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. I’m Rey, and on tonight’s show we’ll be exploring to topic of after-nines. We spoke to some people to find out what they thought this term meant and what they had to say about it.
Person B: What do you understand about the term after-nine?
Person C: An After-nine is a heterosexual who engages in homosexual activities after 9pm (laugh) I mean, what else?
Person D: So the term after-nine for me means a person who is attracted to the same sex but isn’t comfortable enough yet to accept themselves and live their life freely.
Person E: Well, after-nine, according to me is a person who lives a double life, according to my understanding. It’s a person who is straight during the day and at night they change to be homosexual, per se. So they’re basically living a double life whereby during the day they’re something else and at night they are another thing.
Person B: How prevalent is this phenomenon?
Person C: Well, it is quite a big thing, you know? It is happening, there are a lot of after-niners out there and a lot of them prefer to stay that way due to the facts of what are people going to think of me, or if I come out, or should they know about this? How are they going to treat me, how are they going to look at me, you know? So it is quite there and it’s happening.
Person E: After-nine is quite common in the day and age that we’re living in, we tend to think that people would be free to be who they are and express their feelings, but we find that it’s quite difficult for a person to be out of the closet, the reason being we all run after acceptance. We think merely because people think heterosexuality is normal, we tend to hide ourselves, we tend to enclose ourselves, and enclose our emotions merely to be accepted by society. So it’s quite easy for a person to live as an after-nine kind of person, to live as a homosexual, bisexual individual. They tend to find more acceptance in the community and it’s quite easy for them to go about day by day without anyone putting a tag on them that they are gay, which is something that most of the after-nines find very difficult to accept, that I’m this individual and I need to accept who I am, they tend to be more comfortable doing things behind closed doors without anyone knowing.
Person D: Nowadays, there’s so many categories, and people falling into those categories that it’s part of life, I think, It’s not actually something funny anymore.
Person F: You know what; I wouldn’t be surprised if it was more prevalent than what I think it is. I think it is definitely out there, I think that’s a definite sub-culture that does exist, and I don’t know enough to be able to be like, it’s this large, but I’m pretty sure it’s larger than what I think it is.
Person G: I think it’s more prevalent than we realise, statistically I wouldn’t be able to tell you but I think it’s more common than we would think.
Person H: I think in their circle of networking it is, and they know about it and they have conversations about it, so I think it’s very prevalent, it’s just that us, the general public, wouldn’t know anything about it. But once you get into that space, or once you get introduced to it, you would see that it’s actually a lot of people that are into that space.
Person B: Do you know of anyone else who identifies as after-nine?
Person C: I’ve dated an after-nine, believe it or not, and it was just a mess. It was a wrecking ball, it was disastrous. I mean, you have to be hidden in the afternoon, and be seen after nine. It’s ridiculous right? So ja, I’ve recognised a lot of after-nines, still see a lot of them out there.
Person E: I do know a couple of people who are after-nines, I don’t know if they identify themselves as that, but you know, their way of life and their way of living clearly put them in that category, so ja.
Person B: What do you think of men who fall into this category?
Person C: Well, confusion, and more confusion. Actually as a matter of fact you’re confusing me. I mean, you cannot eat a burger and fish at the same time, pick one.
Person E: I think the only privilege with this if for someone to be able to live the best of both worlds, I could say, because in many cases you’d find that after-nines have a straight life, a heterosexual life rather, in broad daylight you know? Some of them have wives, some of them have kids and stuff, and after hours they get to do other stuff with other men, so think maybe that could be the privilege for them.
Person F: I think that human beings got to do their thing; I can imagine it can be quite difficult living a particular life during the day and then switching it up at night, I can imagine the stigma attached can be quite intense as well.
Person G: I don’t have a clear understanding of them, it was one of my first times hearing this, actually last night we were having such a conversation, but I would say that ja, they’re doing them, they’re living their lives.
Person D: I don’t judge. So if that’s your thing, and that works for you then by all means, as long as you don’t hurt anybody in the process.
Person I: There’s no judgement here actually. If it is your thing, I mean Why not?
Person H: I suppose it’s up to them what they wanna do and I’m not the type to judge.
Person J: First of all, if I’m right with the concept, why the hell do they just need to be it after-nine? It’s not quite understandable, do you have a partner, is there something that you are hiding? What’s up?
Click this link to listen to this interesting conversation about after-nines: https://youtu.be/bzKQ0PlKc5Q?list=PLBluQkrhxScXvPJO9L0ONhqvCZpfbFdAF
Bruce Little: Hi, I’m Bruce J Little and I am the content creator for the Unova health institute.
Person C: Bruce, first things first, what is your precise definition of an after-niner?
Bruce Little: So the term after-niner is quite a loose term, it’s slang. It’s a term used for somebody who is generally known to be heterosexual or somebody who identifies as being heterosexual, often married men, and who then, after 9pm in the evening will visit certain venues or taverns or certain people’s residences, and then engage in a gay or homosexual relationship or experience with another man, but on the down-low
Person C: And, what are some of the reasons that people would want to have sex like this?
Bruce Little: So we still live in a society that is very critical of gay men and bisexual men, and there’s stigma attached and discrimination and because of that a lot of men who are sexually fluid or who enjoy occasionally engaging in sexual acts with other men, or even men who are mostly homosexual in terms of their desires prefer to hide that identity from other people or their communities or their wives and children.
Person C: How prevalent would you say is this phenomenon?
Bruce Little: It’s very difficult for us to gauge exact numbers, because obviously these people, by their very nature, are hidden. They’re not coming. They’re called after-nines because they hide and they only make their presence known after nine, supposedly. So they’re like the mystical creature, the Loch Ness Monster. We know… whereas for the Loch Ness Monster we don’t have any evidence, but we know the fact that after-nines exist because men who identify as homosexual, gay or bisexual are having sex with these men who identify as after-nines. So it’s not empirical evidence but it’s secondary research evidence and data has indicated to us that there are quite a number of men like this, but it’s very difficult to ascertain exact numbers, obviously.
Person C: Do after-niners face even more stigma than the general population of men who have sex with men and if so, why?
Bruce Little: It’s very difficult to generalise a statement about that. So one could argue that after-nines actually face a lot less discrimination because most people don’t know that they engage in same-sex acts with other men, so their identity is hidden and therefore any kind of discrimination, stigma or phobia towards homosexual acts is then… They’re protected from that. And often many of these men are married, have children and to society they appear as heteronormative and it’s the every-day, married straight man. So I would say in many ways they face a lot less stigma and discrimination from society, but within the LGBTQ community they face quite a lot of resentment, and I suppose criticism because they aren’t coming out and being open about who and what they are.
Person C: What are some of the health issues that these men face, and why?
Bruce Little: So after-nines technically fall under a canopy that we here at the Unova Health Institute refer to as MSM, which is men who have sex with men, and all men who have sex with men, whetherthey identify as gay, bi or heterosexual, if you’re a man who has sex with other men, you are at a higher risk of HIV infection as well as HIV transmission as well as other STI’s like gonorrhoea, syphilis and any of the other sexually transmitted infections. And because of that these men need to be extra careful when engaging in sexual acts with other men, and often, just as with any other MSM situations, they have to use condoms and water-based lube, like anybody who is engaging in anal sex because anal sex is a much riskier sex to have in terms of HIV transmission than vaginal sex. So anyone who is engaging in anal sex, with a man and a woman or two men, and two men are generally more prevalent in terms of having anal sex, are at higher risk of HIV transmission. So that’s something that MSM’s need to be cognisant of and because they are also not open about having sex with other men, they are not engaging with members of society who could help them, so for example, if somebody who is an after-nine doesn’t identify as gay or bisexual, he’s not going to go to a clinic like Health4Men necessarily, because he doesn’t identify as one of those people, so he won’t get sexual health information or get the treatment that he might need as someone who has sex with another man because he doesn’t want his doctor or any other healthcare provider to know that he is having sex men on the down-low, so that’s why these men are particularly vulnerable to STI transmission, because they live in the shadows, and they don’t come out, it’s very difficult to reach them because they live in such a secretive, almost cloak and dagger type existence.
Person A: That was Bruce Little speaking to us about what it means to be an after-nine.
To listen to this awesome discussion with Bruce Little, click on this link: https://youtu.be/QYcOZF0DPzE?list=PLBluQkrhxScXvPJO9L0ONhqvCZpfbFdAF
SFX: BED MUSIC
VOX: The Steam Room presents “THE LOVE YOU FAKE”.
SFX: A CREAKING BED AND SEX NOISES
SIZWE: (strained and breathy) Are you close?
THABO: Ja… I’m close…
SIZWE: Wait for me…
THABO: Uhhhh! I’m cumming! I’m cumming! I’m… Uuuuhhhhhhh….
SIZWE: Don’t pull out. I haven’t climaxed…
THABO: I’m already going soft.
SIZWE: Ugh. Whatever. Nothing.
THABO: (breathing heavily) That was amazing. It’s so much better without the condom.
SIZWE: It is…? I wouldn’t know hey.
THABO: It wasn’t good for you?
SIZWE: I guess it’s just that I prefer sex where I get to cum too. Why do you keep doing that?
THABO: I’m sorry, babe. I just get too into it sometimes.
SIZWE: It’s like you don’t even care about me when we’re fucking.
THABO: Sizwe, can we please not start this now. We only have a few more minutes before I have to go home.
THABO: Do you want a smoke?
SIZWE: No, it’s okay. (beat) Open the window.
SFX: THABO STRUGGLES TO OPEN THE WINDOW.
THABO: You still haven’t fixed this thing?
SIZWE; Show me the funds and I’ll show you a new window. (beat) I’m a waiter.
THABO: Are you sure you don’t want one?
THABO: And are we on for tomorrow night?
SIZWE: I don’t know. You tell me. Are we?
THABO: I just asked you.
SIZWE: Why don’t you ask your wife. You know how she likes making plans last minute. (beat) I’m going to get water.
THABO: Can I have some too?
SIZWE: Get it yourself.
SFX: FOOTSTEPS AS SIZWE LEAVES THE ROOM
THABO: (Calling after him) Why are you angry…?
SFX: FOOTSTEPS AS SIZWE RETURNS
SIZWE: Here’s your water.
SIZWE: Why are you still in bed?
SIZWE: Didn’t you say you had to get home?
THABO: I do. But I’m not leaving until you speak your mind. Why are you suddenly mad at me? You were all smiles earlier.
SIZWE: Really, Thabo?
SIZWE: How long are we going to keep playing this game?
THABO: I’m not playing any games.
SIZWE: Then tell me what you would call this? Because it feels like one.
THABO: I’m gonna need you to be a whole lot more direct. Because if you’re talking about me cumming before you then…
SIZWE: Of course I’m fucking not. And you know I’m not. I’m talking about your wife. The one you go home to after we fuck. Tell me, do you fuck her right after me?
SIZWE: No, really. Tell me. Am I just a pit-stop on your escapade as you go around spreading your seed to everyone in sight? Mhmm?
THABO: We’ve had this conversation before, Sizwe. I’ve told you. You’re the only one.
SIZWE: No I’m not. She’s there too. Let’s never forget that.
THABO: (tenderly) Sizwe… babe…
SIZWE: What, Thabo?
THABO: Sizwe babe… Come lay down… Don’t be mad.
SIZWE: This isn’t joke, Thabo. It’s how I feel.
THABO: I know, baby. I know… I understand. Come. Come lay down with me.
THABO: There we go. (beat) Are you comfortable?
THABO: You want to talk about it?
SIZWE: You have to go. She’s going to get suspicious.
THABO: It’s okay. I can handle it.
SIZWE: How sure are you?
SIZWE: It’s just… Thabo, it’s getting harder to say goodbye to you every time you leave. I don’t know how much longer I can take this. It’s been a while.
THABO: I know. It’s been a long time.
SIZWE: A very long time. More than a year of this now.
THABO: I promise you I’m not sleeping with anyone else.
SIZWE: (sighs) I know. I know that you’re not. It doesn’t make it any easier, though.
THABO: Sizwe, I love you.
SIZWE: I love you too. (beat) But, isn’t that the same thing you say to your wife every night?
SFX: THE SOUND OF MELLOW CONVERSATION AT A RESTAURANT
WAITER: Sizwe, could you take table 3 for me? Party of two. I’m swamped. I don’t know why they keep overbooking this place for the dinner shift.
SIZWE: Sure. One of my tables just left.
WAITER: Thank you. You’re a star!
SIZWE: No problem.
SFX: BUSTLING TALK FOR 3 SECONDS.
SIZWE: Hi there. My name is Sizwe and I’ll be your waiter for the evening. Can I get you started on drinks?
GLORIA: Yes please. Thabo, what do you want?
THABO: Hi there.
SIZWE: (immediately awkward) Oh… (beat) Yes. Hi.
THABO: Don’t I know you from somewhere?
SIZWE: I don’t know…
THABO: Yes. You’re Lerato’s son, aren’t you?
SIZWE: Oh, yes I am.
THABO: Oh yes. I know your mother.
SIZWE: Oh! That’s cool.
THABO: Lovely woman. (beat) This is my wife, Gloria.
SIZWE: Nice to meet you. (beat) So, drinks?
GLORIA: You can bring me a coke, please.
THABO: And I’ll have a double whiskey. No ice.
SIZWE: Coming up.
SIZWE: What are you doing here?? You know I work here!
THABO: I’m sorry. My wife chose the place.
SIZWE: She’s fat.
THABO: Sizwe… Come on.
SIZWE: I can’t believe you could be this inconsiderate, Thabo. What the fuck, man…
THABO: I told you! I didn’t choose the restaurant! That’s what I came to the bathroom to tell you.
SIZWE: You could have convinced her to change her mind! Or pretended to call and say we were booked up.
THABO: Sizwe, by the time I found out she’d already made the reservation. There was no getting out of it.
SIZWE: And why would you say that you knew me! That just makes things even more awkward!
THABO: I think it would’ve been more awkward if we’d pretended we didn’t know each other. Your face gave it away immediately.
SIZWE: Oh, so you’re going to blame me now? How am I supposed to react when the man I’m sleeping with waltzes in here with his wife on his arm!?
THABO: I didn’t mean for it to happen like this. I’m just trying to make the best of a bad situation here.
SIZWE: Oh, so I’m a bad situation now. I see how it is.
THABO: No. You know that’s not what I meant. (beat) Sizwe, I’m sorry.
SIZWE: And what am I supposed to do now? Walk around like nothing’s going on and serve her all night like I’m not fucking her husband, huh? Do you even know what kind of situation you’ve put me in?
THABO: It wasn’t my fault!
SIZWE: No, Thabo. Nothing is ever your fault. Thabo can never take the blame for anything.
THABO: Sizwe, I love you.
SIZWE: Do you think saying that every time I get upset is going to make everything better? I won’t let you manipulate me like that anymore.
THABO: That’s not what I’m trying to do.
SIZWE: Then what do you call it, Thabo? Cuz from where I’m standing it feels like you try to manage me with those words. Like I’m the little faggot you have to keep from going crazy with cheap tricks so that you can have your cake and eat it too.
THABO: That’s not how I think of you.
SIZWE: It doesn’t matter. That’s how your actions make me feel. But, my feelings aren’t really something you’ve ever considered.
SIZWE: You’re cheating on your wife. And you hide me in a corner because you hate yourself. You’re a gay man. Deal with that shit. You’re a fucking faggot. Just like me. Usisi stabane!
THABO: Sizwe, if you don’t stop this shit I’m going to get angry.
SIZWE: And then what? Huh?
THABO: (almost shouting) Sizwe!!
SIZWE: Keep your fucking voice down! We’re in public!
(THABO breathes heavily)
SIZWE: Don’t look so bothered. Piss off and get back to your table. I have orders to take.
SFX: SOUND OF A DOOR BEING OPENED AND FOOTSTEPS WALKING AWAY.
SFX: A KNOCK COMES FROM THE DOOR.
FOOTSTEPS AS SIZWE WALKS TOWARD IT AND OPENS IT.
SIZWE: I can’t believe you showed up here.
THABO: Not even a “Hi” back?
SIZWE: No, Thabo. I can’t just move on like nothing even happened.
THABO: Can I come in?
SIZWE: I guess I can’t say no, hey. (SARCASTIC) We wouldn’t want the neighbours to see you.
SFX: THE DOOR CLOSES.
THABO: I’m sorry about earlier. I didn’t mean for any of that to happen. I promise I won’t let it happen again.
SIZWE: And that’s all you have to say, hey.
THABO: I’m sorry.
THABO: Aren’t you going to say anything?
SIZWE: Thabo… (beat) Thabo, don’t you wish we were a normal couple?
SIZWE: No. Seriously. Don’t you wish that? That we could walk down the street and hold hands? (beat) Or go to a restaurant and have dinner and neither of us would have to run away somewhere after. We could go home. Isn’t that something you want?
THABO: Sizwe. I don’t know what to say to you.
SIZWE: Just tell me what you want. Just tell me because it’s a conversation that’s long overdue.
THABO: I… I don’t know if that’s something I can give you right now.
SIZWE: Don’t say “right now” if you mean “ever”.
THABO: I don’t have an answer for you.
SIZWE: Tell me if that’s something you want. That’s the question I want an answer to. Do you want to be with me?
THABO: I am with you.
SIZWE: With only me.
THABO: I… can’t make that decision.
SIZWE: Thabo, I want you to leave your wife for me. So, that we… so that we can stop with this whole charade and I can introduce my friends to the man I love.
Thabo, do you love me? And think before you answer. Don’t say it just to get me to do what you want or to get me to forget about what happened earlier.
THABO: Sizwe, I love you.
SIZWE: Then do something about it.
SFX: BED MUSIC.
VOX: Wow, now that was an intense one. That was
“THE LOVE YOU FAKE” – our radio drama for the evening written exclusively for GaySA Radio by playwright Arlin Bantam.
We hope you enjoyed it and have caught a better glimpse into the world of the After-9. This is The Steam Room on GaySA Radio – where you are family.
To listen to this intense and real play, follow this link: https://youtu.be/VtER1owSM7I?list=PLBluQkrhxScXvPJO9L0ONhqvCZpfbFdAF
Find out what’s coming up on The Steam Room as we deal with the topic of After-nines: https://youtu.be/yeD8Y99ezf4?list=PLBluQkrhxScXvPJO9L0ONhqvCZpfbFdAF
Welcome back to the Steamroom here on GaySA Radio, brought to you by the South African National Department of Health’s Pillow Project. I’m your host Rey, and in studio tonight I’m excited to welcome Paula Quincy, a relationship expert who is here to talk to us about how to protect yourself as an active after-nine.
Paula Quincy: Great, thank you. So my name is Paula Quincy, I’m a relationship expert, TedX speaker, and author of Embracing Conflict. And I work with individuals and organisations around relationship dynamics, so primarily things such as emotional intelligence, personal development, behavioural profiling, conflict management and team dynamics.
Person C: And then, I think we’re going to jump straight in with the questions, first one is, would you say that after-niners are a high risk for STD’s?
Paula Quincy: I think it depends on whether they are practicing safe sex or not, and at the end of the day it’s about personal responsibility. So if you want to keep yourself healthy, then you need to practice healthy, safe sex practices, whether you’re married, whether you have multiple partners, it’s about protecting yourself first and foremost, and then protecting your partner or partners.
Person C: And, which STI’s are the most common in this group?
Paula Quincy: So it’s generally common amongst all sexually active people, the most common ones being HIV/AIDS, Chlamydia, and syphilis and crabs and herpes.
Person C: And then, what are the primary things these groups can do to protect themselves? So first of all, safe sex, making use of say, for example, condoms. You can also stick to one partner versus multiple partners, you can also use PREP in terms of making sure that you are preventing yourself or taking all of the necessary measures to protect yourself when it comes to STI’s.
Person C: With regards to PREP, is there something you would suggest for after-niners?
Paula Quincy: I would say definitely, in terms of prevention is always better than cure, but as we now there is nothing out there that is 100% safe. So take every precautionary measure that you can to keep yourself and your partners safe.
Person C: After-niners usually meet at sex clubs, what are the risk aspects of these places?
Paula Quincy: I think it depends on the level of the place that you go to, that you frequent. Do they keep things such as hygiene, are the places clean? Are the type of people that you’re meeting there, but the biggest risk is having penetrative sex without condoms.
Person C: For after-niners that have sex often, how regularly would you suggest that they be tested for STI’s?
Paula Quincy: I would say minimum six months but if you are very active and you have multiple partners, at least once a month.
Person A: That was Paula Quincy talking to us about effective barrier methods for those who identify as after-nines.
Check out Paula Quincy talking about STI prevention: https://youtu.be/OOxVUgpQPgc?list=PLBluQkrhxScXvPJO9L0ONhqvCZpfbFdAF
Person A: Do I consider myself an After-nine, certainly, certainly not.
Person B: Who, me? I mean, if you could just have a look at all of this, oh no honey. Absolutely not, never that. Could never be my life. What a waste.
Person C: No, as I’ve said I’m a 24/7 (laugh.)
Person D: I don’t consider myself an after-nine, definitely not
Person E: No.
Person F: No.
Person G: No (laugh). I’m not that anymore.
Person A: The reason why some men do this? Some for pleasure, some for curiosity, some is because really, they can’t afford to live their authentic and truest forms of themselves because of personal reasons. So there’s a lot of reasons why some men would do this, you find that some do it for lust, some just do it because they heard a friend say it was nice, so some do it because of the influence, there’s just tons and tons of reasons why.
Person G: I think they want to fulfil their dark, inner desires.
Person F: Wow, I’m not sure.
Person D: I don’t know if it’s a touchy issue for me to say identity crisis, also maybe wanting to explore traditional men that are raised in a certain way and now they are wanting to explore other things, but they’re afraid of exploring other things. So maybe that’s why; the fear of being judged.
Person C: I think some men are just not willing to admit to their sexuality in a big way, and on the other side some men just don’t identify with anything. I mean, why should you label yourself if you like playing with boys as gay or if you like doing both girls and men as bi? Why can’t you just be who you are? I think that’s what happens, I think they don’t identify with any of the labels that are out there.
Person B: To have fun.
Person E: For a multitude of reasons, I would imagine, like it could be professional reasons, it could be personal, familial reasons as well. Perhaps for them it’s just easier to be an after-nine than to be completely out, and perhaps some people just don’t consider themselves then, to form part of the LGBTI community, so they want to be like, no I’m straight but you know, I still have sex with men. And, perhaps that’s easier identification for themselves right.
Person A: What do you think makes being an after-nine more difficult than being out of the closet? Well, being an after-nine is so difficult because you have to tread lightly in every circumstance due to the fact that you don’t want anybody knowing about your lifestyle, and you feel trapped. I would suffocate, literally suffocate. And being out of the closet is just one of best, it’s just so much easier, you know? You are liberated, you do not have to conform to what society has to say or think about you, because you are so comfortable with who you are.
Person B: It’s the fact that, you know, a lot of people are still conforming and a lot of people still looking for love and acceptance and the amount of traditions and the cultures that we have in our country, you know. There are still who still feel like, in this day and age, they will not be accepted if they become who they are and they live their lives in the most authentic ways and I think that’s the one thing that makes it difficult for a lot of people who are after-nine, or people who are in the closet. So that’s the one thing, you know. Acceptance is a very big deal. Acceptance is one thing that just terrifies everybody into being what everybody wants them to be instead of being what they want to be, because there’s always that question, will they love me still? Will I be accepted? Will I still be able to go to the same church, will I still be the same person in my community? It’s one of those things that we can’t get over.
Person G: I suppose there’s maybe the social stigmas attached to it, I’m assuming.
Person F: Because you’re basically living a lie, you’re hiding behind closed doors whereas you’re not living your life freely.
Person D: If I had to go into the politician realm, I would say that the politician themselves, if they are seen in a certain way by the whole country, which is more conservative to just being straight or you know, so I think the general public wouldn’t accept that and that’s the stigma as well that comes with it, and maybe some of them are married, you know, to women, so I think that’s why they wouldn’t want to…
Person C: I think the facade that needs to be put up, constantly being something that you’re not, and keeping that up must take a hell of a lot of energy. Probably the stories they have to tell about where they are going, or why they are going there, or what is it they are going to do there or stuff like that.
Person E: As I said earlier on, the hiding and secret-keeping because it is almost like a double life that you’re living almost. So I can imagine that living that double life, the excuses and lies, the secrets that need to be kept, that’s quite difficult.
Person C: Do you have any advice for after-nines?
Person F: Just be you and live your life freely. Do not hide yourself.
Person B: Be very, very safe. It’s your life, if it’s the way you want it. Obviously if you come out, just know that there’s gonna be some repercussions, or some acceptance from other people. You never know until you try to be honest about it, but be safe.
Person G: It’s your choice with what you want to do, and yeah, if you’re into that type of thing, just meet guys online, or social media sites or yeah.
Person D: Do you do it safely? I’m always around honesty and loyalty, I think that one can’t be loyal without honesty even if you are being loyal to multiple people, so yeah, do you, play it safe.
Person C: Be safe and make sure that you don’t hurt anybody’s feelings in the process. If you are telling lies, don’t let those lies catch up to you. Stop fooling around and come out to whoever you are, or just be the person who you are and be happy with it, don’t make a fake life for yourself.
Check out what men have to say about After-nines: https://youtu.be/NM57VLh21yM?list=PLBluQkrhxScXvPJO9L0ONhqvCZpfbFdAF
GaySA Radio, where you are family. I am Rey, and this is the Steamroom, brought to you by the South African National Department of Health’s Pillow project. We met up with two gentlemen who chatted about their personal experiences with condoms. Their voices have been concealed to protect their identities.
Person B: Do you always use condoms or not?
Person C: Always, I try to, most of the times, obviously when I was younger I had my oopsies, but with everything else that was happening, You just take the risk.
Person D: But I remember reading something that, there were always those challenges where when you go multiple rounds, and then you go one round with the condom, and some the second round without a condom and the third round they go about it’s with a condom, it’s kind of like an exchange thing, when it comes to condoms.
Person C: Really? It’s the first time, I’ve never experienced it. I wouldn’t, it just doesn’t make any sense to me to go with, sort of first and the second without, because I’m like, why are you usually protecting if you’re just going to… just woah, just like…
Person D: I think it’s a matter of comfortability, there’s that connection?
Person C: No, no, no. Not with everything that is happening, I just feel that you can’t risk it. There’s just so much going on. That you can’t just go about doing certain things.
Person D: Absolutely. I, with me I also always use condoms but as you said, when we were more young and juvenile we had our oopsies, and I had my fair share, but then I went every six months for tests to make sure that I was ok and it was all fine but eventually, you know…
Person B: Were you ready for the outcome?
Person C: Not always, never actually, like you’re never ready for the results.
Person D: Well, I don’t know about you but I’m always shaking and shivering.
Person C: True, because I think even if you do always use condoms, there’s that thing of the “worst case scenario”, and people lie as well. You get to be so trusting and then…
Person D: True, very true.
Person B: But talking about condoms, have you ever had a situation where a condom breaks or it just slips off?
Person C: Slip off definitely. I can’t recall once when it broke but it did slip, definitely. It happens quite more often than it should.
Person B: But when do you know? Do you feel it?
Person C: I feel it. I feel it and if I’m with somebody that’s responsible and cares for me, they normally tell me that they need to stop for a while, just because it’s slipped off, and then…
Person B: No I’m asking this because I’ve been there myself where you’d actually be doing it and you’re like, something definitely feels different, and you, I don’t know but you’re not 100% there but constantly, in the back of your mind you’re like, I need to make sure the condom is still on?
Person C: You know, absolutely. As you should because that’s what, you’re taking care of yourself, that you’re protecting the person you’re sleeping with too. So making sure that the condom is always fitted right and is there is probably one of the first precautions I’d take and I take it throughout the whole intercourse period.
Person B: Do you find it easier for you to put the condom on yourself, onto your partner if you are receiving, or just to let them take care of it? I trust you enough.
Person C: For me it’s not even to do with my preference of do I want to put it on, it’s just that I enjoy fiddling around with it, it’s more of a activation for me kind of, and a mood-setter, knowing what I’m dealing with (Laugh).
Person B: What do you prefer?
Person D: For me, I will be more at ease and more relaxed if I actually put the condom on to my partner or on to myself, because then I know it is there, it is on, and is properly, you know… it’s in place, because as shocking as it is there are still people who just don’t know how to put a condom on, even if the instructions are there, and you’re like dude, so I would say it’s crazy but it is there. So, ja, I just need to do that for me.
Person B: So would you think that it’s really important that we all learn and educate ourselves on how condoms need to be put on?
Person C: I would like to believe that we are at a stage where we know that, but obviously ja, there is still an area for education in that sense.
Person D: Absolutely, thank you so much for your question, I think that’s a great question, because sometimes you just need to ask yourself, is it tight, is it properly… there’s a space for when you release… and ja, for any breakage you have extras. It’s actually quite funny because you limit yourself, well I find that I need to limit myself, even if you’ve got lube and everything else, but during the intercourse section, you limit yourself. You can’t pound too much. I don’t know if you’ve experienced that, like yes you are relaxed, you are in the zone, but because you’re dealing with latex after all, you know what happens.
Person C: The strength of it.
Person D: Exactly, because you know what happens, you’re like hey, you can’t go 100% you know? Just be cautious, be cautious, do what you need to do but at the same time know about the impact, the pressure.
Person B: just for another mary, another third party question in case somebody might ask this, but just really creeped out of my mind, what about the double application of condom? Is it possible firstly?
Person C: No, and people have this concept that you can do actually do that, and that is the utter, it’s the total opposite, because then it’s latex to latex, rubber to rubber, so it’s obviously bound to break, as compared to having a condom, lube and flesh.
Person B: And is that whole misconception that people have like, you know what, if I’m sleeping with someone who’s a bit iffy or dodgy, then I can actually double up?
Person C: If you are doubling up then there is bound to be more friction and it will be easier to break.
Person B: Exactly.
Person D: Well I just learned something (Laugh)
Person B: Now that we are on a funnier and lighter side, any funny stories about you and condoms?
Person C: Oh my God, I can’t believe I’m about to get very personal now, but ja it’s a safe spot, after all. It was my second year at university, and I had my session with somebody, and he had just climaxed, and I was receiving and he was obviously then on top at that stage, but then I said to him don’t pull out, don’t pull out as yet, because I enjoy, I know it’s funny but…
Person B: No, not at all.
Person C: it can be somehow different but I enjoy the fact that he needs to just let it be in me.
Person D: That whole connection, I get it.
Person C: That intimate moment of nothing, so we had that, and obviously during the session he was hard, and then he got a bit…
Person D: Absolutely.
Person C: After the 400 meter run he was just tired and relaxed, and obviously the badonk-a-donk, it shrinked to the usual size, but he’s still in me, right? So obviously for me as well, with the difference in diameter, I would go from maybe 80 to like, 40, then he would pull out, and the condom would still be stuck, right, because remember now it was hard, and now he pulled out, and now my receptive organ has gone tighter.
Person D: Did he help you get it out?
Person C: That’s the funny part.
Person D: what, did you have to, excuse me.
Person C: No, I was like, said to him, actually this is how I noticed. So he pulled out, and as he pulled out I was like where is the condom, because that’s a whole panic moment, you know? Where’s the condom?
Person D: So you did not feel it?
Person C: No, no no.
Person D: It’s just that you did not see it?
Person C: I didn’t see it, right? So we’re looking for the condom and I’m just like, no ways, and then I thought, you know, maybe, just maybe… and I had to sit there with my legs open to grant him access for him to get it out.
Person D: For him to actually pull it out?
Person C: So it was like, really deep in, it was there, it was stuck and I had closed it in. And he had to go in there…
Person B: Okay.
Person C: So that was funny because now I think, I just got intimate with this guy, there’s nothing to hide, but now that’s all kind of faded, it’s back to normal, and now he needs to put his hands up my…
Person D: Please tell me that this was your boyfriend then? Because…
Person C: It was a hookup, it was just a hookup, it was actually somebody that I knew and we were just gonna do…
Person D: With me, it was more of a situation, not as deep as yours, excuse the pun, but it was when I was with one of my first boyfriends that I was trying to give it to him instead of receiving, and I had to wear the condom, and with no idea how, I was really, really young. So I put it on and when I made my way into… I failed, so I had to, like I couldn’t get it in, I didn’t know how, where I was right in his thighs, and it was just a bit of a mess, so I had to just give up, and when I gave up I didn’t know how to, like apparently you need to roll off the condom, you don’t just… so I hung onto the edge of it tried just pulling it out, and it just slapped my dick off…
Person B: of course then it goes to the front and…
Person D: Ja, and it was the most painful, craziest thing ever, I just screamed, and he was like, are you okay, are you okay? But ja eventually, it was around twenty minutes, we got back to it. But that was my condom experience, to this day, every time I need to tell this story, I just cringe.
Person C: After how many glasses of wine? (laugh)
Person D: Because you can’t, that is the most intimate level that anybody could ever go, very personal. We’ve got nothing to hide now, we need to open up for me to get this out, and I’m hoping you…
Person B: But there were not any other, like, after reactions?
Person C: No, But you know what actually got me was just the sound it made as well…
Person B: Oh no, Don’t tell me.
Person C: Because it squeaked (Laugh) Because you’re pulling it out, it’s a whole “spheew”, Okay, I’m like oh, okay. But thank God it was still intact, so ja.
Thank you so much for sharing, keep streaming with us on GaySA Radio where you are family.
Click here to listen to this fascinating discussion: https://youtu.be/5juVBrcT01w?list=PLBluQkrhxScXvPJO9L0ONhqvCZpfbFdAF
Let’s get some more voices in on the matter as we keep exploring the world of after-nines. So, just between us queers…
Person B: So do either of you identify as an after nine or have either of you ever identified as an after-nine?
Person C: No, I never identified as an after-nine.
Person D: I can tell you, I have never identified as an after-nine but there was a period when I was married that I might not have been completely faithful, so I might have been an after-nine.
Person B: Just by default, I think (Laugh) Do you know any after-nines?
Person C: Oh, absolutely. I know quite a few from when I was a bit younger, university days. There’s quite a lot of after-nines everywhere, especially in townships who are growing up. There’s a lot of guys who have got wives, who have girlfriends during the day, but in the evening they really chat you up when you go out drinking and ja, things happen from there.
Person D: Isn’t an after-niner just another term for a bisexual man?
Person C: Absolutely not, I don’t think so. I think, actually maybe it could be, you know…
Person D: They’re kind of bisexual in a way, because if they have, you know, both sides are their favourites…
Person B: I think, personally, that an after-nine could be bisexual , but not all bisexuals are after-nines.
Person C: That makes sense.
Person D: Oh ja, that’s for sure. Because I mean, there’s a lot of people that kind of get trapped in marriages as well, especially in the Indian communities, or arranged marriages, and I know a lot of, well I can’t say I know a lot of people but I have been with some people who have slipped away in the afternoon or something and have to be back at a certain time.
Person C: I mean it happens a lot, There are some guys who don’t identify as bisexual, but they do things with guys in gay sex clubs, just because for example, their wives wouldn’t agree to oral sex, perhaps, or their wives wouldn’t want to do certain things that people in a sex club would want to do. So yeah, it could be bisexual, some could be heterosexual men looking for some extra fun.
Person B: Who was the first after-nine you ever met?
Person D: Even more interesting, when was the first time the term after-nine was used? It’s like Blessa, it just came into use at some point, because I don’t think we were aware of it until Corne…
Person B: Because there’s a tv show with that name as well.
Person C: There’s a story that was called after-nine, his story. So it was a story about a man who’s married and he had a wife, but you know, just to quickly go back to your question, I’m actually thinking now, back when I was in high school, I used date an after-nine in high school. This guy, we were together during the afternoons or weekends, he would come to my place but it’s cool, we were just friends, and when I went to university he then had a child with a girl, and we continued seeing each other, and you know, he would still come and see me, he even introduced me to his girlfriend as his friend, and their child, so that was my first experience with an after-nine.
Person D: So, I’ve had a recent experience on Grindr with somebody who doesn’t stay far, but he would only slip out a midnight when everybody’s asleep, then he would quietly slip out, go, come back later.
Person B: That’s another question, does an after-niner have to have a wife or girlfriend, can’t it also be hiding from parents?
Person D: Isn’t it about secretive sex? It has that implication of being married doesn’t it?
Person B: Yeah.
Person D: At least it has to have a woman in the picture somewhere.
Person C: Or somebody who doesn’t want, I mean, you’re right. It could also be a gay man, or bisexual man, an MSM man, who just doesn’t want people to know what he is doing, and he prefers to do it only when no one is watching. So, yeah it could be any sexual orientation really.
Person B: Do you agree with people being after-niners? Do you think it’s acceptable for people to do this?
Person C: I think to each his own. As long as people are doing it in a safe way…
Person B: What about the wives?
Person C: You know, that’s … It’s very complex, I think that as human beings we tend to have an understanding of everything, we want to research things, we want to have things in a certain way, in boxes. I don’t know, maybe the wives sometimes know and they just pretend like they don’t know. There are some wives who might have seen text messages, they might have seen emails, whatever. Credit card statements, and they know but they just want to stay in the marriage for the sake of the kids, not to be publicly humiliated, so it’s not necessarily always wives who don’t know, so it’s a bit complex, I don’t think there is an answer to your question, honestly.
Person D: I have an issue if somebody hurts somebody else, by doing something. So, if you’re in a sexual relationship or a marriage relationship with somebody, and then you have something on the sly that that person doesn’t know about it has the potential to be very harmful to both that person and your relationships. So as much as one understands that people have needs, and you know, you can’t judge people on what they do and why they do things, I am concerned that people would get hurt in the process.
Person B: Also I think from a purely sexual health perspective, it’s almost the same thing as when someone is unfaithful in a “regular” relationship, you’re now putting the other person, the third party at risk, because now they don’t know that you’re sleeping around, now they might make assumptions about your sexual health which may not be true.
Person C: Ja, I mean, I think also to touch on what you’re saying, it’s just very important for anybody who is doing this, if you’re an after-nine. If you feel comfortable in doing it and if you’re not going to judge, you know. From the work that I do we don’t judge people, so you let them be but be safe about it, I mean that’s why we emphasise, just make sure that you’re protecting everybody that you’re sleeping with, so get PREP, use condoms, whatever, but just be safe about it.
Person D: And in a marriage most probable, there won’t be condoms and all that sort of things because it’s on the assumption that this is a closed relationship with certain rules, if that is what they agree to. Then it becomes doubly more important to protect your partner then, by playing safe when you do go out.
Listen to this panel discussion here: https://youtu.be/0zRgvutTilY?list=PLBluQkrhxScXvPJO9L0ONhqvCZpfbFdAF
We hope you enjoyed that little music break, now getting straight back into it on the Steamroom, we are proudly excited to welcome back Bruce Little from Unova, who is here to talk to us about the psychological side of things.
Person B: Why do you think some men choose to have secret sex at night?
Bruce Little: I think there’s a variety of numbers, you know? Men who have secret sex are as varied as you get any type of man, so there’s a million reasons why we do the things that we do. So it’s very difficult for me to be able to say this is exactly why they do it. Some men have secret sex with other men because it’s exciting, because it’s taboo, and sometimes when something is a taboo or its secret, it adds to the sexual tension, and it adds to the excitement around the act. It makes it even more exciting, and for other men it’s literally a case of, I don’t want my family or community to know that I am having sex with other men, because they will judge me, or they will see me as being less than what I am, or less than how they currently perceive me, so there is a myriad of reasons as to why somebody would choose to be an after-nine.
Person B: and, what would you say are some of the biggest issues these men have to face?
Bruce Little: I think one of the big issues, I would assume, for somebody living in the shadows, or somebody living in a secretive lifestyle is that I think there must be quite a lot of isolation, and loneliness. If you’re living a lie or a secret then a part of you feels, like anyone who’s been in the closet, you know? So these men are essentially in the closet for most of the people in their lives, and it’s the usual pain that one would associate with living in the closet, everyone you know doesn’t really know you, and so, what happens is that you can’t help but wonder, do these people really love me, do these people really… does my wife really love me, do my parents really love and understand me, because they don’t know who I am, I’m hiding this major part of myself, and my sexuality is a really big part of myself, and I think it’s just the fear of being discovered; I think it must be really frightening to be an after-nine who is engaging in sexual acts with other men behind the backs of their friends, family and community, and then the possibility of being exposed, and all the things that come with being exposed, now being exposed to discrimination, maybe being disowned by their families, or having the threat of maybe being left by their spouses, there’s just so many things that could go wrong. And that’s the case with any kind of clandestine lifestyle, where you’re keeping things from the people you’re closest to.
Person B: And, do you have any advice for after-niners who have feelings of guilt or shame?
Bruce Little: I would say my advice for any person who identifies as an after-niner, just educate yourselves, and you can educate yourself on the down-low as well. So you can go online using your smartphone, or an internet cafe where somebody can’t see what you’re looking at, and just go onto different websites like wethebrave.co.za or health4men.co.za, and find out how you can have sex with other men in a safer way. There’s just so many things that people assume they know about HIV and STI’s, and unfortunately people assume that you will be able to see with the naked eye, that somebody else has an STI, but many, many people have syphilis, gonorrhoea, Chlamydia, and a number of different STI’s, but they’re asymptomatic, which means you can’t see the symptoms, so you can’t see that this person has these STI’s and they can easily give it to you, so I would say just educate yourself because knowledge is power, and also the more you know about who you are and what’s at risk for yourself then the less chance there will be of being in danger and hopefully then less chance of feeling ashamed or feeling insecure about what you actually are.
Person B: and, do you have any advice for after-niners who are afraid of coming out?
Bruce Little: I think it’s the same advice that I would give to anybody coming out, so whether or not you’re an after-niner or you’re anyone who’s living in the closet; there are pros and cons; The cons are that there is a very real risk for a number of people to be disowned, or to get a backlash from the family or those people closest to you who are ignorant about homosexuality or bisexuality, and people who are discriminatory about it because of religious or cultural beliefs. So you need to know that there is a possibility that you will be discriminated against you, and make sure that you are safe, that you are in a situation where when you disclose this information about yourself that you are not in a situation where you could be assaulted or attacked, because unfortunately live in a country where many communities, if you do come out as LGBTQIA+, you are at risk of violence that’s how it manifests in many communities throughout the continent of Africa, so be safe, make sure that when you divulge this information to another person that you can trust that person, and that you are in an environment where you can take care of your own wellbeing.
Person B: And then, what would you say to wives or girlfriends listening who have after-niners as their significant others?
Bruce Little: It’s a tough situation you know? Anyone who’s involved in a relationship who suspects that their partner is engaging in sexual acts with other people has a responsibility to themselves and their partner to take care of themselves, and the situation. So, if you suspect your partner is having sex with anybody else, whether that person is having sex with other men or other women, doesn’t matter, you need to protect yourself. For one, you can try and insist on the use of condoms, every time you and your husband or your boyfriend engage in sexual acts, I know that that’s difficult, because there’s the stigma, this belief, the preconceived notion that because you’re married to somebody or because you’ve been in a long-term relationship with them, that you should be able to have unprotected sex. That is not the case. You can insist that your partner uses protection or, alternatively you can go to the clinic and explain to the healthcare provider that you would like to go onto Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, which is PREP. So if you tested HIV negative and you suspect that your partner may be engaging in sexual acts that could bring a threat of STI’s into your lovemaking, then you as an HIV negative Bruce Littlean go and test yourself, first of all, to know what your status is. It’s always good to know what your status is in terms of all the STI’s, and if you test negative then the way you can stay HIV negative is to go onto PREP, and PREP takes seven days to activate fully, and then even if your partner does become infected with HIV themselves, they will not be able to pass it on to you.
Person B: Do you think that an after-niner can live a well-rounded and stable life?
Bruce Little: I think it’s up to the individual whether or not they can live a well-rounded and stable life. I think it depends on the relationship that the after-niner has with their spouse. I think if you’re in a relationship where your wife or partner knows that you are engaging in sexual acts with other people, and everything is transparent, and everything, you know, relationships are built on trust, if there is no trust then I begin to think that relationship is in trouble, but even if you’re playing open cards with your partner and if you’re engaging in sexual acts while using protection, and all of the involved parties are taking the necessary preventative precautions, so if you’re HIV negative, everybody involved is taking PREP, if you’re HIV positive then everybody involved is on ARV’s and you’ve been on ARV’s religiously so that you are undetectable, which means the HIV is so low in your blood-stream that you can’t pass it on to another person, then all of those things should allow a relatively healthy, well-rounded existence going forward. There will always be complications in relationships in life, so there’s no guarantees that a relationship is always going to be smooth, but I think it is definitely possible for an after-nine individual to lead a happy and well-rounded life.
Person A: That was Bruce Little, thank you for joining us.
Listen to our chat with Bruce Little here: https://youtu.be/ziB2tsXGgcs?list=PLBluQkrhxScXvPJO9L0ONhqvCZpfbFdAF
If you’re an after-nine who may be worried about specific illnesses and how to get treated for them should they crop up, our next segment is here to help put you at ease by letting you know where you can go about seeking help. We spoke to Johann Meyer from OUT LGBT Wellbeing.
Johann Meyer: Can you tell me a bit more about what your role is in OUT?
Person C: As the health manager it is basically my responsibility and duty to oversee the basic operations of the organisation and of these it includes the clinic that we have, we have an on-site clinic, and it’s the only clinic in Pretoria that is there specifically for key populations, and MSM is one of the key populations. So our clinic is the only one. There are some other clinics in Johannesburg and Cape Town but there are very few. So then also part of my responsibilities is to oversee the outreach activities that we have, we have a very extensive outreach program because one can imagine that not everybody has the resources to access our services where we are, so we are also taking the services to the community. So, we have an outreach program, where our outreach teams go out to two sites every day of the week including Saturdays, and all of the services that we offer at the clinic, we also offer them in field.
Johann Meyer: Okay, So where are you guys based?
Person C: We are in Hatfield, in Pretoria, which is quite well located because it is very close to the Gautrain station. It is also close to the Metro rail station and it is based, or situated on one of the major taxi routes where all the taxi’s pass.
Johann Meyer: So let’s talk about the services you have on offer, I know you’ve got the clinic; what else is there? I just want people to have a clear expectation of what they can get from out.
Person C: First of all, our work is mainly focused on HIV and the reduction of HIV, or the reduction of the spread of HIV. So that means we offer HIV testing services free of charge, maybe without me having to say free of charge every time. All of our services are free of charge, because they are funded, so it’s HIV testing services. Should a person test positive, we are able to initiate a person on ARV treatment and we are able to do the management, so if a person has to come back every six months, every twelve months, for repeat blood tests, like the CD4 count test or the viral load test, we are able to offer that free of charge. We offer PEP, which is Post-Exposure Prophylaxis, it’s a form of ARV medication that a person uses for a month roughly, after accidental exposure to, or potential exposure to HIV, and this then prevents the person from getting HIV. We also, since April last year, we are one of the very few sites in the country where we can offer PREP medication free of charge to MSM’s specifically. PREP is Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, which is also a form of ARV medication, but it prevents a person from getting HIV. So if a person knows that they are potentially exposed to HIV, on a regular basis, because they are high at risk, it might be because of behaviour patterns or whatever, it might be that they have a partner that is HIV positive, these people are then eligible to access PREP medication, and this medication you can use on an ongoing, daily basis, and this prevents you from getting HIV as well. Apart from these, we also offer general consultations, we do STI, that is sexually transmitted infections, screenings and basic treatment, if it’s more complicated we would refer a person; we also offer TB screenings, unfortunately we are not able to offer treatment in this case. We also have mental health services which is a counselling service, we have Lay counsellors on-site who are able to also help in this regard.
Johann Meyer: Awesome, so if somebody wants to find out more or contact you guys, how would they do so?
Person C: It’s quite easy, you can phone the landline number, 012 430 3272 to make an appointment, we work on an appointment basis and the reason for that is that we would like to prevent as far as possible any waiting times for a person, so we work on an appointment basis. We would not, if a person is a walk-in client and there is an emergency we would try to accommodate that person however.
Johann Meyer: Thank you so much.
Person C: Thank you so much Ethan.
Person A: That was Johann Meyer from OUT LGBT Wellbeing talking to us about the organisation.
Listen to our interesting discussion with Johann Meyer here: https://youtu.be/idavmHo-VWs?list=PLBluQkrhxScXvPJO9L0ONhqvCZpfbFdAF
Join us as we chat about George Pride and how it came about: https://youtu.be/Uz3IOWOTIQg?list=PLBluQkrhxScXvPJO9L0ONhqvCZpfbFdAF
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