This post is meant for those users of the internet who can have a healthy discussion about sex and the corners of the internet where it is found and not be tempted to visit illegal websites which perpetuate the abuse of women and young children. This post is intended for an audience of 18 years and older.
We’ve spoken a bit about how much money the average person spends on sexual entertainment. This question was answered for the former Competitions Commissioner Shan Ramburuth in the media this past weekend. I don’t see anything wrong with a man visiting internet sex sites; my problem is when it is our (taxpayers) money which funds his orgasms and also, I think spending R 120 000 within three months for visiting sex sites is a little excessive.
Let’s take a minute to appreciate the intrusion of the internet and technology on our sex lives. For some, virtual sex is a snob gig which yields no tangible results while for others, it’s just ridiculous. For many, it’s a whole new world of sexual pleasures.
We can expand on the definition of virtual sex but for this post, I’m referring to what an acquaintance would call “sex with someone at a remote location”. Virtual sex includes telephone sex, text erotica and video shagging. Basically, it’s the kind of sex where participants tell and show each other sexy things to the point of orgasm; there is no physical contact between the participants whatsoever. (Thinking about “sex with someone at a remote location” as a definition for virtual sex, if two lovers have a sexy video chat on their laptops while sitting in the same room, is this not virtual sex?)
Anyway, I think virtual sex has exposed some of us for the cowards and perhaps, loose lovers that we really are. For one, virtual sex often comes with no strings attached. For people with a commitment phobia, what better way to enjoy guilt-free sex without an emotional connection than to remove the physical bond, log on, blow off some steam, log off and get back to your uncomplicated life.
Some women, and men, know that they will never have a night of passion with Idris Elba but, if they go online, they can choose an Idris Elba lookalike, switch on their imagination and make sexy virtual love to the man of their dreams. There is a man out there who knows that two women will never just throw themselves at him in a restaurant and give him a meal he will never forget. However, that sort of sexual fantasy is available without much negotiation online.
But, where do we draw the line between virtual sex as a healthy pastime or fun way for couples and singles to spice up their sex lives and virtual sex as the only means for sexual satisfaction, or worse, the foreplay to evil, illegal sexual acts? I’m no shrink but I say virtual sex can’t be one’s only hustle. And, I can’t stress this enough, spending R 120 000 on online sex is a sure sign that you need to speak to a qualified and experienced professional about why you are ‘the gift that keeps on giving’.
Slowly, we are able to detach ourselves from the responsibility of being active in the physical maintenance of our relationships. It’s acceptable to say: “I haven’t seen him in two weeks but we talk everyday on the phone.” Soon, the response to “How’s your sex life?” will be: “It’s great, I’m getting banged on Skype every night!” That’s not my idea of a good time but we travel so much and we are so busy, what if one day soon, we will only have 15 minutes a week to log in, text below-the-waist messages to each other, explode and get back to work. I don’t want that life, I want to be there when the lights go on and the clothes go off. I think, and my word is not the gospel here, virtual sex should be the occasional dessert that is part of a healthy diet of regular live sex; we shouldn’t only virtually shag each other’s brains out.
WARNING: Graphic images ahead.
Allow me to introduce you to a handful of women whose lives were horrifically changed or ended because of the hate crime of so-called corrective rape.
Eudy Simelane played soccer for the SA women’s national squad, Banyana Banyana. She paid for her lesbian lifestyle with her life. On 28 April 2008, a group of men in HER OWN COMMUNITY abducted, tortured, gang-raped and killed her. She was stabbed in the face, chest and legs.
Zoliswa Nkonyana was 19 years old when 9 men from HER OWN COMMUNITY took it upon themselves to ‘deal’ with her lesbianism. She was stabbed to death. This is how the system failed Zoliswa; her case was postponed more than 40 times, evidence was contaminated and at some point, the suspects escaped. Eventually, four of the nine accused were convicted. Due to a lack of evidence, the other five men were set free.
Sizakele Sigasa and Salome Masooa were murdered together. They were raped and tortured. Sizakele’s underwear and shoelaces were used to tie her hands and ankles, making her completely defenseless. She was shot six times. She was shot six times. She was shot six times. She was shot six times. She was shot six times. She was shot six times.
Millicent Gaika was attacked by a member of HER OWN COMMUNITY, someone she recognized. He beat her up and repeatedly raped her for more than five hours. He said to her: “You think you’re a man, but I’m going to show you you’re a woman.” This is what corrective rape looks like.
Zukiswa Gaca was raped by someone in HER OWN COMMUNITY, someone who promised to “teach her a lesson”.
Noxolo being attracted to women did not sit well with some members of HER OWN COMMUNITY. Eight men raped her, disfigured her face and head with stones. They stabbed her with broken bottles. They killed her. She was 24 years old.
Another victim of HER OWN COMMUNITY; Noxolo was walking with her partner when she heard a voice say: “Hey you lesbian, you tomboy, we’ll show you.” Behind them was a group of men. She was stabbed twice. She fell to the ground. She was stabbed two more times.
Duduzile’s story is not different. Her being gay offended some people in HER OWN COMMUNITY. Duduzile was raped with an object and killed. Her mother saw Duduzile’s half-naked body outside a neighbour’s house. Duduzile had a toilet brush lodged in her vagina.
My question is, how do we get by in a world where people do not feel safe in THEIR OWN COMMUNITIES?
Mixed-status relationships are an inevitable consequence of the disease. These are relationships where one partner is HIV positive and the other is negative, also known as HIV-discordant relationships. Love does not care much for medical status; it cares about the people in the relationship and the happiness of those people.
A strong bond of trust is necessary to make mixed-status relationships work. People in a mixed-status relationship have the usual love affair trust issues arising from insecurities, finances and infidelity. Over and above this, they have to trust that both parties will strive to protect and support each other.
Loyalty and exclusivity in a relationship are yet more personal choices but I assure you, it is much safer to be faithful to one partner and to build a culture of safe sex with that one partner. The condom, though not a guarantee, still remains the best physical barrier against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. The condom is ideal for vaginal and anal sex. Other protective methods must be explored for increased protection during oral sex.
The dental dam comes highly recommended for use during oral sex but it is not as readily available as condoms are. The dental dam is a thin latex or silicone sheet that is often used during dental procedures. This can be placed over the mouth and forms a protective barrier between the oral cavity and private parts. Physical sensation is not affected as the dental dam is made with extremely thin material.
There is no reason why mixed-status relationships can’t flourish if there is trust and the individuals in the relationships are armed with the knowledge of how to care for and protect each other. At the end of the day, HIV/AIDS affects us all but it is not who we are. The day we allow HIV/AIDS to define us as people, as a nation; that will be the day we accept defeat at the hands of this epidemic.