Ever wondered what it's like to be a young person living with HIV? This month's Sex Blogger of the Month has chronicled his experience with HIV since his diagnosis in 2012. His blog, I'm Still Josh, is fresh and fun, but also informative and empowering. Josh covers his journey with HIV in the hope that he can he can help others who have been diagnosed, as well as help people protect themselves from infection. Through his blog and successful YouTube Channel, Josh has become a bit of a celebrity in the HIV world. He was also a category winner our Sex Blogging Superheroes of 2017. So ... let's just say we're fan-girling a bit about having him on the site!
So, without further ado, here are Josh's answers to Kinkly's 10 questions.
Kinkly: Give us three words that describe your blog.
Josh: “The fucking shit!” Ha Just joshin’ ya! Honest. Accurate. Buzzworthy.
Kinkly: What inspired you to start the blog?
Josh: I wanted to be the person sharing my own story, on my own timeline, and in my way. I wanted to offer that perspective and journey in a manner that potentially inspired others to live well with HIV, or understand HIV a little bit better.
Kinkly: What’s behind the name?
Josh: Well, this was a hard decision for me. Like honestly, what the hell do you call a blog about living with HIV? "I’m Poz Now, Oh Fuck!?!?" or "Ain’t this some bullshit dot com?" or "I am so excited to be stigmatized dot net?" Ha ha, of course not. I named it “I’m Still Josh” because I felt the same as I did when I was negative. I didn’t want to be treated differently than before or for people to feel sorry for me. “I’m still Josh. You still be you.” That was the motto in my mind. Plus, that domain was available. That helps! It’s weird now, though, talking about myself in the third person. So I just do the “we” a lot even though it’s just me in charge in my blog.
Kinkly: Who’s your target reader?
Josh: Anybody who has sex. And specifically people who are affected by HIV in some way. I’ll take any reader, though! I mean, wouldn’t you?
Kinkly: What’s unique about your blog?
Josh: First, it’s the greatest blog in the history of the world! LOL. That’s what I think of it, anyways. But seriously, I think imstilljosh.com offers a unique perspective on HIV-related news and stuff. It’s all accredited as health accurate, but I think my content isn’t the same as other sexual health bloggers. I interviewed Martin Shkreli and I broke national news about him. Big major bad ass news publications didn’t get the scoop - I did. That rocks! Nobody or no organization is off limits to criticism.
And I give praise where it is due. I've called out the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) before. I admitted that I don’t hate pharma - as I called out a pharma company that was trademarking phrases like "HIV Answers." I’ve called the leadership of big HIV nonprofits "crazy" when I believed it and published breaking news first that kinda pissed off some government agencies. It always comes back to a message of offering encouragement to those living with HIV. In my recent TEDx Talk, I described my HIV advocacy as a mix between pop culture iconic and cool MTV News, a place where Kurt Loder meets the encouragement and good feelings of televangelist Joel Osteen. I mean, I did a huge article on the media-elusive gay pornographer Paul Morris. I published an investigative piece about the lack of FDA approval for the use of condoms during anal sex. If the story doesn’t have some spice to it, who cares?!?! That’s how I view my site and for now, people still visit it. And, damn it, I didn’t win the GLAAD Media Award in 2017 after being nominated for Outstanding Blog. I had an article ready to publish in case I won. When I lost, I just crossed out all the winning bullshit in red on the blog article and made it visible to the reader. It’s the best "I won but really lost" acceptance article ever. Who does that? Well, besides imstilljosh.com?!?! We were very honored to lose.
Kinkly: What is the topic you find yourself covering most often and why?
Josh: I like to break news about HIV. As a one-man show, I get off on being able to scoop the other, more respected HIV iconic publications. And my HIV video content beats their asses! Haha! They are more appreciated and admired, so it’s OK to go after the big dogs sometimes. I love them dearly, but I’m competitive as hell! Plus my site doesn’t monetize. So I can always just play that card if needed.
Kinkly: What was your most popular post ever? Why do you think it drew so many readers?
Josh: Well it’s all popular, but two articles stand out: Condoms aren’t approved by the FDA for anal sex and my exclusive video interview with Pharmabro Martin Shkreli. Both articles questioned what everyone thought was true, and provided evidence and perspective that I think struck people as unique. Some hated them, some loved them - but they all read and watched the content and shared it with all their friends. I ain’t mad about that!
Kinkly: What’s the best thing about writing a sex blog?
Josh: I love sex. You all love sex. And it is kinda erotic to be free to talk about it so openly. I find that people that let go of that internalized and community-driven fear of talking about fucking very freeing and overall pretty liberating. I’ve also had some fans of my content that come to Nashville and are like, “heyyyyy imstilljosh” and those nights always end up pretty exciting! The perks of being able to talk about sex are not always known to everyone. The benefits outweigh the tough part of maintaining a blog, though!
Kinkly: What’s the worst thing about it?
Josh: I’m not overly technical in terms of maintaining proper website shit ... like it’s never fast enough. Some mean folks sometimes add dumb code and break the site and the security plugins are expensive. It’s not cheap to run a publication. All my complaints revolve around the actual maintaining of the site. Oh, and misspellings. I am a terrible speller. It never fails that I think I just published a hell of an article and shared it all over social media and someone points out a spelling error and I’m like “efffff you” but they are right usually and then I have to swallow my pride and fix my mistake. I don’t proof read. Editors probably cringe at my articles. I just blame all that stuff on my HIV. Haha! Yes, I do use my HIV in circumstances when I need to blame something. If I really mess up, magically my HIV diagnosis instantly becomes described by me as AIDS - even though it isn’t true. I tell you, if you toss out the AIDS card every once in a while, people are shocked and I find that pretty funny. OK, I’m going to hell. But, come on! Humor has helped me cope thus far. The next time someone else uses that excuse, think of me.
Kinkly: OK, now for the good stuff: Give us your best tip for great sex.
Josh: Choose me! I know how to fuck! Seriously, though, I think when people relax during sex that it turns out so much better. I’ve made people orgasm for the first time ever by making them just let go of their perceived control of the position and to just relax their muscles and let me own it! Ha! Also, don’t be afraid to make the room a bit dim. It’s kinda hot to not see every face made during sex and accidentally elbow them or butt heads. That awkwardness sometimes makes you all laugh and keeps the sex pretty fun and more realistic that those highly produced porns. If I don’t laugh at least twice during sex with someone, it will ALWAYS be a one night stand. I’m fun. I want sex to be fun. It’s hotter that way to me. (Oh, and cut the porn moaning out, people. All that yelping is so damn annoying. Next time someone is making porn-inspired fake moans, do what I do: start making an animal noise like barking or horse naying. That’ll shut them up and bring them back to just relaxing. Or at least make you laugh that you just barked at a trick! Either way it’ll make your day!)