Sexual health

Douchie’s guide to a Dore Alley without fear of monkeypox

Dore is here, but so is monkeypox. Here are some ideas to reduce your risk, and still enjoy your favorite kink & fetish festival in San Francisco.

We’re gearing up for an exciting return of our favorite street festival in San Francisco: Up Your Alley (aka Dore Alley), where you’ll get your fill of hot hairy daddies, hungry pigs, BDSM babes and kinks of all kinds. Douchie’s got some hot tips for a fun and filthy weekend — free of anxiety.

Keep in mind that there are a lot of ways to reduce risk. You may choose to use one or two of these suggestions — or none at all. And, a quick reminder to remember COVID-19 precautions, and to get vaccinated for meningitis if you haven’t already. Douchie hopes that you have a happy and healthy Dore Alley!

Don’t skip the piggy parties

We’ve heard from people who are worried about attending events out of fear of contracting monkeypox. We hope you partake while also taking steps to reduce your risk. It’s been a long few years without community events because of Covid — we think it’s time to get back out there (safely, and if you feel comfortable doing so).

Be aware, but not overly afraid

Monkeypox is transmitted from person to person during skin-to-skin contact with a person who has a rash (like during sex, or dancing), or contact with body fluids like when kissing and when engaging in water sports. Even though it’s technically possible to transmit monkeypox on surfaces (like if you share a towel with someone who has monkeypox), it’s less likely. There isn’t much risk of getting monkeypox from sharing things like toilet seats, pools, and gym equipment, or being in a steam room or sauna with someone who has monkeypox.

Play dress up

There’s never been a better time to dress from top to bottom in latex or leather. Keeping your skin covered is a sure-fire way to prevent exposures to monkeypox.

Take a friend to the dungeon

Going to sex parties with people you know (and planning on who you’ll hook up with) can be one way to reduce your risk if you’re able to have open and honest conversations about monkeypox symptoms and possible exposures. Talk to the people you’ll play with ahead of time about monkeypox, but also things like HIV, PrEP and sexual health testing.

Move to less crowded areas

Consider skipping the dark, back rooms at parties if they’re super crowded and there’s no way to control who you’re bumping up against and rubbing skin-to-skin with.

Enjoy the show

Check out bondage demonstrations and other public performances. Use what you see at Dore as inspiration for your play with regular sex partners.

It’s OK to be picky with your sex partners

We do this all the time — there are a ton of factors that go into choosing who you’ll have sex with and what you’ll do with that person (or people). Pay attention to how you’re making choices about who you hook up with, and be aware of situations that make you feel uncomfortable or beyond any limits you set for yourself. This advice can be about monkeypox, but also a reminder about safety and consent.

Keep in mind that condoms can reduce risk of monkeypox, but not eliminate risk entirely, since monkeypox rashes/lesions can show up all over the body. Condoms are a great way to prevent other STIs, and also HIV.

Slow your roll

We know it’s tempting to plunge headfirst into your x-rated weekend. To reduce your risk, consider unpacking your weekend. Prioritize a few events, and go with people you already know and trust.

Cover up your own bumps

See a bump on your skin and worried that it might be monkeypox? If you’re not sure, and you still want to go out tonight, cover it up with a bandaid or clothing before you go out. If you feel like it’s likely to be monkeypox (for instance if you know you may have been exposed), it makes sense to stay home and wait on going out until you can get it checked out by your healthcare provider.

Try to get vaccinated

Get vaccinated if you can. We know the Jynneos vaccine can be hard to come by — supplies of the vaccine are low nationwide. Eligibility for the vaccine has opened up to include gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and trans people who have sex with men if they have had multiple partners in the past two weeks, in addition to people who do sex work.

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Medical information provided and reviewed by SFAF clinicians Jorge Roman, MSN, FNP-BC, AAHIVS, and Hyman Scott, MD, MPH

More questions about Monkeypox? Read the latest updates on treatment, testing, and vaccinations.