Having sex with another man is a learning experience. The rituals of male2male sex are understood through the many contexts of sexual encounters throughout the life of men engaging in these practices.
When a man first starts engaging in sexual acts with other men his communication skills may not be as developed as men with more experience than himself, and this may lead to situations which can be dangerous. Communication can be verbal or it can be non-verbal, which is especially prevalent at places like saunas & beats; body language and positioning in non-verbal communication can send signals to your sexual partner which can be misunderstood.
Below is an extract from an interview with Barry Taylor, Manager of the Victorian State Youth Suicide Prevention Programme, that is helpful in understanding the link between negotiating safety & developing communication skills:
MAB: "If you are not 'good looking' and somebody does show some interest, some love and affection, are you more likely to have unsafe sex? This affection or love which may or may not be true?"
"At that (younger) age its hard to differentiate between sex
and intimacy. They are so confused about desire and you can become quite
infatuated with people, and will do anything. I think the self-confidence
to negotiate is a significant factor. The degree of social skills,
social language, and emotional language (these incorporate your levels
of self-esteem) and the ability to discuss feelings and negotiate with
people is critical. People who don't know who they are may have limited
social, language and negotiation skills.
MAB: "But if you don't have these skills how do you negotiate safety?"
BT: "Context has a lot to do with this - we don't talk at a beat, in a sauna, at some strangers house on unfamiliar ground. How do you pick up the signals? - if someone plays with your arse how do you push the hand away? Confused guys may not have the self-confidence to do this."
Jim Sotiropolous believes men must be aware of the risks involved in gay sex:
"Its very good feeling good about yourself and to take pride in your sexuality and having sex and celebrating that, but be real about the risks involved. We like to contextualise it by saying look, under normal circumstances you may always use a condom BUT in a specific circumstance you will make your own judgement about safe sex. Talk to your partner, about what you are prepared to do and what you are not prepared to do, and that's what we link back to self-esteem, and feeling good about yourself. If you find yourself in a situation where unsafe sex may occur you can say that this isn't what I want and feel good about saying it.
casual encounters they [young
are putting themselves very much in the hands of luck and their partners
knowing what is meant to happen. So they put an enormous amount of trust
in someone that they don't know - there are no communication skills,
there is no sense of "this is very risky," so they will
put themselves in this situation.
Nothing says to them that sex is trial and error, nobody gives them any ground rules as such."
In sexual encounters communication skills are vital to the process of negotiating what will happen and what acts are undertaken. Self confidence (not over confidence), respect for the value of your body and Self and an awareness of what is happening in the encounter are important to enjoying, learning and pleasuring in sex. Issues of power and communication both depend on NEGOTIATION. If an encounter is not going how you would like, have the confidence to walk away from it. BE AWARE. Try not to put yourself in situations over which you have no control, leaving yourself vulnerable both mentally and physically. Try to be aware of your inner voice in sex and above all enjoy the good experiences that come your way!