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‘Out’ Delves Deep

outbareback.jpeg
Bareback porn has exploded over the past nine years.

James Gavin reports in the new Out that condomless climaxes pull in 30% of the entire gay adult industry – a horrifyingly high yield considering the countless AIDS-related deaths over the past twenty-five years.

This proliferation obviously indicates a fantasy-driven demand, but are there thornier roots behind bareback porns’ inflation?

On his quest for answers, Gavin comes across former porn star Will Clark, who chalks barebacks’ appeal to a cultural yearning: “It reflects our need to be edgy and defiant in a world where gay used to be edgy and defiant and very day has become more and more commonplace.” Bareback producer Paul Morris – who made a name and bank with his Treasure Island titles, including Dawson’s 50-Load Weekend – puts the “defiant” theory in – er – action. Gavin writes:

[To Morris], sex and homosexuality are meaningful only if they’re transgressive, unreined, risky. (He calls HIV-negativity “the new virginity.”) “To me, sexi is a religion… To a certain extent my job is setting up a zone in which those questions don’t appear – a sexual cloud of unknowing. I want to make porn that comes from a place even I don’t understand. Porn from a place that’s wild, forbidden, that’s absolutely secret. That to me is gay.”

No doubt homosexuality’s been yanked from the closet in recent years – and piped across the nation.

The same issue of Out features an article on Bravo and BBC America’s apparent queer obsession. Both networks boast either explicitly queer or queer-friendly shows. Bravo brings us Project Runway, Shear Genius and the forthcoming Flipping Out, which features a gay “house flipper”. BBC America, meanwhile, keeps the homos happy with Footballers’ Wives, gay comedian Matt Lucas’ Little Britain and will soon have lavender tongues wagging with the Dr. Who spin-off, Torchwood, starring gay actor John Barrowman. Of these televisual developments, Bravo executive Andrew Cohen tells Ed Halter:

I think that’s an example of the times changing. One of the amazing things about Queer Eye was that the Fab Five were bonding with straight people and elevating them. There was a process of understanding and union between gay and straight people on the show… What do you do after breaking these huge barriers? The revolution now is in the everydayness of gays, as part of the fabric of our daily lives.

Could it be that gays have become so interwoven in mainstream America that gay men lust for forbidden fruit? Could Morris be right? Are we looking to live dangerously, but turn to bareback porn as an alternative? If he is, in fact, right, how long until the barriers between fantasy and reality break down? As Gavin points out: “From the hairy-chested blue collar style-to the pumped-up gym bod, porn has helped promote every dominant look in gay culture.” Here’s to hoping porn doesn’t take the gays down. Then there’d be no market for Morris and his colleagues – we’ll all be dead. Then we’ll only be a television shows’ plot device: an equally frightening prospect.

The new issue of Out hits stands on June 17th. Look for Nate Berkus’ smiling, handsome face. In the meantime, check out artist Matt Lipps’ website – he created the accompanying image. And he’s got a whole lot more to offer.

By:           Andrew Belonksy
On:           Jul 11, 2007
Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • 16 Comments
    • naprem
      naprem

      I reprint here what I first wrote on JasonCurious.com:

      I’m very much against it, and I would support banning it. Freedom of speech is all well and good, and should absolutely be defended. But this is not just a matter of freedom of speech.

      In the American culture of today, the government’s attitude towards sex education in schools amounts to little more than sticking their fingers in their ears and humming real loud, hoping it’ll just go away. This leaves these poor gay kids with only the internet to learn from. They’re watching porn online from the age of 13, and if what they see is condomless, that’s what they’re gonna do.

      I reject the notion that people don’t follow what they see on TV and the movies. American culture prizes mindless conformity over actually thinking for yourself. When was the last time anyone ever accused the American public en masse of being wise and intellectually discriminating? All of which means that yes – people see bareback sex, they’re gonna think it’s okay to go have bareback sex. Especially those poor uneducated kids, who don’t know any better because no one cares enough to teach them.

      A friend recently received a phone call from his gay 19-year-old cousin. The kid was in tears because he’d just tested HIV+. The worst thing was that he had only ever had sex with one guy – and that was a 16-year-old schoolboy. Had either one of these been taught properly, either by the schools or by conscientious porn providers in absentia, these two promising young lives would not have been destroyed.

      And you may say that only HIV+ performers appear in bareback porn. Or if they’re not positive yet, they don’t care they will inevitably become so. In what way is this even vaguely erotic? How can anyone get off on watching men who are either actively dying right there on the screen, or committing suicide? These are nothing more than snuff films, showing men who care more for orgasms than life, indulging in murder/suicide pacts.

      And taking those kids with them by example. It disgusts me.

      If you want free speech, have it by all means, and indulge in whatever you want to do behind closed doors. But don’t you dare come out here and tell me it’s a good thing and expect me to agree.

      Jul 11, 2007 at 5:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WWH
      WWH

      Naprem: In most cases, people with HIV are not actively dying any more. The young people’s lives were not destroyed, but altered. I’d rather be POZ than have many types of cancer – or diabetes, for that matter. I think you are alarmist. I have a hard time believing that there is any 16 yo who does not know the benefits of a condom. In any event, a less heavy handed way to deal with this would be a PSA (that could not be skipped, much thike the FBI warnings about piracy) about safe sex before the skin flick begins. As long as consenting adults choose to bareback it so be it.

      Jul 11, 2007 at 5:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • stonerboy711
      stonerboy711

      Word!

      Jul 11, 2007 at 5:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • stonerboy711
      stonerboy711

      The “Word” goes out to naprem’s comment. WWH’s crazy-ass shit came up while I was reading the first comment.

      Honey, you don’t die from HIV, you die from AIDS. I know two people that are “actively” dying right this second so if you’re counting on those meds to keep you alive, you better have a back up plan sister!

      Barebacking is for losers!!!!!!!

      Jul 11, 2007 at 5:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • nycstudman
      nycstudman

      Porn – straight and especially gay – need to eroticize condom use. It’s always one minute, foreplay; next minute, boom-boom with condom magically on. When I put on a condom, I make a kind of fetish out of it and it actually enhances the experience for myself & my partner. is that so fucking hard for these producers and directors to understand?

      Jul 11, 2007 at 5:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WWH
      WWH

      Guys. I’m just saying that barebacking is a choice. I’m tired of the fundies taking the moral high ground with us and don’t think that we should do the same with regard to consenting adults. That’s all. Relax.

      Jul 11, 2007 at 5:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • stonerboy711
      stonerboy711

      Yeah, it’s a choice that people without any self-respect make. I’m here to say that all gay people are worthly of love and their lives are valued. Don’t throw it away and don’t ever “relax”. Barebacking = Death

      Jul 11, 2007 at 6:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • adamblast
      adamblast

      Good luck erotizing condoms. It hasn’t worked in over 20 years of trying. It’s simply ugly visually. No one wants to see rubbers pounding a hole.

      You’re certainly not wrong about the dangers of barebacking, or the dangers or seeming to *advocate* it. But the condoms are coming off the porn because it has always made for shitty porn. Bareback sex is what the fantasy eye wants to see, and what the almighty dollar is driving back into dominance.

      Jul 11, 2007 at 6:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • WWH
      WWH

      I’m sure that there are people out there with plenty of self respect that make the choice. My mother would say that people who choose to be stoners lack self respect and face the spectre of lung cancer.

      Jul 11, 2007 at 6:32 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • naprem
      naprem

      And she wouldn’t be far off.

      I just don’t understand the problem with using condoms. We’ve known how to stop HIV for decades. Why aren’t we doing it? A condom is a tiny piece of rubber or latex or whatever that can save your life for the cost of five dollars. Why do people have such a problem with it? Is your life not worth that much money?

      Jul 11, 2007 at 7:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • cjc
      cjc

      Thank goodness for the medications which have extended lives and increased survival.

      But it’s no picnic. They’re expensive. And the drugs cause major side effects, and there’s no guarantee that the virus won’t mutate past the effectiveness of all of the therapies.

      Precaution is still wise, no matter how erotic raw sex is.

      Jul 11, 2007 at 9:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bingobongo
      bingobongo

      what a douchebaggy, juvenile idea to imagine that bareback sex is somehow “transgressive.” Yeah, and so’s heroin. Newsflash: not everything that feels great or gives you a rush is good for you. If sex is your religion, then you need to get a life.

      Or if you have life-threatening compulsions that you can’t control, don’t rationalize it as some kind of rebellion–get help.

      Jul 11, 2007 at 11:19 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Qjersey
      Qjersey

      Today’s bareback porn is MUCH different from pre-1980′s no condom porn. Cum is a fetish. Its all about loads in mouths or asses in most BB porn, though some “twink” BB porn doesn’t feature loads in asses (or mouths).

      Choice, choice, BLAH BLAH. People wouldn’t be so ready to support “the right to choose BB” if we didn’t live in nations with HIV medical care readily available. Why should our activists and organizations keep fighting to improve HIV care…at the taxpayers expense for BB who don’t try to AVOID infecting or being infected?

      What’s MOST disgusting is that BB production companies don’t necessarily confirm HIV status (or pair actors by HIV status such as poz actors only perform with poz actors). The mainstream hetero porn companies all require HIV and STD testing before filming…

      So Paul Morris is raking it in…while actors in his films may be spreading HIV…but who cares…they can just go sign up for ADAP!

      But something is going on…this generation of gay men gets off on being “bad boys” and that is something we have to question.

      Jul 12, 2007 at 7:19 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SeaFlood
      SeaFlood

      Lots of alarmist here. HIV/AIDS is scary, but it has been around for as long as I have been having sex and you learn to live with it.

      BB sex IS about choice. Sorry. We may be over-privileged Americans, but within our context, it is true. Also, not all sex is really bareback — sex with condoms or without, it’s just gay sex. We have to get out of this needless… separation. Hets don’t do that and don’t have to because their sex is always sanctioned and yet here we are…

      Any guy who is standing in a room with a bunch of other guys who are breeding another guy has to have an effing clue. Also, we need to think about it: In movies like the one with Dawson, being that he’s the insertive actor, HE is at the most risk here. If ANYONE is seroconverting from BBsex, it is HIM. Sure, tops do contract the virus, but it is really rare.

      I find it really useless the way everything we know about HIV/AIDS goes flying out of the window. Like… if cum hits the air and has HIV in it, the HIV dies. Period. Scientific fact. And yet…

      Also, the idea that the sex people were having prior to the outbreak of G.R.I.D. is now considered “bareback sex” is a TESTAMENT to how messed up the mindsets of younger queers are! They think any sex without a condom is bareback without considering HISTORY or CONTEXT. I think that is just wrong.

      In addition, the idea of “save the children” is just nonsense when you consider that the highest group seroconverting is actually gay men, of all races, in their 30′s. If we keep focusing on the children, we will succeed in keeping them alive through their 20′s only to have them seroconvert in their 30′s… not to mention how there’s nothing for the 30-somethings who NEED it.

      Maybe people watch “bareback” sex because they want to see actual gay sex. *shrugs* Sex where it looks like it actually feels good instead of having the attitude of feeling good while everyone on camera is all limp. Maybe it is because condoms seem to still fit more soundly in heterosexual circles… although the language of “street” “bareback” sex with it’s “breeding”… I digress on that one — it freaks me out.

      We cannot know the practices of BB companies… so I do not think it is safe to just assume what they do or to think that highly of heterosexual porn… but eh… heterosexism isn’t just for hets anymore.

      Jul 13, 2007 at 3:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • bingobongo
      bingobongo

      Claiming that being against bb’ing is part of ‘heterosexism’ is pure hooey.

      Jul 13, 2007 at 4:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • middle
      middle

      @adamblast: I simply disagree. I have a closet full of hot “condomed porn.”

      The U.S. Queer as Folk did a great job of eroticizing condoms on a number of occasions.

      As to up-front non-skippable PSA’s, rather than using the standard use a condom message, I’d like to see the producers (when applicable) disclose the precautions that were taken (hopefully). Such as “the actors in this movie were tested by PCR (an expensive and not generally available method of testing that has a very small window period) sequentially prior to and throughout the production of this film.” Of course I’m sure the truth for many productions – especially the “amateur ones” is not so pretty.

      Jun 10, 2009 at 10:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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