An online safer-sex project aimed at sexually adventurous men (SAM) will be launched at the Laird Hotel tonight.
The Down an’ Dirty project is a joint initiative of the Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre (VAC/GMHC), People Living With HIV/AIDS Victoria and the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society.
VAC SAM project coordinator Carlos Sepulveda said the website follows extensive consultation with Melbourne’s SAM community.
“[Men spoken to] said it would be a good idea to have credible information on different sexual practices,” Sepulveda told the Star Observer.
“When you Google fisting, for example, you will have sometimes conflicting information.”
The Down an’ Dirty website will provide SAM with information on esoteric sex play as well as recreational drug use and sexual safety.
Site users will be able to ask questions about different sexual scenarios which will be answered by a doctor or other experts.
The website will be tested at the Laird tonight from 9pm, as well Sircuit and Club 80 on Friday, October 21.
VAC health promotions manager Colin Batrouney said the project is about reaching out to the SAM community.
“A lot of these men are very well informed around sexual health … so they’re coming from quite a high knowledge base, but we’re able to provide additional information around various esoteric sexual practices and their relative safety, not only in relation to HIV or STIs, but their relative safety physically,” Batrouney told the Star Observer.
“From the research, these guys … have a set of beliefs around risk and unprotected anal intercourse and the kinds of risks they’re willing to accommodate and how they will try to mitigate those risks around risk-reduction strategy, rather than 100 percent condom use all the time. “What we’re trying to do is provide people with information so they have the knowledge to make an informed choice within a context of sexual adventurism.”
Batrouney said the project aims to speak to SAM who may not engage with some of the VAC’s other safe-sex messages.
“There’s no point in us just proceeding with initiatives which will be ignored or be irrelevant,” he said. “We’re looking at a community development model rather than a classic safe-sex intervention, because we don’t believe that would work in this context at all.”