please give me some insight here. How the hell can I get rid of this stupid fear?

— Deeply traumatized

Dear Traumatized:
You’ve transferred a rational fear of unsafe sex to an irrational fear of safe sex. It sounds like you’re developing a type of anxiety disorder called Coitophobia, or Genophobia—a fear of having sex. As opposed to the rest of us, who suffer from Gotnophobia—a fear of not having sex. I think ours is worse, personally.

So, what are your symptoms? Check it out:
1. Breathlessness (like, when you see the HOT sign flashing at a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop).

2. Difficulty in thinking or speaking clearly (like, when you see David Beckham wiping the Krispy Kreme glaze off his lips).

3. Dizziness or nausea (when you’ve eaten the whole fucking box).

4. Fear of “going mad” or losing control (when the last cute guy leaves the bar).

5. Palpitations, shaking or sweating profusely (reading my columns).

If you have three or more of these symptoms, your best bet is that word that starts with “T” and ends with “Therapy.” You’re too far gone. And I say that as somebody who once suffered from a form of anxiety disorder. Once it hooks into you, it’s really hard to get out of it without help. You could try anti-anxiety pills like Xanax or anti-depressants but they only last for as long as you take them (been there, done that!). The good news is that a cognitive-behavioral therapist who specializes in anxiety disorders will take you from Coitophobia to Gotnophobia in as little as 12 sessions.

If you feel like you’re not that far gone (and you probably are. You sound like you’re in a lot of pain) then try some of the “exposure” and fear-reducing techniques in Edmund Bourne’s The Anxiety Disorder & Phobia Workbook.

Listen, don’t let this fear destroy your sex life or the potential for a great relationship. Yes, everyone comes with baggage but yours won’t fit in the overhead compartment. It’s time to lighten your load so you can shoot yours.

I’ve just come back from a queer conference in Adelaide (South Australia) where I had the privilege of hearing presentations by Gary Dowsett and Michael Hurley, two of Australia’s leading thinkers on HIV and gay health.  Gary was particularly critical of the American public health approach to thinking about HIV/AIDS in very individual (behavioural, psychological) terms.  The excerpt above exemplifies that approach perfectly.

Instead of saying hey, we all have our insecurities about sex and it takes practice to overcome them, and maybe you need to hook up with someone more experienced who can teach you a thing or two, Michael Alvear reaches for the textbook on anxiety disorders and recommends therapy and even the highly-addictive anxiolytic drug Xanax, for fuck’s sake.

Whoa, steady on Doctor Mike, aren’t you meant to be dispensing advice about SEX?

How about pointing out that condoms fail when they’re used incorrectly?  The solution is laughably simple: use enough lube and check occasionally to see it’s still intact.  Or that the condom failure rate — cited by anti-sex Americans to deny the possibility of safe sex — actually came from a study of 1000 heterosexual couples (not a skilled group of users, to say the least) among whom 3% experienced condom failure once in a whole year of use.

How about talking about PEP – the month-long treatment with HIV meds that prevents infection if started within 72 hours of a possible exposure, say, through a condom breakage?  There’s a missed opportunity here, not just to educate this paranoid youngster but also everyone else in his position reading the article on Manhunt.

All of whom just learnt they have an anxiety problem and need therapy and/or drugs.  *headdesk*

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3 thoughts on “More bad advice from the Manhunt “Cruise Director” Michael Alvear

  1. Wow. I’m not sure I object to the position he takes as much as to the complete incomprehensibility of his response!

    Hey, I’m not placing you…you said hello on lifelube. I’m Ted, the epidemiologist from Yale.

  2. How widespread is the phenomenon?… the strategy of
    “Let’s get tested TOGETHER
    BEFORE we have sex, for A VARIETY of STDs.”
    Sexual health checkups reduce ambiguity/risks and can be
    like anything else POTENTIAL sex partners might do together.

  3. @thezak —

    1. Stop spamming and trolling on other people’s blogs.

    2. What you described is not revolutionary. It’s called Negotiated Safety and it was disseminated in a campaign encouraging gay men in relationships to Talk, Test, Test, Trust.

    3. You missed out the second test three months later. Men have been infected by people who love them because they made the same mistake.

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