(Editor’s Note: I had originally posted this for the last #KinkoftheWeek topic, even though I knew it was kind of “too serious” for it, not realizing that Marie was posting #WorldAidsDay as a Wicked Wednesday topic. I decided to add the Wicked Wednesday badge to it and link it there, as it fits the theme so well – hopefully that’s okay, Marie!)
As with so many of the previous Kink of the Week topics, I have written many times before about this topic as well: the power of words. I wrote about it most recently for a Wicked Wednesday prompt, and also in other posts such as Words, Forty-Five Seconds and DP the Traditional Way. I’ve also written about them in their non-kink use, such as when I’ve had no words and when I’ve written about writing. I’ve written about safewords and I’ve talked about when words are not necessary, as in my post Sometimes, Words Fail:
I can still see that look on his face, in his eyes, still feel a shiver at the memory of his hands on my body, on the rope. Feel the surge of adrenaline and heat and satisfaction and pure pleasure that we were both getting in having, somehow, inexplicably, arrived there, in that space, with everything going just so. There were no words needed, and even now words fail me as I try to describe the absolute perfection of those moments. But that’s okay. Sometimes we don’t need words.
I’ve also talked about having my words taken from me, as W often does with gags, about not being silenced by W and about the power of words to lift up a relationship in Love Languages, Ad & I. Tonight, when I sat down to write this post, I had yet more kinky, sexy thoughts about dirty talk, dirty words, and what they do to me (even though I have such difficulty saying them myself.) I was even musing on an afternoon when W got sharp and impatient with me (within the context of a scene) and instead of it being a turn-off, it was a turn-on – just as a scene in NCIS, when Gibbs snarls in his new team-member’s face, almost shouting at her in anger and frustration, was an unexpected turn-on while I was watching TV tonight. I’ve never dealt with anger, impatience or sharp words well, and it’s never been a turn-on, so it was a big surprise to find myself getting all squishy in those instances.
However, after running across something on Twitter, I am instead writing about something serious, not sexy or kinky. I am writing about the #WeareALLclean campaign.
Okay, maybe it is sexy (I mean seriously, pictures of hot, naked men in the shower? How could that not be sexy?) but that’s not all it is, or even why it is. #WeareALLclean is the latest “challenge” social media campaign (ala the Ice Bucket Challenge), filling timelines and newsfeeds with hot, sexy, mostly-naked men (no overt nudity allowed), and it’s all in the name of destigmatizing one’s STD/STI (and specifically HIV) status, raising awareness for HIV/AIDS, and raising money to fight it. From the donation page:
The concept is the brainchild of well-known HIV activist, Jack Mackenroth who has partnered with Moovz, the leading global gay social app, to launch the project. It’s genius in its simplicity. We are now a selfie-obsessed culture and Mackenroth urges everyone to take a special selfie for an important cause.
“I was inspired by the use of the word ‘clean’, especially common in gay culture, to describe oneself as STI/STD free. Indirectly this implies that HIV-positive people are somehow ‘dirty'”, says Mackenroth. “I thought a PG or PG-13 shower selfie or video would be a fun way that everyone could easily show their support on social media for finding a cure by using the hashtag #weareALLclean when they post their photo with the link. Then they donate what they can and nominate 3 or more other people to participate.”
The goal of the campaign is to raise 1 million dollars to stop the epidemic and help find a cure and the campaign will be ongoing indefinitely. Donate here. All donations received will be donated to Housing Works, a New York-based nonprofit organization fighting on the front lines to end AIDS and homelessness, not just in New York but globally by 2030. The CDC estimates that there are currently 1.2 million people in the US living with HIV and over 35 million people around the world.
So what does that have to do with words?
I have had a post in my Drafts folder for weeks now, discussing the use of the word “clean” to denote one’s STI status. You’re “clean” if you are STI-free. So, by extension, you’re “dirty” if you have an STI? Society wants us to feel dirty if we have one, because that serves its purpose in making us feel ashamed about having sex.
People are not DIRTY if they have a sexually transmitted disease. It is our fucked-up, sex-negative, puritanical and hypocritical society that perpetuates this image, and seeks to stigmatize and shame people who contract STI’s. Because, you know, it’s shameful to have sex.
Is that really the message we want to perpetuate?
So the next time you place a personals ad, or do your safer-sex negotiations with a new play partner or potential lover, consider your choice of words when asking about or discussing a person’s health status and your own. If we can stop shaming people when they do have STI’s, maybe more people will feel unashamed to be open about it, to go to the doctor, to seek treatment. And that means safer sex for us all.
And here, although I’m not a hot gay man, is my Shower Selfie, in support of the effort: