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    Unsafe sex can therefore be an expression of positive values and of good feelings” (p

    Unsafe sex can therefore be an expression of positive values and of good feelings” (p

    Semen Exchange and Emotional Connection

    Vincke and colleagues (2001) found that “the incorporation of semen is an important value for many in gay cultures, a means of showing devotion, belonging, and oneness. 58). There is something deeply erotic, profoundly connecting and, some feel, even sacred about one person giving his most private and special fluid, semen, to the other as a gift of love and a symbolic joining of two souls. The many levels of meaning and special significance that giving and receiving of semen has for gay men cannot be underestimated as a contributing factor to the rise in barebacking — especially in romantic couples, as will be examined in Section 2 of this book. Early in the second decade of the AIDS epidemic Odets wrote, “Now that a decade of prohibition has made semen exchange relatively unusual and ‘special,’ it has become all the more powerful and meaningful” (Odets, 1994, p. 432). Obviously, what it means to give or receive semen varies from one gay man to another. Some have described drinking semen as literally ingesting the vitality, strength, manliness, or very essence of the man whose semen they either drank or received anally. There are men who feel that sharing their own or receiving the semen of a lover is a visceral as well as symbolic gift of love or a spiritual communion. There are those who revel in experiencing the esthetic and sensual pleasures in giving or receiving semen. By no means is this a comprehensive list. The meaning of sharing semen between two men is as varied as the men who engage in this act.

    The Psychology of Peer Pressure

    Since attempts to satisfy sexual desire that go beyond masturbation necessarily involve interacting with one or more people, attempting to categorize an individual’s motivations for barebacking as either being predominantly intrapsychic or predominantly interpersonal creates an artificial distinction that grossly oversimplifies the dynamics at play.

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