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Showing posts with label Dialogs: The G Tales. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dialogs: The G Tales. Show all posts

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Gut Feeling - Part # 1 - From the G Tales

A Gut Feeling: Anal Pleasure, Holistic Sexual
Health, and Interpretations of AIDS
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio  -  Part # 1 of 7
G called the other day--very excited.   She said someone found the cause of AIDS.  I replied that many of us believe we already know the cause of AIDS.  “Isn’t it HIV?” I asked. 
   She said, “yes, of course, that would be an infectious agent.”
   “This is a different cause, then?” I asked, excited.
   “Yes, it’s an interpretation that’s not related to an infectious agent, and yet accounts for everything we’ve seen in LGBT communities.”
   “Sounds great.  An interpretation, you said?” I probed.  I know G always thinks in literary terms.  
   “Yes, an interpretation.  That’s what a scientific hypothesis is:  a plausible interpretation of data that awaits confirmation.”
   “And does this one make sense?”
   “It does.”
   “So now the alarm is over, we don’t have to be afraid: to hell with protection, lubes, condoms, tests  .  .  .  . right?”
   “Wait a minute!  You’re jumping to conclusions.  Did I say anything goes?  I said that a biological, organic, holistic interpretation has been found that accounts for why certain behaviors and environmental conditions are so pathogenic, and how to avoid them.”
   “Ok.  So what’s the condition called?” I asked.
   “Intestinal Dysbiosis.”     "Intestinal Dysbiosis?"     "Intestinal Dysbiosis!"     "And what is it?"
    “It’s a dysfunction of the gut--also called intestine--that’s due to abusive behavior toward its ecosystem--behavior that does not respect its biological function and integrity,” G explained.
    “Sounds  like it’s got something to do with anal pleasure.  Must be homophobic!  Feels like a new religious ploy to condemn anal sex.”
    “No.  Not at all.  First of all, anal sex is a very rich style of sexual pleasure that anyone can enjoy: Women, straight men, transsexuals.  Haven’t you read Tristan Taormino’s guides to anal pleasure for women and men?” G asked.[1]
   “Yes, I have.  They work very well.  They teach how to proceed with caution, prepare for penetration, communicate, generate the right amount of arousal first.  Anal pleasure is an art as she’d say.”
   “Yes, precisely.   This new interpretation is also artistic, it’s based on a different epistemic foundation for science that values the arts of loving.  It’s Gaian, in the sense that it assumes that life flows through ecosystems that are interconnected and need to be respected to function well.”
   “Including our bodies?” I asked, perplexed.
   “Including our bodies,” G replied, “why did you think we’d be the exception?   Respecting our bodies as ecosystems is the art of loving ourselves."
   “Right,” I said, “as your friend Suzann Robins claims, ‘to have healthy relationships we must be healthy.’”[2]
   “You got it!  I’d say this interpretation is based on a holistic paradigm of sexual health.”
   “Ok,” I said.  “And what’s holistic about sexual health?”
   “Well, it’s a way to respect the body as an ecosystem that needs to stay in balance with itself when you practice love and any style of erotic expression,” G explained.
   “And so, is there any kind of pleasure that would threaten this balance?” I asked, uncertain.
   “I don’t think so.  Not if practiced naturally and in moderation.”
   “Ah, ok.  .  .  .  What about anal pleasure?  Wouldn’t a lot of people qualify anal pleasure as ‘unnatural’ per se?”
   “They would if they knew nothing about nature, which is queer and quirky in so many ways.  As Betty Dodson says, ‘we are all quite queer’ as long as we love ourselves.[3]  Diversity is the secret of life, remember?  Gaia is already always gay.  And so the arts of loving are infinite as well.”
   “Of course, G.  That’s your usual point,” I said.  “But I’m not sure I follow the connection between Gaia and anal pleasure.  Can you get into some more detail?”
   “I’d be happy to.  Gotto go right now though.  Let’s talk tomorrow, ok?”
   “Usual time.”

[1] Tristan Taormino.  The Anal Sex Position Guide.  New York: Quiver, 2009.  The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women.  New York: Cleis Press, 2006. Amazon.com: tristan taormino: Books
[2] Suzann Robins.  Exploring Intimacy.  New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. Amazon.com: Exploring Intimacy:
[3] Betty Dodson.  “We Are All Quite Queer.”  In Plural Loves.  Serena Anderlini ed.  New York: Routledge, 2005.  Amazon.com: Plural Loves
Disclaimer:  This Tale does not constitute medical advice in any way.  Readers are invited to consult their own healers and health care providers. 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Gut Feeling - Part # 2 - From The G Tales

A Gut Feeling:  Anal Pleasure, Holistic Sexual Health, and Interpretations of AIDS
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio
Part # 2
“G,” I said as soon as we resumed the conversation, “ I’m not sure I can follow the connection between Gaia and anal pleasure, remember?  Can you get into some more detail?”
 “Sure.  Let me start with a question.  Did you know that Freud said that anal pleasure was the richest pleasure one could feel, and that experiencing this pleasure was healthy?”
“Really?  How do you know?”
“Well, my father used to say that when I was little,” G rushed to explain, “and then I read it in recent books that study the subculture of barebacking in San Francisco.” [1]
“I wonder if Freud would still say that today, when we know how dangerous barebacking is.”
“I bet he would,” G asserted, undeterred.
“How can you possibly say that?” I exclaimed.
“Because in his view what is most pleasurable is what is most repressed, and repression is bad for you because it’s unnatural--even though sometimes necessary for social peace.  He thought that the pursuit of pleasure was natural and good for you—I mean healthy.”
“So, because anal sex was so repressed in his time, this made him think that it’d be most pleasurable?” I asked.
“I suppose,” replied G.
“But barebacking can kill you! Can’t it?” I probed, concerned. 
“Only if you do it excessively and in unnatural ways, Freud would probably say.  Today we are so prejudiced against natural anal sex because we come from over twenty years of thinking that AIDS comes from infections passed through the anal mucous.”
“All right.  So, what’s a ‘natural’ way to have anal sex?’”
“A way that’s holistic: A way that enhances the main function of the rectum, which is of course, elimination of what’s unnecessary to the body’s homeostasis.”
“How can anal sex be holistic?” I asked, puzzled. 
“When one allows for a gradual opening of the sphincter, when one does it consciously and not under the effect of some substance, and when one doesn’t do it so violently or frequently as to damage the integrity of the organ and its lining and mucous.”
“Ok. I suppose one can do that.”
“Why just suppose?”
“Have you tried it?” I asked.
“You know I enjoy anal sex, and I’ve always done it naturally,” G affirmed.  “Holistic sexual health is very important to me.  I always expect respect for my body when I have sex.”
“All right.  I get the point about anal pleasure.  But how can this enhance the main function?” I asked, impatient.
“It helps one discover anal pleasure, develop a taste for it.  Then having a bowel movement becomes a pleasure too, and the body, who seeks pleasure, does it more naturally and willingly.”
“OMG.  I think of bowel movement as gross--not pleasurable!” I exclaimed.
“Well, that’s the problem, Freud would say,” G replied, amused.
“Really?  Have you thought all this up, or did you read it somewhere?” I asked, ruffled.
“I always read.  And I’ve been accused of holding heretical views in relation to this, so I research and think,” G replied, unperturbed. 
“All right.  All right,” I calmed down. “Tell me more about it.  Does this have anything to do with ‘finding the cause of AIDS?’”
“It does if you define AIDS as the depletion of the gut as a bioregion of the body that’s essential to the body’s health,” declared G, peaceful.
“But then this depletion can be related to anal sex?” I asked, curious. 
“Yes it can, if it’s not practiced in a holistic way.”  
“You mean, if it’s done violently, or excessively?”
“You’re getting there.  Turns out if anal sex is not practiced in a holistic way, it can cause intestinal dysbiosis, which happens when the biological function of one’s gut is compromised or disabled altogether.”
“If the gut is not respected, you mean?”
“If it’s abused in some way?”
“That’s a way to put it,” G said.
“Thanks.  I get it,” I offered, appeased.  “Did you find out about this recently?” 
“I told you.  It’s from the guy who found the cause of AIDS.  I found a series of three videos, all about anal sex and how it can be done holistically.  Or--to be more specific--about how doing anal sex in ways that are not holistic can cause AIDS.”
“All right.  And where did you find the videos?” I asked.
“On YouTube.  They are from a presentation at the latest Rethinking AIDS Conference, in Oakland, where all those who are seriously thinking about sexual health in holistic ways got together to discuss what other hypothesis could be pursued to explain AIDS better than we do today.”[2]
“Woooooow.  That’s awesome, I exclaimed.  “And how does the presenter know about this?  Is s/he a doctor?  A scientist?  A Nobel laureate?”
“No,” G replied, serene.  “His name is Tony Lance, and he is a perfectly healthy gay man who tested ‘poz’ 13 years ago, has refused conventional treatments, and has done his own research.”
“How interesting.  Vernacular science, eh?”
“Yes, science by the people and for the people.  Very symbiotic, very Gaian indeed.  He claims the gut is an ecosystem.”
“Is it?”
“You bet,” G replied, eager.  “Any system that processes life’s energy is an ecosystem.  He compares the gut to a ‘rainforest, rich in species and interdependencies.’  Anything you do with it needs to support the system, including anal pleasure.  If you abuse it, you can destroy it.”
“And what could one do that would have that effect?” I asked.
“All kinds of things that undermine its biological function--but not anal sex per se.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, think of all the cultural obsessions that come from excessive emphasis on allopathic medicine and are opposed to holistic health.”
“That would involve practicing medicine as war against disease agents rather than as support of the body’s inherent balance and homeostasis.”
“But how does that apply to anal pleasure?” I asked.  “I’m afraid I need some concrete examples.”
“Ok.  Back in the days before AIDS, many gay men who went to the bathhouses for anal pleasure did wide spectrum antibiotics on a regular basis to stave off the flu and other stuff one would get there.  It was a way to combat microbes as if they were enemies.  But in reality most microbes are very valuable symbiotic friends.  So those medicines destroyed the friendly bacterial flora that lines the gut and makes it able to absorb nutrients.  And when the gut fails to do its job you can end up with a mild case of intestinal dysbiosis.”
“Woooow.   Profound!” I exclaimed.  “And what would be a holistic way to handle that?”
“Well, doing anal pleasure only to the extent that is does not expose one to excessive flu microbes from one’s partners, for example.  Doing it in moderation and while one builds up one’s immune system with good nutrition as well.”
“Ok.  So holistic sexual health is not a way to condemn pleasure, but rather a way to enhance it and promote healthier and more conscious ways to enjoy it.”
“Yes,” G agreed.
“Is there more to it?” I asked, curious.
“Of course,” G replied.  “But I gotto go.  Can we talk about it in a couple of days?”
“Yes, call me when you’re ready.”

[1] Tim Dean. Beyond Sexuality. University of Chicago press, 2000. (A study of Freud and Lacan in their deepest and less popular implications.) Unlimited Intimacy. University of Chicago Press, 2009.  (An analysis of the subculture of barebacking in San Francisco.)  Amazon.com: Beyond Sexuality Amazon.com: Unlimited Intimacy
[2] Videos of Tony Lance’s presentation at Rethinking AIDS.  YouTube - Tony Lance

Disclaimer:  This Tale does not constitute medical advice in any way.  Readers are invited to consult their own healers and health care providers. 

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Gut Feeling - Part # 3 - From The G Tales

A Gut Feeling:  Anal Pleasure, Holistic Sexual Health, and Interpretations of AIDS
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio

Part # 3
“We were talking about doing anal pleasure in ways that enhance the gut’s health,” I said when G and I resumed the conversation.
“Of course.  Wide-spectrum antibiotics are part of the combination of practices that can result in severe intestinal dysbiosis.  Another common practice among gay men back then, Lance claims--and a still common one apparently--is that of douching in preparation for anal sex.  Sometimes this is done as a regular enema, which is bad enough for natural elimination if practiced regularly.  But sometimes—apparently—a nozzle that can carry pressure equivalent to a shower head is used to shoot hot water up into one’s rectum.”
“Ouch!  That must feel terrible.”
“Apparently--though one becomes kind of numb to it after a while.  And what’s worse is that the water further washes away all of the mucous lining in the gut.  It can even damage its tissue.  It can perforate the walls.  Overall it makes the gut a lot more permeable than it’s supposed to be, so that what should stay into the body leaks out, and what should be pushed out stays in.”
“Ouch!” I grinned.
“Right,” G noted.  “But see, it’s not the penetration per se.  It’s the cultural obsession with cleanliness, the squeamishness about fecal matter most people have.”
“I see,” I commented.
“More to the point,” G continued, “that leakiness—remember--is what often causes a positive test.  Why? Because HIV tests are known to be co-reactive to many kinds of impurities in one’s blood.  And those impurities get in thorough a leaky gut mucous.”
“OMG.  So there is a meaning to those tests after all?” I offered.
“Apparently!” G agreed.
“Do you douche before anal sex?”
“I never have,” G replied.  “But I’ve done enemas for constipation, and am aware that they facilitate elimination in an emergency, but they are very debilitating of that function and addictive in the long run.”
“This Tony Lance has a lot of guts--as it were  .  .  .” I giggled, excited. 
“I know,” G giggled back.  “Very brave,” we giggled together. 
“Saying these things can be dangerous these days, though,” I comment, concerned.   “They go against the grain of what we’re supposed to believe, that most diseases are chronic and infectious and can be treated with daily meds.”
 “That’s right, today most doctors don’t even believe on can cure disease, in the sense of regenerating the body’s homeostasis that corresponds to natural, biological health.  They believe in ‘treatments,’ namely expensive drugs that supplement what the body is supposedly unable to do for itself,” G concurred.
“Can’t be too surprised when you know that doctors make money from the sale of medicines.”
“They do?” asked G. 
“Well, that’s what Melody Peterson claims in her expose, Our Daily Meds.[1]  They get wined and dined to lavish trips where big pharma advertises its latest products.  They get flooded with false ‘studies’ produced by advertising firms and signed by medical scientist paid as figureheads.  They don’t have to account if their patients die of overdose.”
“That’s allopathic medicine gone way overboard,” G responded.  “Lance makes a holistic point.  He claims one can heal from AIDS in a natural, biological way.”
“Sounds like it.  What else does he claim?”
“He does not emphasize poppers, I must say.”
“Why not?” I asked, curious.
“I suppose because it’s already well known in health-savvy queer circles that poppers artificially relax the sphincter and make penetration possible in a mechanical way,” G offered.
“Have you ever used them?” I probed, cautious.
“No,” G replied, positive.  “If you practice holistic sexual health, they’re unnecessary.  As you know, I don’t do a lot of anal sex--or any sex for that matter--but when I do it, I enjoy it tremendously.  Anal is the richest orgasm I can get!  I’ve always allowed natural arousal to happen when engaging in anal sex, both as top and as bottom.  And I agree with my guides in the matter--Tristan Taormino and Carol Queen--that it can be done gradually and proportionally to what a penetrated partner can take.  On the other hand, I can be easily persuaded that opening up the sphincter over and over in a mechanical way can damage its ability to regulate elimination.  It’s simply disrespectful.”
“Disrespectful of the colon, you mean?” I asked, amused.
“Yes, of the colon.  One wants to respect one’s colon, no?” G giggled.
“Well, this way of worshipping a body part most people considers shameful or gross or both runs a bit against the grain of current culture, don’t you think?”  
“Yes, that’s why we have to be grateful to gay men—those who do respect their colon, and there are many—for modeling for the rest of us how this area can be the site of love, and passion, and pleasure,” G concurred.
“Not excessively, though, correct?” I probed. 
“Of course, what’s excessive varies from person to person and in proportion to the time one can dedicate.”
“So you mean that if you’re under some kind of anesthesia, if you’re not consciously connected to your rectum when it’s penetrated, then you can damage it?”
“More or less,” G confirmed. 
“Makes sense,” I said.
“I know!” G concurred.  “Last but not least, Lance says, lubricants have the effect of further drying up the mucous.”
“Oh.  But that’s an even more dangerous thing to say!” I exclaimed, concerned.
“I know!  Especially since lubricants typically help when one is using a condom,” G agreed.
“Right!  Sounds as if he not only makes powerful enemies amidst the medical-pharmaceutical-disease-control lobbies-- he takes on the safer-sex industry as well!” I commented, agitated. 
“Note, however,” G responded, calmly, “that Lance never says that protection when having sex with a stranger is a bad idea.  He simply warns against excessive reliance on mechanical safety and excessive use of some of its products. ”
“Which is a little bit what you were attacked about when your book Gaia and the New Politics of Love was reviewed by a board member of Loving More?” I offered, ardently.[2]
“Yes.  You got it. ”
“Talking about the gut as a rainforest.  Makes a lot of sense.  If you think of all these invasive practices so common back in the days, it sounds as if they did a thorough job of logging the forest away.  The forest of one’s gut, I mean,” I muttered, half to myself.
“Yeah, that’s exactly how Tony puts it,” G concurred, eager.  “It’s a matter of proportion.  You cut off a tree here and there--that’s good for the system.  But start logging the forest away, and your gut’s ecosystem is wiped out of commission before you know it.”
“Ouch!  I can see how that can get your immune system to collapse too.  Back in the days, did gay men know this?” I asked, apprehensive.
“No.  Official science was already controlled by big pharma interests.  Why would anybody find out?  There was no money in it.”
“There’s an old saying in Sardinia.  Comes to mind right now,” I offered: “‘madness is the only thing that water cannot wash away.’”
“Ok,” G responded, confused.  “And how does that apply?”
“Water is free, it runs in rivers and streams, and it can do most things, can heal most wounds.  It’s that simple.  When, on the other hand, medicine is for profit, if your illness can be healed cheaply you’ll never find out because nobody can make money off of you.”
“Got it,” said G, earnest.  “That’s why we’re lucky to have vernacular scientist like our friend Tony.”
“To me it made sense right away.”
“Because of Freud?” I asked, curious.
“Because of Freud--and other things.”
“How does Freud come into the picture? Did he try anal sex?” I probed.
“And you want me to tell you about that?”
“Ok.  We’ll get to it in a few days.”

[1] Melody Peterson.  Our Daily Meds. New York: Picador, 2009.  (An expose of corruption in all areas of allopathic medicine.)  Our Daily Meds
[2] Serena Anderlini. Gaia and the New Politics of Love.  Berkeley: North Atlantic Books, 2009. GaiaOnAmazon

Disclaimer:  This Tale does not constitute medical advice in any way.  Readers are invited to consult their own healers and health care providers. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Gut Feeling - Part # 4 - from The G Tales

A Gut Feeling:  Anal Pleasure, Holistic Sexual Health, and Interpretations of AIDS
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio

Part # 4

“You were going to tell me all about Freud and anal pleasure” I said when G and I resumed the conversation.”
“That’s right,” she concurred.  “You were wondering if he tried anal sex.”
“Did he?”
“I suppose he didn’t, not directly at least,” G replied.   “At the time a man who enjoyed being penetrated would be considered mentally ill.  So Freud would have lost his license and none of his writings would exist.  But he might have experienced anal pleasure in sublimated form. “
“How?” I asked. 
“Well, for example, if some of his female lovers liked it.”
“Do you know that some did?” I probed. 
“To be honest, I don’t,” G replied, defensive.  “But many took the hint from him.”
“For example?”
“My parents,” she said.  “They were from the generation that heard about Freud’s writings when they were still forbidden.  They grew up during Fascism, when many good books were off-limits.  But people heard about them.  Then, when Mussolini was defeated, they all rushed to read those forbidden books.”
“Forbidden books,” I commented.
“Right,” said G.
“Like yours,” I teased.
“Exactly.  I am also the author of forbidden books.  I take pride in it.  It gets intelligent people to want to rush and read them.  But that’s for another story,” said G, rhapsodic.  “Let’s stay on topic now.”
“My parents read Freud and used to joke about anal pleasure in relation to bowel movements.”
“Yeah, when we were kids, we had a large bathroom with a wall-to-wall mirror.  We all used it, and, as you know, no locks were allowed, so someone could be sitting on the toilet when one walked in.”
“Pushing?” I taunted.
“Yeah . . . pushing—sometimes,” she giggled.  “We had a family joke about how one’s voice sounds squeezed if one talks while ‘doing it’.”
“Sure .  .  .” I considered, “you’ve told me about that peculiar clothing-optional family of yours.”
“Have I?” G asks, curious.  She often gets confused about what she tells.  One has to be a bit guarded with her kind of background, especially a foreigner.
“Yes you have.  There were no locks on the bathroom doors and your mother was very beautiful--your father a bit more scrawny and skimpy.  Why are you thinking about it this time?”
“If you caught my father while doing number two, he’d tell you what a pleasure it was to have a bowel movement.  ‘Ah, what a relief,’ he’d say, and add a comment about how psychoanalysis approved of this--since Freud confirmed that anal pleasure was deeper and richer.”
“Was your father gay?” I teased.
“Not that I know of,” she giggled.  “Besides,” she continued, eager, “let’s not define anal pleasure as gay, ok?  It was common in the era among people who’d read Freud to be familiar with his theories about anal pleasure, and how feeling this pleasure was good for the rectum, even if just in the context of bowel movements.”
“Wouldn’t that inspire one to experience anal pleasure in sex?” I probed.
“Yes, but being receptive was not admissible for a man,” G replied, defensive, “and so one would sublimate that experience into proposing anal sex to one’s spouse.”
“Did your father do so?”
“I’m not sure.  But my mother was more of a constipated type than he was, and off and on I’d hear him tell her things like, ‘oh, if you were less inhibited (sexually), you’d be less constipated too,’ meaning, ‘if you started to experience bowel movements as anal pleasure, you’d have more fun with them and maybe you’d let me play with your ass too, which might further help with your constipation.’”
“I see, so it was a bit self-interested,” I pondered.
“What do you mean?” G asked, defensive.
“Well, maybe your father was too inhibited to try anal sex as a penetrated partner, and wanted your mother to submit to him.”
“My mother would not submit,” G reacted, incensed.  “She’d decide what to do.  And he was only trying to propose something new to her.”
“Do you think she agreed?  I mean, did she do it?” I insisted.
“I don’t know,” she replied, sad.  “My mother didn’t live long enough to tell me.  When she died of cancer I was only 13.”
“Oh.  I’m sorry to hear,” I offered. 
“It’s way back now.  It really hurt me then.  But I’ve healed.  She was a very progressive woman.  Told me everything about how babies are born.  Even so, she would not have talked about anal sex with a child my age.” 
“Sure,” I agreed.  “And you don’t think your father’s comments were damaging to her?”
 “Well, they might have been, if he insisted too much, or made fun of her,” she conceded.  “But to be honest, I feel that was part of family banter, an in-joke if you will.  At times she did complain about constipation and he only meant it for her to benefit too. “
“Perhaps she wanted to try out anal sex but constipation made her feel squeamish,” I offered.
“Exactly.   A bit of a Catch 22.  If you consider.   She was 48.  It was her colon--it betrayed her.  That’s where the cancer grew.   It killed her,” G concluded, confident.
“And over the years, as I was coping with the fear that I’d end up like her, I kept thinking of my father, the way he took pride in the anal pleasure of his bowel movements.  After all, he was not constipated and he lived to be almost 80.”
 “Ok.  And how does this relate to you?” I asked, puzzled.
“Well, when my long-time boyfriend proposed anal sex, back in graduate school, I said yes.  I was curious.  We lived in California, the gay Mecca where ‘sodomy,’ the practice of anal sex, that had been so demonized back in the Middle Ages, was becoming the great rage--the thing to do.”
“So I did it.  I was afraid.  I trusted him.  He went slowly.  He excited me properly so my system would gradually open up.  And there I was.  I realized why Freud called this the richest, the deepest pleasure there is.  In fact, I felt sorry for my boyfriend who could not experience it.”
“No Carol Queen videos back then.”
“No Tristan Taormino guides to anal pleasure.”
“No.  This was in the early 1980s, before the outbreaks that came to be known as AIDS.  I love Bend Over Boyfriend, and I’ve learned a lot from it.  There were no sex-positive educational videos back then, only plain porn.” [1]
“Did this anal sex have a good effect on your rectal ecosystem?” I teased.
“Good question.  I’m not sure,” G giggled.  “The system worked quite well then: I was young and of course everything about good health seemed easy.  But over the years, staying in good health became more difficult.  It required more effort.  And as I became more holistic, I started to relate to my ass as an erogenous area on a regular basis.  I invited partners to stimulate it, and often did it myself.  It was now an area where I regularly experienced pleasure.   That helped me feel good about my gut and keep its elimination function active even when I had not yet found the right diet yet.”
“What kind of diet would that be?” I probed.
“Well, you know.  I don’t use medicines, and so I rely on nutrition to regulate my health.  My food is my medicine, and I stay tuned to the ecosystemic needs of my body.  Now I do mostly raw foods, and also, often, liquid foods, including juice fasting periods to detox the system.”
“So, do you get an anal orgasm when you have a bowel movement?” I asked, curious.
“Uh?” Giggled G. “Not quite an orgasm, dear.  But a sense of pleasure.  And you?”
“Me too.  I like to feel my gut active in its metabolic function.  I feel connected to it.  I integrate it in my holistic sexual health maintenance,” I offered.
“Good.  And what about anal sex?  Do you enjoy it too?”
“I do.  But in moderation.  And only when I’m very aroused in a natural way and with a lover who is very, very careful about me.”
“Right,” G approved, blissful.
“So, when you heard about AIDS Dissidence, did it ring a bell for you?” I asked.
“Of course it did, and I’ll tell you all about it in a few days.”

[1] Carol Queen.  Bend Over Boyfriend.  N.P. N.D.

Disclaimer:  This Tale does not constitute medical advice in any way.  Readers are invited to consult their own healers and health care providers. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Gut Feeling - Part # 5 - From The G Tales

 A Gut Feeling:  Anal Pleasure, Holistic Sexual Health, and Interpretations of AIDS
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio
Part # 5 
“We were talking about AIDS Dissidence and why it rang a bell for you when you first heard,” I said when G and I connected again.
 “Of course it rang a bell,” G replied, convinced.  “I didn’t jump to conclusions, though.  Scientists of the highest reputation were now saying HIV was not a problem.  I tend to respect research independent of pharmaceutical companies.  But I would typically play it safe, just in case.  What about you?”
“In many ways I did the same.  I still rarely fluid bond.  For one thing, not all lovers really inspire one to do so.  Many have fluid-bonded partners of their own, and one would have to negotiate with them.  Nonetheless, the ideas of the dissenters helped to keep my focus on the strength of my immune system,” I offered. 
“Over the years, I’ve navigated the AIDS era as a sexually active bi woman with multiple partners and with a taste for the richness of anal pleasure.  My immune system has maintained its function thoroughly thanks to the holistic health practices I chose more that two decades ago.”
“We’ve done well,” I concurred.  The suddenly my mood changed.   G must have felt it. 
“What are you thinking?” she asked, perplexed.    
“This seems all well and good--but I’m not sure I can go along with the political implications,” I replied, nervous. 
“What do you mean?” G inquired, alarmed,
“Well, put yourself in the shoes of a gay man like Tony Lance, for example.  Do you realize what it means for him to be ‘telling’ on his people?  To spread the word to ‘straights’ that what gay men did in bed back then made them sick--not a bad bug?”
“Oh, I know what you mean.  That’s how his first video begins.  He explains how difficult it is to be a gay man, a ‘poz’ person, and a dissident--all at once.  It gives you a community of ‘zero’ people, he says.”
“Right.  Are your surprised?”
“No.  Look at my poly friends.  First the public humiliation by a poly gay man in a New York bookstore. [1] Then the book review that paints Sub-Saharan Africa as the abysmal land of promiscuity and infection, and falls short of blaming me for importing its bad bugs to pristine poly America.”[2]
“Right.  See what I mean.  And you’d think poly’s would know better.”
“Some do.  Many people came to my rescue.  And the concept was established that dissidence deserved to be called by its own name.”[3]
“All right.  If you don’t mind.”
“It’s not that I don’t mind.  It’s more that I know that new ideas meet with disagreement at first.  There is a central paradigm and it has the power to keep itself in place.  It won’t yield of its own accord.  One has to push against it.  And push.  And push again.  There’s a power imbalance here.  Big interests are at stake.  Politics.  That’s why it’s called dissidence.  And yet, it’s from disagreement that knowledge evolves.”
“So, does Lance disagree with everything allopathic medicine recommends?”
“He points to the paradoxes of current wisdom and to how the hypothesis of intestinal dysbiosis explains them.  But he also admits that some of the treatments actually work.”
“For example?”
“Well, when you have dysbiosis, your gut becomes depleted of its natural flora that would help do its job.  You lose your symbionts.  These are replaced by fungi, known to cause trouble, as in Candidasis, which then can give you Pneumocystis. ”
“In the allopathic interpretation, you take Anti-Retroviral Drugs to treat HIV with the protease inhibitors as active ingredients.  It turns out, claims Lance, that protease inhibitors also attack fungi.  So, in the holistic interpretation, that’s how ARVs help to alleviate the dysbiosis.”[4]
“Then the holistic interpretation does not rule out the presence of a virus altogether.”
“Right, that’s besides the point.  It’s a matter of interpretation.”
“Turns out, if I understand you correctly, that intestinal dysbiosis can explain what we came to know as AIDS as a plague of the gay male population back in the 1980s with or without HIV, and it also explains why the current tests and treatments work for this group in some roundabout way.”
“Right.  That shows how important it is to listen to those with a different explanation.  Imagine that by some strange twist of fate intestinal dysbiosis turns out to be the correct interpretation, don’t you think we better know?” Asked G, passionate.
 “Of course.  I bet that’s why Lance went forward, exposed himself.”
“Consider, he is vibrant with health after 13 years:  a role model --a beacon for others ‘poz’ people also seeking to heal themselves from AIDS in a holistic way.”
“But I was getting at something different.  Health is also made of physical freedom, freedom to love, to fall in love, to express oneself erotically.  And if you become a dissident--if you embrace this cause--you immediately become profiled as a sexual offender even if you are celibate.” I observed.  “It’s a very difficult to be in if you’re a sexual healer or educator--if you practice or advocate some alternative style of love or are part of a sexual minority.”
“Tell me about it.  The flack I got from the Loving More board.  They basically profiled me as profligate even though they know I exercise a lot of restraint.  They did it because they’re afraid.”
 “I know, G, but that’s not comparable to what a ‘poz’ gay man who embraces dissidence can face.”
“I’m not sure what you mean.  Can you explain?” G asked.
“Yes I will,” I replied, “when we talk next.”

[1] Serena Anderlini.  What’s in a Word? Poly Planet GAIA. What-sInAWord-1-8
[2] Review of Gaia and the New Politics of Love.  Polyamory in the News. GaiaOnAlan-sBlog
[3] Serena Anderlini. What’s in a Word? Poly Planet GAIA.  What-sInAWord-1-8
[4] Tony Lance.  “GRID: Gay Related Intestinal Dysbiosis?” First Rethinking AIDS Conference. Oakland, November 2009.   TonyLanceArticle  RethinkingAIDS-Program

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Gut Feeling - Part # 6 - From The G Tales

A Gut Feeling:  Anal Pleasure, Holistic Sexual Health, and Interpretations of AIDS
Serena Anderlini-D’Onofrio
Part # 6 

“We were talking about the legal threats a ‘poz’ gay man faces as a dissident,” G remembered as son as we connected again.
“What about them?” she asked. 
“Well, as a result of the allopathic hypothesis about AIDS, statutes that regulate the sexual behavior of ‘poz’ persons are now in place in a number of states.”
 “I’ve heard.  That’s the basis for the Darren Chiacchia case, correct? [1]
“Correct,” I concurred.
“Do you have more details?” G asked.
“Well, suppose you’re ‘poz’ and you start going out with someone who’s not.  You tell them.  They agree to have unprotected sex with you.  Then they change their mind and go to the police to accuse you of attempting murder.  They have the right to do so, based on the law.”
“I suppose if you’re ‘poz’ you better use protection or have sex with other ‘poz’ persons,” G offered.
“And most of the time that’s what happens, I hear.  It’s called ‘sero sorting’,”[2] I concurred.
“All right.”
“But then now, with Tony Lance, the new theory is that lubes can further dry out your mucous and make your dysbiosis worse.”
“Well, he does advise caution about that.  Does not talk about condoms.  And he is right I believe, since that’s an interpersonal, case-by-case decision to be made.”
“What do you mean? Can’t you see that he can be accused of promoting reckless behavior for his own benefit?”
“All dissidents are vulnerable to that.”
“But can you see that as a gay man who at least at some point has tested positive, his whole theory can be constructed as a self-serving ploy,” I probed.
“Sure.  That’s why I think he is so brave.  If his interpretation acquires credibility in sex-positive, liberal, holistic circles, then some fundamentalists will try to discredit it as a seductive ploy.  But is that really credible?  The article cites some 75 references.  It’s sound research.  Just thinking about it as mere perversion is perverse.”
“Still, I can’t really see how the transition between interpretations can happen without causing problems,” I commented. 
“Of course.  Shall we leave that for next phone call?”

[1] Zugler, Abigail.  “With AIDS, Time to Get Beyond Blame.” NY Times, April 19, 2010.  With AIDS, Time to Get Beyond Blame
[2] David Halperin.  What Do Gay men Want? University of Michigan Press, 2008.  Amazon.com: What Do Gay Men Want?

Disclaimer:  This Tale does not constitute medical advice in any way.  Readers are invited to consult their own healers and health care providers.