Same Job Different Language
This week has been pretty work intensive so I thought I’d post something that has to do with work as well as sex…
Before I was kinky, before I was poly, or really any stripe of slut I was a safer sex educator. I was based in a queer community where we knew what condoms were, and how to use them. We knew the risks, and the statistics. Really it was an easy job.
This week I’m at a conference with some other NGO types, and we’re sitting around drinking coffee and talking shop when I get some very important advice: “Don’t do the condom over a banana trick here.”
Why? Because those in my trainings who are not already convinced that condoms will either a) give them AIDS or b) make them gay will go home with their banana, stick a condom on it, and put the whole kit and caboodle on the nightstand.
This makes sense. I work in an animist culture – when the rains come you put a boar’s head in your spirit house to keep it from flooding. A condom on a banana makes perfect sense. But how do you teach STD prevention to a group of people who have never talked about sex?
You need some kind of foundation to build on. Safer sex without context does not work. This is why we need to be talking about sex honestly and openly. These conversations need to happen. Sure they need to happen in an age appropriate and culturally appropriate setting, but they do need to happen.
We need to bring sex out into the open because until we do we can not curb the spread of HIV. And we can not address the public health crisis that results when migrant workers return to their homes and bring HIV to their wives if the migrant workers lack the motivation to practice safer sex and their wives lack the knowledge or power to insist on condom use and testing.