I’ll be the first one to say it: being gay can be pretty hard. Of course, there’s the societal prejudice and the ongoing battle for equal rights, but that’s not all we have to deal with. The world of gay sex and dating is basically a total nightmare, and your high school sex ed. class probably did less than nothing to prepare you for it. I’ve been out for the better part of a decade, and I still regularly find myself using Urban Dictionary to translate Grindr profiles that are essentially not written in English.
There’s no shame in wanting to learn, so I’ve picked out nine gay sex terms and concepts that can be confusing, even if you’re not a novice on the apps. Whether you’re a gay guy looking to brush up on your culture, or a girl who doesn’t want to ask her gay friend any problematic questions (we appreciate you!), this is all you need to know.
This one probably isn’t too difficult to figure out, but there’s no harm in explaining. If someone says they’re looking, don’t waste your time striking up polite conversation about their hobbies and interests. They’re here for sex, plain and simple.
In the real world, otters are adorable little animals who smash open sea urchins with rocks. In the gay community, you might be the one getting smashed. You probably know about bears and twinks at this point, but otters are a little more confusing. An otter is kind of like a bear, in that he’s pretty hairy, but skinnier.
When you’re talking to someone on the apps, it’s common for them to ask if you’re “DDF.” This stands for “drug and disease free,” and it’s a little bit problematic. First of all, it perpetuates the stigma of HIV (more on that in a minute), which is already a huge problem in the LGTBQ community. There’s also no way to know if the other person is being honest. Just because they say they don’t have any STIs or drug habits isn’t a free pass to not use protection. “DDF” is an easy question to ask, but it’s not really giving you all the information you need.
As I said, there’s a real stigma in our society about HIV and AIDS. As a member of the gay community, you owe it to yourself to be at least a little informed, and not be ignorant or offensive. “Poz” is the most common way of self-identifying as HIV positive, and you really shouldn’t block someone just because you see it in their profile. Many people living with HIV today have “undetectable” status, which means that the virus is at such low levels that blood tests don’t even detect it. The chance of an undetectable person transmitting the virus to you is extremely low, so just use protection like you normally would. This isn’t the ’80s, and you’re not a character in RENT.
Speaking of protection, we’ve come a long way. Of course, condoms are still very effective, and it’s always advisable to use them, but why limit yourself? In the last few years, a new HIV-prevention method called PrEP (Pre-exposure prophylaxis) has become widely available. While straight people have been slow to learn about it (what else is new?), it’s become common practice in the gay community. I’m not the one to explain how the science works, but PrEP reduces your chances of contracting HIV by 92%, which is pretty incredible.
Just like straight guys, gay men just love not using condoms. Talk all you want about how much better it feels, blah blah blah, whatever. “BB” is short for bareback sex, also known as having anal without a condom. I’m not here to judge, but it’s really important to make sure you and your partner are on the same page, because there are real potential consequences if you’re not careful. *gets off high horse and goes back to messaging daddies on Scruff*
If you think the only people doing meth are the psychos on Breaking Bad, I’m so sorry to burst your bubble. Meth has become a huge recreational drug in the gay community, so if that’s not your scene, it’s important to know what to avoid. A lot of gays call the drug “T,” short for “Tina,” because all drugs have like 40 weird nicknames. If you see a random capital “T” in someone’s bio, there’s a 99% chance they’re talking about meth. The word “party” is also usually about hard drugs, especially if the T is capitalized. Straight girls, be glad you don’t have to deal with this sh*t on Hinge.
If you’re not feeling the meth trend, good for you, your teeth won’t fall out! Poppers, which are actually legal, are sold in tiny little bottles and are usually marketed as nail polish remover or other household cleaning products. People like using them during sex, especially because they help certain parts of your body, um, loosen up. If you’re going to use them, make sure to do it in moderation, unless you want a wicked headache afterward.
You guys, it stands for water sports. Water sports, as in people who like pee. If this is something you’re into, go for it! If you’re appalled at the thought, then just kindly decline the offer and maybe find someone else to hook up with. There’s no shame in knowing what you like and what you don’t.
Are there any other important gay sex terms you want us to talk about? Let me know in the comments! Have fun on the apps, and if you’re unsure about something, don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s your personal life, so your comfort should come first.
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