Whore Into Housewife: Unpacking Social Myths About Living with HIV

Unpacking social myths, magic tricks, and other silly misconceptions

by Corey Saucier

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Photo by C. Saucier

I want to be someone’s housewife. Is that weird? I think it’s been almost three years since I’ve had a man in my bed that I called a boyfriend (and there have been so many men in my bed). Sometimes sexual promiscuity is the automatic default for so many of us who have found so many of our identities in the bedroom—scratch that! DO not say that out loud! Stop thinking the thought! That’s reductive, stereotypical, and fundamentally untrue. That’s the political brush that we were painted with in the eighties (as the sex-crazed hedonistic homos/low-lifes/whores, punished with a disease born out of ”unseemly sexual connection”), but I refuse to internalize those lies. HIV is a pathogen, and like all pathogens they are only tangentially linked to causality. Being hungry does not cause food poisoning, nor does being Black cause malaria—just because things happen in tandem, it does not mean that they have anything to do with one another.

Here ends your lesson in Intermediate Logic.

So instead of generalizing, and adding to a dangerous and ill-conceived narrative of the “sexually promiscuous HIV-positive cis male,” I will speak from my own truth. This has nothing to do with my positive HIV brothers, sisters, and non-binary in-betweeners. Not everyone with HIV is a whore (you’d be surprised at how many folks don’t know this simple fact. Thank God for our dear friend Ryan White or it would have been so much worse), but I personally am far too comfortable wielding my identity in the bedroom. My integrity is too tied to my penis; and I am struggling to grow out of it. I want to be a good little housewife in cheap g-strings I ordered online from China, but I also want to be so many other things…each as beautiful as the last.

My therapist says to make a list of things I’m looking for in a partner.

This makes me talk in circles for thirty minutes about the roles of Tops and Bottoms, and my ongoing fear of falling for a Versatile Bisexual Agnostic Gender-Fluid Mixed-Race person with two different eye colors—

“Because I thrive in absolutes,” I conclude.

This causes my therapist to take a measured sip of his Starbucks frappuccino, scribble something in his notes, and say: “This conversation sounds a little scattered. Are you sure you want what you say you want? You may not be ready. You say what you want is love, but all you have talked about is sex. It’s okay to just want sex.”

And I talk around in circles for another thirty minutes admitting that it’s easy to rely on structured gender roles because it’s familiar and validating and that in truth, I don’t really know what I want…but I want it now.

“I want it now!” I begin to sing in a posh British accent.

I wrap my pink chinchilla fur coat around me dramatically, and perform a cult classic musical number in an off-key falsetto about wrapping today and tomorrow up in my pocket, and having a bean feast!

Because I want an adorable Oompa Loompa to love me, and hold me, and call me beautiful….

“And If I don’t get the things I am after…I’m going to scream!!” And I hold the note for almost two days, masterfully playing the role of spoiled little rich girl, and I am pulling gold geese eggs and snozzberries (who ever heard of a snozzberry) out of my pockets like magic tricks! And I’ve even mustered a couple of tears.

And I am waiting for my therapist to stand up and applaud; to tell me how brave I am for asking for the impossible.

He doesn’t.

He takes another sip of his coffee and scribbles on his notepad for much longer than necessary, and stone face says: “Uh huh.”

I am not amused.

My therapist is a very young, very cute, very smart, very gay, bearded trans cub. If it wasn’t against about a hundred ethical rules I would be trying to seduce him. (I kind of have a thing for gay trans cubs.) But the reason he’s my therapist…(other than the fact that I’m poor and he needs the practice), is that he is intersectionally aware enough to see, but not be moved by all of my complex identities.

He stands outside the paradigm.

Sure, I’m Gay, Black, Fem, Bottom, Christian, Poz, and Smarter than 98 percent of the population, but he’s a man with a vagina. He’s not impressed by much.

So he asks me again, “Make a list and see if the list holds for a few days. The things that stick, will stick. The things that don’t, won’t.”

I still haven’t made the list.

I still don’t know exactly what I want.

But I want to be someone’s housewife.

And no matter what the world might say, I don’t believe that my sexual history (HIV-positive or not ) should preclude me from that.

I DO believe you can turn a whore into a housewife.

You just watch and see!

Love and Light


Corey Saucier is an artist and writer living in Los Angeles. He is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction and Non-Fiction and is currently penning his first novel. His musings and wanderings on Love, Life, and Nonsense can be found at www.justwords.tumblr.com.