About Staying Negative

Staying Negative aims to emotionally engage, inspire and facilitate imagination in sexual health practices. The campaign profiles the real life stories of gay, bisexual and trans men who have sex with men (MSM). Men talk about all aspects of their life from coming out, relationships, sexuality and a broad range of other topics. While HIV and safe sex is an important part of all stories, it is not the exclusive focus.

Prior HIV prevention campaigns have traditionally focused on providing gay men with information that will encourage them to adopt safe sex behaviours. In reality, safe sex practices are influenced by a whole range of environmental and cultural factors. The campaign also provides an opportunity for HIV positive men to talk about their lives and discuss how their strategies to staying HIV negative were not successful. We understand that there is more than one way practice safe sex and adopt healthcare seeking behaviours, so let's be creative about it!

There are no real criteria for participants other than that they are MSM and happy to have their stories appear as part of the campaign. In addition to the personal stories, the website provides information on HIV/AIDS, sexual health, relationships and broad of the other relevant topics including domestic violence, drugs and alcohol and depression.

Casual sex

Some people perceive the gay scene as being limited to drag queens, partying, drinking, meaningless casual sex and music festivals. By all means those aspects are definitely involved but the GLBTIQ community is much more than that and are not necessarily too different from the heterosexual community. Casual sex is something that is not only limited to the gay community. Regardless of your social group or sexual orientation, casual sex is something that many people engage in for fun and pleasure. Make sure that in whatever situation you are in, you feel comfortable and safe.

Some guys find negotiating condom use with strangers a lot easier because you tend to care less of what they think or how they may react to a request. This isn’t saying that you’re allowed to be rude to a potential partner but just be clear about what your expectations are. On the other hand, some guys find it harder to talk about condom negotiation with someone they barely know. You could avoid this conversation by carrying condoms with you at all times since random hook ups aren’t always planned and just whip one out when need be. You could also keep condoms and lube on your night stand where it is visible so that a casual partner will see it and know what your expectations are.

Gay bars or gay nights at clubs are a good way of meeting people for hook-ups. Treating everybody like a piece of meat and that they’re there just to find a guy to have sex with may not go down so well. This is not to say that it doesn’t happen, but some guys may go there to have a dance or make new friends so don’t make assumptions. Sex on premises venues (SOPVs) or beats are venues or locations specifically for casual sex if that’s what you’re looking for. SOPVs are becoming increasingly popular and take the form of brothels, clubs with backrooms, adult porn shops, saunas, etc. There is often a misconception that SOPVs or beats are where old dirty men go to have sex, but this is not necessarily the case. They’re pretty common around Victoria and they attract all sorts of gay or bisexual men from all walks of life. Just remember to manage your expectations as having sex with a random guy may not be that great or they may not want to give you their number afterwards. When having casual sex, always use condoms and lube to protect yourself from the transmission of HIV and STIs. All legal SOPVs will provide condoms and lube, but it’s best to bring your own just in case and you know what suits you best.

Regardless of whether it’s an SOPV or a beat, cruising and picking up pretty much works in the same way. To say yes to someone making a proposal or to pick someone up show it in your body language. Hold eye contact for longer than usual, touch your own body sensually and copy his body language. It’s okay to make it obvious you’re checking him out! If he looks keen, or you’re interested in someone, read their body language. If it’s positive and receptive nod your head to signal acceptance and see if he nods back, or vice versa. To say no to someone who’s trying to pick you up, break eye contact immediately and subtly move away from his area. Use body language that shows you’re not keen, such as folding your arms across your chest or look at someone else you’re interested in. He should get the idea that you just don’t want to tap that, but if he doesn’t, tell him in words. Be assertive without being rude by saying things like “no thankyou” or “I’m not interested, thanks”, etc. In extreme cases, report him to staff so he stops making you or anyone else feeling uncomfortable (this is only possible at SOPVs ofcourse).

If someone you’re cruising has rejected you, don’t take it personally, there could be several reasons for this. You may just not be his type and that’s okay, because taste is a very specific thing. He may have just had sex with someone else and is taking a break, he may be looking for a specific fetish to fulfil or he may not be there to have sex and just check things out. Whatever it is, don’t let it get to you and just move on. If it is affecting your mood, it would be best to leave as you probably won’t enjoy yourself. At the end of the day, we need to accept that the possibility of rejection, for whatever reason, is a part of life and that it may happen again. It’s not the end of the world!

Tell us your story

Tell us your story


Come and tell us your story! We would love to hear from you! If you want to find out a little more about how it all works, give Jessie a call at VAC on (03) 9865 6700, or email staying.negative@vac.org.au