Good Sex is something nobody can take from you. After getting rocked by an HIV diagnosis, Danez wasn’t sure how to have sex again. Once they did… they never stopped.
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Nobody fucks like pies niggas I didn’t get this disease doing no regular shit. I was like a pro; I can do some things that fucks. Like I’ll never forget, one of my exes met him on BVRT and he came over it was like one of those magical situations it was like I’m horny, I’m horny, too. I live two blocks away from you. Wow, look at that. And he came over and that man fucked me from sunup to sundown. And I’m not kidding. He came over at 9AM and did not leave dick outside of me until 8PM. You know how like you like say you’re gonna like fuck all over the apartment. No, we fucked all over the apartment. Sometimes I walk through like a doorway and I just have a memory of my back arching wild part is, nobody came.
It was like tantric and wonderful and just like, can we make each other feel good for as long as possible. And honestly, I will admit that he’s one of those exes that, you know, every once a while, he’ll click on my Grinder, and I will be in those DMS right away trying to fuck again because it was very good. And on the off chance that he knows who this is and you’re listening to this, I’m still available. Hi, I’m Danez Smith, and you’re listening to GOOD SEX, my pronouns are they them, and I’m a poet, and good sex is, oh, wait, I had it. Now I say good sex is something nobody can take from you.
I’ve always been queer, right? And I think like there’s different things, right? There’s like both in terms of gender and sexuality. Like, I’ve always been a little femme thing. I love Barbies growing up, I loved girls stuff and softness. And I’ll never forget, it was my friend Ben, who came over in fifth grade when we were five in kindergarten. And he asked whose Barbies are these? And something in me knew that the way he asked it knew that they couldn’t be mine. That was the first time that I remember lying about something that felt like queerness to me, or that I can recognize this queerness now.
I grew up in a house with my grandparents, and my mother, my mom and my grandma were both very religious women. So I was in church all the time in church, there was like, you know, this mention of this thing that I could not be my granddad, I remember him saying when I was a kid, all that you guys have learned that boy play with Barbies, it’s gonna be a faggot. So, there was this spammer side to myself that would laugh and dance and twirl and do all these things that I still did after that, but much more in secret and in shame.
I came out to my family on accident. I was 16. I was a like teen counselor for the summer camp. And it was so cool. And one of the coolest moments of the whole camp was this like 10–11-year-old told everybody at the poetry camp that he was bi. And we as the counselors were like freaking out like, oh, no, homophobia is about to hit the fucking camp. And the youth, they handled it so well. They were just they sat down in the boys dorm, and they just had a conversation and boys are like, you know what, that’s fine, man. Or some guys, like, you know, I’ve had thoughts like that, too. I think that’s okay. And it was just like the most like precious, wonderful, like, if there was any sort of prediction for the queer future that was gonna come, that was like the first glimpse of it for me. So camp happens last day, the adult counselors take the teen counselors to dinner and they buy us alcohol.
I’m like, to whatever the fuck they was giving me deep. And my mom comes to pick me up with my grandma in the backseat. They come to pick me up for this restaurant, take me back home, camp is over. And so I’m like, you know, tipsy, feeling myself, you know, just like, you know, did a thing and my mom’s like, how was camp? And I’m like, oh, it was good. Blah, blah, blah. And I tell the story about the kid coming out and she’s like, oh, well, how’d that make you feel? Well, I’m bi, so you know, it was cool with me. And you know, we were silent for a little bit.
A lot of screaming and praying happened after that. My grandma, it took her a lot longer to come to terms with it. But my mom, you know as like, traumatic as that night was or could have remained, the next morning, I’ll never forget she had slid a note under my door. That was just like, you know what I sat down and I thought about it and you’re the same child that I loved yesterday, nothing could ever change that. And so I felt really loved. They’ve all made it a long way from that from that night.
So I was living in The Bay in 2014. That was actually a really bright time when I think about those early days in The Bay for my sex life because it felt so good to be in a city that was majority black. I live in Oakland. It was the first time in my life where I felt like one I had like a lot of people who I was attracted to everywhere The Bay is just like a very sexy city, like, you know, like not gonna not just the black guys either. Just like everybody. It’s so cute. But I wasn’t fetishized in the same ways that I had been in Wisconsin, there was an ease and also a familiarity. And so the bay just felt like a breath of fresh air. I was like, oh, niggas who are actually gay. Thank fucking God.
I don’t know I was a whore. And I loved it. Yeah, I feel really okay with that being queer is why follow any of these boring ass rules, you know. And so I was out here sometimes safe, sometimes not. Wildin’, I would say in general, getting the clap once every three years like a good whore. There was this one guy who I had been sleeping with for a while sometimes having sex with condom, and sometimes not, like everybody. I remember watching, just watching the documentary, The Symptoms of seroconversion. It sort of came across my way. And it was felt just felt very similar. And something in me just said, go get checked.
I texted him, and I said, hey, have you been tested recently? Because he was the one I was sleeping with most often unprotected. And, you know, it was like I’ve never actually been tested, that’s not what you said first time. Probably what had happened was they did what most people did. You ask somebody if they’re negative, and because you want touch, because you want sex, because you have that desire, you say yes. So then that unraveled. And so that morning, I got on the bus and when I made my way downtown to the Magic Johnson clinic, took a rapid test and came back positive.
I was rocked, I also kind of felt like I knew it had been coming for a long time, just because of the sex life that I had. And because it does disproportionately affect black folks. I just sort of knew so I felt confirmed. Depress. Shattered. There was a hard day. First person I called was my mother because I call her with all my news good or bad. That was a hard call was like watching her mourn me in front of my face or over the phone. I was touching my mortality, right? In a new type of way. Death had always been a thing that lived in theory and I think with HIV there is this real moment of like, this could kill me, this will kill me. The months that followed probably years that followed, were confusing, say the least.
Because there is so much stigma it became this guessing game this question of would I rather put it in my profile and having a front and have barely anybody talk to me? Or would I rather get deep into conversations or flirtation with folks and then have to have this reveal? Once I was on medication, then it was like this conversation of like, okay, how do I get fucked? What changed for me was a relationship that I gave a lot of credit for. About two years after my diagnosis, I had a what I thought was gonna be a wonderful one-night stand with this fine ass Jamaican nigga, hit me up on jack to try and get nut off. And I was trying to get a nut off, too, at that point, we went to dinner before we had sex. And I didn’t recall if I had actually told them in our messages or not. And so I just had to say like, hey, before we go any further, I need to tell you something. And you know, the eyebrow was raised. And then I told him, I’m positive. And I hope that’s not a problem.
The look he gave me was as if I had told him my name again. And his offer was me, too. His ease around our diagnosis is and how he didn’t even flinch at it. I think just like was such an ease for me. And maybe beyond that, I think what the relationship confirmed for me was that I could be loved again. After my diagnosis, I had some shitty sex, maybe some good sex, but nothing that left them feeling fulfilled. And it wasn’t until that relationship which lasted to the other side of the summer. It was great last summer fling classic. It wasn’t until then that I realized that there was love waiting for me in the rest of my life. There was a confidence that was just returned to me after leaving that relationship. I felt powerful. It felt like stigma wouldn’t win, right? Like HIV wouldn’t win, like I was going to live my love life was going to live and anybody that didn’t want a piece of this good pussy was missing out.
I really appreciate the way he loved on me and made me feel hot and wanted and loved and able to be soft. Thanks for the dick both physically and spiritually. There is spiritual dick it really you know, sometimes it does touch your soul. Thank you for listening to GOOD SEX. Hope you all like listening to my whole stories. You can find me at @danez_smif. You can check out my books: Homie, and, Don’t Call Us Dead, on Graywolf press or [insert] boy on Yes Yes Books. Thank you so much for your time. I hope you are somewhere fucking.
GOOD SEX is a Lemonada Media Original. Produced by Claire Jones and Matthew Simonson. Our supervising producer are Kryssy Pease and Xorje Olivares, and our executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs and Jessica Cordova Kramer. Music is by Dan Molad with additional music from APM music and sound design is by Matthew Simonson. If you like GOOD SEX, the show, not you know, why don’t you rate and review us on iTunes. And you can follow us on all social media at @LemonadaMedia. Thanks for listening!