What Breeding Is in Gay Terms

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Breeding is a slang term used to describe the process of ejaculating inside another man during bareback anal sex. It's a high-risk activity that greatly increases the chances of transmitting or contracting HIV and other STDs because it does not involve using a condom. In fact, breeding refers to both being on the receiving end and on the ejaculating end of the sexual equation.

What Breeding Is in Gay Terms

Breeding may also be referred to as seeding. The use of sexual phrases like "breed me" or "I want to breed you" is common in all types of relationships, including hook-ups with anonymous individuals or people you barely know. It's important for people engaging in breeding to search for a partner that they can experience a deep level of trust, familiarity, and intention with—just as in heterosexual sex.

The History of Breeding

The word breeding—or breeders—first shot into mainstream consciousness in Provincetown, Massachusetts, a heavily gay community. This New England town, "P-town," is known as a gay vacation destination for the LGBTQ community. Since 1984, Provincetown has held the Women's Week festival every October, earning its reputation as the longest running lesbian cultural event in the area. The town participates in many cultural events that support the gay community, such as Fantasia Fair, an annual conference focused on gender diversity and transgender issues.

In 2006, same-sex couples petitioned for the right to marry, and the populace reportedly began calling them "breeders." It's also been reported that the term is used by gays in reference to heterosexual couples who have the potential to conceive, most often in a joking or derogatory way. However, this is not considered to be the common slang usage.

The term breeding has its place in other slang, too—like between heterosexual couples who want to have children versus those who do not. It's also been used to refer to lesbians who resort to various biological methods to have children together. In fact, some use the word "breeder" to describe lesbian parents that participate in reproduction, an act that some people believe perpetuates homonormativity.

Homonormativity addresses problems in the queer community such as white privilege, capitalism, and sexism. These issues leave a significant amount of people, who are not a part of the moment, in a place of greater sexual freedom and equality. Our culture is heteronormative, which assumes and promotes the position that being a heterosexual is the only normal and natural orientation to have. Homonormativity challenges heteronormativity and provides more representations of queer people in society and the media.

There are also issues with people using the term "breed" as a way to put down LGBT couples who are looking to expand their family members, such as "they're starting to breed." Thus, variations of the word "breed" are up for debate within and outside of LGBTQ communities. Considering its complexity, it's no surprise that in some spaces it's considered unacceptable and even a slur to use the term.

The Risks of Breeding 

There are several positions involved in gay sex, primarily that of being a "top" or a "bottom." A top is typically a man who performs the penetration and is often more aggressive. On the other hand, a bottom is a person on the receiving end who leans toward a more submissive role.

It doesn't matter if you're top or bottom, as your exposure to HIV and other STDs is the same when you engage in breeding. It's generally OK and safe to engage in a sexual act involving breeding—as long as you're in a reasonably long-term relationship with someone who has been tested and does not put you at risk. If, however, you engage in unprotected sex with a stranger (or someone who is barely known to you), you may be at risk depending on this person's history and health. 

The Centers for Disease Control puts the possibility of getting HIV from having unprotected sex with an infected partner by receptive anal intercourse sex at about a 138 risk behavior per 10,000 exposures (or 0.0138 percent). The 10,000 exposure denominator allows people to put their exposure in context with other HIV risks. While getting HIV can be acquired on the first exposure, it is rare. Regardless, you should protect yourself from the possibility by decreasing your risks through condom use, male circumcision, and other treatments. Unprotected anal sex is considered one of the riskiest activities for sexually transmitted diseases because of physical factors unique to the anus, like more fragile skin and a lack of lubrication.

HIV is only one of the health risks out there. Anal penetration also puts you at risk for herpes, HPV, hepatitis B, syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. The anus is a fertile environment in which chlamydia and gonorrhea can grow. To protect yourself,​ it's important to engage in safe sex.