How HIV improved my sex-life – Excerpt (ENG)

Unpublished in English


Ok. Don’t get me wrong. Having HIV sucks. It really does.

Not that it affects me tremendously anymore. My viral load is minimal. I can’t infect anyone. My immune system is top notch and I generally feel slightly superhuman and awesome.

But that is now. That is after those long years of therapeutic confrontation. HIV took away a few years of my life. Stuck in depressions, doubts, insecurity and masturbatory loneliness. I was quite the pathetic personification of self-pity.

Of course, future consequences are unknown. And it simply is a constant company – especially when getting to know women (that is another, much funnier story for another day). So to double-down – HIV sucks. Don’t get it. It’s really not worth it. Use condoms. And get tested.

But this is not about HIV. This is about the joys of sex. And how HIV has made sex so different – and so much better.

I’ve always seen sexuality as one of my main sources of joy and happiness. The fun and laughter and giggles and playfulness that accompany those lustful games. I was a womanizer. An artist, charming with poetry and prose. Never wanting to commit, but never misleading either. Honesty about brief encounters was always welcomed. I was curious about women in all shapes and sizes.

All in all they were happy, sweaty and mischievous times, in which erotic entanglements were aplenty.

Until I received the virus. Until HIV charged through my life like a marauding horde of monsters, devastating the core beliefs of my being. Leaving no aspect of my life untouched. Especially sex, my approach to women – and my sexual identity.

Part I – In full retreat

In those first days, weeks and months of being diagnosed, I felt venomous. My blood and my semen were infected with an alien entity. And as I tried adjusting to this new life of mine, the sexual trauma had taken an ugly, monstrous shape in the back of my head.

In the cold and clouded grays of Vienna’s winter, my fear of intimacy reached unknown heights. I had already started taking my medication.

According to medicine, I was safe.
According to medicine, I couldn’t infect anyone.
According to medicine, the viral load was repressed.
According to medicine, I was clean.
According to me, I was poisonous.

What I used to associate with the joys of aimless wandering in the night – a glass of wine here, a glance and a smile there – had become a myth of distant lands. I stood in galleries, in bars and in clubs on my own – disconnected to the surroundings, trapped in my own head – a fearful tension occupied my eyes, my mind and my body language. Orifices and emotions, clenched shut.

All I did was observe from a distance. Staring at those fantastical beasts of beauty and perfection. Those women in their big smiles, with shining, happy eyes – in their elegant strides and delicate movements. They were so close to me – and yet so unbearably far away. It could have been so easy to walk up, to say something, to smile. But it became impossible. My longing for their recognition was painful.

I was carrying my invisible scars in the open. A simple conversation would mean a simple confrontation. What can I tell her? What can I say? That my life is in shambles? That I am used and infected? That I am dirty? That my cock is a poisonous weapon?

…that I could kill her? With sex…? infect her with a deadly poison…? – I was becoming aware of a new darkness that would take hold of my life.

I simply stared, having the imaginary conversation in my mind – Say this, say that, small-talking and superficial. While the panicking drunk in my head was screaming violently “CAN SHE SEE THIS? CAN SHE SEE ME HIDING SOMETHING? CAN SHE SEE I’M NOT TELLING HER SOMETHING?! CAN SHE SEE MY POISON?!”. I remained silent.

At even the slightest chance of an intimate encounter, my mouth flooded with a dry excuse to escape. I didn’t dare talk to her – I made up stories – anything that kept me from having to confront me with the situation of telling her about me. Shielding myself from the horrors of someone’s affection and interest.

I’ve always been a shitty liar – and some scars are simply too deep to hide, to make over or to brush aside as if they weren’t a big deal. And so I retreated.

Even if I was able to sway through a jungle of avoiding phrases and any personal details – even if things would move towards the tiniest bit of intimacy, I had installed the next roadblocks.

An unhealthy overdose of doubt filled my panic-stricken eyes “am I really safe?! Can I trust this?!” and especially – “Who would want this?! Who would want this poisonous, stained slab of used meat?”.

And so, controlled by my fear, my shame and self-loathing, I ran to safety. To build up and improve the only thing that I could at the time – the strength of my right arm.

Dreaming of those days of long ago, where satisfying a woman seemed so easy, I retreated from the joys of life. This was not that usual fear of commitment I had so embraced in my past. For now my association with sex was fear. And danger. The trauma had taken hold. I was afraid of sex.


Part II: Enter the Incel

Loneliness leads to anger leads to hate leads to violence.

I was scared of intimacy. I was feeling ugly, unloved and poisonous. And to escape from that sick state of mind, I started blaming women for it. I blamed them for ignoring me. For not finding me attractive. For my failure to catch their attention. “If they wouldn’t make an effort to get to know me, then fuck them!” I cursed to myself.

And I started seeing fewer and fewer women as attractive. Ugliness took hold. When frustration and unhappiness dominate your days, the worlds color shifts into a shade of ugliness that started covering everything. Women, nature, moods.

I still craved for desire, for sex and for intimacy. But I started separating my corporal needs from the emotional insecurities that were plaguing me.

While I used to want to satisfy a woman, I used to want to lick and pleasure and tickle and play – that wasn’t of any importance anymore.

I was becoming slightly more confident, coming to medical terms and seeking sex again – but I noticed a difference in my approach. The desire for satisfying women fell short. My frustration would reduce sex to that actual silly act of penetration. The simplistic idea of shoving my cock into someone and filling her up with semen.

Passive-aggressive grunts and snorts instead of passionate moaning. White, European and a-rythmic humping.

The delicate romanticism of my past was dissolving in a testosterone driven desperation. Cheap, pornographic fantasies dominated my imagination. No heart, no soul, no sex. Just a desperate “uuugghhh”…and an uninspired splat.

And obviously, my success was limited. So was the rather embarrassing stamina, ranging from a few seconds to a few seconds more, before my un-infectious semen shot out as a pathetic necessity. Of course, none of this could be done sober. Alcohol was always the route to courage.

Fucking for fuckings sake. For the most simplistic reasons of spreading sperm. (with condoms, nonetheless, making the reproductive, mammalian reasons even more futile). My sex became brutal – the only one I wanted to satisfy was myself. I was becoming angry and violent in bed. And I didn’t care. It was the only place I could exercise a little bit of power.

The less success I had, the more aggressive my fantasies got. The more frustration, the more aggression I had towards women who wouldn’t find me attractive. I was entering a downward spiral.

I was bitter. Sad. Angry. My sexuality had been buried in a coffin.

Of all the horrible things this virus had brought out of me, these desperations were the most shameful. They were vital though. Especially in todays debate about #metoo and the creepy fat assholes that take advantage of women and expose themselves to shocked reactions.

Looking back at my bitterness, at my feeling of being poisonous and having no known source of feeling attractive or wanted, I can see how frustration and sadness can lead to such behavior.

Of course, being neither successful, wealthy or in any position of power, I wasn’t really in a position to go down that road in the first place.

But with that in mind, I noticed where the source of my frustration was. What HIV had taken from me. The awareness of my sexuality. Of my own desires and abilities. Of what I can, of what I want and what I love. Sexual awareness is my ultimate freedom. And I decided to seek that again. To overcome the trauma of infection and to confront myself with the joys of sex.