A lot of people believe that gay sex is a dangerous way of having fun, with STDs and AIDS the two terms you hear cited time after time. While can be somewhat true to an extent, it’s not gay sex that’s the real danger. It’s unprotected gay sex. It’s true that men can be more at risk for contracting HIV during sex with another man than with a woman, it’s still a possibility either way. And as we all know, STDs can be contracted by anyone, at any time, having sex with anybody. That should be common sense, but myths about gay sex and disease continue to proliferate, to the point where there have been a number of academic studies proving that gay sex – in and of itself – is no more dangerous than heterosexual sex.
Where Does this Myth Come From?
The origins of this urban legend stem from a number of sources. Perhaps the most important one is mainstream religion dating back centuries. The religious belief that gay sex is forbidden or “dirty” has led to the creation of myths to scare people away from experimenting or committing to a gay lifestyle, with most of those myths centering around the “diseases” that can result from sexual contact with other members of the same sex. Another reason that “gay sex” and “health risks” are associated in many peoples’ minds is that anal sex is more common among men than among heterosexual couples; there’s a longstanding (and incorrect) belief that anal sex is dirty because feces can carry disease, partly because parents often teach children from an early age that the anus is a “dirty place.” Naturally, this is a way overblown concern, particularly when proper protection is used during sex.
Real Health Concerns
There are two real issues which have led to overstated myths about gay sex. The first, naturally, was the AIDS epidemic that largely started in the gay community in the 1980s. HIV exposure is still a real concern, but the use of protection and regular testing has pretty much mitigated the worry about AIDS that most gay men had decades ago.
The second issue has to do with the nature of gay hookups. Gay men have been seen for years as more promiscuous than straights, and there has been some truth to that belief over the years with the popularity of gay bathhouses, glory holes and the like. However, that scene was due in large part to the “forbidden” nature of gay sex and the reluctance of gay men to come out in a society where they would often be ostracized or even attacked for their sexual preferences. In today’s world, where gay marriage is legal and gay relationships are seen by the majority of the population as normal and healthy, the incidence of promiscuous gay sex has declined to the point where it’s pretty much on a level with promiscuous straight sex.
The real source of health risks is infection. STD’s come from infected people – whether they’re gay or straight. There may be a slightly greater risk due to the number of men who prefer bareback sex over protected sex, but that’s a small difference. In reality, there’s always the danger of contracting sexually transmitted diseases when having unprotected sex with an unknown partner – and that’s not a health risk of gay sex. It’s a health risk of sex, which can be mitigated completely with a little bit of rubber and a little bit of smarts.