Total $0.00

Your cart contains 0 items

Is Porn to Blame for our Bareback Obsession?

Posted on July 6, 2018 by Andrew Christian

There is a common theory among sex experts that the reason we get off so hard to bareback porn is that there is no barrier between genitals. Adult film stars shave, preen, and wax in order to expose themselves to their fullest extent. Bareback porn means there is nothing between the people fucking on camera, so we get to see it all. However, like any discussion involving porn we need to talk about its effect on the common people: those who don’t make their living having sex on screen. Bareback porn comes with a caveat before you can beat off. The companies want you to know they don’t endorse condom-less sex. Even if you’re in a relationship. Even if you have just been tested. The result can be confusing to viewers: we’re able to live our wildest fantasies out without condoms, but we’re vehemently warned that doing so in our private lives could result in STI and HIV transmission.

READ MORE: ARE YOU READY FOR AN OPEN RELATIONSHIP? 

via GIPHY

The concern is warranted. According to the World Health Organization, there were 39.9 million people living in the United States with HIV in 2014. Furthermore, a reported 2 million new cases were reported in the same year. Porn blog The Sword sent out a panicked message in 2014, claiming that after back-to-back condomless sex shoots in Nevada, two gay porn stars who were HIV - tested positive. The announcement sent shock-waves through the porn community. Suddenly, even the most up-to-date and current testing systems weren’t enough. Production stopped for a while. It became a modern day witch hunt to discover who had been infected so the community could figure out how to proceed.

As someone who has watched bareback porn for as long as I can remember discovering porn, I wanted to know if bareback sex scenes in gay porn were affecting to gay men who are HIV positive. It is always difficult to know the correlation between how we fuck in real life and how we watch people fuck in the privacy of our own lives. However, it would be naive to think that the skin-flicks we watch don’t inform our sexual appetites. We want what we see, at least all the men I know do. Is bareback porn making our conversations about safe sex too casual? PornHub reports that the average millennial spends roughly 9 minutes per visit to their site. Conversely, adult film star Antonio Biaggi gave an interview to Medium where he described his reason for switching to acting in bareback films is because the industry was slow to dole out work for condom scenes.

via GIPHY

Although parsed, it would seem like the film industry is sending the message that bareback sex sells, and we’re consuming it in block-chunks of time. I was able to speak to two HIV positive gay men below the age of 25 to see how they feel about bareback sex, and if it speaks volumes for the way we treat casual sex. Josh, a 31-year-old writer and HIV activist in Philadelphia who contracted HIV when he was 27 himself. He told me when the doctors called him in to give him the news, time seemed to slow down. Growing up, Josh recalls being bombarded with misinformation and images about HIV, and had begun to think of it as a terrifying but inevitable part of being gay. After he was given the news, Josh was overcome with a profound sense of self-acceptance. “Once it happens, it's like, OK, now what? Life, I guess. I spent two years getting high avoid thinking about it, but once I decided to live life, I got clean and moved on and started dealing with it.”

READ MORE: 5 TIPS FOR SAFER HOOKUPS

The adult entertainment industry isn’t a government institution, and many people, Kruger included, don’t believe it is their responsibility to educate the public on sexual health. Even after the HIV scare in the gay porn industry back in 2014, the question of moral responsibility kept coming up in conversation. Michael Lucas, owner of Lucas Entertainment, a prominent bareback porn website told PinkNews that the shift to bareback porn is, indeed, a result of a shifting market. “If the industry had stayed united behind condom use, then that would be one thing, but it didn’t,” he says. And Lucas is right about one thing: this isn’t a new trend in the porn industry. Straight porn studios have been putting out bareback sex scenes since they were first established. Josh tells me “given that straight people keep producing babies by having bareback sex, I think that most human beings seem to enjoy it by default. I think it's very strange that some gay men are somehow singled out for having sex without a condom. Straight people do it all the time. Blame them for starting the so-called trend.”

Since porn companies operate under their own health jurisdictions as decided by the government, they are often untouched by health programs. They’re required to test their models, but they’re not required to sit down every young man who beats off and explain to them that bareback sex is riskier than protected sex. That responsibility, both porn companies, and individuals, believes lies with both the government and anyone who is engaging in sex. Josh told me “anyone who blames porn for society's failure to enact public health programs to prevent STIs like HIV is an idiot who is likely terrified of his own genitals.”

via GIPHY

To blame porn companies for exposing gay men to HIV, or at least making it seem like bareback sex is more fun seems counterproductive. Anyone with a brain knows that not wearing a condom feels better than wearing one, but Josh and James both told me they were firm in not blaming watching porn for their status.

Also, to discredit bareback porn as unhealthy for viewers would discount the community it has built. For so long we have been taught to be terrified of those with HIV, but conversely, people who are HIV positive in the adult industry are afraid to work with people who aren't pos. Film star Mason Wyler told Queerty, a prominent gay porn blog he works solely in bareback gay porn now because it is a community that feels safe to him. “I did it because I prefer bareback sex and I’d rather be with other openly HIV positive men. It’s understandable for HIV negative people to fear working with me due to my status, even when a condom is part of the equation, but that fear also turns me off to them.”

READ MORE: ARE YOU AN EXHIBITIONIST OR A VOYEUR? 

Gay men with who are HIV positive are still extremely stigmatized, and the topic of bareback porn has become a sensitive topic for many in the community. We all enjoy watching it, but when it comes time to follow suit in our personal lives, we feel compelled to point fingers at the sexual education that is at your fingertips. James, a 24-year-old gay man who is also HIV positive told me “The problem isn’t bareback sex in porn, it is the lack of regular testing. You can have bareback sex and not get HIV.” James told me even though he is HIV positive, and at times struggles with coming to terms with that, he still loves bareback porn and watches it frequently. Josh told me he still enjoys watching bareback sex and doesn’t think twice about how it may inform others on how to conduct their private lives, chalking that responsibility up to the government to inform people more diligently about medicines like PreP which make preventing  HIV both manageable and easy. “People have a right to use their genitals however they see fit with other consenting adults, whether that's on or off-camera. End of story.”

via GIPHY

When people blame the porn industry for the spread of HIV, they’re discrediting the fact that individuals have agency over their own bodies. When society decides it is time for adult performers to be an active and responsible part of educating society about sexual health is when things begin to derail. At its core, the porn industry is there to entertain and titillate. Little more, little less. Sitting down with two HIV positive men was enlightening. Neither believed their inclination towards hot porn was a factor in their contraction of the disease, and both felt strongly that to believe otherwise would be a disservice to the progress they’ve made coming to terms with it. The stigma behind HIV positive gay men is rampant and until recently I could only claim to know one person who was open about their status. The fact is that our bodies are our own. The porn landscape may be shifting to include more hardcore bareback sex, and young people may be watching more than ever. But blaming bareback gay porn for the spread of HIV is like blaming McDonald’s for weight-gain: ridiculous and ill-informed.

*** Andrew Christian Inc. does not claim rights to any images posted in this blog post. If you find your picture here and would like to have it credited or removed please email acblog@AndrewChristian.com

use code 20STY

2