‘So How Did Your Condom Use Go Last Night, Daddy?’ Sex Talk and Daily Life

  • Jill Lewis


It is surprising, really, in this AIDS era, how little everyday discussion there is about safer sex. ‘Safer sex’ has settled as a rather abstract term, still more often associated with information leaflets, various images of condoms or with that old, problematic notion of ‘target groups’ than with you or me or the man next door. It often surfaces in talk about ‘gay men’ generally and their assumed, generalized response to the epidemic or about education strategies for that amorphously invoked category ‘young people’. In one way or another safer sex seems usually to end up related to some group ‘out there’ — a way of thinking that has plagued the HIV/AIDS epidemic and anxious responses to it everywhere. Ways of thinking about prevention strategies concerning the spread of HIV always seem to locate the issue more easily with someone else. The categories and behaviour risks named often seem to have the curious effect of placing the everydayness of ‘you and me’ somewhere off the map, however old you and I may be, whatever our sexual identities or realities, whoever our relatives, friends, lovers. As if the discourse about safer sex has come to spin its own cocoon within the AIDS field world, the media hype and an endless array of government authority funded leaflets, but lingers impotent outside the thresholds of this house or that apartment, outside the door of that kitchen where people are talking round a table, or this bedroom where the sheets are being drawn back.


Young People Sexual Identity Real Body Media Hype Problematic Notion 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1997

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  • Jill Lewis

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