buttsecks

If You Say You Care About Safe Sex In Gay Porn, You’re Probably A Hypocrite

HIV+ gay porn bottom Mason Wyler is staging a career comeback by starring in a bareback porn scene for Dark Alley Media (link NSFW). And predictably the gay porn blog comment boards are lighting up with people denouncing Wyler and bareback studios as reckless. But those who are upset because gay porn “should promote safe sex” are also full of crap.

Don’t get me wrong. Wyler regularly cruised Adam4Adam for bareback fuck buddies and even held a competition to let a fan fuck him. When he tested HIV-positive, it surprised no one. But anyone reading this should realize that their parents had bareback sex too. They probably didn’t troll Adam4Adam or film it and sell it to thousands of people, but they did make a conscious decision not to use condoms and to live out their fantasies by engaging in barrier-free sex and having children — health risks be damned. Same-sex sex, your biology teacher probably forgot to tell you, doesn’t generate children. This makes it recreational rather than procreational. And as such, gay guys use condoms mostly to avoid contracting and transmitting HIV. Read that again: If it weren’t for HIV, almost no gay men would use condoms. (Herpes and Hepatitis are just not as scary.)

When it comes to sex, bareback is an ideal—it’s the sort of sex we all want to be having because it represents carefree, unguarded vulnerability and spontaneity, a 1970s Eden of sorts where intimacy and pleasure lay in self-contended fulfillment without shame, death, and anxiety hovering over every sexual encounter. As such, barebacking signifies more than just acquiescence to the fact that “it feels better without condoms”—the desire not to use condoms is so strong that it even figures into our fantasies. My proof? How many of you masturbators imagine your dream man putting on a condom before you get it on? I’m betting zero. Porn’s a fantasy and bareback porn caters to the powerful and very real desire to have sex without fear.

Yet the strongest argument for condoms in porn goes something like this: Because there’s a lack of gay sex portrayed in mainstream media, a lot of gay guys end up learning about sex through porn. As such, condoms in porn are instructive. They teach you that condoms are a safe-sex precaution so basic and necessary that even professionals in the business of sexual fantasy use them. Furthermore, not every queer person has the same access to safe-sex education or medical attention. And because we’re a smaller, politically-oppressed community vilified for “causing” AIDS, we owe it to ourselves to model healthy sexual behaviors that will reduce the outbreak, even in our porn.

But here’s the disconnect: sexual precaution and fantasy contradict one another. Safe-sex porn says that on the one hand you should cut loose and fuck however you want, but on the other hand you shouldn’t dare do it without treating your partner like he has a lethal disease. Even gay author Andrew Holleran repeatedly mentions this contradiction in Ground Zero, a book of essays written at the height of the NYC AIDS outbreak: condoms are boner-killing symbols of death. Yes, some porn studios have attempted to sex-up condoms, like with twink star Andy Kay’s mantra “Safer Sex Is Hotter Sex”, Chi Chi LaRue advising men to “Wrap It Up”, and Hot House Backroom and DC FUK!T campaigns showing actual fucking. But the porn industry certainly isn’t consistent in its safe-sex crusade either.

For one, porn studios never use condoms during blowjob scenes. The last time I checked, the CDC still considered oral sex a mid-risk activity for contracting HIV, let alone cauliflower-lookin’ growths. Every so often a guy will pull out and shoot “a cream pie” right on his bottom’s butthole—certainly not so safe. Even worse, Corbin Fisher requires their models to wear condoms in their gay scenes but not in their straight ones hosted on sister-site Amateur College Sex. That’s either anti-gay, misogynist, ignorant … or all three.

Spend some time on gay porn blog comment boards and you’ll see fans arguing over whether gays should promote bareback porn. But these critics fall curiously silent when it comes to commenting on technologies like Raging Stallion’s low-visibility condoms (link NSFW) that allow film editors to make condoms disappear with a little post-production digital wizardry—safe-sex with none of the visibility—a confounding factor for those who want porn to teach others about safe-sex! Whenever I talk to straight guys about the hubbub in the gay porn community over barebacking, they usually exclaim, “Wow! You never see condoms in straight porn.” I never saw them in the now-defunct gay porn magazines either. Those magazines used to feature two men rolling around together and I doubt those guys stopped at heavy petting. Nary a condom in the entire photo spread.

But even more noteworthy is that advocates of safe-sex porn don’t seem much interested in preventing any STIs other than HIV. There’s mollescum, HPV, herpes, and genital warts, all of which can get passed on by simple skin-on-skin contact. And what about other nasty STDs like chlamydia, syphilis, hepatitis, and gonorrhea? You can get gonorrhea from a blowjob and hepatitis by eating a dirty butthole. Syphilis can kill you if left unchecked, and so can HPV if a bisexual guy passes it on to a woman whom develops cervical cancer. But when it comes to STIs, porn studios mirror the attitude that I and a lot of other gay guys share: if it can be cured or treated then who really cares?

If studios actually cared about safe sex, they’d wrap their men up in hazmat suits and have them masturbate across the room from one another. But that ain’t sexy and it’s certainly not a fantasy anyone wants to entertain. Part of what makes sex so exciting is the messiness, spontaneity, and danger of it all. Remove that and you have sterilized, quasi-futuristic robot porn devoid of fun, sexiness, or intimacy.

Should the bareback porn industry be regulated? Absolutely.

OSHA has every right to levy fines against bareback studios like Treasure Island Media that threaten the health and safety of their performers. But there can be such a thing as a responsible bareback studio where performers have legal obligations to practice safe-sex everywhere but in front of the camera. If performers seroconvert, they should be subject to the same legal penalties as movie stars who fail to meet their contractual obligations. In the past Treasure Island Media has failed to monitor itself, so by all means public health officials should punish and instate better methods to ensure the health of TIM’s employees and contract workers.

The fines and costs of litigation for non-compliant studios, the turnover of HIV+ performers, and the blacklisting of bareback porn performers from mainstream porn studios all provide financial incentives for bareback studios like Dark Alley Media, TIM and others to keep their actors safe. But zealots who say we should outlaw bareback porn (especially when the performers are HIV+) only set the stage for more dangerous underground porn production, the stigmatization of HIV+ sexuality, and the criminalization of fantasy. The safe-sex/anti-bareback crowd may be loud bunch, but if the ledgers of bareback studios and porn blog affiliate blogs are any indication, bareback remains a big and booming business— lots more people enjoy condom-free porn than openly admit it.

For me, it ultimately boils down to a free speech and political issue. Saddling bareback sex with immorality, disease spreading, and carelessness sows the seeds of sexual discontent. Don’t tell me how to fuck and certainly don’t make it a mandatory feature in my fantasies.