GaySA radio, where you are family. This is the Steam Room, brought to you by the South African National Department of health’s Pillow project. I’m Waseem Imam Saheb and tonight we’re exploring the topic of first-timers. We spoke to some people to find out if they knew what we were on about with this one.

Person B: what do I understand about the phrase first-times? Well my understanding of first-times is when you engage with someone of the same sex, and this could be orally or through penetration. This is your first time engaging with that kind of person on a particular level.

Person C: When you’re going to do the business with whoever or, the person you are in love with basically. So, the first time you have intercourse.

Person A: Do you think it’s something people talk about enough?

Person B: Well honestly, I do not think that people talk about it enough, because nobody wants to be seen as someone who’s inexperienced. Nobody wants to be classified as amateur or who does not know what they’re doing. So your first time is always kept a secret.

Person C: As a guy, we always speak to each other about our first times, especially how it happened and what happened and how long we lasted and so forth, so generally with guys it is one of those things we do talk about, and we actually laugh about and so, yeah, we do talk about it.

Person D: I think it all depends, like with myself, I was comfortable with it, I do talk to people about it but if I’m close to you. I don’t randomly say the first time and insist on telling everybody about my first time I had an encounter with a man. I don’t say it out of proportion, there has to be a reason, if the conversation leans that way then I’ll feel comfortable to talk about it. But I guess people don’t talk about it that much.

Person A: When was your first time as a man sleeping with another man?

Person B: Well my first time as a man sleeping with another man was in 2011, in my high school days. I was in my prime, and multiply so, the first, and best time that I have ever had.

Person C: I was around twenty, twenty-two, yes. Because I was in a relationship with my partner. We started dating at twenty-two, and it was just one of those things, we waited for a reason, for no reason actually, and then it happened.

Person D: I was nineteen, the scariest day of my life.

Person E: Wow, that was in 2010, ja, mid-2010 if I remember correctly. Yes, mid-2010

Person A: Do you have any advice for your younger self?

Person B: What I could advise the younger me was that it was okay not to sleep with the hottest or the cutest guys in town, but rather focus more on getting your money, and your paycheck, and all those cute guys will come running after you.

Person C: If I was to talk to my 19 year old self, I would say wait, take it easy, don’t believe in the hype because it’s not really what they say it is. Just wait, there is plenty of time. Don’t fall in love because it will definitely come to an end and it will get you heartbroken as you don’t know anything about it. Just go into these things.

Person D: Do it because you want to do it, don’t let somebody force you into it. You should never feel pressured. But if you’re very adventurous and want to explore then make sure that you also use protection and take care of yourself, because you never know what the other person has been up to, so as you consider exploring or becoming active in this, you need to make sure that you know your HIV status and condomise, always use protection, always play it safe.


Tune in to the Steam Room to hear it for yourself at

Person B: Hi, my name is Bruce Little, and I am the content creator for the Unova health institute.

Person A: So, in the plainest terms, what does being an MSM first-timer mean?

Person B: MSM obviously stands for man who has sex with men, and a first-timer would mean somebody who’s probably having sex with another man for the very first times, so that would be the definition in a nutshell.

Person A: Why do you think some people are attracted to the idea of trying it out?

Person B: I think we live in a society nowadays that’s a lot more sexually fluid, people are a lot more open-minded and people are curious. We live in a time where as we progress in society and as we become more open-minded we become less, sort of inhibited by the “norms” in society, inverted commas norms. So now people are testing things out, they’re trying things out for themselves and they’re seeing what they like and what they don’t like. And I think that’s opened up a lot of experimentation in the realm of sexuality.

Person A: What are some of the things that first-timers should keep in mind before diving in?

Person B: So I think it’s one of those cases where, as with anything, when you’re doing something for the first time just take it easy, you don’t have to dive right into the deep end of the swimming pool, so to speak. So, I think if you’re going to have an experience with someone, just make sure that the two of you are both consenting adults, try not to do it too severely under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and just pace yourself. Don’t force to do anything that doesn’t feel right or that you’re not enjoying doing. It’s supposed to be a pleasurable and enjoyable intimate experience with another person, so take your time, and don’t expect yourself to be this stellar porn star the first time you have a sexual encounter with another man.

Person A: Do you have anything to say to young men out there who are scared of the stigma they might face?

Person B: I think the best advice that I can give a young man who considers himself to be MSM or is thinking about experimenting, about being an MSM is that unfortunately we do live in a time where there is stigma and there are certain communities where you need to be careful about promoting your sexual orientation. So if you are going to be outspoken, loud and proud about your sexual orientation, or your curiosity in exploring your sexual fluidity then just do so in safe places and on platforms where you know that you’ll be supported, and where you’ll be encouraged rather than face stigma, ignorance or discrimination. So, consider your environment, consider the people that are around you, make sure you’re safe, make sure you’re not in a situation where you could come to harm or you could be the victim of someone else’s ignorance or stupidity.

Person A: In a society where many are taught to be ashamed of their feelings, what advice do you have to give?

Person B: Shame is sadly a universal thing that most of us will have to experience, and it’s also not something that the LGBTQ community has a franchise on. Heterosexual, cis-gendered people also have to deal with shame in many realms and many aspects of their lives, and I think it’s just one of those cases where you need to try and keep perspective, and the perspective is just looking at things rationally and analytically when considering yourself, and when considering things like your sexuality. Do you have a rational reason for feeling shameful about your sexuality or your desire to experiment? Or are you just adopting someone else’s discriminatory perspective? Sometimes it doesn’t even have to be an emotional thing; but try to leave emotion out of it and think, should I be feeling shameful? Probably not. This is somebody else’s issue, this is my aunt, or my cousin, or this guy over there or this lady over there’s perspective, so I don’t need to adopt their shameful attitude, or their stigmatised perspective of my sexual orientation.

Person A: And seeing as we live in an age of internet, are there any websites or other online sources that you would recommend that MSM’s check out?

Person B: Definitely. So, if you’re a young man who has sex with men or is considering having sex with other men, or you’re just curious, if you’re between the ages of, I’d say, 15 and 21, you can go onto a website called and on that website it explores different aspects of sexuality, sexual expression, sexual identity, puberty as well as gender expression and gender identity. Then if you’re older than that, if you’re in your early twenties all the way up to forties you can go to and there are all sorts of topics that are dealt with, like internalised homophobia, online bullying, stigma, you can look up things to do with HIV prevention, HIV treatment, sexually transmitted infections and how to protect yourself, how to use condoms and lube, anything that you might need to consider if you’re a person who’s even considering, as a man having sex with another man.

Person A: That was Bruce Little, speaking to us here at GaySA radio about first-timers, our topic for the evening.


Click on this link to listen to this interesting interview:


VO: The Steam Room presents: “Liquid Courage”


STUDENT 1: Hey Boys! It’s 30 minutes to go till we head through to Fairmont House for tonight’s social. So, I hope you’re all getting spick and span for the ladies! At 8 o’clock we’re all gonna meet outside the new building and then take a walk across campus to the res! Don’t be late!

JOSH: So, have you made up your mind yet? Tell me you’re coming.

FERGUS: Uhhhh…

JOSH: No, no, I know what that sound means.

FERGUS: Well….

JOSH: No, you have to. You’ve never been to a social!

FERGUS: With good reason.

JOSH: How would you know if you haven’t tried?

FERGUS: I know enough. Living here since first -year has taught me a thing or two about how these things work. I’m too feminist for this shit.

JOSH: You’d be surprised, though. A lot of the girls hold their own. It isn’t the 90’s anymore.

FERGUS: It’s not just about that. It’s also about being at a university that…

JOSH: Ja ja ja… That still allows the system to operate… Ja ja ja…

FERGUS: Exactly. Why is it that it’s still all so gendered and we need to travel across town like a group of Vikings seeking mates. It’s archaic.

JOSH: It’s a social. It’s not supposed to be about getting laid. It’s about meeting other students.

FERGUS: If this res – and the bro boys– have proven anything to me it’s that those spaces aren’t for people like me. It’s for drunk, straight boys and girls to hook up and then awkwardly dodge one another for the next few years as they pretend they haven’t tasted each other’s genitals.

JOSH: Jesus, Gus. Do you have to be that graphic?

FERGUS: Tell me I’m wrong, though.

JOSH: I guess it’s what you make it. These things always are.

FERGUS: That’s pretty easy to say when you look the way you do, though, and you have women banging down the door to our room trying to get at what you’ve got going on.

JOSH: Point is I never let them in.

FERGUS: And the academy thanks you for that. (dissolving into laughter) I don’t even know what I’d do if I got home one night and saw you and some girl bent into a pretzel on your bed.

JOSH: You could always join us.

FERGUS: Josh, you’re forgetting about my allergies. It’s dogs, grass and pussy.

JOSH: Well. Take your meds and come tonight!

FERGUS: Why are you being so insistent? You aren’t usually this intense.

JOSH: Well, it’s cuz I want to have a good night tonight. Exams are coming up soon and it’s probably going to be one of the last night’s I can party. Is it a crime to want my roommate to join for a jol?

FERGUS: As if having the res’ token fag at your side won’t take your cred with the “manne” down a notch.

JOSH: I’ve said it before, dude. Anyone who’d have an issue with that is not the kinda guy I wanna hang around with anyway. That shit’s backwards.

FERGUS: And we appreciate your allyship. But I have some work to get done anyway. I’m almost done with this essay.

JOSH: Sure, dude. But, when’s it due for?

FERGUS: A few weeks from now.

JOSH: A few weeks!?


JOSH: Do you hear yourself? I mean, when was the last time you even went out?


JOSH: Exactly. It’s been forever.

FERGUS: Well, I’m sorry that I’m…

JOSH: Insane. That’s the word for it.

FERGUS: I prefer to think of it as “studious”.

JOSH: Okay, Mr honour roll…


FERGUS: Shouldn’t you be getting ready?

JOSH: Ja. I’m gonna go shower now.



JOSH: I really wanted to hang with you tonight… I missed going out with you this semester. I hope that doesn’t sound weird.

FERGUS: It doesn’t. I missed hanging with you too. I actually wanted to ask if you wanted to come to this screening Jacques is throwing next week?

JOSH: If I’m free I will. But, I doubt it. My course is about to become a shitstorm of deadlines, hey.

FERGUS: It’s that bad?

JOSH: Engineering, man. But, It’s the life I chose. (beat)  But, anyway, I’m gonna go shower. I hope you change your mind about coming. Plus Mia’s at Fairmont as well.

FERGUS: True. But, I doubt it.

JOSH: Okay…









MIA: Gus! Hey! I did not think I’d see you tonight! I mean, have you ever even been to one of these things?

FERGUS: Nah, dude. Never. This is my first one. Some guy in a toga let me in at the gate.

MIA: Some guy in a toga? He’s from your res. Isn’t his name Trevor or something?

FERGUS: I wouldn’t know.

MIA: Of course not. He’s one of the drones. I think he’s on your house com, though.

FERGUS: Again, I literally would have no idea.

MIA: (laughing) Figures.

FERGUS: But yes, here I am.

MIA: Here you are. Josh said you weren’t coming, though.

FERGUS: I changed my mind. Thought I’d give it a chance. At least now I’ll know what I’m judging them all for.

MIA: I thought you had an essay to do.

FERGUS: I finished it earlier. Didn’t expect you’d be down here either, though?

MIA: Ugh, now and again I give it a chance. I mean, there’s free beer so if the vibe doesn’t strike you the liquor will. It’s a built-in back-up plan.


FERGUS: Where’s Josh at?

MIA: Last I saw him he was upstairs in the rec room. Are you guys still hanging out and all?

FERGUS: Ja. I mean, why wouldn’t we be?

MIA: I don’t know. I kinda figured you’d have told him by now?

FERGUS: And make the rest of the semester awkward? Nah, dude. I’d rather not be the roommate who fell for the straight boy.

MIA: Nah, dude. If you’re feeling it, you’re feeling it.

FERGUS: What if he thinks I’m gonna feel him up in the middle of the night?

MIA: OMG, I don’t think he’s that kind of guy.

FERGUS: They’re a tribe, bitch. I’m not gonna risk that shit.

MIA: You worry way too much. It’s Uni. You’d be surprised.

FERGUS: Either way, there’s no way it’d even happen.

MIA: Ugh, just drink this.

FERGUS: What is it?

MIA: Punch. Well, it’s mostly vodka, but apparently the addition of about a teaspoon of pineapple juice makes it a punch.


MIA: So, drink up. You need to loosen up. How are you wearing a button-up!?

FERGUS: I don’t know the dress code for these things! (beat) Tell me, where’s the bathroom? I have about a pint of coffee in me that wants out.

MIA: It’s up the stairs inside, to your right. You can’t miss it.

FERGUS: Cool, babe. Thanks. I’ll come find you now.


JOSH: Mia, I’m right here!

MIA: Oh, hey! I’ve been looking for you!

JOSH: Ja, I heard. What’s up?

MIA: He’s here!

JOSH: Colin? Ja, I know we’ve already seen each other

MIA: No, you nit! Fergus!

JOSH: What?? But he said he was gonna hang back and work.

MIA: Nah, my dude. He just went to the bathroom. Looks like the plan is back on track, hey.

JOSH: I’m not sure…

MIA: What? Why?? You were so keen yesterday!

JOSH: I know. But, I don’t know…. I’ve lost my nerve.

MIA: There’s such a thing as liquor. And if you haven’t noticed, it’s flowing freely…

JOSH: So, I get to be the muscle-bound jock boy drunkenly making an unsolicited move?

MIA: You’re over-complicating this.

JOSH: Gus is a social justice warrior. Is there another way this thing could go if he isn’t into it?

MIA: Ugh… fuck. (beat) Okay Josh. Do you have a drink?

JOSH: Ja, right here.

MIA: Is it the punch?


MIA: Okay, good. I need you to take a swig before I let myself be a shitty friend.

JOSH: Huh?

MIA: Just down it, dude.

JOSH: What?

MIA: Dude.

JOSH: Okay okay!


MIA: Okay. Listen to me. And if you dare tell another soul I’ll tell everyone you have genital warts. (beat, she takes a breath in and out) Fergus like you too. He literally never shuts up about it.

JOSH: Wait, what? What the fuck?

MIA: Ja. He has for months. So, he got there a bit later than you, but ja. He’s into you. Hard.

JOSH: He told you this??

MIA: Ja. Our entire squad knows. It’s a whole thing.

JOSH: Why didn’t you tell me sooner, dude??

MIA: For the same reason I haven’t told him shit. I keep my promises.

JOSH: Jesus H Christ. And we’ve been in the same room…

MIA: Ja.

JOSH: For a year and a half…

MIA: Ja. That’s what makes it so annoying.

JOSH: And you’re sure?

MIA: Completely.

JOSH: What the fuuuuuuck…. I just don’t wanna risk…

MIA: OMG, okay if you don’t believe me… (shouting) TRACY!! COME HERE!!


TRACY: (drunk) Hey! Whasssup, ho!

MIA: Trace, I know you’re somehow already shitfaced, but please tell this dude over here about Gus’ crush.

TRACY: Ja, no, Gus has a massive crush on Josh. (beat) Oh, wait. (whispering to MIA) Dude, this is Josh.

MIA: I know, girl. Okay, you can run off now,

TRACY: But, dafuq, bish?

MIA: Trust me. And don’t tell Gus yet.

TRACY: Mmkaaayyy … OMG, young loooovveee…

MIA: Calm down, Trace. This is delicate work.

TRACY: Okay, keep me… in the looooop. Bye, Bitch. (to JOSH) Bye bye guy I wish was straight but likes twinks.

JOSH: Bye…

MIA: Believe me now?

JOSH: Oh my word…

MIA: So, tonight’s the night, then?

JOSH: Looks like it might be.

MIA: Come with me. If you’re not feeling it yet, there’s a bottle of tequila in my room that’s very good at this kind of convincing.


JOSH: Jesus… That shit hit me fast.

MIA: That means it’s working.

JOSH: He’s alone somewhere downstairs now, though. He hates this crowd. We should go find him.

MIA: Everyone with half a brain hates this crowd. But, he’ll be okay. He’s a big boy.

JOSH: That he is… I’ve seen him in the shower.

MIA: Wow, okay, that tequila is working, hey. How about you hand that bottle over before you puke on my carpet?

JOSH: Maybe just one more swig.

MIA: Okay, but then you’re cut off.


MIA: And there you go.

JOSH: Thanks. So, what’s the plan?

MIA: Well, maybe you can corner him in the garden or something. Tell him what’s on your mind. Or you can walk over to the park next door and have a conversation.

JOSH: Or I could kiss him downstairs in front of everyone. Might as well go big.

MIA: Ok, down boy. Are you sure that’s how you want to come out?

JOSH: I play hardball.

MIA: (joshing) I heard that aboutchu…


FERGUS: (from the other side) Mia! You in there? Tracy said I should come upstairs.

MIA: (whispering) Or sometimes the opportunity presents itself in the form of a drunk girl.

FERGUS: Who are you whispering to?

MIA: (to Josh) Ready or not…


FERGUS: Hey… who’s in here…?  (beat) Oh. Hey. Uhm… Mia, what’s going on?

MIA: Don’t worry, Gussy. He’s not here for me. (beat) I’ll leave you two to it.


JOSH: Hey, Gus.

FERGUS: Hey. Uhm, what’s up? Why’s she suddenly being so cryptic? (beat) Are you drunk, bro?

JOSH: Ugh, I hate it went you call me that?


JOSH: Bro.

FERGUS: (laughing) What? Why?

JOSH: It doesn’t come to you naturally… It’s like you’re playing a character for me. It’s weird.

FERGUS: Uhm… Okay then, girl.

JOSH: Thank youuuu. (beat) And thanks for coming to the party. Come sit here.

FERGUS: Uhm, okay. (beat) Why are you up here?

JOSH: Apparently to finally have a talk with you.

FERGUS: About?

JOSH: The shit that’s been on my mind.

FERGUS: It sounds like you’re trying to get me to change rooms.

JOSH: Well, that would certainly ruin my plans, wouldn’t it?

FERGUS: What are these plans?

JOSH: Ugh, I don’t know.

FERGUS: Geez, you’re so drunk. Do you need some water? I’ll get you some.



JOSH: Thanks.

FERGUS: So? Out with it.

JOSH: I… I think you’re cool.

FERGUS: Thanks. I think you’re cool too.

JOSH: No. I mean, I think you’re really cool.

FERGUS: Ditto, dude.

JOSH: No. It’s like… I think…. I think you’re cooler than anyone else I know and I’ve thought that for a while, you know. Like, I get weirdly excited when I finish class early and I know you’ll be working in our room cuz I know I’ll get to hang with you, and shoot the breeze, and laugh like an idiot, and smile like a moron cuz you’re the funniest person I know. And the kindest. (beat) And … you, Sir, have got an ass that blows my mind.

FERGUS: Woah… wait. I think you’re too drunk maybe. Drink your water.

JOSH: (comically delivered) Dude… I wanna drink you.

FERGUS: Sorry?

JOSH: Like, I wanna kiss you every time I see you and I have to stop myself cuz I never really knew if you were even into the idea… But, now I do.

(A few beats of silence)

FERGUS: Josh… where is this all coming from?

JOSH: Mia, dude. She told me.

FERGUS: Told you what?

JOSH: That apparently you’re finally on the same page as me.

FERGUS: Dude I need so much context. You’re straight .

JOSH: No, I’m not.


JOSH: Never have been.


JOSH: It’s an act, dude. You know how it is. You play a certain way to seem like all the rest. Go to the parties, dress like them, talk like them. But, I’m not one of them. And… (beat) Fuck it, dude. I talk too much. Gus, I like you. I wanna kiss you, Can I do that?


FERGUS: Josh. You’re not fucking with me are you?

JOSH: Never, dude.


JOSH: Okay?



JOSH: Jesus.


FERGUS: Josh. Do you have a condom?




Well, we hope you had a good time listening to that one as Josh and Fergus finally got to hooking up.

That was “Liquid Courage” written exclusively for GaySA Radio by playwright Arlin Bantam.


To listen to this exciting and raunchy play, click here:

Person A: Did you enjoy your first time?

Person B: Oh yes, oh yes honey, I did. Absolutely, yes. It was ground shaking, earth moving, it was just a phenomenal evening. One that can never be replaced.

Person C: It was ok, it was very scary, I mean there were so many faults, but then I kind of liked it.

Person D: Yeah, it was good

Person E: No, I didn’t, but I don’t know… no, I didn’t really enjoy it, it was, oh Jesus, it was a bit…(nervous laugh)

Person A: How different is sex now, compared to how you started out?

Person B: All sex now has changed, it’s no longer the same.

Person C: When i was a bit younger, when I dropped it and dipped it, I enjoyed it a bit more than I am now. I don’t know if now that there are so many responsibilities and so many things that are too worrisome for me to be thinking about sex that I don’t think much often about it, or I’m not even too bothered about it. But nonetheless, when I do have it, I still find it enjoyable.

Person D: I know now I can say that I’ve gained experience because back then I didn’t know what to do, you know, what role one has to play and everything like that you know, but now it’s like ok, and this and that… but yeah you know, right now I’m like an amateur, I would say, for lack of better words.

Person E: For me that day, because I did call the guy and I’m like you know what, do it. But I did put bleach in my bath because right now it’s better because now I have experience and I know how to spice things up. I know how to do things, yeah. So I can say it is better, even though at that time it was kind of special, and nowadays sex is just for fun.

Person A: Were there any feelings of shame or guilt when you started out?

Person B: I don’t remember. All I remember is that it was just a fantastic time, and if it was a fantastic time, as I’m saying it was, then there probably was no feeling of guilt. How can you feel guilty when you’re doing something so pleasurable? Impossible.

Person C: Not really, not at all because I was comfortable with the person I was with and I was comfortable enough with myself that I didn’t feel any guilt, and we waited a while before we actually started doing it so we were both comfortable and so there were no feelings of guilt or shame whatsoever. We were comfortable, so I think it was a good age for us to do it.

Person D: Okay, first of all I prayed about it, then later I told myself that there’s nothing I can do now, we had sex, I had sex with a man and there’s nothing I can do to change it. So I just have to live with it.

Person E: Yes, there was a sense of guilt, knowing that I grew up in a Christian family and being taught, you know, Sodom and Gomorrah, it’s forbidden for men to sleep with men, that type of thing. So for me, I felt that the feeling was right but I felt guilty, like I’m doing this, I was even judging myself, I thought I’m going to burn in hell, I felt like shit. This is bad, I’m not supposed to do this, it’s so wrong. I just felt like I’m the worst person, you know? Lie me doing these things, I was like, no.

Person A: What is your sexual orientation?

Person B: Well, I’m an auntie, Aun-tay,  Pole-bottom, a looter continuer. We’re not cutting any corners, it is what it is, and it’s just not going to change. If you bend the ruler, it just might break, so keep it as it is. Aun-tay

Person C:  I am a gay guy who likes other men, and yeah, I’m into booty. I like booty a lot.

Person D: Gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, gay, I’m gay.

Person A: Do you have any advice for men out there who are considering it?

Person B: Well, I lie to tell the men out there, who are considering it, that you know what, live your life like it’s la vida loca, have it, eat it, enjoy it, indulge in it, wrap your legs around it and pull him in. It’s that simple.

Person C: Yep, I did, with protection, that’s the only advice.

Person D: Don’t rush in. Just take your time and don’t rush into things and definitely do not expect anything, just go with the flow but don’t have any expectations, because you are going to be disappointed. Disappointments will get your heart broken.

Person E: I was twenty, yeah. Wait until you’re ready, or just do it when you’re ready, when you feel ready, or you know you’re ready, just then do it, that’s my advice. Whatever you want to do, as long as you feel like you’re ready and you want to do it, do it. Yeah.


Follow this link to hear these raunchy confessions for yourself:

On the show with us tonight we are joined by expert doctor Ezio Baraldi, who will be talking about protection and how to stay safe when you’re getting up close and personal.

Ezio Baraldi: I am Dr Ezio Baraldi, and I’m a family physician in Pretoria, and I specialise in men’s health and HIV treatment.

Person C: What would you say are the main differences to keep in mind between MSM and MSW sex?

Ezio Baraldi: Well obviously that’s a bit of a broad question, but in terms of danger to the participant and in terms of the acquisition of HIV and other STI’s, there are some differences obviously. With vaginal sex there’s… it’s potentially less likely to be able to transmit any of these infections because of the density of the tissues. If you’re looking at anal sex, either male or female, the tissues are much more pliable, and are therefore more permeable to transmission of any pathogen, whether be a virus, pubic material, anything else. And you can get bleeds, and obviously the minute you have bleed, force and trauma, there is a much higher potential entry level for pathogens.

Person C: Perfect, so what are the best methods when engaging in MSM sex?

Ezio Baraldi: Well again, it depends on the activity itself, but obviously sae sex is paramount, so we’re looking at that you be consistent. Use of condoms, and we’re looking at the use of condoms with water-based lubricants because oil-based lubricants, as we all know, damage the latex and can cause a condom to break. And just to keep in mind, if you are doing anal sex then the old adage is too much lube is almost enough. So make sure that there is enough lubrication.

Person C: In terms of PREP, can you tell me a little about what PREP is and advice for people who might want to get it, but maybe don’t want people to know that they’re getting it.

Ezio Baraldi: So, PREP is the new tool that we use in the fight to try and control the spread of HIV. PREP stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, and there, what we do is we give anti-retroviral medication to people who are HIV-Negative so that if the virus enters the body, the drug is already there to block its duplication, and therefore prevents an infection. There are a number of drugs that can be used for this, but at present there is only one combination that is registered and it is a combination of tenofovir and FTC. And with the right to different trade names I’m not allowed to mention. It works very well; the success rate has been high. It has to be taken consistently, and what one needs to remember very clearly is that you need to be able to prove that you are HIV-Negative, because we only use two drugs in PREP, whereas in treatment we use three. So if you were taking PREP and you do pick up the virus, you are then exposed to only two drugs instead of three and that will cause resistance in the virus, which is going to compromise your treatment for the rest of your life, so it’s crucial to know that you are and remain HIV-Negative while taking PREP. And the way to do that is a test every three months at a minimum, with a fourth-generation test. Now a fourth-generation test is important because it tests for the anti-bodies that your body has made against the virus as well as the P24 antigen. And the P24 antigen is something that appears very early on in HIV infection and then disappears after that. So the fourth-generation HIV test will pick that up. The normal HIV test on all the rapids, the finger-prick tests, are not fourth-generation. They still have a very long window period whereas the fourth-generation has got a window period of 14-21 days, and you of course want to know as soon as possible if there is an HIV infection. So just a few other things to remember about when you’re taking PREP. Where to get it discreetly, it depends what we mean by discreetly but it is available through all private practitioners; it is available for free through some of the NGO’s and the state has appointed certain NGO’s to distribute PREP medication. But it is privately available through the medical aid, they do pay for it. They may have reservations, they may have rules for it, but they do pay for it, and all private practitioners can prescribe it. If you’re talking about discreet and you don’t want anything to appear through your medical aid or you don’t want anything to appear in a letter that you sent with an account or something, then the best option is to go and do all of this privately with a practitioner and anonymously, which can be done, as long as there isn’t a third party that wants to know who you are, to pay for it, then it can all be done anonymously, and that’s one of the things that we do at our practice

Person C: What’s your advice on safety during oral sex?

Ezio Baraldi: So the transmission of pathogens through oral sex is known, it does happen. However, the mouth contains a lot of antibodies in general, because it is the filthiest place in the body, quite frankly. So a lot of pathogens are already sorted out within the mouth, within the saliva, but the golden rule remains, that any bodily fluid that goes in can potentially cause it and we do have cases of the transmission of gonorrhoea in the throat, we do have cases of the transmission of syphilis going through as well as HIV. HIV not as much as the others, there have not been many really recorded cases where we could prove it was oral transmission, and statistically speaking, if that was a major route of transmission then I think the epidemic would be twice the size of what it is now, so it’s unlikely, but not impossible. So always use a condom, that’s the golden rule.


Click here to listen to Ezio Baraldi as he talks about barrier methods:

Learn more about how to protect yourself and the people you care about from STI’s by listening to this:

Now let’s have a quick gab as we summon the cavalry. Spilling the tea tonight we have Liveo and Pieter. So just between us queers…

Person B: When was the first time you realised you wanted to try having sex with a man?

Person C: The first time I realised I wanted to have sex with a man was when I actually saw one of my gym teachers at my school and realised, I want to get into his pants.

Person D: Well the first time I was interested in a guy was also at school. I was in standard eight and he was in standard seven, and I was totally obsessed with him, his name was Kobus. (Laugh)

Person B: How did you feel about those feelings?

Person C: Very strange, because you are taught in this dominantly straight world that being gay is wrong, but I also realised that I am not the same person that everyone else is, that everyone is unique and I realised that I’m different than everyone else.

Person D: The way I realised is basically, if I saw a nice-looking woman or lady that I wouldn’t have urges to… I would think she is nice but I wouldn’t have urges for her. And when it was a hot guy, you know, there would be something waking up inside me and stuff like that. But that’s basically how I realised.

Person B: Who did you lose your virginity to?

Person C:  Oh my God that’s a good question. I must say, I think the first guy I was seeing for many years, and was a friend’s boyfriend, and they eventually broke up, and we landed up hooking up that evening. About two weeks later he broke up with that current boyfriend and ja, that was it, what can I say?

Person D: Well my first time was with a guy I met at Stardust Haze, and we went to some house party, I can’t remember, It’s like, many moons ago. And if I remember correctly his name was Deon or Leon, something like that, and we were there for a pool party at night and stuff, and I think he went to show me the house, and we ended up in a room. That’s… I think they made me a bit drunk, I can’t remember everything.

Person B: Was your first time good?

Person C: I don’t think your first time is ever good, because of your nerves, because you are in bed with the same sex, so I think it was a bit more awkward, but I think the second time was better. Everything comes good with practice, like they say.

Person D: Ja I would agree with Liveo, I don’t think my first time was actually bad, I think he was quite gentle and stuff but…

Person C: Ja but it’s more nerves, a person can’t…

Person D: It gets better.

Person C: Ja, you get more nervous than anything else, now it’s second nature.

Person B: Finally, is there anything you wish you had done differently that first time?

Person D: Maybe not to have hooked up so fast.

Person C: Ja, I’d also not maybe… was so nervous and got so… I mean the first time you sleep with the same sex you are so on your nerves, you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re trying to please and be happy and I think just go with the flow and that would have been a better option.


Click here to listen to this in depth, sexy panel discussion:

Person A: now tonight we’ve been focussing a lot on the technical aspects of your first time, but let’s never forget about those feelings you might be having, so here at gaySA radio we are committed to bringing you the full Monty, and so in that vein, with us on the show tonight we have Bruce Little to give you a little bit more advice on what to do on the emotional side of things.

Person A: Do you think that it’s totally necessary to come out as MSM?

Bruce Little: I think it’s up to you as the individual, it’s not up to me to dictate to anyone what they should or shouldn’t do with regards to how the express themselves in society, so it’s up to you. I think for me personally, it was definitely more beneficial coming out as a gay man, see what a lot of people don’t know is that MSM, men who have sex with men, do not necessarily identify as gay or bisexual. There are many men who have sex with men purely because of circumstance, because they find themselves in situations where there are no individuals of the opposite sex for them to express themselves sexually, so for example, there’s classic stories of young men in boys’ schools, experimenting with one another; there’ also cases where men in prison, who do not have access to women, experiment with each other sexually. So it’s up to the individual, if you feel that you will be more liberated coming out to your community or your society, then do so, but as I said before, do so in such a way that you’ll be supported and most importantly, that you’ll be safe.

Person A: And do you have any advice for newcomers when dealing with real life instances of discrimination?

Bruce Little: There are so many different ways to be discriminated against, for example there’s trolling on social media, there is outright assault. There is also internalised homophobia, where certain members of the LGBTQIA+ community are discriminatory and are negative to other members of the community. So each of those instances would require a unique and different response, obviously. But in general, I think when dealing with matters of discrimination online, I find personally, the best way to deal with those situations is to block the person, don’t give them the gratification of responding. So block that person, delete them, treating someone as if they never existed in the first place is the most powerful things you can do. So if you have someone who’s trying to intimidate you on a dating app or on your Facebook profile, or on Instagram, block, block, block. When it comes to actual, physical encounters in the real world, try and get yourself to safety, try not to allow yourself to become isolated or vulnerable in a situation where you might become victim to people who are ignorant or have bad or negative, you know, violent intentions against you, and in general, just take care of yourself. If you’re going out, make sure you have one or two friends with you, try not to put yourself in situations where you are vulnerable. It’s sad that we have to make sure that we don’t have to be, that we’re not vulnerable, but we do live in a society where we have to make sure that we have some kind of backup and some kind of support.

Person A: And then lastly, I think besides turning to the internet, where else would MSM’s turn to for help of advice?

Bruce Little: There are many different ways. So there are publications that young MSMs can read, so newspapers for example, Exit newspaper, I think it’s, they can check it out. In the Western Cape there’s a newspaper called the Pink Tongue, there are classifieds at the back of the newspapers and at the beginning of the newspapers there are different groups, associations and communities from the LGBTQI community that youn MSMs can associate with. To find out more about this community and find out more if, you know, you expose yourself to other people in  the community, you find out more about yourself, you can find out about more resources and how to find support and how to feel better and stronger about yourself. And then, also, there are certain clubs and places that are gay-friendly venues in different cities, so just find out where those paces are, and there are even apps that are now available, so you can download an app onto your phone called appfab, and you can download it directly onto your phone to see the latest LGBTQI news, events, and where you can go and even chatrooms and forums where you can engage with other LGBTQI people safely online.

Person A: Thank you so much Bruce Little, for joining us on the steam Room tonight as we talk about first-timers, the ins and the outs of being a newcomer to MSM. The Steam Room is brought to you by the South African National department of health’s Pillow Project.


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