The Tearoom Trade in 2008

Fifty-eight people attended a recent event of theirs on New Year’s Day, according to an e-mail from its proprietor. That’s about how many people were in the Cock on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Manhunt.net, the leading gay hookup site, limits search results listings to 1,500 active members—and a search for men online in New York City generally returns the full 1,500. (On Monday afternoon, it dropped to 1,440 active members; on Tuesday morning, it fell to a bit more than 1,100.) Give or take, a third or so of the members list themselves as 30 years old or younger; a similar number identify as H.I.V. positive.

Like a small-town newspaper puzzled at its declining readership, the city doesn’t know how to get on the Internet to conduct its business.

The logic guiding the City is that if venues that receive complaints that violate the sanitary code are shut down, then there will be no opportunity for sex acts to occur.

“It’s not bad logic,” said Mr. Volle, who has become an ordained interfaith minister and is doing some consulting work designing and evaluating HIV programs, “but it doesn’t take into consideration the private sex parties that are growing in leaps and bounds, and going further and further underground. What’s happening is it’s making it more and more difficult for the community-based organizations to get in to the New York City-based sex parties and create a harm reduction atmosphere.”

On Craigslist, one outreach worker from Harlem United has been sensibly and gently intruding, posting every few days that he is there to answer “ANY questions.” He writes: “I’m a pretty laid-back dude, no judgments, just info and str8 up answers.”

On Saturday at 6 p.m., a Craigslist posting in the Manhattan M4M section went up, with the headline “HSV2+ HPV+ HIV- Young Attractive Guy Looking – 20.”

“Anyone else out there with these rediculous std’s? I have HSV2 (genital herpes) and HPV viruses from the few sexual encounters I’ve experienced and would not wish them on others,” wrote the poster. “Anyone honest enough and in a similar boat? Young and attractive perhaps? I might be reaching for the stars but hey its NYC why not try.”

Did this breaking of social customs work?

“Nobody is honest about it,” the poster wrote in an e-mail, describing the responses he received. “I have no luck meeting anyone.”

He’ll do better if he lies.