Find out what’s coming up tonight on The Steam Room: https://youtu.be/3SoSBiwdFzQ?list=RD3SoSBiwdFzQ
GaySA Radio, where you are family. This is The Steam Room, brought to you by the South African National Department of Health’s Phila Project. My name is Max and tonight we’re exploring the world of sex clubs. So, first of all let’s hear from the people in the know; men who have sex with men. We spoke to some guys to find out what they really thought about this whole area.
Rey: There are clubs where men have sex with men, have you heard of these and what do you think of them?
Person A: Ja, I have heard that there are clubs like online, for all types of fetishes that you want, and a bit about it in gay publications and stuff like that.
Person B: If people want to partake in sex, they must do it in the way which they want to partake in it. So if sex clubs are a thing then like, do the damn thing right?
Person C: Yes, I have heard of them, I have no particular judgement towards them. I think if men do want to do that, then let them do that.
Person D: I’ve heard of them.
Person E: Yes, I’ve heard of it and as my friends also know, I’m a kinky bastard so, I’ve never been to one of them but I would like to go.
Person F: I have frequented them on a very, very irregular basis.
Rey: What exactly do you think happens in these clubs?
Person A: I think they cater for all types of fantasies, dear. (Laughter)
Peron B: I would imagine that consenting individuals gather together in clubs and explore some fantasies and desires that they have, but I think it’s a no-strings attached type of environment where there is no obligation for you to pursue, if you don’t want to pursue further and it’s a safe space as well for men to just explore their sexual desires.
Person C: Well, you bash, like you have sex, that’s why it’s a sex club right?
Person D: Exactly what it says; they have sex, they walk around naked, sommer in the bathroom or sommer here in front of each other, give a blowjob or go anal or whatever.
Person E: People have absolute raunchy, hot, steamy, pornographic, raw sex.
Rey: Do you think that the men have safe sex in these types of clubs?
Person A: I would hope so, yeah. I would hope that there are condoms there, you know. I think that your risk with sex increases with the more partners you have, and yeah, I hope that they are using protection.
Person B: 50/50. I think if I had to go back to the conversation I had yesterday, I think some of them it depends on the financial status and if some of them are willing to pay, and if you’re willing to pay a larger amount then you’re entitled to say I don’t want it with or without protection.
Person C: Well you know, I think some, some just don’t and some just do it.
Person D: No, not at all, because at that time the emotions and the hormones are so high you don’t think of any protection or… you just want to pump and go.
Person E: I think it depends from situation to situation, I have seen where people don’t, even where there are condoms available, and obviously there’s chems and stuff involved and the risk factor just gets higher.
Person F: I just wanna echo my colleague here, it’s also half and half.
Rey: Would you ever go to a sex club?
Person A: Yeah man, I’ve got to check it out. (Laughter)
Person B: No.
Person C: I’ve been to a sex club.
Person F: Well, back in the, a few years ago, like early 2000’s, I used to go to the clubs there, Halfland, and there were darkrooms and stuff like that, and there would be twenty guys all jacking each other off type of thing, it got quite hectic at points.
Rey: How often do you go to a men’s only sex club?
Person F: Probably every few weekends.
Person C: I don’t know, I can count the amount of times I’ve been there.
Person D: Well not at the moment anymore, since I’ve been in a stable relationship the last couple of years, but prior to that it depended, once, twice, three times, sometimes five times a week.
So, there you have it. That’s the word on the street when it comes to sex clubs, what men who have sex with men think of the subject. So now I’m left wondering, what does this topic mean to you? So how about you let me know. Drop me a message on social media with your opinions. Search @gaysaradio on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn, and get in touch with us using #SteamRoom. This is GaySA Radio, where you are family. My name is Max, and you’re listening to The Steam Room.
What’s your opinion of sex clubs? Click the link to listen to these guy’s thoughts for yourself: https://youtu.be/exKAYeOzS9c?list=RD3SoSBiwdFzQ
GaySA Radio, where you are family. You’re listening to The Steam Room, brought to you by the South African National Department of Health’s Phila Project. I’m your host Max, and tonight we go undercover as we slip into the world of sex clubs to give you the insider info. So, you may already have your interest peaked by our topic tonight, but if there are any of you out there who feel you need a little more clarity on the subject, we’re pleased to say tonight we’re joined by someone who knows more to talks to us more about the world of the sex-clubber.
Hendrik: I’m Hendrik and this is GaySA Radio, where you are family, and I’m sitting here talking to Danie Hamman, thanks so much for joining me Danie. A few questions about sex clubs, so the first question is why do you think men have a need to go to a sex club?
Danie: You know I’ve found that it’s not a need of going to the sex clubs, it’s actually a situation that was created due to the situation in this country. People used to go to open places such as parks and public toilets and things, which became very dangerous. The police had a problem, especially at Mackie street and an art gallery at that area as well where they had a lot of gay-bashing and that kind of thing. And then of course the discrimination against the gays, you know? And people used to do these things in restaurant toilets and so forth. So there was a need of going to places and you’ve also got the situation of married men, and they can’t… you know, someone back home and they need to sort of be underground, and they don’t want to go to a public toilet or that kind of thing and hotels are expensive, to rent a room at a hotel for a quickie, that became a problem, so there was a real need for a legitimate, by the way, place or situation, venue where they can go and do what they want to do, enjoy themselves and go. Also there’s the thing of now we’ve got high-profile people, celebrities, that kind of thing. They can’t go to toilets and do things in public places and so forth so needed a private place where they could feel secure and anonymous, and that is actually where the need originated for this kind of club.
Hendrik: So it’s the men who have sex with other men who don’t necessarily have a venue to go to that would need somewhere to go, that creates the need for such a place, that’s what you’re saying?
Danie: Yes, so there’s a lot of people that prefer actually, to go to such a place, because nowadays you take somebody home, and I’m not saying everyone is doing that, but the next morning you wake up and your jewellery is gone, your car is gone, you know? And that kind of thing, so people need to go to a place that is safe.
Hendrik: So what sort of men would visit a sex club, because obviously not all gay men would go, probably? It would be a certain kind of person who would go to such a venue?
Danie: We’ve got men all over the spectrum; married guys, you know, bisexual guys mainly, bisexual and gay guys. A lot of them are married and we’ve got them from young to old. In the early days, it was very seldom that young boys came there because they felt a bit scary and they were not sure about the situation. It was not as open is it is today. They were still in the closet, and being taught that being gay and doing this type of thing, having sex with another man, is wrong. I think the whole perspective, the whole outlook on being gay and gay life has changed a lot, especially the last few years.
Hendrik: So talk us through what, without giving any secrets away about who’s whom and your celebrities, but what sort of thing happens in a sex club? What sort of sex acts, is it just wanking or is there all sorts?
Danie: No there’s all sorts you know, you have all sorts of kinky types of sex you know? If I can call it by name, you know, fisting, rimming, all sorts of sex. People have got the most strange ways of doing sex. I’ve got one guy, he was asking me all the time, he liked to smell men’s feet and socks, you know that kind of thing. To him, that was kinky and then you’ve got the guys who want to, the S&M guys, they want to whip each other, so you’ve got all sorts of types and methods, and sort of things that people like. Fantasies they want to do, and we provide for all of it.
Hendrik: Okay, so as a first-timer, it’s probably very scary to go to such a place.
Danie: That is the type of question I get every day when people ask me. You know, they feel scary, they feel embarrassed, they feel skaam, they are shy. Then they’re shy about their body, you know so I’m fat and so forth, but I always say to people if you’re shy or scared or whatever, drink a glass of wine or two. You know, the first time it took six bottles of Graca before I put my foot in such a place you know? Within two minutes you feel comfortable because everybody’s equal there, that is what’s so lovely about Camp David, is that everybody is naked and everybody is equal. There’s no one, this guy hasn’t got Gucci on and this guy has got jeans on kind of thing. You feel like everyone is equal.
Hendrik: Although we start judging people then on other things that we would not normally see, is that not true?
Danie: Ja, that thing, at least you can see what you’re gonna get. I always say it’s like a supermarket, you can pick but don’t have to pay.
Hendrik: So Danie, sex between men can be very messy and we’re talking kink and all these sorts of things can become quite a messy affair. How does one keep the club clean and health and within safe limits?
Danie: Well I’ve got excellent cleaners there, while we are open they walk around. In the beginning it was a bit irritating, especially when they go in the darkroom areas, but they’ve got these little red lights which our pilots used to use in the olden days, when the instrument lights were off you’d put a little light on your head, so they walk around with that and people also in the beginning was a bit disturbed, especially when you’re with someone, but they’re very well-trained, they see somebody is doing something they go back a bit later. But they keep it clean and they spray disinfectant the whole time and then, of course every morning, every single morning I’ve got a whole cleaning group that comes in and they clean that place, they overturn the mattresses, they spray disinfectant, everything. They sort of sterilise the entire premises.
Hendrik: What are some of the health risks associated with going to sex clubs, especially on a regular basis, maybe they’re bare-backing, those sorts of things?
Danie: Well obviously HIV, STD’s, that is actually the only risk you can find, but nowadays, a few years ago when HIV was discovered, the clubs worldwide, a lot of the clubs closed down because of HIV. But with the retro-virals we have nowadays, the medicine we have nowadays, I find that people is not that worried anymore about bare-backing and that kind of thing, especially with the new programs we’ve got, the PREP programs, that kind of thing. It doesn’t really bother them.
Hendrik: So you’re mentioning the PREP, you obviously work very closely with OUT Wellbeing, in Pretoria who does PREP and health for men and obviously men who have sex with men. How does that program work?
Danie: Yes, look, what they give them, there, a few years ago there was this medicine that came onto the market called Pravada, I think awarded about five, six years ago as the medicine of the century, because it seals the virus and the virus could not mutate. But the new medicine seals the white blood cells as well but besides that the medicine we have nowadays haven’t got the side-effects that the medicine used to have a few years ago, so that makes it quite safe. And then of course as far as ten years ago, if you’ve done PREP then within seventy-two hours, although you have HIV it cannot be detected, because the virus is sealed. So in the beginning with OUT, what we did was we had a big campaign about the use of condoms, and the condoms were supplied by the government and we tried to promote the use of condoms, but we found that as the PREP medicine advanced and became more sophisticated and more safe to use, you know, less side-effects and in some cases no side-effects at all, people started using condoms as a cock-ring instead of for protection, and that is why the focus turned onto using PREP medicine, but the problem is that you have to be tested, you have to know what your status is, and then this program that we’ve started with, they test you and you get the medicine for free for six months, then you do another test and you will get medicine for the next six months. Actually you get, with the program we’ve got going now, you get your medicine for free forever, and also when they test you, it depends on whether you’re already positive or you’re still negative. Then they adjust the medicine according to a medical analyst, they call it.
Hendrik: So you’ve got this program now where people who test at OUT and who get their PREP there then get free entry into the camp?
Danie: It’s also to encourage people to do a test, we arrange with them that when they have a test they get free entry into Camp David every time they do a test.
Hendrik: Fantastic. Danie here from Camp David speaking to us on GaySA Radio, where you are family.
Thank you for joining us in the studio here on The Steam Room tonight, it’s greatly appreciated. You’re listening to The Steam Room on GaySA Radio, where you are family.
Have you ever been to Camp David? Find out more by tuning in to GaySA Radio: https://youtu.be/LkAZXNZeIBY?list=RD3SoSBiwdFzQ
SFX: CLUB MUSIC
The Steam Room presents “DRAWING THE LINE”
SFX: CLUB MUSIC
BARTENDER: Hey, guy. (beat) Dude. Are you going to order anything?
BRETT: I told you. I’m waiting for a friend.
BARTENDER: And I told you, that if you’re not going to drink you’ll have to wait somewhere else. It’s a Friday night. There isn’t space for floaters at the bar.
BRETT: Really, dude? (beat) Whatever. Bring me a Heineken.
BARTENDER: Coming up, then. (beat, under his breath) Douchebag…
SFX: CLUB MUSIC FOR 3 SECONDS. THEN THE SOUND OF A NUMBER DIALED ON A CELLPHONE FOLLOWED BY AN OPERATOR:
OPERATOR: You’ve reached voicemail. Please leave a message after the beep.
SFX: BEEP SOUND.
BRETT: Listen, mate. I’ve been at this bar for almost 20 minutes. If you don’t show up in 10 I’m leaving.
NICO: I hope that message wasn’t for me. (to bartender) Hey, Matt. Corona for me, please. (to Brett) Sorry I’m late. Dinner with the wife ran overtime.
BRETT: You had dinner with her right before coming here?
NICO: Ja. She knows where I am.
BRETT: I still don’t understand how you can get that right, Nico.
NICO: Communication, brother. You’ll learn.
BRETT: Even if I told Hazel I don’t think she could get used to picturing me in a place like this. I’m not sure I can get used to it either. It’s a dump.
NICO: And yet, here you are. In my seat, having a beer.
NICO: (interrupting) No no. No need to defend yourself. I’m glad you’re having a good time. Have you made any friends yet?
BRETT: None I care to follow up with.
NICO: It’s the suit. You’re gonna pull daddy issues. (beat) But, no problem. You’re with me. Now come upstairs. There’s some people I want you to meet.
SFX: SOFTER CLUB MUSIC
PETER: (camp) So, this is the famous Brett?
NICO: One and the same. Brett, meet Peter and Shaun.
SHAUN: Hi there.
PETER: Is this your first time?
BRETT: How can you tell?
PETER: You reek of it. (beat) No need to look so uncomfortable. Everyone upstairs is in on the joke. I’m not married anymore, but these two are.
BRETT: I didn’t even know this place existed till a few weeks ago.
PETER: That’s by design. Have a seat.
BRETT: So, how did you guys all meet?
NICO: I met Shaun here. . Peter and I did business together a while back on the Echo account – he works for them.
PETER: Ja. Businessman by day – something else altogether at night. Brett, are you having a good time so far?
BRETT: Well, it’s only been about 30 minutes, but it’s okay. Not my usual scene, though. I’m used to…
PETER: Being a family man? Some of us are. But, this is where you can let loose. Nico, have you shown him around?
NICO: Nope. I’m not sure he’s ready yet.
PETER: No bother. We’ll just have to have Shaun show you the ropes then. Tell me, Brett. What did you come here looking for tonight?
BRETT: I just came to check it out really.
PETER: Oh, come on. You can do better than that. Have you ever fucked a guy?
BRETT: Geeez, man.
NICO: Just answer the question, Brett. Ease up.
BRETT: Well. (beat) Well, I fucked around with guys at university and before I met my wife. But, not really after that.
PETER: And are you gay?
BRETT: Gay? (beat) No. I wouldn’t say gay.
PETER: How old are you now?
PETER: Good age. On some nights in this place you’d be considered young meat.
NICO: I see some young meat considering you right now.
PETER: Thanks for the compliment, but…
NICO: No, not you. Brett, if you’re wanting to test the waters, I’m sure the guy in the white shirt over there wouldn’t mind showing you around.
BRETT: Not my type. And anyway, I’m not sure if I want to try…
SHAUN: Before you make any sweeping declarations, let me… show you around. There’s a whole lot more to see.
BRETT: What’s your name again?
SHAUN: So, where we just were is called “the courtyard”. It separates the men from the babies. Up these stairs right here is where the fun happens.
BRETT: What’s up there?
SHAUN: Whatever you want. Darkrooms, gloryholes, playrooms and all that.
BRETT: I’ve only ever seen that stuff in porn.
SHAUN: No need to think in theory here. Just grab hold (beat, BRETT gasps) and let it happen. (beat) You like that?
BRETT: Let go of my dick, man.
SHAUN: You’re a big boy.
BRETT: Let go, man!
SHAUN: Not attracted to me? Your cock is telling a different story. It’s growing…
SHAUN: Come. Let me take you upstairs.
BRETT: Dude, I don’t…
SFX: A PHONE RINGING CUTS ACROSS THE CONVERSATION
BRETT: I have to take this. I’ll meet you back there with Nico.
SHAUN: As you wish.
SFX: FOOTSTEPS AS BRETT WALKS SOMEWHERE PRIVATE
BRETT: Hey, baby. Everything okay?
HAZEL: (0ver the phone) Ja, I’m okay. I was just calling to check when you’re coming home?
BRETT: I’ll be home soon. The contract is just taking longer to finish than I expected
HAZEL: What’s that music?
BRETT: It’s just… the building next door is having a rooftop thing tonight. The music’s been driving me crazy.
HAZEL: Oh… Okay, I see. Well, hurry back as soon as you can. I have some news.
BRETT: You do?
HAZEL: Ja. But, I’d rather not tell you over the phone.
BRETT: What is it?
HAZEL: Brett. Just come straight home when you’re done, okay.
BRETT: Is Oliver okay?
HAZEL: Yes Yes. Don’t worry. I put him to bed a while ago. Just come home.
BRETT: Okay. I’ll be back soon, my love. Sit tight.
HAZEL: Okay, I’ll see you soon. Love you.
BRETT: Love you too. Bye.
SFX; CLUB MUSIC
BRETT: Guys, I think I’m gonna head off for the night.
NICO: Ag nee!
BRETT: I’m sorry. I have to make a move. My wife will start worrying if I don’t get home soon.
NICO: Was that the phone call?
BRETT: Ja. Where’s that Shaun guy.
PETER: He headed upstairs without you.
BRETT: Tell him I said bye, I guess.
PETER: Don’t worry about it.
BRETT: Cool. (beat) I’ll be off then.
NICO: Let me walk you to your car.
BRETT: It’s okay, man.
NICO: Nah, mate. Come.
SFX; CONTINUOUS FOOTSTEPS ON A PAVEMENT
BRETT: Thanks for the night. I had a good time.
NICO: Are you sure about that?
NICO: I’m not. You seemed uncomfortable the whole time you were inside.
BRETT: Well, I said it before, this isn’t my scene.
NICO: I’m not sure about that either.
SFX: FOOTSTEPS STOP
NICO: Well, here’s your car.
BRETT: Listen, dude. (beat) I came and I saw it. What more do you want?
NICO: For you to be honest about it. Why can’t you just let yourself let go?
BRETT: Dude, just leave it alone.
NICO: No, but seriously, man. You were so excited when I told you about it the first time. Even if you didn’t want to admit it to yourself.
BRETT: How the fuck would you know what I was thinking?
NICO: Brett, it didn’t take a lot for me to figure you out. You’re not very good at hiding it.
BRETT: Well, seems I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it. I have a wife and a child.
NICO: Ja, man. So do I. That doesn’t change who you are.
BRETT: I am who I say I am.
NICO: (sternly) No. You are what are you are. The first day I stepped into the office, I saw where your eyes went. Straight for me. In a way that straight guys don’t look at each other.
BRETT: Listen, bro. I’m not gay.
NICO: You don’t have to be to be into me. But you are. Into me.
NICO: You are…
BRETT: Don’t get so close to me…
NICO: Is that why you wouldn’t go upstairs with him…?
BRETT: Nico… not now…
NICO: Or why I keep catching you looking at me…
SFX: THE SOUND OF A KISS
BRETT: What the fuck, man.
NICO: It was just a kiss.
BRETT: I have a fucking wife.
NICO: And yet you’re here, Brett. With a guy outside a seedy club when you could be at home with her.
BRETT: Well, that’s where I’m going now.
NICO: You’ll be back, dude. You can’t deny yourself.
BRETT: Fuck you, man. Fuck you.
SFX: A CAR DOOR IS UNLOCKED. BRETT SLAMS THE DOOR SHUT. HE DRIVES OFF.
SFX: THE BUSTLE OF AN OFFICE DURING THE DAY.
SFX: A PILE OF DOCUMENTS IS DROPPED ONTO A DESK
NICO: I need these by the end of the week.
BRETT: No problem.
NICO: How are you today?
BRETT: Great, man. You?
NICO: I’m good, hey. (beat) So, are we never going to talk about last Friday?
BRETT: What’s there to talk about?
NICO: You tell me.
BRETT: I don’t have time for riddles right now. I’m busy.
NICO: No, you’re not.
BRETT: Can you not see me?
NICO: I’m your boss. And I say you’re not busy. (beat) Come to my office.
NICO: Just come. We have to talk.
BRETT: I’m fine with not talking. I have work to do.
NICO: Brett, we’re going to talk whether you like it or not. So, would you prefer it to be private or out here in the open.
BRETT: Fine. Fuck it.
SFX: FOOTSTEPS AS THEY HEAD TO NICO’S OFFICE.
SFX: A DOOR CLOSES
NICO: Brett, what’s going on, man?
BRETT: Nothing. I’m just not keen to join you and your friends again. It’s not for me.
NICO: Shaun said you got hard when he touched your cock.
BRETT: Really? “Cock”? You’re not in a porno. You’re at work.
NICO: There we go again…
BRETT: With what?
NICO: It’s called “repression”. Why separate what you want from what you get? You watch those guys in the pornos having the time you wish you could have. But, when someones gives you the chance you back off. I just don’t get it.
BRETT: (Angrily) Listen to me. I don’t have time for your shit anymore. I don’t want to spend time with you and your HIV-infected friends again. Why can’t you get that!?
NICO: Because try as you may, Brett. I can tell what you want when you look at me.
BRETT: I have a wife. Nico! I have a family and I’m not going to risk that so you can get your rocks off!
NICO: We both would be…
BRETT: I don’t give a shit! (beat) And I don’t care what kind of sick arrangement you and your wife have. It’s just not going to work for me!
NICO: If your life right now is making you go out and check out bars with me I can guarantee you’re not satisfied.
BRETT: Well, it’s the life I goddamn chose. And I’m not going to fuck my family around because I’m curious.
NICO: You’re more than curious.
BRETT: So the fuck what! I don’t have time for your shit anymore.
NICO: Ja, dude. You say one thing. But, your cock right now is telling a different story. If you haven’t noticed, you’re hard.
BRETT: I’m leaving.
SFX: HE OPENS THE DOOR
WOMAN: Oh, Brett!
BRETT: Oh, Hi, Cassandra.
WOMAN: I just heard about the baby! Congratulations!
BRETT: Thank you.
WOMAN: How far along is she?
BRETT: About 2 months.
WOMAN: I’m so glad! Congratz again!
WOMAN: You all good?
BRETT: Oh, no. Ja, just swamped, hey.
WOMAN: No need to tell me.
(BRETT chuckles mirthlessly)
NICO: Hazel’s expecting?
NICO: That’s big news. Congratulations.
BRETT: Ja. Thanks.
NICO: Is that why…
BRETT: Ja. A big part of it, yes. So, you’ll understand that I won’t be joining you again.
NICO: As you wish. (beat) But, Brett. Don’t fool yourself into thinking this will change anything. The feelings won’t go away.
NICO: Okay, I’ve got to go pick my kid up from soccer in half an hour and I have work to finish. You do too. (beat) Say “Hi” to Hazel for me. And tell her “Good luck”. (beat) Good luck to you too. You’re gonna need it.
SFX: CLUB MUSIC.
Wow, now that was an intense one. That was “DRAWING THE LINE” – our radio drama for the evening written exclusively for GaySA Radio by playwright Arlin Bantam.
Listen to it for yourself here: https://youtu.be/KoY_s0dIx6I?list=RD3SoSBiwdFzQ
My name is Max, and you’re listening to The Steam Room here on GaySA Radio, where you are family. The Steam Room is brought to you by the South African National Department of Health’s Phila Project. So seeing as tonight we’re talking about sex clubs, we thought we’d take to the streets to find out just what men who frequent these spaces have to say.
Rey: What type of men go there?
Person A: All types, all desires, all sizes (Laugh) you know?
Person B: I think a little more adventurous men, people who have particular fantasies and desires that maybe their partners, if they have partners, can’t fulfil. I would imagine from all classes and all backgrounds as well, you just really have to have knowledge, maybe have a plug; somebody that hooks you up with where and when it’s going down, yeah, I can imagine a wide array of men going through.
Person C: Men that would like to explore their sexual fantasies and their sexual orientation as well.
Person D: What type of men? I think all men. I remember this one time, okay I didn’t have sex with this guy but then he was a married man, and we were just having a conversation, so I think all kinds of men go there.
Person E: Well, to tell you the truth, I’ve heard of people that I thought would never visit one of those sort of clubs and they actually did, so…
Person F: I think everybody and anybody, mostly people who are in relationships and can’t afford prostitutes.
Rey: What sorts of sex do you get up to?
Person A: Different types, I like to play with bodily fluids, maybe some BDSM (Laugh).
Person B: you know, all kinds of sex. I’m polyamorous, pansexual, so it can range from single one-on-one encounters to multiple, threesomes and orgy encounters, and usually it doesn’t go more than like, six (Laugh).
Person C: Just normal sex, what is normal?
Person D: What sex do I get up to? Well, when I did it’s actually just normal stuff, in the bedroom or in the kitchen maybe or in the shower, or ja. Normal, gay, man-to-man sex.
Person E: The wilder, the more raunchier, it depends on time, place, person.
Rey: Do you keep safe, how do you protect yourself? Or perhaps do you bareback?
Person A: I’m pretty safe mostly (Laugh). Probably not a few years ago, like I wasn’t really conscious, I didn’t hold myself in high regards, stuff like that but now I have a partner so we trust each other and know how far our boundaries are and stuff like that.
Person B: Yeah, yeah we always stay safe, we always provide a bowl of condoms, there’s going to be lubricants and sex toys also there, and also we put condoms onto the sex toys as well, so yeah we try to keep as safe as possible.
Person C: I’m with one partner, that’s as safe as I get, but we do unprotected sex.
Person D: I always keep safe.
Person E: I only bareback when I’m in a steadfast relationship, and otherwise when I’m single I like to use condoms to protect myself also because some gay people are a little bit loose. Once again, when I’m in a stable relationship for a while, I will bareback, otherwise I keep safe.
Rey: What happens if a person approaches you in such a club and you just don’t seem to like them?
Person A: Actually a while back, I think it was 2008 at one of the nude places, the nude lounges or something, and I’m there with a friend of mine from the UK, and we’re but naked and stuff, he’s walking around in a kind of sling and I was stone bare(Laugh), and this other guy comes up to me and starts playing with me, and I don’t know who the hell he is, and I felt slightly freaked out, but I suppose it’s my fault because I was there.
Person B: Then I tell him that I’m not interested.
Person E: I’ll shoo him off
Rey: And finally, what sort of advice would you give to somebody who comes to a sex club for the first time?
Person A: Do your research, you can go on, maybe if there’s a website or something dedicated to it and prepare, maybe take a friend along or… but protection.
Person B: Always be responsible, you might not always want to take somebody with you but just kind of make sure that you’re safe, you’re responsible, and you enjoy yourself.
Person C: I don’t think you need to rush in to anything, you can go through, see what you like, see what you don’t like, see if you feel comfortable. Yeah, don’t feel pressured into anything as well, and then maybe if you want to, as long as all is consensual, do what you got to do.
Person D: I think learn the environment first, don’t just jump into it. See what’s going on there and see if it’s something that you’re comfortable with. I think comfort-ability is the thing you have to put up front before actually engaging in anything. Have the knowledge about it and be safe.
Person E: I’d tell them to just have fun, feast your eyes, there’s a lot of candy. Grab all the sweets that you can.
Person F: For the first time, well in my point of view I would say enjoy every inch of it, (Laughter) but just keep it safe. If you go and enjoy it, in Afrikaans they say maatigheid voor ooė, so just keep it safe and ja.
Thank you, it’s always great to hear straight from the horses’ mouth, don’t you think? I mean, one thing that really surprises me is how often I can relate to the answers here. If that’s the case for you we hope you’re starting to feel like family. If not, well then keep listening. Getting all this underground info is what GaySA Radio is here for.
What are your thoughts on sex clubs? Are you keen? Keep listening to The Steam Room to find out more: https://youtu.be/wGSN-uaWyAw?list=RD3SoSBiwdFzQ
It’s always better to know where exactly you’re at with your sexual health and how to keep yourself in the clear. To help make the process a whole lot easier, GaySA Radio is here to lend a helping hand. So in the studio with us tonight we have a professional in the field to answer a few questions. Welcome to The Steam Room.
Ethan: GaySA Radio, where you are family. We’re chatting to Jean Nel, talking about sex clubs. Why do you think there is a need for men to have sex in spaces like these clubs?
Jean: So again, if I can give a historic perspective, I do think it emerges from the fact that so much of same-sex sexuality was hidden, was taboo and happened in secret. And the way that sex was organised in the gay community then would have those roots, and of course sex clubs and the propensity to use them is something that has grown from gay culture and has become part of the mainstream or alternative, or a kink culture as well, so definitely it’s not men who have sex with men only, that would use sex clubs nowadays, and historically it would have had this thing that indeed it was done under the radar and secret. Nowadays it’s done as a commercialisation and a way where people could find what they are looking for in spaces that are organised in accordance, so of course if you think of consumerism that would make perfect sense, it makes it easy because you know who you are going to meet, that it’s like-minded people and it’s done in a context that’s geared for it.
Ethan: So what kind of men visit these, specifically the gay sex clubs?
Jean: Not that I’ve read anything related for a long time, but if I tap into what I understand and know about the context, I think it could be a very wide variety of clientele, and it could be from someone who comes from a rural context where there’s no gay organised life whatsoever, where potentially they are in a heterosexual relationship or marriage and they know of these spaces and that they’re organised to accommodate, to allow for gay sex, or sex for men who have sex with men, and that people travel for that purpose, so it’s from that side of the spectrum to people who indeed are very liberated sexually, who do not necessarily want to be in a relationship, are not in a relationship and they know that it’s sex in demand that they can get there. Then of course there’s people in the middle of that that you’ll find there as well.
Ethan: So are there any health risks associated with these kinds of venues?
Jean: Without wanting to generalise, because I know a lot of sex clubs internationally that are particularly geared towards promoting health and where a lot of the health services are done in combination or with the support of LGBTI health organisations who would bring the lube, the condoms, who have those spaces to encourage people to test for sexually transmitted infections, who for that matter would have posters or other signage to encourage safer sex. So indeed, a sex club can be a space where health promotion can happen and happen very well, but of course there’s many sex clubs where the owners, the management or the clientele would not be interested and would see that as a turn-off and where that does not happen, so I do think you find both sides, but of course a sex club has all of the risks that are associated with where people are there to have sex, some people would be inclined to have safer sex, some people would see it as the other person’s responsibility to initiate the safer sex and won’t take that responsibility onto themselves, and of course it all has to do, not only with the context and the norms that are enhanced in that context, but also the individuals who are a part of that sexual encounter.
Ethan: But how does somebody prevent STI’s and HIV when they are in these types of clubs?
Jean: So one would hope that management and the owners work together, collaborate with health organisations, and they allow access of health organisations to support that kind of a culture. One would similarly hope that there are health messages posted or encouragement of that kind that would happen, but look, in the end whether one talks about chem-sex, whether you talk about sex clubs or the like, one can make it the authorities’ responsibility to monitor and police these things, or you can say that we all have individual responsibilities and rights, and we all should come from an informed position and then make the owners less the state to police and enforce these things, but make an internal locus of control where you encourage people to take care of their own health because they want longevity, because they care about themselves and they care about their own sexual partner and community for that matter that they support norming around health and safer sex. So there’s two very different perspectives, of course I’m a liberal democrat, if I can call it myself, so of course I think it’s less governments’ responsibility to enforce these things, I do think it’s more of an individual responsibility to ask for it and manage it accordingly, but of course I also bring into… I factor in the fact that a lot of people do not care about their health because they are depressed, or they feel excluded or they feel that their sexuality is problemitised and they internalise that and of course in contexts like that, one would hope that health services are available and that people use the opportunities to reflect on their own practices and their own identity, and their own longevity and manage their lives in accordance with health and health promotion.
Ethan: Final question is do you think these clubs are good or bad for mental health?
Jean: I wouldn’t want to make a value judgement around it in the sense that, for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned, I think a sex club has all of the possibilities to emphasise health and well-being, and that would include mental health. I think sex clubs can perpetuate a context of secrecy and hiddenness, and things that happen in the dark and stay in the dark, and for that matter feed on people’s not feeling good about themselves, so if it’s fuelled by people feeling guilty about what they do and not taking the necessary precautions, and where they feel out of control with what they do, I think it can be very bad for your mental health.
Ethan: Thank you so much. That was Jean Nel chatting to us about sex clubs.
That was inside info about how to keep yourself safe and anxiety-free. My name is Max, and you’re listening to The Steam Room here on GaySA Radio, where you are family.
Listen to what Jean Nel has to say for yourself here: https://youtu.be/wGfPudRzOuw?list=RD3SoSBiwdFzQ
You’re listening to GaySA Radio, where you are family, and this is The Steam Room. Up next we have someone who has first-hand experience in the world of sex clubs.
Hendrik: I’m Hendrik and this is GaySA Radio, where you are family. I’m talking to Danie Hamman. Danie, you have had Camp David now for many, many years, I first went to it when it was in town. How did it start, how did you get the idea to do this?
Danie: First of all, you know, before I had Camp David I had many other clubs I started Equisite in 1979, which lasted sixteen years. I took many club guys, members on gay tours all over the world, and I saw this type of thing, you know, all over the world, so at that stage, of course this country, it was still in Apartheid years, it was forbidden. Even men having sex was forbidden, even dancing together was forbidden, that kind of thing. So I had seen while going overseas, I thought well this would work in South Africa but unfortunately it will not be allowed. Then when the opportunity came, in 1996 with the right premises and everything and even after Apartheid there was still a lot of homophobia going around and so forth. But people picked up people in parks and public places, took them home and so forth. By 2003 when we opened Camp David, one of the reasons was the crime in this country, the gay-bashing. I saw the need for this type of place now. And I never knew there is such a place in this country, and then somebody took me to the Factory in Hillbrow.
Hendrik: So had the Factory opened before you opened Camp David?
Danie: Ja, the Factory opened before we opened. And when I walked in there I said well, this is what Pretoria needs, and everybody said to me you’re crazy, they will close you down. You know, Pretoria was still very conservative, and indeed they did try, I had a lot of problems with the police and with the churches and a lot of people, but the need was there and whenever there is a need for something it will work.
Hendrik: So the first venue that you were at, how was that different to where Camp David has been now for the past few years?
Danie: The reason was the location, the location was a good location, then the central business district was still, you know, it was near Sunnyside, it was near Arcadia etcetera, etcetera, and the east wasn’t so advanced as it is today, it wasn’t all this new areas here, suburbs and things, but the central business district could also become very dangerous at night kind of thing. Everybody moved to the east and that premises at that stage, because I had a club there before, the premises was zoned for entertainment, so that is why I chose that premises. And then we moved to the east, I was offered the premises where Camp David is today, and that premise was already zoned for entertainment and all I needed to do was get the liquor license.
Hendrik: So if you had to describe Camp David to somebody that’s never been and have no clue what we’re talking about, how would you describe it?
Danie: Heaven for gays (Laughter)
Hendrik: Is it only for gays? Or heaven for the gays because there’s all the straight and bisexual guys there too? (Laughter). Their ultimate fantasy?
Danie: Ja you’ll be surprised. I’ve got a lot of requests from transgender people, nowadays and also from gay guys or bisexual guys, those that are married, and they actually want to bring the wife with, and the wife would like to see what’s going on there but unfortunately we cannot allow that, but you know, it is stupid to only pay R1000 or R2000 for a hotel room, you can quick in, quick out, you can even pick up somebody from another bar and come there, and you know, have a quick, fun fifty minutes and out you go, nobody knows where you stay, nobody knows where you are, nobody knows nothing, it’s safe.
Hendrik: It’s private and that’s what it’s there for?
Hendrik: How does Camp David differ from the other sex clubs? You also had Tshwana Boys, which is obviously a different kind of venue, but kind of has the same sort of function does it not?
Danie: Yes, but I still have guys that want to wear underpants or a towel, that kind of thing, but you can’t butter your bread on both sides. One person starts wearing a towel or underpants, then the others are going to feel uncomfortable. Also there is a need for a sauna, people like to fiddle in the steam room and in the Jacuzzi and that kind of thing, you’ve just got that type of person that prefer that kind of environment, and strangely enough, people think Jacuzzis and steam rooms and so on is a cleaner environment than Camp David, but they make a mistake because they’ve got no idea what people do in those Jacuzzis, even in the steam rooms.
Hendrik: And of course having all the steam and the hotness, it’s ideal breeding grounds for bacteria.
Danie: Ja, I mean, I’ve seen when people go on these passenger ships, you know, it’s quite amazing if you see what happens up there in the steam room or in the sauna up there you know, it’s quite common, five o’ clock, six o’ clock in the afternoon, you go in those saunas on those passenger ships and in that men’s sauna and there’s actually guys playing with each other there. You’ll not believe it but it happens.
Hendrik: No, I’m sure, if there are men together and there’s a chance for them to be naked together what are the odds that they are going to fiddle with each other? It’s quite high probably, men being men and all that.
Hendrik: Dating apps, have they influenced clubs like these?
Danie: Dating apps have become a problem nowadays because the picture you see on those dating apps, most cases it’s not the person you’re actually busy dating with.
Hendrik: Or it’s a picture from ten years ago.
Danie: Ja, that’s the one thing. The other thing is there’s a lot of crime involved as well with these dating things. It’s dangerous to meet up with somebody somewhere, where you don’t know what could happen. You could meet up say, somewhere in a street or in a park area or whatever, and the next moment ten other guys jump out of the bushes onto you. And the other thing is a lot of these dating sites, you’ve got a lot of people who sit on the other side and they keep you busy and then they start, send me a picture of yourself and whatever and so on, but actually what they are doing is called phone sex, almost a sort of phone sex. They satisfy themselves and once they see your photos and whatever and then the next moment they cut you off, so that kind of thing started to irritate people and that’s why people prefer to come to Camp David where they actually meet the person where they know it’s safe. Number one you’ve also got people that first like to get to know more about the person they want to have sex with, you’ve got your guys who are a bit more, how should I put it? Meer nees nie lig…
Hendrik: Those uppity kind of people?
Hendrik: They’re very choosy?
Danie: Ja, kind of thing. So I’ve got a lot of complaints about these date apps. People says it’s a scam and of course it was on Carte Blanche last night about people being blackmailed, you know, sending photos you get a…
Hendrik: But I also saw what happens on something like Grindr is people would say I’m at Camp David tonight and then a few guys would sort of go okay, I’ll see you there and then something would happen there and later on you go oh that was you was it? Yes. Oh. So I think it might be working in the other way for you as well, actually.
Danie: Ja, it does but I get a lot of complaints about Grindr specifically. People say it’s a scam, and then also what they do is they use Grindr to find out from people that’s already in the club, whether they is other people, and you end up with people sitting on their cell phones the whole time at the bar. First of all it spoils the atmosphere, number two you don’t know what that guy can do with his cell phone, he could secretly take photos of everybody else, so that is why now use of cell phones in the club is totally forbidden. Just to protect the privacy of the other people there and to stop this kind of thing of oh no, there’s only two people here at the moment, and you’ve also got people who lie, so this beautiful boy here just tells you stories to get you there kind of thing.
Hendrik: One last question, chems. It seems like a lot of people are using all sorts of drugs to enhance their sexual experience, do you find that happens at Camp David?
Danie: Of course we try to stop that by all means in every way possible, but you cannot always stop it. Even the meetings I have with the police every now and again, there’s got to be control, but the biggest problem we have is people that use it outside in the car and then come inside, you can do nothing about that. But still, if we find out somebody is high or is not behaving appropriately then we ask them to leave. We try to control as strictly and most effectively as possible.
Hendrik: You were talking about the police, do you have a good relationship with local authority and if something were to go wrong there you would be able to quickly get somebody to help if there was a crisis or something?
Danie: Ja, I meet with the police quite often and we actually, every time, like any other crime, the ways criminals go about change all the time, and the police think out something to combat it they just think out something better. So we go along with that, I just had a meeting last week with the police again where they said to me no, they’ve got certain problems which they would appreciate if I have a look, and that is why we’ve got cameras installed, hidden cameras in the parking area and that kind of thing to prevent what they call drop and go. So we try to work with the police, and anytime I suspect somebody is selling drugs then I pass the information, I get hold of their registration number and I pass it on to the police. I’ve worked with the police since, very long now, quite a few years that I’ve been working with the police.
Hendrik: Danie Hamman from Camp David, thank you very much for speaking to us here on GaySA Radio, where you are family. I’m Hendrik, keep streaming, more coming up soon.
So there you have it. Remember, if you need more information, go check out GaySA Radio’s website, and if you want to chat with me, send me an email. Send it to email@example.com. This is The Steam Room with Max, and you’re listening to GaySA Radio, where you are family.
Hear what Danie has to say about Camp David here: https://youtu.be/sQeTuaVv5KI?list=RD3SoSBiwdFzQ
Hendrik: GaySA Radio, where you are family. I am Hendrik and I am sitting with Danie Hamman from Camp David. Danie, first of all, as a newbie, as someone coming to the club for the very first time, what kind of experience do you think they have and what advice would you give them?
Danie: Well some of them, they walk in and they say what now, what do we do and tell them, well take off your clothes, leave them here, and they want to know if it’s safe, that kind of thing. Then they go to the bar, and my barman is quite well-trained, they explain to people what is going on, where is the dark rooms, where is what and so forth, and how it works. So I find that usually people come in, they’re very wary about what’s going on. Some of them stand around a while and then they ask oh can we have a peek, and the people there aren’t on show, it’s not a window shopping experience. You either go in or you stay out, or they want to keep their clothes on for a while, for a few minutes, and so now and again I would allow a guy to go in for a minute or two with his underpants on but then it’s got to come out, but mostly we say no. We throw them into the deep water, and we’re quite amazed how quickly people adopt. They walk in and their eyes go round, they say wow, this looks interesting because the next thing they see is all this naked guys sitting around and chatting and drinking, and continue as if nothing in the world is wrong you know, and they hardly ever look around, some of them look at the new guy come in and they, oh okay, here’s some fresh meat, kind of thing, but you feel immediately, within a few minutes you relax, and then usually people get a drink from the bar and then they sit and they watch the situation and I tell you, it doesn’t take five minutes before they’re off to the dark rooms to go explore what’s going on.
Hendrik: What are the do’s and don’ts? Let’s talk about the do’s first. What should you do when you go to Camp David?
Danie: Well I should say you must be prepared be sort of touched and camped, and if you don’t want to do anything or don’t want to have anything with anyone else, it’s easy; just push the hand away, give them a polite smile and ignore them kind of thing. You’ve got to be prepared, and people do have a shower there but you find guys come there straight from work, they use the shower, I would say make sure you are clean and also some guys do not bother to wash their anuses or whatever, that’s why we have the douches tend to clean that, and then there’s nothing really further that you must be prepared for because we provide lubrication, we provide lubricant, condoms, all that kind of thing. That’s basically all.
Hendrik: But you should come prepared to have some sex or at least a wank or something?
Danie: Ja, well everybody are prepared for that anyway, I mean otherwise what are you doing there? I mean, you’re coming for that, that’s what you are coming for.
Hendrik: So, here he comes, he’s fresh meat and then an old bok like me would bounce on him, would you say there is a sexual democracy, you can say no to somebody?
Danie: No, you can. Like I say you just be kind and sort of with your body language or whatever you say, you can just say sorry, I first want to have a drink, be polite and that kind of thing. If you don’t want to touch somebody or have anything to do with somebody just give them the impression, because your body language, or telling him listen I’m waiting for somebody else…
Hendrik: Not interested.
Danie: Of course you’ll find that if you go into the very dark areas where you can hardly see anything, what you feel and what you see in the light is two different things, you’ll be surprised because people, they go and they fool around in the dark and whatever, and then when they come outside sometimes in the light and they see who they’ve been laying with, they get the shock of their lives or the surprise of their lives.
Hendrik: Isn’t it the same with glory holes? Where it’s very anonymous there you know?
Danie: Yes, very, ja.
Hendrik: So do you have shows, do you have performances there?
Danie: We did have dancers, naked dancers which even did live shows there, but I find it very difficult nowadays to get guys to do it, or are prepared to do it. I’ve got dancers now and again but unfortunately most of them come there with the idea that they are going to use my premises for their own personal advantages by handing out their numbers and tell guys listen, phone me afterwards for private sessions, and so on. That is not allowed, one thing, very important which people must understand, that we are not a brothel. You’re not allowed to pay for sex or receive money for sex, that’s prostitution, so it’s very difficult to find people that understand that, that want to dance there, you know? But we do, sometimes guys get in a jolly mood and they go on the stage and they dance on the pole, and we do body shots, they climb on the counter and throw liquor over them and we do a body shot. That happens quite often, but I wish I could get more guys that can dance like that. I’ve got a lot of guys that can do it actually, especially black guys, but transport is a problem. Most of them don’t have transport, especially at two, three o’ clock in the morning, otherwise I would definitely do shows but you know, like drag shows, that kind of thing, that doesn’t go off at the place because that is not what people are there for. That is what you have other clubs for.
Hendrik: So you’re talking about prostitution, the other thing I know many years ago the police raided Camp David and said they were looking for kiddy porn and all sorts of nonsense. There’s obviously an age restriction and only for adults?
Danie: Ja, we had an age restriction of nineteen, but nowadays the law has changed, so we allow eighteen. You’re not allowed to sell liquor to someone under the age of eighteen anyway, so the age restriction is eighteen. But porn, that is why we’ve got a membership system, when you enter the club you sign the memo, and there’s terms and conditions on the wall which specifically state that you are not allowed to receive money or payment for sex and you’re not allowed to use drugs, and all that kind of thing. And that porn will not offend you and other naked people will not offend you, that is why it is actually a private club. What happens in there is more or less what happens at your house, it’s got nothing to do with the person outside in the street.
Hendrik: Then just from the business perspective, obviously t costs money to run a place like that, to keep it clean, staff, all of those sort of things, but obviously you’ve been in this business for a long time so it must mean it is profitable?
Danie: Ja it is, although things are getting more expensive, rent is getting more expensive, you know, cleaning materials, all that kind of thing, but the reason why it’s actually getting more and more profitable is because we’re getting more and more people. Especially since that new casino opened, there’s a lot of staff that come there after their shifts which didn’t come before because of the distance, so that’s another thing. We’ve got people from Pretoria North, we’ve got people from Centurion, all over that come to the casino and they make a detour, they come to the club as well, and then of course, like I say hotels become expensive, crime has become a big problem, here they’ve got the safe environment and it’s not expensive, the entry of membership fee is very cheap, I mean it’s actually a bargain, so it’s a question of it’s getting busier and busier, that is the main reason.
Hendrik: Fantastic. That’s Danie Hamman from Camp David speaking to us here on GaySA Radio, where you are family. I’m Hendrik, keep streaming.
Find out how to navigate Camp David and stay in the loop here: https://youtu.be/WKW7saYKtjQ?list=RD3SoSBiwdFzQ
This is The Steam Room on GaySA Radio, where you are family. Tonight we’re on air to expose the topic of sex clubs. As promised, in studio with us tonight, we’re joined by yet another expert on the matter. Join me in welcoming our expert. Thanks for getting sweaty with us tonight.
Rey: GaySA Radio, where you are family. My name is Rey and today we chat to Bruce Little from Unova Health Institute chatting to us about sex clubs.
Rey: Why do you think there is a need for men to have sex with men in spaces like a sex club?
Bruce: I think it’s just a logistical issue as well, it just makes things easier. So a sex club is a convenient way to make sure that a certain group of men meet at a certain place at a certain time so that they can engage in group sex, it’s just logistics really, it’s convenient. I think there’s also the thrill, you know, sometimes somebody’s house so it’ll be a more intimate type of party where everybody agrees to meet there, and then there’s other clubs that involve meeting at a specific place that is used only for these group sex parties. I think it’s a lifestyle choice, you know some people love engaging in group sex and many people choose to do so in safe and responsible ways that doesn’t necessarily have to… just because you enjoy group sex doesn’t mean you have to be at severe risk of things like STI’s for example. You can have responsible group sex, you can use condoms and water-based lube, you can make sure that you don’t use drugs that might put you at risk or cause you to behave in a way that is risky.
Rey: And because you just touched on STI’s and HIV, how would somebody protect themselves from STI’s and HIV in such a club?
Bruce: So if you are HIV-negative and you’ve been tested recently, then you can go to your local healthcare provider and find out about something called PREP, which is Pre-exposure prophylaxis and I think it costs somewhere between R300 and R600 a month. There are certain clinics that do distribute it for free but if you can afford it, I think some medical aids cover it, and you’re HIV-negative and you want to stay HIV-negative then you can take PREP, and as I said the best, best protection is condoms and lube because even if you are on PREP, and even if you are HIV-positive and you are taking your ARV’s responsibly, religiously and you are undetectable, you are still at risk of other sexually-transmitted infections like syphilis, gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, and the thing is that nowadays those STI’s are multi-drug resistant which makes them very difficult to treat so it’s not a case of oh well, you know, the only STI to worry about is HIV, that’s not the case anymore. Nowadays, because there has been an increase in promiscuity and a decrease in the use of condoms because of stigma, and people don’t want to be judged because they use condoms, there is now a prevalence of STI’s that are becoming more and more difficult to treat, and you know, some of these STI’s can escalate and have been linked to things like cancer and other liver issues, it just goes on and on. Certain types of hepatitis for example, you can get from unprotected sex which can result, in worst case scenarios, liver cancer, all sorts of things. So it’s not just a case of oh, I need to watch out for HIV, there are other STI’s that need to be considered.
Rey: Now with all the health risks that you just mentioned, would you say, or think rather, that it’s higher at these types of venues?
Bruce: You know, it’s just a case of simple mathematics, the more people you have sex with, particularly the more people you have unprotected sex with, the higher the risk. So if you are at a group sex party and you’re having sex with two to three people, you are two to three times more likely to develop an STI than you are with just one person at a time. So that’s the only reason why I would say that yes, there is a higher risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.
Rey: Alright, and what sort of men would you say visit these kinds of sex club venues?
Bruce: Once again, every sort of man is likely to and it depends on the individual. We’re talking doctors, lawyers, sophisticated, intelligent, creative, fabulous, beautiful, amazing men, engaging in all types of different sex, and I think one of the things we need to watch out for in the community is judgement and stigma, and we can’t judge people like oh, you know, it’s these gay guys having group sex that are causing all these STI’s, that’s not necessarily the case. It can be one individual sleeping with other people one-on-one that is spreading STI’s because that person is asymptomatic and hasn’t been tested for an STI in more than six months. So there’s many different ways that we can be irresponsible as members of our community. I don’t think it’s as simple as blaming anyone, and I think it’s important to be open-minded about the different ways that people choose to express their sexuality.
Rey: Absolutely. And do you think these clubs are good or bad for the visitor’s mental health?
Bruce: I don’t think it’s as simple as that, I think it’s up to the individual, so if you are a happy individual and you can engage in sexual acts with more than two to three or four people at a time and you can still feel good about yourself afterwards and it reinforces your sense of self, and you connect in an intimate and meaningful way, then by all means, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t. But once again, if you’re engaging in group sex with people and afterwards you feel empty inside, you feel sad, isolated, then maybe it’s not the best thing for you. Maybe then you need to find another way to express yourself sexually. It’s up to the individual. There’s no easy way to say this is good and this is bad, you need to decide for yourself. How does this make me feel now and how does this make me feel in the long term?
Rey: Thank you so much Bruce, that was Bruce Little from Unova Health Institute chatting to us about sex clubs. I go by the name of Rey and this is GaySA Radio, where you are family.
Well we hope you found that segment informative and helpful as a life-vest to keep your head above water. Thank you again to our expert for joining us. This is The Steam Room on GaySA Radio, where you are family.
Listen to what Bruce Little has to say and how to protect yourself here: https://youtu.be/pnCGUW4Se-U?list=RD3SoSBiwdFzQ
Now, after a show like tonight’s one, a very important one I might add, you might be wondering where to get the help you need. If that’s the case, our next segment is here to help you do just that and get on the right track.
Rey: GaySA Radio, where you are family. This is Rey and today we’re chatting to Jay Van Der Merwe on where you can get help. Hi Jay, how are you doing?
Jay: Hi, great and you?
Rey: Fantastic. Please tell us a little bit more about what you do.
Jay: Well, I am a registered nurse. I have been in the field now for a number of years and my special interest is
HIV, so I’ve been a volunteer involved within the HIV community since about 1992. So I have done a few counselling courses, advanced counselling, and quite actively involved in different HIV organisations as well.
Rey: Alright, and if people would like to get treated by you, where can they find you? Do you have a private practice or do you practice from a clinic? How do you…?
Jay: No, no at this stage I’m affiliated with Netcare, so it’s basically patients admitted in Netcare and then they will actually contact me to go and counsel the patient.
Rey: Alright, and please share in detail, some of the services that you, with Netcare offer.
Jay: Well at this stage we basically offer, there are two hospitals that I work with, there are two specialists that are HIV specialists, and they do a lot of the HIV care etcetera, for the patient, and should they feel that they need somebody to come speak to the patient they will actually call me to go in and speak to them as well.
Rey: Alright, and I wanted to ask you, for some people who sometimes might feel a bit fearful of judgement, can they expect 100% confidence from you?
Jay: That is part of the protection of patient information, so all information that is portrayed by the patient, basically that’s where it stays, it doesn’t go anywhere else. Should there be something that is medically important, then that will be conveyed to the treating doctor and that’s it.
Rey: Alright and just talking about some of the health issues, what are some other prevalent STI’s people can easily spot symptoms for and how can they go about getting help?
Jay: Well at this stage, there are quite a number of different STD’s at this stage but anything that involves itchiness of the genitals, burning sensation on urination, pain in the lower back, discharge, things like that which are abnormal. Then they should consult with a medical professional.
Rey: Okay, and how else would you advise people to take better care of themselves and to stay safe and protected?
Jay: Well at this stage the age-old thing of condomise, water-based lubricants and then choose your partners wisely and make sure you know what your partner’s HIV status is as well.
Rey: Are there some prevalent STI’s that are in South Africa now that you see a rise in?
Jay: Well there is now the new thing which is actually a bit frightening, where there is a form of gonorrhoea that is actually resistant to most of the antibiotics that are usually being used. So they need to be treated with a third line, or the third generation of antibiotics which is very potent stuff, and that is basically the last barrier that we have. There is nothing new on the market at this stage. They are busy researching but there’s nothing available as yet.
Rey: Okay, and generally if people are looking for help in terms of protection and also treatment and healthcare facilities, where can they look and where can they go about finding this help?
Jay: Well, what they can basically do is they can actually contact the national AIDS help-line; I’ve got the number for you if you are interested 080 001 2322. They will basically then guide the person to get in touch with different people that specialise or even clinics that specialise in HIV. There’s also another organisation called the South African HIV conditions board, unfortunately I do not have their number but they have got a website on the internet so they can actually then go onto that site as well and see doctors that are specialised in HIV.
Rey: Okay, and for more urgent matters can people go to public clinics around their neighbourhood?
Jay: That’s correct, yes. A lot of the public clinics will then actually refer them to bigger hospitals that actually has an HIV clinic or HIV treatment centre.
Rey: Okay. Thank you so much, Jay Van Der Merwe for chatting to me today. This is GaySA Radio, where you are family. I go by the name of Rey, and that was Jay Van Der Merwe chatting to us about where you can get help.
This is The Steam Room on GaySA Radio, brought to you by the South African National Department of Health’s Phila Project. My name is Max and we’re nearly at the end of our show.
Jay certainly sounds like he knows how to protect yourself. Listen to his account first-hand by tuning in to The Steam Room: https://youtu.be/usKJE87sWWQ?list=RD3SoSBiwdFzQ
Find out all the juicy details about GaySA Radio’s open mic night here: https://youtu.be/Qyuzmlt5bp4?list=RD3SoSBiwdFzQ
Thank you for listening to The Steam Room, only on GaySA Radio, where you are family: https://youtu.be/4fNXEzBxc8c?list=RD3SoSBiwdFzQ