Sex Ed — How Young? | Getting HIV at 16, the First Time I Had Sex | HIVPlusMag.com

I read the below article the other day and this quote really stuck out to me:

I contracted HIV the first time I had sex, a few days before my 16th birthday, on the second day of my sophomore year of high school. When it came to losing my virginity, condoms were never a thought. Yes, I knew about STIs, unwanted pregnancy, condoms — even HIV and AIDS. But I honestly thought these things happened only when you were having sex with a woman, not with a man. When it came to sex with another man, I was clueless.

via Getting HIV at 16, the First Time I Had Sex | HIVPlusMag.com.

See, I’ve worked hard to make sure my kid, age eight, already knows the facts of heterosexual sex and, because conversations have led down this path, she also knows about birth control pills and condoms. A conversation we have occasionally in our household:

Me: Hey, kid, when you are a grown-up having sex, what can you do to keep from getting pregnant?
Kid: Use birth control pills and condoms.
Me: What do birth control pills NOT protect you from?
Kid: Sexually transmitted diseases.
Me: What, aside from not having sex, is the only thing that will help protect you from sexual transmitted diseases?
Kid: Condoms.
Me: Give me five. Tell all your friends when you’re, I don’t know, twelve, okay? Tell them ALL. When you’re twelve or thirteen. And if they argue or tell you something different say, “No, you’re wrong. This is how it works.” And if you have doubts, come ask me, I will always tell you the truth about sex.

Which leads me to gay sex. She asked me about it. “Mom, how do gay men have sex? What about gay women?”

What a complicated question! I mean, I hear all the time from gay men about how anal sex is not the end-all-and-be-all of gay sexual relationships and that we shouldn’t emphasize it so much. And, hey, I didn’t tell her about heterosexual anal sex, either. I mentioned oral sex and what we could call frottage and use of hands for pleasure, but didn’t mention any butt stuff. I am trying to figure out when I should mention that. Obviously, I want to and I will need to decide how I want to talk about it, because, here’s the deal:

I want her to know deep down like it’s breathing how to keep from getting pregnant or contracting a disease. I want her to be sure and confident. I want this for her safety and I want this for the safety of her friends. So, yes, I need to make sure she knows about anal sex, condoms, and the relationship to STDs and HIV.

How horrifying that a sixteen year old gay young man didn’t know enough to keep himself safe. I don’t want that for my girl or her friends. Ever.

Writer Wednesday: Amelia C. Gormley

About Writer Wednesday: a couple of Wednesdays per month I hope to feature another writer and their work. Any writer of any genre is welcome to request participation by sending an email to leta.blake.author@gmail.com with the subject title WRITER WEDNESDAY COUNT ME IN! and I will get back to you about the details of participation.

Today we’re talking with Amelia Gormley!

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1. Inertia is your first published book. What is your writing background?

I’ve been writing stories since the sixth grade and novels since the eight grade. Sometime not long after I discovered reading, I realized that I could do that, too. I could tell stories, and that I had stories to tell. I got sidetracked for about 25 years diving headfirst into fandom. Original material kinda got drowned out in my head in favor of the omni-present question of “what happened then?” or “what if?” that I would so often ask when I submerged myself in another world and invested myself in someone else’s characters, be it a TV show or video game or whatever. But it came full circle, in a way, and now I’m back to original characters and worlds.

2. What led you to go the self-publishing route? Has it been a satisfying experience so far?

Honestly, I had never considered getting published until last November. I was unaware of the indie publishing market, and I didn’t know about all the small niche presses that have cropped up. I assumed trying to get published meant finding an agent and trying to get in with the Big 6. While I knew I was a good writer and that my writing in fandom circles had been very well received, I also knew I wasn’t of the calibre that would require and I had doubts about my ability to package myself and my writing in such a way that would catch the attention of an agent or editor.

Then a friend of mine, who was a big supporter of my fanfiction, told me I should self-publish e-book erotica over at Amazon. She told me it was becoming a big thing and that she was purchasing a lot of it, and that what I wrote was better than a great deal of what she was finding there. That led me to discover SmashWords as well, and I decided with these two outlets, though I might never see huge commercial success, I could get my name out there, start building a brand for myself, and maybe just prove to myself that I could write something without the lure of fandom connections hooking readers into it, without that ready-made audience writing in fandom provides, and people would read it and respond to it.

And so far that has worked. One huge way in which it turned out to be a boon was in the decision to hire a professional freelance editor to do a developmental edit. It was expensive, and it required my husband and I making some sacrifices to find room in our household budget to do it, but he believed in me and invested in me and it paid off (well, in terms of experience and knowledge acquired; monetarily it’s going to take a few months, I think.) The book is much stronger both in terms of story and characterization, and I learned a great deal from the process that I will carry forward with me into future projects. Danielle Poiesz is top-notch and I’m looking forward to working with her on Book Two.

The other advantage was the control over the cover art, which leads me very neatly to your next question. 😀

3. Kerry Chin is the illustrator of your book cover. What was the process of coming up with the cover like?

I knew Kerry Chin through fandom going in to the process of writing, and consider her to be a good friend. She’s amazing. Because we’re friends, I was able to share the story with her as I was writing it, and so she got to witness the development of the characters and establish a relationship with Derrick and Gavin herself. She’s been with them since the very beginning and knows them intimately, and I think that was a huge boon in her ability to come up with the cover art. We were able to bounce ideas off each other of moments in the story which seemed particularly worthy of translation to art and what the mood of the piece needed to be. I think she did a fantastic job, particularly with the attitude evident in their facial expressions. Derrick’s long-suppressed need and Gavin’s fear and sadness.

4. What was the inspiration for Inertia?

Derrick and Gavin are loosely based on original characters a friend and I created for a roleplay we were doing. It was my friend’s idea to take those characters out of the roleplay setting and put them in a modern context, and when we did that, they evolved into characters who were different even from the ones we originally created. It was there that the story was originally born.

5. How do you juggle motherhood and writing?

It’s tricky sometimes. I eek out my writing time mostly in the evenings and weekends when my husband is home to take over parenting duty. During the daytime, I try to squeeze in moments of concentration between meals and cleaning and reading and playing games and singing songs and outdoor activities. It can be very difficult, and I’m looking forward to him being in kindergarten in the near future so that I can devote more time to writing. I have a year until he’s in the first grade to figure out whether I can do well enough at this to continue to do it as a full-time job.

I’ve been extraordinarily blessed in that I have a husband who is very supportive and who wants to see me succeed in this. He has been helping with parenting obligations and trying to make sure I have time to write, as well as, like I said, investing in having the first novel edited.

6. You’ve mentioned to me that there are some specific issues within the book that you had concerns would not play well to your audience, such as HIV and a history of abusive relationships. Has there been any pushback on that front, or has the audience seemed generally receptive to your portrayal?

My fear was that I would be accused to portraying gay relationships in a negative light, by showing that a gay relationship can be abusive, or that I’d be accused of stereotyping by featuring a gay relationship where HIV concerns are explicitly addressed. I think supporters of the gay rights movement want to get away–and rightfully so–from the persistent assumption that HIV/AIDS is a “gay disease.” It’s not, of course, and anyone who is well-informed understands that, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still an issue.

I know a lot of m/m novels feature condom usage and are diligent about it, but to my knowledge (and I could be wrong about this) very few actually feature the spectre of HIV infection as a central point in the plot. As for the abusive relationship, we as writers and supporters of the gay community want to portray gay relationships in a very positive and healthy light, to normalize them and present them as a good thing. But abuse can happen within gay relationships as well as heterosexual relationships, and to ignore that fact, I think, is to heteronormalize abuse and make it harder for victims of abuse in gay relationships to seek help. Equality means that the same things that happen in heterosexual relationships can happen in gay relationships, good and, unfortunately, bad.

So far I have been very lucky in that readers have felt that my handling of these topics has been respectful and I think they’ve understood my intent with it, so I’m very encouraged by that.

7. Inertia is the first book in a series. How many books are to come? And what else can we expect from you in the future?

Impulse is a trilogy. Inertia was about these two men, each of whom are afraid and wounded for their own individual reasons, finding the courage to reach out to each other, for Gavin to begin accepting that he’s not damaged goods, for Derrick rediscover his passion and let himself begin to connect again with all the urges he’s been denying.

The second book chronicles Derrick and Gavin as they settle into this new relationship they’ve decided upon. It’s about sexual exploration, as Derrick is a character whose sexual development just sort of came to an abrupt standstill right as he entered adulthood. It’s about Gavin learning to trust in areas where he’s developed a sort of hypersensitivity to problems for fear of falling back into unhealthy and abusive patterns. It’s about Derrick learning to open up and lean on someone after so many years of self-sufficiency.

The third book deals with the end of the arc with the HIV question and Gavin’s ex still attempting to control him, and with Derrick learning that there’s a difference between living as an out bisexual man and quietly passing, which he’d been doing in the past because he’d been both celibate and deeply private, so no one had ever realized he was bisexual. He’d never had to deal with intolerance before and that will become an issue for him, complicating that last span of time leading up to the moment of truth for them.

Future projects include a short story set in the Scottish Highlands, which I actually began writing a couple days ago. It might lead to a series, I’m not sure yet. And in the conceptualizing stages, I had what may become a series of contemporary shorts which are less romance and more erotica, particularly very kinky erotica.

And after that? Who knows!

*

Amelia C. Gormley has been writing romance novels since junior high, and erotic romance novels since high school (she makes no promises that the early, high-school era ones were actually any good.) But it’s in writing m/m erotic romance that she’s finally found her home. She is thrilled to have recently published her first book.

When she’s not writing, she’s taking care of her husband and five-year-old son.

Inertia at SmashWords
Inertia at Amazon

An Object At Rest

By the age of 21, down-to-earth Detroit handyman Derrick Chance had lost everyone he’d ever loved. Too worn-out and wounded to play the dating game, he wrote off the possibility of relationships, or even just sex. Living alone in the old house his grandparents had left him, with only his dog and a few close friends for companionship, he refused to consider himself lonely, or let himself wonder what he might be missing. He knew who he was and where he was headed. His life was comfortable, organized, predictable, and best of all, risk-free. He was content.

Until the day he installed some shelves for accountant Gavin Hayes. A contradictory combination of confidence and uncertainty, Gavin’s shameless flirtations drew him in with an intensity Derrick had never known he longed for. As undeniable as the force of gravity, he abandoned ten years of self-imposed solitude and found himself falling rapidly for Gavin in defiance of all his usual slow and methodical ways.

But Gavin carried wounds of his own. Fresh from an emotionally abusive relationship that ended with a potentially dangerous betrayal, his future was far from certain. Derrick would have to decide if his rediscovered passion was worth taking the chance of another loss.

You can find Amelia at:
http://ameliacgormley.com
@ACGormley on Twitter
Her author page at GoodReads
Her profile at Facebook. You can also LIKE her fan page at Facebook to receive current announcements and updates on her work.