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.