Saturday, July 22, 2006


Instigator is just not working for me. Noticed it with the last issue, but definitely with the latest issue.

First on my gripe list... the writing is just so not good. I have a hard time getting through a paragraph. It might as well be legal papers in a contract dispute. I keep having to look back at the title of the piece to remember what I'm reading. And then, of course, there's the Personal Pronoun Issue. Count down the words in each article from the first until you get to "I." I swear that I sure don't remember that being a situation I ran into very often in Drummer. (If you wanna write in the first person, you should do a weblog, Boss!)

And the magazine's editorial point of view so often reminds me of drunk guys I try to avoid in bars: all about tearing down, but not a lot of building up. They're Down Down Down on the Leather establishment (or whatever you'd want to call it) and all about "Hard Tribe," which other than some vague text and some (exceptionally wonderful) artwork by Axel, doesn't really offer a lot of information. I guess it's everybody on the guest list of their last party. And for chrissake, guys! Of course I realize that you pay the bills by advertising, but do you really have to expend so much space on trying to sell me clothes? (Duh! Ever'buddy knows if you don't try it on before buying it you're wasting your hard earned scratch.) Some of us out here are verrrry concerned about the commodification of something pure and beautiful and real, that we call BDSM.

But here's what really cheeses me off: In the most recent issue, I run across the banner headline, "The Death of "Safe Sex"!!!" Well that sure piques my interest. But my blood sure starts to boil as I geet the drift of things: plastering a new name on an old idea.

Oh yeah right. I'm sure all the guys at Instigator use a condom every time. There in the backroom of wherever, going down on that hot boy, they conscientiously put the condom over the boy's throbbing tool before they put their lips around it. And for quiet evenings at home with their longterm boyfriends? Why of course they make sure they've got a good supply of rubbers on hand. And you can be sure that they always fist with latex gloves. Why, there's not a milisecond of masculine intimacy that doesn't have a latex barrier between the two, three, or fourteen of them. And guess what? It's always been that way! Every single time since 1986. And it always will be that way. In every single sexual experience for the rest of their lives. "Use a condom every time!" Yeah! Love that!

And it's so much more palatable now that the guys at Instigator have decide that instead of Safe Sex, we should now call this "Smart Sex."

Why... That's brilliant! I totally wanna do that always!

Oh! Oh! And they also give david stein the credit with authorship of the concept of Safe Sex. P'raps someone was a wee bit tipsy during that conversation and unable to grasp some details, but david stein came up with "Safe Sane and Consensual" as a way of distinguishing between SM, which should be fun, and abuse, which can mean a trip to the ER. "Safe Sex," on the other hand, was created by Michael Callen in his 1986 essay "How To Have Sex During An Epidemic," that affirmed the joy and wonder of sex, but figured out a way to get your rocks off and not have six months left to live.

And that was great! And saved countless lives! Take it from me, a guy who was just exploring having sex with men back in those days, it was a beautiful thing.

But times change, and more than the name of the concept needs to be updated. HIV prevention among gay men is not so simple. And there was no one in the world who would down with always and without exception having a rubber between me and thee. What, in fact, all of us do is find a level of risk we can live with. And take responsibility for the choices we make and the chances we take. Of course, it would be a great thing if we had better information to go on. But tragically, the guys doing HIV prevention work haven't done much thinking beyond "Use A Condom Every Time." And thus, we've got that barebacking thing going on. (Thank the Lord!) I mean, Gosh! Remember when what we now called "barebacking" was what we called "having sex"?

Oh, Instigator. C'mon guys.

You're absolutely at your best when you're getting all obsessive about what gets your dicks hard, seeing the world in a new way and putting it into words so the rest of us can share your perspective. And y'know why writing hot porn is really hard? Because there's only so many ways to describe the insertion of a penus in the anal sphincter. It was solving that riddle again and again and again and again (and again!) that enabled Drummer to launch the careers of a million pervy men. I bet you could trace the Big Overarching Fantasy of most of us back to an article in Drummer all those years ago.

I'm rooting for you, Instigator, really I am.

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