A new Facebook game is taking a stab at promoting healthy sexual behavior, The Huffington Post Gay Voices blog reports:
A new Facebook game is taking a socially-conscious look at the sex lives of gay and bisexual men, promoting the idea that the more men you have sex with, the more frequently you should be screened for sexually transmitted diseases and infections.
Titled “Man Up,” the game allows players to attempt to bounce between brightly colored beds without being knocked off by a “love bug.” The higher a player manages to bounce, the more points they receive — but those points can only be banked by a visit to the “floating clinic,” according to the U.K.-based HIV and sexual health advocacy group Terrence Higgins Trust.
“A game of bouncy beds and scoring,” the game’s Facebook description reads. “But your score’s only yours if you visit a clinic. It’s up to you if you play it safe!”
As Unicorn Booty blogger Kevin Farrell also notes, players can choose between four “devastatingly handsome” avatars, including “Sexy Beast.”
The game is part of the group’s England-wide HIV prevention campaign, according to the website.
“It’s best for gay men to go for an STI screen at least once every six months,” Cary James, Head of Programs at Terrence Higgins Trust, said on the group’s website. “If you’re having lots of different sexual partners, it’s a good idea to go more often. The sooner you find out you have a sexually transmitted infection [including HIV], the better. Finding out earlier makes it easier to treat and avoids any long term problems.”
Given their long history of oppression, gay men have often relied on nuanced forms of social networking (before “social networking” was even a concept) to be able to meet each other and interact socially, sexually, and romantically. Gamifying that behavior sort of brings the Farmville, sim-heavy aesthetic to post-AIDS gay culture, a world where establishing a universal sexual ethic and praxis for queer communities (let alone straight ones) has been nearly impossible.
Use a condom, Michael Callen and Richard Berkowitz suggested in their revolutionary 1982 pamphlet “How To Have Sex in an Epidemic.” It’s a sign of how much things have changed where now the answer would add, “and play a Facebook game.”