Tuesday, March 11, 2008

An email about condoms, oral sex, and dick size!

A couple of days ago, I got an email from a regular reader who I've corresponded with before. In fact, it was from the same reader that asked me about gay parenting a couple of months ago. But this time he had other things on his mind:

Dear GB,

How are you lately? It's me again! Your latest posting got me thinking about two things.

I recently learnt that unprotected oral sex has a non-negligible risk of HIV transmission and cases have certainly been documented. This got me worried and when I called up the GUM clinic they were fully booked for the next four weeks! Suggested I came for the drop ins in the morning but that means I will have to try and arrange a sick line for half a day. Wonder what the reason for absence would read? 'Sexual health check-up' would do well in raising my boss's eyebrows! :)

Do you use condoms for oral sex in casual hook-ups? A lot of guys seem to think that it's weird for some reason.

The second thing is the 'dick size' on gaydar. I think 'small' and 'extra large' are usually right. But a guy's perception of what constitutes 'average' and 'large' can vary quite a bit depending on the number of dicks they've seen and the size of their own equipment. What do you think?


Interesting questions, and also a reminder that I should go and have a sexual health check-up myself! I had a check-up in late 2005, and then another about a year later which I didn't blog about, but that was almost 18 months ago now so I'm definitely due for another.

My understanding of HIV transmission is that it needs to get into your blood to infect you. So with oral sex, common sense suggests that if, for example, you've got gums that bleed when you brush your teeth, and if you've also got HIV infected fluids in your mouth, then in that situation HIV has a route into your blood stream. But I think it's also true that mouths are typically quite hostile places for HIV, which dies very quickly in that kind of environment like a fish out of water. That means the risk is only to the guy doing the sucking, not the guy being sucked off!

I recall being told during my last sexual health check-up that the statistical chance of being infected by HIV during oral sex with another guy is something like 1 in 1250. Although that's a very small chance, each time you repeat the activity the cumulative chance of being infected grows. So if you suck off a different guy every day for 3 years it means that you'd have around a 50% chance of being infected! However, I also think the pre-cum of an infected guy contains much less HIV than the cum itself, so if you avoid getting his cum in your mouth I think it's much lower risk.

One thing that amazes me is how infrequently I get asked about my HIV status when cruising online. I think it's a reasonable question to ask before engaging in any kind of intimate activity, so I do ask. Although guys don't always know their true status themselves, and although a guy could lie even if he knows that he's HIV positive, some HIV positive guys would answer truthfully or discontinue the conversation so it seems logical that asking the question decreases my statistical chance of being infected. But it almost seems to be a taboo subject, because it's the thing that no one wants to think about, especially when one's cruising. Indeed, a lot of guys seem to have the "it won't happen to me" attitude, which no doubt contributed to the HIV scandal in the UK gay porn industry that the BBC reported recently.

I definitely think everyone needs to make up their own mind about this, not least because viruses can mutate, so just because something is low risk today doesn't mean that it will be low risk tomorrow. Based on the information above, my current guess is that if one has good oral hygiene, with no cuts in one's mouth or bleeding gums, and if the guy says that he's HIV negative, then as long as he doesn't cum in your mouth the chance of infection is probably almost negligible. If so, just sucking the other guy's dick briefly to give him a different kind of stimulation is probably almost completely safe. But beyond that the risks rise so I think a condom should be worn. Unfortunately I reckon it's true that most guys don’t bother for oral sex, however far they go, and I confess that if a guy wants to suck me off I don't immediately offer to put a condom on unless he asks me to which is very rare. Indeed, on gaydar it's very easy to find guys who are eager to suck off other guys all the way to 'kingdom cum', so there's clearly a lot of unsafe oral sex going on. Also, there are lots of other diseases and infections around, so just focusing on HIV can be a mistake.

In terms of dick size on gaydar, it's something I honestly never pay any attention to. Although I've met a lot of guys from gaydar, not once have I bothered to compare their actual dick size with their description. I reckon everything else is so much more important.

Do gay guys really prefer big dicks? Not necessarily I think. I've said it before but I'd much rather have a hard dick to play with than a big one :-). Indeed, in terms of the previous discussion, is it more enjoyable to fit something into one's mouth all the way, or to choke oneself in the attempt? In that context, perhaps small is beautiful after all!

Anyway, do any other readers have any thoughts on these matters?

19 comments:

Steven said...

Even though you've been your way around the UK more than I have (haha), the whole dick size issue always makes me scratch my head in puzzlement.

I think there should be a standard (ex: 6 inches = average, 8 inches = large, etc.).

Or, just take a pic with a ruler beside it.

Masturbedroom said...

So if you suck off a different guy every day for 3 years it means that you'd have around a 50% chance of being infected!

Good thing you're not an actuary, ha!

However, I also think the pre-cum of an infected guy contains much less HIV than the cum itself

Just get him to pee first if you're going for a second helping.

GB said...

From a Caucasian point of view Steven, I'd agree with your definitions 100%. That's always what I've got in my mind for 'average' and 'large' :-). But from the point of view of other guys with other ethnic backgrounds the answer might be different.

So are you concerned that my sums aren't accurate enough Masturbedroom? I'm not exactly sure about my 1 in 1250 number, but if it's correct, I reckon it's after 2 years 20 months that the chance has risen to 50% if you're a 'one a day' kind of guy! For three years the right sum is 1 - (1-1/1250)^(3*365) = 58%. I am a banker so I do like sums :-). And are you saying that if an HIV positive guy pees first then there'll be less HIV in his juices?

GB xxx

Trevor said...

I researched and wrote about this subject with the specifics of oral sex and sexually transmitted infections here at 1234men. Hope you find it useful.

Jamie said...

The dick size thing is funny. I've met a load of guys who wrote large when they were nothing like. It baffles me why, if I'm going to see it anyway.

My own dick is 7" long and 6" around. Looking at the general statistics, that's on the upper side of average, quite thick. So my profile says average and I get a lot of comments about how big it is. I'd rather say Average and be a pleasant surprise than say Large and be a disappointment!

Masturbedroom said...

You're turning me on with your sums GB, I find math nerds irresistable! And as you said cum has more HIV than precum so if he pees before your second helping it helps flushes out remaining swimmers and virus from the pipes.

Jamie I'm not doubting you. But just as GB has an internet age, I have an internet size too, and it's extra extra large. In real life it's only 8 by 6. Add 2 years and 20 (sic) months to the product of my dimensions and you'll probably be close to GB's real age too (please don't hate me GB).

Monty said...

I must say, I'm with Jamie - I'd prefer to say that I'm average and be a pleasant surprise! To be honest, guys who are somewhat 'creative' in their description are somewhat of a turnoff for me. I try to be as honest as possible with my GD profile - probably because I'm not using it mainly as a "hook up" site but more as a way of meeting guys.

GB said...

Thanks for the link Trevor :-). As I recall, you're a doctor aren't you? If you're not you should be, judging by the ease with which you list all the other diseases that one can catch by oral sex LOL!

Understament is an interesting character trait Jamie. I reckon it applies in all walks of life. Some guys overstate their skills (or assets) to try and open doors for themselves, although they then risk not being able to deliver! Understatement risks not getting the door open in the first place. Actually I think understament is quite a British characteristic, and given that the white Australians were originally British, perhaps it's an Australian characteristic too Monty? Suddenly I see the potential for a whole posting on how characteristics relate to one's nationality :-).

I'm still confused Masturbedroom, why are you talking about 'second helpings'? To me that implies double cum sessions, and what use is a 'second helping' with less HIV if the 'first helping' was full of it?? Anyway, my internet age is part of my camouflage to protect my identity so I'm not going to say anything else on that subject, even though as a maths nerd I find it hard to resist!

GB xxx

Humming Bird in Hyde said...

I prefer not to choke as well. You have my vote GB :-) xx

Anonymous said...

ahahhah.....Masturbedroom you are sooooooo funny! i don't think GB is impressed. LOL

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget

Rather not say=Extra small

Anonymous said...

Saliva contains HIV. So if a guy with a high HIV viral load (but perfect oral health) kisses a guy who has sores in his mouth or sucks his dick raw, there is a theoretical risk of transmission too

Anonymous said...

Dick size is not as important as dick appearance. Like it to be well proportioned, straight, not too veiny, slightly tanned, just the right amount of trimmed hair and attached to a smooth non-sagging nutsack. Is that asking for too much? :-D

Anonymous said...

Length (pressing into fatpad and bone strictly prohibited)

S=<5.25
M=5.25-6.75
L=6.76-7.75
XL=>7.75

Girth (strictly midshaft)

S=<4.5
M=4.5-5.0
L=5.01-5.5
XL=>5.5

No adjustments to be made for ethnic differences. There are big and small men from every group so big is big and small is small.

Source of information: I am more polyamorous (PC for promiscuous) than GB.

Anonymous said...

I've experienced smaller but very hard dicks on really sexy and nice guys and big dicks on total tossers (no puns etc). I like ban average dick which is slightly fleshy and hangs nicely over a pair of loose-ish balls, no hair trimming of course.

Anonymous said...

"... as long as he doesn't cum in your mouth..."

How do you prevent a guy from coming in your mouth? (unless he tells you)?

Anonymous said...

And, along these lines, any tips on how to give good blow-job?

Anonymous said...

i love discusing cock size! if you're not fat or too muscular then almost all your body parts (like hands) will be in proportion to your build, except the cock which can vary by quiet a lot. the same dimentions are more disappointing on a big hunk than a twink.
so proportions? if you wrap both fists one on top of the other from the bottom of your cock at the ballbag and you just manage to wrap your cock or if only the head is protruding from the top of the edge of your palm then you are average. if head and shaft protruding then large. plenty shaft protruding is very large. if cock shorter than two palm widths then small. for thickness if 9 out of 10 men have tired or sore jaws after sucking you then you are thick unless you are too slow to blow. if 9 out of 10 times it doesn't fit then you are too thick! if they can keep going without catching a breath of if you have never had a teeth grinding accident then you are thin. all others are average.
there you go :-)

Anonymous said...

I am slow to blow^^