I’ve heard it said a lot, “I’m no role model.” Yet, I learned a long time ago that we really don’t get to choose that for ourselves. People are watching and learning from us whether we are aware of it or not – whether we like it or not. We do, however, have a choice as to what kind of role model we will be – whether we are positive or negative role models. We have some control over that.

As a Sexologist, I do my best to live an openly, healthy sexual life. I do this overtly because I’m well aware of the lack of authentic and positive sexual role models in our society, though, admittedly, I’m far from perfect at it.

Lately I’ve become increasingly aware of a lot of gay men in the Coachella valley who are sexual role models. We are an amazing collection of pioneers, survivors, and groundbreakers who have surmounted numerous obstacles to claim the right to sex, expression, love and intimacy with whomever we choose. Some of us have set the bar high in sacrificing everything to come out of the closet and be our sexy selves regardless of what anyone thinks. More so than ever before, people in the broader society feel good about their own unique sexuality, and we helped them feel good because we lead the way as out and proud examples of self-acceptance.

We have demanded the right to health care and sexual pleasure despite a virus that could have wiped out not only our kind, but everyone. As a result, the medical industry has been transformed because of our diligence. We have squarely put love at the center of our relationships by making marriage legal for all. In doing so we have changed the world for the better. These are just a few of the ways in the last half century we were face-to-face with life-threatening challenges and we triumphantly overcame each of them!

So when it comes to the crazy epidemic of syphilis in the Palm Spring gay men’s community (the rate in PS is more than double the national average – gulp!), I know it’s a challenge that we can easily surmount, simply because we have brought numbers like this down before, and indeed it really is a simple fix. Just get tested regularly (2 to 3 times a year) and the problem would be solved. Did I mention how simple that is?

This is not to sling any shame. This is just an easy path to a healthier sex life for you and those to which you come in contact. Remind your partner(s) to get tested. You are the sexy being who does more than just get off and go. You can care about your partners. After all, you’re probably going to get whatever STI they have and vis versa – what good comes out of that? If you like them enough to fuck them, can’t you like them enough to fuck them with as little disease or shame as possible? Wouldn’t you rather have sex without this particular pesky infection? Then step up proud gay man, and be proud of your sex with as little disease as possible.

It is easier than ever to get tested at DAP’s DOCK. They continue to streamline their system specifically to get you in and out as quickly as possible. You can set an appointment or you can just drop in. www.thedockclinic.org

Remember, you are a role model whether you like it or not. Why not be a positive one then? Obliterating syphilis in our area is totally doable. I’m not asking you to march down the street in pink taffeta. Just take care of yourself and do the same for your partner(s). The next time you’re wrapping up a hot scene, say compassionately and confidently, “Hey bro, there’s a serious syphilis epidemic going on around town, and I don’t want to see you get it.” Garsh! I would feel so respected and cared for if a partner said that to me.

We are big boys, and we can do this, because we have plenty of amazing role models who have gone before us and showed us the way. Now it’s our turn once again to show ourselves and the world that sex is nothing to be ashamed of and it can be enjoyed with as little fall out as possible.

Originally Posted March 20, 2017


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