In the fourth of a five-part series, Martijn Tulp talks about having sex without a condom while taking PrEP,and what it has meant for him
Alright boys, gather round. Is no-one else listening? Good. I’ll tell you something I haven’t even told some of my close friends.
I did it. I had anal sex without a condom.
Okay, technically this wasn’t the first time: about six months before I went on PrEP, on a very drunken night during Pride, I also had sex without a condom. It was very unexpected, and immediately after, our initial drunken feeling of ’holy shit, that was really hot’ shifted to a very sobering ’wait – did we do something bad?’ That encounter was one of the reasons why I wanted to go on PrEP in the first place.
My first time consciously topping someone without a condom, while I was on PrEP, happened about a month-and-a-half after I went on the medication. It was with a guy I’d had sex with before, who I know is on PrEP as well – in fact, he was one of the guys I consulted when I was trying to decide whether I wanted to go on it myself. Not a very high-risk situation. We talked about it beforehand, so when he entered my apartment it was quite clear what was going to happen.
I can’t deny it; this was seriously hot. I felt as if I understood guys who prefer barebacking a bit more.
There was no awkwardly interrupting whatever we were in the middle of to clumsily get a condom out of its wrapper, then putting it on, and staying hard in the process. Hell, there wasn’t even lube. It was one of those rare occasions where you feel physically closer to someone than you’ve been before.
It’s as if a part of my curiosity had been satisfied, and after this instance I used condoms again several times. Until I decided I wanted to try the bottom experience as well. I had chatted with this guy before, so I knew he was HIV positive with an undetectable viral load.
The chances of getting HIV from him were already slim to none without me being on PrEP, so I felt he would be a good candidate to try bottoming for, without condoms. Of course it helped that he was rather hot, he also had experience as a bottom – which is always good – and seemed like he would be skilled yet patient.
I remember what trying to bottom before I went on PrEP was like. Whatever level of comfort and relaxation I was able to reach would always instantly be killed as my partner put on his condom. It suddenly felt as if there was immense pressure, as if I had to deliver and we couldn’t let this condom go to waste (even though I probably got it for free at some party or event); we had gone through all this trouble, I couldn’t let my partner down. I would clench and it would be uncomfortable. Even if he made it inside, I would feel a burning sensation. We would always stop.
“I Felt Safe”
I won’t graphically describe what the experience was like, but the was one major difference I noticed immediately: the burning sensation that had always been there whenever I tried to get fucked by a guy wearing a condom, was absent. It finally worked. It was hot.
And I felt safe the whole time, because of the added security of him being undetectable and me being on PrEP. As expected, when I got tested about two months later, the results were negative. Not that I was truly worried.
Since then, I’ve had anal sex without a condom a few times. I still use condoms when I’m a top sometimes, which is fine. I don’t have a lot of anal sex in general – for some people it’s essential and sex only ‘counts’ if it involves anal, but that’s not the case for me at all.
There have also been a few rare occasions where I tried bottoming again: first with a condom, which burned again, then without, which felt fine. As I’ve said before, I’m not more afraid of STIs than I was before. And I haven’t binned all my condoms. Whenever I have sex, I try to assess the situation as well as I can, and if we end up having anal sex, it may be with a condom or without.
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