YouTube Sensation Davey Wavey’s Mission Is to Protect His Gay Brethren, Enable Others To Experience Joyful Sex & Celebrate One’s Own Body
by Dann Dulin
What started off a decade ago for Internet icon Davey Wavey as a personal video diary for his close friends has exploded into 400 million hits and nearly 1,000 episodes. His strapping Abercrombie & Fitch looks don’t hurt him either. (Davey is a personal trainer, zealous about exercise.)
Davey Wavey (a nickname his parents called him as a kid; he will not reveal his last name) had just moved from Washington, D.C. to Toronto when the idea struck him to chronicle his adventures in a new city. His eighth video put him on the Internet map. In it, a shirtless Davey talked about watching his neighbor masturbate.
“I’m just a silly irreverent gay guy…,” the thirty-three year old flippantly says. Maybe so. His critics are plentiful, condemning him as a gay cookie cutter and a shallow sensationalist. He defies being pigeonholed as his shows are varied and his natural approach is refreshing. One episode finds him stripping down to snuggy briefs in New York City in the cold for passersby to write “what you fear” on his body. Earlier this year he interviewed a ninety-five year old grandfather who had just recently come out of the closet. Both videos are a must-see!
Unabashedly and brazenly outspoken, Davey is entertaining and, often, educational. No subject is taboo. Some of his past shows include “Prostate Secrets,” “How To Fuck a Transgender Person,” “Anal Douching,” and “My HIV Results LIVE!” He admits to being a bit perverse, goofy, and a sexual deviant. But then, who isn’t?
Cocksure and raw, he makes no excuses. In person or on video, Davey Wavey is authentic. The man takes YouTubing in new directions. His videos are inspirational, emotional, and empowering. He has two YouTube channels: WickydKewl and DaveyWaveyRaw. Watching his vids is like munching on a rich piece of dark chocolate cake, with hot fudge on top.
Davey has twice participated in the AIDS/LifeCycle, an annual seven-day trek where participants bike from San Francisco to Los Angeles to raise money for AIDS organizations. (This year nearly 3,000 riders raised over $15 million.) On one of the rides Davey biked alongside a Texas father who lost his son to AIDS-related causes. Wavey filmed their journey. The episode is called “Dad Bikes 545 Miles For Gay Son.”
In another episode on the AIDS/LifeCycle journey, Davey was joined by Luke who was a recovering crystal meth addict and had been sober for only twelve days. The episode is called “12 Days Sober.”
“I was honored to do these powerful stories,” recounts Davey from his home in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, where he was raised. He lived in West Hollywood for a year and a half, but in January 2016 decided to be closer to his parents, his older sister, and his goddaughter.
Davey has owned his spacious one-bedroom loft for ten years. Despite its location just off Main Street, I feel as though I’m in a cabin in the woods. It sports a brick wall, shiny wood floors, and a high wood-beam ceiling.
Off in the corner is a familiar desk, computer, and a large calendar with playful oversized numbers on the white wall. This has been the backdrop for a number of his shows.
STIs have been the subject of many of his episodes. “I filmed one episode where I talked to my real life doctor about frequently asked gay health questions,” relates Davey in his trademark boyish voice. “I also did an episode about my experience telling my sexual partners that I had an STD.” His doctor recommended that he reach out to his partners. Though apprehensive, he did it. The responses were surprising. “Although I feared people might respond negatively, they all appreciated my honesty.”
He rises up off the L-shaped black leather sofa to fetch more iced tea and asks if I would like a refill.
As he searches into the snazzy stainless steel refrigerator he comments, “As a gay man, HIV and AIDS is a defining touchstone for all of us. Though I am too young to remember the AIDS epidemic of the eighties and nineties, I understand how it shaped this community, and how we’ve come together and grown stronger.”
He stops, leans on the counter, and continues. “Personally, it impacts the decisions that I make about my own health, like going on PrEP. I understand the importance of prioritizing my sexual health and being educated on the issues that affect me.” In his episodes, Davey has encouraged others to get on the prevention drug, especially if they are in a high-risk group.
Wavey has interviewed many people living with HIV and those who have lost partners, friends, and family to the disease. Last year he taped an episode about an individual in recovery from substance use who tested positive and an individual who used PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis). This year Davey attended the United States Conference on AIDS in Washington, D.C., and gave a presentation about harnessing the power of social media. At home he supports AIDS Care Ocean State that sponsors a monthly gay bingo fundraiser, at which Davey has appeared.
Davey has done Internet PSAs for the epidemic, including HIV Beats Campaign for Abzyme Research Foundation, and just recently he’s been elected as a 2017 digital ambassador for the CDC’s Doing It Campaign, which premiered in June. When he tells me this, his searching sapphire-blue eyes twinkle neon and his passion detonates with enthusiasm. It pleases Davey to please.
Several years ago he attended one of Europe’s largest AIDS fundraisers, LifeBall, held in Vienna, Austria. Davey Wavey strutted down the runway at one event modeling a Jean-Paul Gaultier outfit. He even walked the LifeBall red carpet in Speedos!
Known to feel more comfortable naked, today Davey has worn an ebony T-shirt and coffee-and-cream colored shorts. Pausing, he shifts positions, draping his arm across the sofa. “Now, as someone who talks a lot about sex and reaches a large audience of people who continue to be disproportionally affected by HIV and AIDS,” he says, “I have a duty to educate and support our community.” But why does he continue his good will work? Why does he care? He instantly answers with firm conviction, opening his arms and shrugging his shoulders, “When there’s a need in your community, you step up. That’s what you do.”
Davey felt the need to help other YouTubers and in 2016 established a scholarship fund, Rising Rainbows with Broadband TV, which gives financial support and boosts exposure to underrepresented voices on YouTube. So far, they have awarded four scholarships.
Davey earned his YouTube fame. He’s received many comments insinuating that he’s a trust fund baby. Untrue. He has turned Davey Wavey into a brand, working sometimes fifty to sixty-hour weeks. “A lot of people don’t realize the blood, sweat, and tears that got me where I am today,” insists Davey spiritedly, satisfying an itch on his face of flawless peachy-pink skin. “Admittedly, some of it was luck. I love what I do and I feel that I’m contributing something positive to the world.” He has one full-time employee who handles brand development. On his downtime, Davey paints, reads books, and is obsessed with House of Cards.
Davey Wavey had a loving upbringing anchored in values and morals. (For outside sources of guidance he credits Oprah, Deepak Chopra, and Wayne Dyer.) When he came out to his parents at seventeen his mother immediately mentioned AIDS. “As someone who lived through the crisis, she equated being gay with AIDS and death,” he specifies. Upon hearing this news, his parents sent him to their Catholic priest. In time, they got used to it, he says, and now they are PFLAG members. He smiles, exhibiting his hefty-size ultra whitey-white teeth.
In 2006, he graduated from Seton Hall, a Catholic University in New Jersey, with a degree in marketing. As a student, he did advocacy work to support other LGBT students and at one point even sued the university. He initially wanted to join a marketing agency, but couldn’t imagine himself in the corporate world. LGBT issues were his passion and so after college he started working for Family Equality Council, a nonprofit that advocates for LGBT families.
Wavey speaks at colleges, has an underwear line called DirtyFit Apparel, and is a global traveler, and, of course, tapes his exploits along the way. Some of the places he’s visited are Spain, the U.K., Thailand, and Africa. Upcoming travels include Costa Rica, Argentina, and France. Currently, his focus is a series of tantric projects, having recently launched a program called 30 Days of Pleasure. “It’s an invitation to experience a different aspect of pleasure each day for thirty days,” he explains, looking out the forest green double hung metal windows that open up onto a high-rise across the street. “We worked with a number of tantric coaches on the project, and produced accompanying video content with director Travis Matthews. It’s an area where we’ve seen lots of traction. There’s definitely a need for it.”
Naturally, I had to ask: How old were you when you first had sex? “You know, losing my virginity was so utterly unremarkable that I don’t really remember,” he notes matter-of-factly. “I think I was around sixteen. I think it was with some guy that I met online, who smelled like cigarettes. Clearly he didn’t leave much of an impression on me.”
At sixteen, he was tested for the first time. “I went with my friend’s mom to the clinic. She had lost a lot of friends in the eighties and nineties, and felt that it was her responsibility to educate me,” he points out. “I’m really grateful to her.” Now he is tested regularly and he advocates testing on his shows.
Though single, he dates less frequently due to a hectic work schedule. He doesn’t go to bars so most of his connections are made online. “Finding out about the other guy’s status is easier online than face-to-face,” he admits then adds, “I’m mindful to avoid stigmatizing language and questions like, ‘Are you clean?’ That’s not helpful to any of us.”
Over the past ten years his goal has changed. “I’ve grown and evolved,” he says. “However, I’ve always created content about the things that I find interesting. My focus now is to lift sex out of the darkness and help gay men shed shame and guilt.”
Sharp—and certainly fascinating—Davey Wavey continues to push the limits. Not only does he slap a grin on our puss with his whacky antics, but at the same time he keeps us tuned in: aware, connected, and well informed.
Check out Davey Wavey online by starting here: https://www.youtube.com/user/wickydkewl.
Dann Dulin is a Senior Editor of A&U.