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6Dec/111

Why Capitalism is responsible for Bareback Sex

When I first moved to California, I began meeting and talking with several men who were homeless hustlers.

Miguel,Sean and a few other attractive and kind individuals schooled me in the ways of making money with your body. This was not new to me. Living in Harlem many years ago, my neighbor who lived down the hall supplemented her income by tricking. I learned a great deal about power and how it's wielded.

In more than one conversation, it was shared with me that sex, the need to not be alone and the soul crushing and mind numbing entity that is loneliness is a commodity that can be bought, sold and negotiated.

While no one would admit it, Capitalism and the need to survive and be seen ensure that with enough money things (sex with young bodies) can be purchased. While many people assume that sex workers only do this "type" of work because they're nasty and sex obsessed, the hustlers I've met do not see things as being this simplistic.

Within gay male culture the obsession on looks, youth, cock size and sexual prowess is mind boggling.

Add to this frightening mix of self doubt, the inability to stop the aging process (regardless of what those ads promise you), the almost blinding ways we are told that we are not enough (isolation) and the belief that with the proper amount of currency anything is attainable and you have an exchange that requires very little thinking and even less planning.

Although I am not a scientist and can't statistically prove the following statement, I am pretty certain that when certain factors present themselves, the issue of safe sex is generally not brought up.

I am not referring to repeated interactions with a semi-regular trick. Instead, what happens to young people who have to "give it up" in an effort to not be on the street.

What of the young individual who offers unprotected sex for a hamburger or slice of pizza and foolishly believes he is at no serious risk because he is not getting fucked. With few marketable skills and no money, it becomes difficult to tell the "$100 man" with the nice car and fat wallet that you might want to use condoms.

Miguel,when I first met him, was living on the street with this motto as his guiding principle : No money, no honey.

To him, his attractive physical attributes were the means of survival. This is a very tricky scenario because as gay men we are sanctioned to develop our self esteem based on our "hotness" and the ability to attract and ruminate in male attention. On a sunny day in NYC'S Village, I was approached with the assumption that I was "working".

Being mistaken for a hustler was both troubling and somewhat of an compliment.

At one moment I was thinking "eeek, how could you ?" and in the exact moment thinking "wow, this joker thinks somebody would pay me for sex." In that milisecond, I realized how I too had been seduced into thinking that I am young and desirable and this is what matters.

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  1. Intriguing take on something which is as old as humankind. I wonder, if
    you substituted young and beautiful female for young gay male, might
    there not be more similarities than differences? Perhaps those whom
    society marginalizes are too often in the center of these situations.

    And when you tack race onto the blender …


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