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The Covid Sex Diaries

Brontez Purnell

November 17, 2020

I was supposed to write a long think piece about my black life mattering but I kinda just wanna talk about fucking instead.

As we learned during the last plague, gay men will have sex even in the face of imminent death. In fact, we are the best at it. From the jump, men of my age group were burdened with the fact that sex very well could equal death. We knew what AIDS meant before we even really knew what sex meant. However you want to judge us, there are men who will very willingly take the gamble. We are the generation that spent our teen years jerking off to Oz, (God protect us). Subsequently, we don’t give a fuck.

Recently, I had a convo with a 78-year-old gay mentor of mine who shocked the hell out of me when he said that he was still hooking up. Keep in mind this man was double immunocompromised. He had been HIV positive since like before the sun had planets. Like, he was so old he had actually taken AZT. I was like “girl, did you really survive the AIDS epidemic just to die of Covid?” To which he responded “I’m old as hell. I don’t give a fuck.” Touché. But for those of us who (conceptually) had a long life in front of us the path seemed a bit more rocky.  

At the start of quarantine I was particularly stunned at the idea of “podding”—staying home, limiting contact with people. As a broke ass Bay Area artist I have always lived communally. In fact, the last five years has been the first time I haven’t lived with a double-digit amount of roommates, and even then our collective economy centers around communality—working for Lyft, weed trimming, sex work. Already, there was this smug moral assumption that with the rent still due, and just a $1200 check in the mail (I still haven’t got mine, by the way) that we even had the option of just staying home.

Being that my life as a punk has always flagged danger, I did what I have always done; I moved forward. I religiously wore my face mask, fanatically washed my hands, and prayed for the best outcome. But then came the other problems of quarantine: boredom, overactive self-reflection, and of course being horny as fuck.

Then something strange happened. I started to notice that men who had ignored me on Grindr for years were suddenly all too happy to send me like every butthole and dick pic in their ho pic arsenal. The line was drawn—who were the boys who would remain celibate? And who were the boys who would fuck? Of course, I being of the thrill-seeking faggots, would soon find out.

It reminded me of coming of sexual age pre-PrEP. Me and my godless drunk self-destructive gay boy crew made it a game to see how many of us could score with the Treasure Island Media boys (the bareback porn company). It was a peculiar time where whether or not you had sex with a condom was automatically a “political” choice. The boys who wore condoms were “good,” and those who didn’t were “fatalistic bad boys.” Then PrEP came along and erased the politicality of that choice and thank goodness because that convo no longer had to loom over our heads.

Covid mirrors this kind of social moral-signaling. Your decision to wear a face mask either designates you as a responsible member of society, or a total fucking moron. Now, don’t get me wrong, I wear a face mask religiously. It’s one thing to make the choice to take an anonymous load of cum up your butt in the privacy of a bedroom, but quite another to be in public places with no way to navigate the sort of group consent needed to share air. It's a bird of a completely different feather.

But the questioned remained: who were the boys who would still have sex in this climate? I am here to attest to you, there were quite a fucking few. Here’s the dudes I’ve fucked during Covid:

1. The Tweaker
I had inadvertently booked a sex date with a tweaker. It was so chill until it wasn’t. Now I have to say a lot of people hate tweakers but as an alcoholic in recovery I hold a special place in my heart for anyone dealing with addiction. For a drug I’ve never really done it certainly has had a huge entanglement in my life. I once lived with this super sweet meth dealer (literally a heart of gold) and I started to notice that for a period of a couple of weeks I would come into the kitchen and notice half-eaten cans of dog food.

I didn’t think twice about it because I lived with 12 people and I never really questioned anything because shit that didn’t make sense was always happening (like that time a head of broccoli stayed in the toilet for three days and not one of my 12 roommates could explain how the fuck it got there—or how it eventually just disappeared).

Anyway, on the second week of noticing the half-eaten dog food on the kitchen counter, there was a thunder crack of an epiphany. No one had a dog! Then one night a roomie came home late and noticed the meth dealer roommate chowing down on an open can of wet food. I was still confused, because it’s not like dog food is any cheaper than a can of beans. What the fuck was the issue?

But this is the magic of tweakers. They live in their own universe, and who am I to judge? I also think meth is super prevalent in the gay community because the notion of “gay sexual freedom” is very much weaponized against us, and many men use it as a way to dissolve the barrier of inhibition and the fact that anal sex is a hell of a lot easier on stimulants. But this is just my theory.

My only real boundary is that if a tweaker comes over for sex that they at least tell me that they are going to want to get high. But this man had completely broken that rule. He was a gorgeous twink who fucked me good and after was like “um, can I smoke meth here?” Now in my head there’s a whole spectrum of tweakerhood. If the most he was gonna do was like, take apart my bathroom sink, that I could live with. But if he was just gonna steal my laptop and then help me look for it—that’s where I draw the line.

I was in no mood to wager either outcome so I was like “um, naw, not into it” and then left for the bathroom to take a piss. By the time I got back the boy was already dressed and had hooked up another date on his app to go blow clouds with. Now this is how fucking ghetto this dude was: he had his meth pipe like hanging out of his pocket and had reached into his back pocket to take stock of how much tweak he had left but like, it wasn’t even in a bag! Like he just had raw shards of it in his pocket! He somehow stole my headphones and left but then I noticed he had spilled what seemed like an 8-ball of meth in my bed! (Does meth even come in 8-balls? Or is that only cocaine? Either way I digress…) At first I was like “well it is quarantine, and I’m broke—should I just sell it?” But as a writer, dancer, filmmaker and college-loan defaulter I realized that my life was already over-branded and adding “meth dealer” to the queue was more than I was willing to take on. I changed my sheets and went to bed and yes during sex we kept our masks on the whole time.

2. The Asian Dom
For whatever reason (and one that I’m sure should be a whole other essay in and of itself) I am the only Black man I know that has been topped by a double-digit number of Asian men. Perhaps it was my proximity to working in a bathhouse in my 20s where the likelihood of this very specific racial pairing is more likely. It’s always been a point of curiosity to me as to why Asian/Black pairings are never in the interracial porn section of the gay porn aisle at sex shops. Let it be of note that I have never had sex with an Asian-American and all my sex with Asian men have always been Asian immigrants—again, something that I’m sure could be the source of a whole other essay but I digress.

I remember my old band Gravy Train!!! was playing a gay festival in Montreal and I was walking shirtless through the festival, because like, I’m a ho, and this older Asian gentleman lurking up on me, fondling my nipples and ass and the only English he seemed to know was “You Black, I like.” Was I offended? Hell naw, in fact, I would’ve gladly given him some pussy, but my band had soundcheck so I kissed him on the lips and thanked him for the love. Now it seems to reason that most gay men hold dearly to the assertion of their “types”—how many times have we seen on dating apps wayward souls claiming “no fats, femmes, Asians, Blacks, anyone lacking a trust fund, etc…”

I am on the opposite end of the spectrum. I actually have a scorecard in my nightstand with the flag of every country in the world, and I check the box of all the countries of men I’ve given some pussy too. This time I was about to finally check the box of South Korea. I was spelunking online and found the profile of this self-described Asian Dom Daddy who wanted to own my ass and I felt (in the words of my homophobic Aunt) as “happy as a faggot in a dick tree.”

I made the trek all the way to San Rafael and he made me undress at the door and swig two shot glasses of G so that I would be more compliant with his demands. I remember looking at his fish tank full of jellyfish. I asked him in earnest “how do you even feed those motherfuckers?!” “They’re fake” he replied and I looked again and shit got blurry cause well you know, G, and before I knew it I was on my knees sucking dick and getting the hardest slaps to my face to which I replied “thank you sir.” It took a second to register that his response to this each time was “good boy” cause his accent was thick as grits and also again, the G.

He also was one of those masters that was into gagging, where like you’re supposed to sit there and let them fuck your throat to the point of almost throwing up. I never really got this fetish and was dubious of his level of vomit care and clean-up cause his apartment was one of those converted ’70s ones with that cheap-ass carpet still intact and he seemed like the type that might actually kick me out if I blew chunks, so every time I was about to hurl I would tap two times on his legs to say “uncle.”

He also filmed the entire thing from a set of cameras he had posted all over his apartment and afterwards he had me take a pic of my face alongside my state issued ID cause he likes to post his encounters with sluts on Xtube after he’s done with them and I was curious as to what search engine our session would even fall under. When two minorities have sex, is it “interracial” sex? Or extra-racial sex? Either way after my gag session he walked me around on a dog leash and then fucked me doggy style for what seemed like an hour. (Again, G, who knows?) I left his apartment dizzy as fuck and beyond satiated. And yes, I sucked his dick with a mask on.

3. Catfishing
I was bored as fuck so my straight white muscular homie let me use pictures of him shirtless and holding a chainsaw in the woods to catfish fools on Grindr. This is what I learned as imitating a fit white boy holding a chainsaw:

A. I literally had nine times the engagement. This was semi-shocking. I thought I would get like three times the engagement, but the results were more than even my omni-unshookable ass was ready for. Normally, my profile views don’t top like 14 a week. At the time of this writing my white avatar has over 400.

B. I thought I would be more envious, like in that SNL skit where Eddie Murphy puts on white-dude makeup and finds that white people have secret parties on public buses whenever Black people leave. But in all honesty the massive volume of hits was like 90% shitheads. Girl, my inbox became a muckbang of tweakers, hella-entitled bottoms, and like out of the 200 people I talked to only 5 were hung tops that wanted to fuck me, and generally so many squares. Like, sooooooo many—just a bunch of shitty white dudes that wanted to ask me what my earning potential was. I was compelled to feel sorry for the gay white boys on Grindr but then I remembered like, slavery, and came back to my senses. I thought to myself  “Wait, I am (conceptually) an alpha white man holding a chainsaw in the forest. Shouldn’t this give me access to anything I want? Instead I was confronted with the scraps of the universe. WTF.

C. This experiment gave me a specific love of being a chubby black bottom in the Bay Area. There is something to be said for specificity. At any given interval, I know who my dating pool is, and it will pretty much never waver. Being a generalized white dude on Grindr feels like reaching around in the dark of a really sad secondhand store. There are prizes to be had but goddamn if it isn’t surrounded by a bunch of dusty shit.

D. The grass is not greener. Also I didn’t need to wear a mask for this cause I just mostly read all the thirsty texts from the safety of my dirty ass room.

4. Cam boy
My father never loved me enough so I decided I should try some internal healing by being an Instagram ho. There were all these pay-to-post sites where you could put ass shots on and so I posted my extensively dense rolodex of ass shots on every site that would post chubby boys.

The gratification was instant. Within hours of my ample black booty cheeks being posted on the interwebbers, I got a slew of anonymous dick pics from dudes in the Middle East, India, Malaysia, etc. I couldn’t give my pussy away in Oakland anymore cause by 2006 I had basically fucked everyone. No, like literally everyone. It seemed like the boys on the other side of the world were hungry for it so I decided to turn my Instagram thot’in into a humanitarian effort. I started giving free sex cam shows to men in homophobic countries as part of a global Covid relief effort. I felt so pretty!

I basically spent two months twerking butt ass naked on camera to random dudes shouting commands at me in languages I didn’t understand. Quite a few of them only knew one English word and would say it with dexterous force. “SYNTHETICS!!! SYNTHETICS!!” Finally I cammed for a guy who spoke enough English to relay to me that by “synthetics” they were basically asking me if I had a dildo to fuck myself with. My generous humanitarian effort got curtailed because I didn’t feel like rinsing my ass out on top of giving a free virtual lap dance.

Soon I stopped cam-hoing for free and returned to my regimen of binge eating and watching Netflix. Like, I love the world and all but not enough to rinse my ass out for a rubber dick every time a stranger called. Again I didn’t wear a mask cause I was in the safety of my bedroom.

5. Yuba River
Three months into the plague I decided to engage in some form of outdoor activity to keep from beating my roommates’ asses. Not that I don’t love them, but being locked up with anybody for too long can inspire feelings of violence even in gentle fuckin’ souls like mine. With my mask in place I trucked it over to the Yuba River in Northern California. I rarely leave the six-block radius of my neighborhood in West Oakland and being up north reminded me of why we pay so much to live in California. It’s fucking beautiful here.

The Yuba I learned is only a river four months out of the year. It’s all meltwater from the Sierra Nevadas. In the spring, jumping in the river will actually kill you because the current is so swift. By mid-June the current slows and it becomes a pretty fucking sweet swimming hole. I was keeping cool and social distancing until I saw this dude with a big ass dick stroking it in plain sight on a rock. I decided that I would gladly die of Covid to touch it. I approached the guy and was immediately punished for my hubris. That motherfucker was wearing a Blue Lives Matter hat.

He saw me eyeing his big ass dick and was all too happy to hold me verbally hostage. I tried to politely exit when he broke down crying about his dead mother. Apparently she had been dead 20 years and he wanted to go to the river and jerk off about it? Then he asked me for a hug and I being in full freeze mode (not even cause I was afraid of him, I was more just like “why is this happening?”) let him plant a caress on me. Within a matter of seconds he started talking about how he wanted his son to be a cop and how he no longer thought he should pay child support cause the kid was 18 now and how his ex-wife was a total bitch. He then proceeded to tell me about how he no longer shopped at Reillys because they were racist towards Black people and I almost interrupted with “but your hat” but stopped myself because clearly logic wasn’t the foundation of this interaction.

He showed me a pathway back to the river and ended up slipping and falling seven feet face-first onto another rock. By this time I was in full-on Stockholm Syndrome and asked “hey dude, are you ok?!” “Can you hold me” he asked as he was crying (again) and withering in pain. I gave him a light pat on the shoulder and quickly swam to the other side of the river and thought how I should try to work on my bitch face more because people tend to emotionally unload on me.

Cut to two weeks later. I made yet another excursion to the Yuba (again, to forgo beating my roommates asses) and for the sake of discretion I’ll give the long and the short. I ended up in the parking lot of Tesla charging station with a handsome South American boy who expressed that he wanted to clap my cheeks, so I let him pummel my booty hole on the side of the fossil-free automobile and I blushed as a family of four drove by and spotted me bent over and getting tagged in the ass.

I got scared and pulled my pants up and was nervous they were driving off to call the cops but the driver boy wasn’t too concerned and was like “let’s just go fuck on the other side of the car.” Apparently fucking on the other side of the car in public was more discreet? I bent over behind the passenger side of the car and felt re-affirmed in this illegal excursion of public sex. When I looked back at my chauffeur while he was fucking me and he actually winked at me mid-thrust. So romantic! And yes, we wore masks the entire time.

6. The High School Teacher
It was the start of Covid and I somehow made arrangements to fuck this closeted high school teacher on the roof of his Oakland high rise apartment. We would meet (masked of course), get blasted on coke, and fuck until the sun came up. It became a weekly engagement for a while. His building manager even caught us twice but somehow we didn’t give a fuck and would still carry on with the gumption of gay dudes fucking in the middle of a plague.

But of course I’m a Cancer and even in NSA sex arrangements my bitch ass feelings always get tangled in. On our like fifteenth date I was like “do you even like me?” To which he replied “Of course I like you! I invite you over to fuck all the time! And you’re not even hung!” I immediately prayed that I was Covid-positive and like almost took my mask off to cough on him but then realized that that was actually a really sweet thing for him to say.

Info & Credits

Written by Brontez Purnell Images courtesy of the author Published on November 17, 2020

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