Joe Mirabella

Bareback porn is killing our community and you're to blame

Filed By Joe Mirabella | April 09, 2010 9:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: bareback porn, gay porn, HIV/AIDS, porn, porn star, twinks

Bareback porn is killing porn stars. From Edge:

Chad Noel's March 17 death was reported on at GayPornGossip on March 26. The posting read, "Chad Noel age 25, a former 'twink genre' gay porn performer using the stage names of Donny Price & Craven Cox passed away in New York City, on March 17, 2010 following a brief illness associated with complications of HIV." The article also noted that Noel had worked for an adult entertainment company that makes videos of men barebacking--a euphemism for unprotected anal sex. Noel had also performed under the names Craven Cox and Donny Price. Noel was a native of Laramie, Wyoming, the town outside of which Matthew Shepard was beaten and left to die. A notice of Noel's death was also published in the Laramie Boomerang on March 23.

It is likely that starring in bareback porn starting at 18 will lead to HIV/AIDS, but is the glorification of unprotected sex through the porn industry also leading to an increase in HIV/AIDS related diagnosis among young gay men throughout the country?

Chad Noel's untimely death is symptomatic of a growing problem in our community. HIV is on the rise for young people, and the glorification of unprotected sex in gay porn is part of the problem.

When did porn stars start shedding their condoms for riskier bareback sex? Most of the major labels like Titan, Bel Ami, Lucas Films, and Chi-Chi-La Rue all require their actors to wear protection during production. They understand that not only are their films entertainment, but they are educational.

Proper sex education is lacking in our schools. It has been ever since George W. Bush replaced sex education with "Abstinence Only" education. Fortunately I was taught about sex pre George W. Bush. My mom was a sex education teacher and helped design the curriculum in the school system I attended. Every student learned about condom use, and was shown an awkward demonstration about how to put a condom on a banana. The visual was memorable. People still come up to me and tell me my mom taught them how to have sex. I'm proud of her.

Unfortunately, my mom isn't teaching sex ed any more, because no child left behind left schools fending for basic resources based on math and science scores only. Kids are not being tested on whether you should mix Vaseline and latex condoms. (You should not. Water based lubes should only be used with condoms.)

Instead, young people are learning about sex mostly on their own via the internet. Particularly gay adolescents. I'm not aware of a single school in the country brave enough to teach gay sex ed. If I'm wrong, please let me know.

Most free gay porn sites are full of bareback sex porn -- the kind of porn that killed young Chad Noel. Why are these sites promoting bareback sex? Because that's what people are looking for.

A simple Google Analytics report will show you that "bareback sex" is a very popular search term. Far more popular than "gay condom porn". So, to stay competitive in a market when most porn companies can't even turn a profit, bareback porn is produced to fill the demand. Every time people click on bareback porn, they help promote risky behavior by telling young people condoms aren't sexy .

The glorification of bareback porn is a dangerous development and is killing our youth. They're being taught that bareback is sexy, it is the norm, and it is how to behave. In turn, they are contracting HIV/AIDS at a staggering rate.

You have to own your role in the system. You know who you are bareback porn fans. When you watch bareback porn online you are voting for more bareback porn production. When you watch safer sex porn from the companies I listed above or others, you are supporting a system that promotes healthier sexual behavior.

Young actors like Chad Noel should not have to die, just so you can get your rocks off. Millions of youth do not have to be taught that bareback is ok. Simply, choose safer porn and you will be helping more than you will ever know.


Recent Entries Filed under Media:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


diddlygrl | April 9, 2010 9:48 AM

All it takes is once, that is what they don't understand.
Just one act of unprotected sex can kill you. At that age people just don't think it can happen to them, they are the exception to the rule.

I hope your warning reaches someone out there.

I worked for over twenty years as an AIDS volunteer, creating information materials about this.

Talk about what was clearly wasted time...

Sean, if one person learned from your efforts, you saved a life. It was worth every minute. You may never know, but it was the right thing to do. Don't despair your efforts, despair the continuing need for them.

I did safer sex ed. for at risk (homeless and runaway) GLBT youth for years. I also have lots of friends involved in the sex industry. There is lots of awareness of safer sex and HIV in the industry, but that's not what the public seems to want.

I remember hearing years ago about some porn made by an ACT UP activists that tried to show how to make safer sex fun and sexy. I think condoms and the less risky behaviors are all to often painted as sterile and/or dull.

I bring this up because the Internet has made porn so easy to make and accessible that even if every single big production company and every single big name star refused to do bareback - it would still be made and watched and profitable enough to keep making.

So, perhaps an effort by a variety of activists and/or performers who represent a range of demographics start making porn that is safe and hot and sexy. It could educate on both topics around healthy sex, body image, and cooperation.

dumbledork | April 9, 2010 12:09 PM

I'm sorry, I use condoms IRL, but I absolutely will not tolerate them in my pornography. Talk about a buzz-kill.

Well, hey, if folks get sick and die, who cares -- as long as we get our buzz kill.

dumbledork | April 9, 2010 3:05 PM

Nobody is forced to be in these movies. Don't even try to guilt trip me over my pornographic preferences.

Wouldnt dream of it, bud. You already KNOW the reality of it. If that gets you hot... hey, your choice.

Just remember choices have consequences.

My high school peer sex ed program included gay sex ed. Although the main inclusion was in our role play scenes where there was an emphasis on making sure that the three scenes included a variety of gender pairings. The message, I guess, was that queer relationships and negotiations around safe sex was exactly the same (except for the pregnancy risk). I can't think of anything LGBT specific, but we certainly tried to make it LGBT inclusive. That was in the late 90s, but I'm pretty sure it's still happening. I saw it was still going on in 2003 or 2004.

As for bareback porn, there's two points I want to make. First, there's a double standard that exists between gay porn and straight porn. Many gay porn includes condoms, but bareback is still the standard in the straight community. Yet "bareback" is synonymous with "gay" and hardly any one even thinks of it's applicability to straight sex. I can't help notice a bunch of articles and condemnations of gay bareback porn and the relative lack of them for straight bareback porn and think it's partly because of the extra layer off slut-shaming that comes with homophobia.

Additionally, considering the prevalance of bareback in both gay and straight porn, there are relatively few cases like this becuase the stringent testing standards mainstream porn relies upon are actually fairly effective, including highly accurate tests that aren't commonly available to the public due to cost. Of course most porn viewers aren't aware of that. However, it changes the risk level performers are putting themselves at. If producers say that it's a requirement and create these other safety nets, well, then it's not too much riskier than engaging in equivalent protected sex acts without the testing regimen.

The real issue is that producers think viewers want bareback porn, and honestly barring a tidal wave of change, they will continue to think that even if thousands of viewers disagree. It's unlikely a boycott will actually show much difference, and straight bareback porn continues to be a strong seller. Additionally, the porn industry is very static and hasn't really responded to a wide variety of critiques, forcing those who want to see something different to create their own work instead. A few strong folks have pushed into the mainstream to create their own alternative vision, but that's still relatively rare.

My high school peer sex ed program included gay sex ed. Although the main inclusion was in our role play scenes where there was an emphasis on making sure that the three scenes included a variety of gender pairings. The message, I guess, was that queer relationships and negotiations around safe sex was exactly the same (except for the pregnancy risk). I can't think of anything LGBT specific, but we certainly tried to make it LGBT inclusive. That was in the late 90s, but I'm pretty sure it's still happening. I saw it was still going on in 2003 or 2004.

As for bareback porn, there's two points I want to make. First, there's a double standard that exists between gay porn and straight porn. Many gay porn includes condoms, but bareback is still the standard in the straight community. Yet "bareback" is synonymous with "gay" and hardly any one even thinks of it's applicability to straight sex. I can't help notice a bunch of articles and condemnations of gay bareback porn and the relative lack of them for straight bareback porn and think it's partly because of the extra layer off slut-shaming that comes with homophobia.

Additionally, considering the prevalance of bareback in both gay and straight porn, there are relatively few cases like this becuase the stringent testing standards mainstream porn relies upon are actually fairly effective, including highly accurate tests that aren't commonly available to the public due to cost. Of course most porn viewers aren't aware of that. However, it changes the risk level performers are putting themselves at. If producers say that it's a requirement and create these other safety nets, well, then it's not too much riskier than engaging in equivalent protected sex acts without the testing regimen.

The real issue is that producers think viewers want bareback porn, and honestly barring a tidal wave of change, they will continue to think that even if thousands of viewers disagree. It's unlikely a boycott will actually show much difference, and straight bareback porn continues to be a strong seller. Additionally, the porn industry is very static and hasn't really responded to a wide variety of critiques, forcing those who want to see something different to create their own work instead. A few strong folks have pushed into the mainstream to create their own alternative vision, but that's still relatively rare.

Anthony in Nashville | April 9, 2010 4:22 PM

I am not sure if I agree that porn is educational by default.

Regardless, bareback is popular because that is what people want. For me porn is a fantasy and that is why I don't want condoms in my flicks.

I also think it may be worth asking whether the rise in bareback porn has a connection with how HIV/AIDS have been rebranded as manageable and "not that bad." I've always thought AIDS organizations were in a catch 22 when it came to de-stigmatizing HIV positive folks. If so much time is spent reassuring HIV+ people that they are not to blame and they still have productive lives and the ads for meds shows people playing sports and looking super fit, I don't think it is shocking people would figure the pleasure of bareback sex is worth the possibility of being infected.

Reverant Mike | April 10, 2010 3:42 AM

In truth, Chad's death had nothing whatsoever to do with either bareback porn, it's viewers, makers, the people who’ve performed in it and have "unprotected" sex, or even those having any form of association with Laramie, WY, or the entire state of Ohio, for that matter. It’s actually all the fault of those dead white men (perhaps more familiarly known to you – as well as Alex and Jasmine – in the vernacular: "dwm"), those horrible... meh.. eh.. eh.. en!

Yes, it's them, those horrible men whose role the unsuspecting general public would never come to associate with acts so heinous as to belie the very credulity of modern Western society, it’s encroachment upon the likes of an innocent third, forth, fifth world and, even more so, the very underground upon which you and I, brother and sister, presently take our stand: Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Samuel Morse, Antonio Meucci, George Westinghouse, Alexander Graham Bell, Bob Barker and, the lone female among them, she, one, nay two, Dolly Parton – I can only hope that you are not thus-ward amongst those believing she ever was, is now, or ever shall be a living entity, or any entity at all!!

These connections, howsoever slim and dandy, between what we see now transpiring, verily transform before our world-wearied eyes, are not the end of times, but the ends of young, full of lust young men, who also rear their heads, bobbing to, fro, hither and non (Thomas, Richard, Harold and the likes of Paris Hilton). They twitter (Facebook, MySpace, and blog-o-sphere) before thine very eyes and, woe I say, woe, unto those who hath not the will, nor desire, nor means to resist, neither hustle forthwith, lest must needs be surrender to the pure appearing nature of their Cali-fornication, notwithstanding a credit, paper, or coin transaction.

If, with all thy spirit intact, if not thy panties all bunch-ed inward by now, have thus far wandered and wondered what on earth this could mean, what times are these, what the fuck this is all about, that it hath come here and presented to you in the form of a medium of print, then believe in me, for I have thus so upon thine own direction similarly made such deliberation with no less a sense of wonder, albeit sparing thy rod and having spoilt thy child, so thus be it once, now and forever… hold thy peas, if they should all still stand in a row.

I realize that you're coming from a good place and I actually agree with your heartfelt condemnation of barebacking. However, I also know that shaming hasn't been a successful behavior modification technique. How do we solve that?

Maybe we start by building young gay men up- helping them realize that the sexual choices they make are potential life-changers.

Denial, however, rules the day.

Nobody wants to HIV- at least if they knew all the shit that goes with it, they wouldn't. I'm afraid that it's going to take another "infected generation" to dramatize the message.

Short answer: We fight the denial.

Thanks, Joe.

Public shaming may not immediately change behavior, but it has at least put the thought in people's mind that their behavior has an impact on the total.

You can look at the advent of canvas bags over plastic. In the Northwest, if you don't bring a bag with you to the store you get dirty looks from the cashier, the people in line behind you, and about everyone you pass on the street. (At least that's my perception.)

In this example, public shaming is very effective. Most people I see in line at the grocery store have their own bags. People have learned their behavior has a negative impact on the environment, and the community is holding each other to a higher standard.

We need to renew the same message in our community about condom use. This is clearly just one aspect of a much larger discussion.

Joe, other than a "feeling," can you please cite any anecdotal evidence to support your hypothesis other than a hunch? Granted, levels of HIV infection are, in fact, on the rise but this has much, MUCH more to do with the fact that many young people view HIV/AIDS through a "post-epidemic" lens. That is, they see HIV/AIDS as being in the same category as Diabetes or Asthma: hugely inconvenient but not deadly.

To paint such a broad, unsubstantiated stroke against the gay adult entertainment industry is not only unfair but it undermines your credibility. I work with many producers of "bareback" content and they are truly devastated when the learn of the death of a colleague. But - and this is an important but - there is no way to know how they have contracted the virus and it doesn't seem like we know how Chad contracted his HIV.

Further, there is rigorous testing. Granted, no system is full-proof but if you count the number of HIV-related illnesses stemming from one's work in the gay side of the porn business, you'll find that we are one of the safest industries in the country from an occupational hazards point-of-view.

Also, producers of such content state unequivocally that there are risks to having unprotected sex and that what they are about to see is "fantasy" only.

Blaming the gay porn industry for the rise of HIV infection in the Millennial generation makes about as much sense as blaming a rise in crime on gangster movies.

Victor Hoff
MOC BLOG (NSFW)
menofcolor.blogs.com

P.S. I do appreciate, though, that Bilerico is now including gay porn as a legitimate topic for discussion. Thanks!

Given the high rates of HIV among men of color, especially among African Americans, for you to be promoting barebacking is particularly reprehensible. Shame on you!

I can only offer my observational hypothesis, but there are plenty of behavior studies available that demonstrate that humans mimic behavior they watch on television, or in video games, or movies, etc. Here is one for your reference: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/12/5/353.abstract

Here is some research demonstrating the increase in bareback porn and the increase in HIV infections in the adult film industry http://www.plosmedicine.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.pmed.0040126

It is a very reasonable hypothesis that young people -- particularly 12 - 18 year olds -- are left with a lasting impression that bareback porn is safe.

In my piece I said, that bareback porn is "part of the problem." I certainly realize that the issue is far more complex.

I am not the first person to make this argument, in fact there are examples throughout the porn industry of producers who understand how important it is to teach the community safe behavior. Most notably Lucas who is a strong advocate for condom only porn.

And even if only one kid is taught the wrong lesson by bareback porn, contracts HIV/AIDs and dies, isn't that enough of a reason to modify your behavior? Or is the mighty dollar more important than public safety?

But with that said, my piece is not directed at the porn industry but at the viewers. Adults who become aware of their impact on the economy of porn, may choose to seek out porn that is responsible. If enough people choose safer porn, bareback porn producers like your friends, will start making safer porn. Supply and demand principles work in every economy -- even porn.

Yes, but porn is porn and enjoyed as such in large part because it allows us to be "irresponsible" without consequences. Let's not forget the element of fantasy.

Victor has already pointed out the stringent control mechanisms in the industry. In addition, the porn industry has on occasion had had to suffer highly dubious/illegal raids on the medical records of its actors - I haven't been able to locate a link to the last such story, but Victor might know more. The point being: Do we really want to encourage a culture of shaming and finger-wagging that also encourages authorities to believe that they can carry on such unconstitutional behaviour just because it's the porn industry? And where does that end?

I'm with those who've pointed out the fallacy of shaming as an effective mode of prevention. Even taking your example of the grocery bags: Do we really want a society that depends so much on shaming as a corrective gesture? And do "People [learn that] their behavior has a negative impact on the environment, and the community is holding each other to a higher standard" or do they simply decide to carry the bags because they're tired of the dirty looks - and carry on the same non-environmentally-friendly sets of behaviours at home?

Shaming strikes me as an extraordinarily infantilising move *and* something the queer community, of all communities, ought to stay clear of given our historical experience with all kinds of shaming.

We're never going to get rid of bareback porn - gay or straight. For the same reason that we'll always have porn that's seriously non-feminist for instance, or porn that engages in kidnapping and other non-consensual sexual situations. Watching such stuff does not make you a sexist or a rapist and watching bareback porn does not make you responsible for someone's HIV infection (and yes, also, to Victor for pointing out that pinpointing the exact minute of infection impossible).

The evidence about media having a direct effect on social behaviour has been roundly debunked in recent years, even though some people still cling to the myth. Here's a piece about the issue and some of the key players that people can read in its entirety without having to find access to a research library:

http://www.abffe.com/myth2.htm

And if we are going to go by anecdotal evidence, I could point to many of my male and female friends who've found themselves having to convince older men to put on condoms.

Furthermore, aren't you blurring two different issues: that of porn actors going bareback and youth (supposedly) choosing not to use condoms? Do we even know that that many youth watch porn? What are the demographics on who watches porn online? How do you account for socio-economic factors, like the absence of readily available condoms in so many areas? And is it the responsibility of the porn industry to take on an educational role? It's the *porn industry* for a reason, after all.

Doesn't it make more sense to work *with* the porn industry in more productive and realistic ways and for us to ramp up our activism against abstinence-only sex education or even the complete erasure of sex ed across the country? Hell, I'd love to see the porn industry teaming up with queer pro-sex activists to demand an end to politicians' support for such programs - with the threat of exposing their love for porn (given what we know about Republicans and their sexual tastes, that bit should be easy).

Blaming porn seems like the easy way out.

How many kids are watching porn?

http://www.allbusiness.com/crime-law/criminal-offenses-cybercrime/11994727-1.html

The exposure of minors to pornography on the Internet was also assessed. According to the report, 80 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds have had multiple exposures to hard-core pornography...

You asked:


Doesn't it make more sense to work *with* the porn industry in more productive and realistic ways and for us to ramp up our activism against abstinence-only sex education or even the complete erasure of sex ed across the country?

We can both work with the porn industry to modify their behavior, and modify our own purchasing habits in order to get a for profit business model to self regulate. As long as billions in revenue for bareback porn is at stake, companies will still make it. Again, we're talking about economics 101 here. Pretty simple stuff.

Your "shaming" argument is part of the problem as well. Our community is way too sensitive. Sometimes the truth is harsh. Sometimes we are responsible for the outcomes in our culture -- and it doesn't feel good to know that our behavior may be having a negative impact on others. If we go through life trying to be nice about EVERYTHING then it is impossible to make a point and be heard.

If people feel ashamed because I'm proposing a very legitimate hypothesis, then good. I'm glad I'm pushing your buttons. I'm glad I'm making you think.

Few HIV/AIDs related articles ever get this kind of play on blogs. If I have to ruffle some feathers to get our community's attention, than I will, and I'll do so without apology.

Okay, but you're still evading the key questions and issues that several of us have posed. Again, how do you make an explicit link between someone being exposed to HIV and watching bareback porn etc., etc., etc. For more, see this entire comment thread.

As for "If people feel ashamed because I'm proposing a very legitimate hypothesis, then good. I'm glad I'm pushing your buttons. I'm glad I'm making you think": You're simply not getting the point or are lost in your need for dramatics in an effort to make this a blowup in the comment thread to get people to read your blog. Getting "this kind of play on blogs" should not be mistaken for real activism. In the meantime, we're conveniently forgetting to see how people behave in real time.

To be clear: No one here is ashamed of what's going on (and what's going on is purely hypothetical conjecture on your part, as you've admitted yourself). Some of us are trying to make an obvious point: that using shame as a tactic in sex education is never going to work. Look at this way - if this were reversed and these directives came from, say, the right-wing moralists, we'd all be up in arms.

As for "modify[ing] our own purchasing habits in order to get a for profit business model to self regulate": yeah, good luck with that.

You've provided no relevant evidence, you've admitted to working with wobbly hypotheses, and you've just indicated that you have no real interest in engaging with questions or crafting soluand are simply interested in getting your blog read. [shrugs] Fine. Hey, we're all bloggers here, and we all like getting our stuff read. Just don't pretend that you're interested in any real change or dialogue.

Good luck with this blog post. I think a number of us have made our points, you've ignored those points, and if anyone decides to act on these kinds of politics, we can look forward to yet another disastrous decade or so in the already spiralling history of HIV/AIDS.

But there will be still be porn around in plenty, and we can continue laying the blame for the rise in infections at its door.

I've offered behavioral scientific evidence that human behavior is learned in part by the media that is consumed. You dismissed it because it did not fit your hypothesis and found an article that argued against my example. Fine enough, but I tend to believe the research that suggests media does play a role in behavior. If it did not, then why would the US military invest so much money in video game production?

I've also offered evidence that young people whose judgment centers are not fully developed are watching porn.

I've also offered evidence that bareback porn is hurting the people who are acting in the films.

I've drawn comparisons to learning behavior models in the animal kingdom and human beings. "Monkey see, monkey do" applies here.

I think there is plenty of evidence to suggest that bareback porn plays a role (even if a small role) in HIV/AIDs infection. Clearly this hypothesis is at least worthy of more study.

I'm feeling a bit like a broken record here, but I'll say it one last time and then I'm moving on. I acknowledge that the HIV/AIDs infection rate increase is complex and is caused by multiple factors -- more than can be included in a single short blog post. But if we can't deconstruct the various issues potentially causing the increase in HIV/AIDs rates without listing every single potential factor, then we're not going to be talking about it at all. And the silence that you're encouraging is also part of the problem.

I'll just tackle the most pertinent items here:

"I've also offered evidence that bareback porn is hurting the people who are acting in the films."

Actually you've claimed, in your title alone, that anyone who *watches* bareback porn is responsible for the rise in HIV infections. And further in your original post: "Every time people click on bareback porn, they help promote risky behavior by telling young people condoms aren't sexy." This is not a hypothesis, it's stating something as a fact (an unproven one). As for the issue of people contracting HIV through barebacking in porn, at least a couple of us have pointed to the control mechanisms in the porn industry (which is not to say that that they're perfect, but they're something), and other issues.

The link you provide does not take us to the words you quote, by the way. And the study that you quote simply states that youth watch porn. Okay, youth watch porn. I remember being a teenager - yes, I can confirm that youth watch porn. I'm reminded of this bit of dialogue from Buffy, between Cordelia and Xander: C: "Do you always think about sex?" X: "I'm a 17-year-old. I look at linoleum and think of sex." The popularity of porn among youth has probably not risen a great deal - what has risen tremendously is youths' access to porn via the web. In other words, teenagers as a whole enjoy porn a great deal and they can now watch a lot more of it. What we define as hard-core and the degree to which we can establish links between that and forms of sexual behaviour - that's all still up for discussion.

It's evident, from following the stream of your argument all the way down from the original post to your responses in the comment thread, that you've tried to back away from your original inflammatory claims. You're absolutely right to point out that "the HIV/AIDs infection rate increase is complex and is caused by multiple factors" - but that's not where the blog's argument began. That's where it should have started. But, still, it's never too late.

To be clear, I'm not against a wider *discussion* of why barebacking porn is popular among straights AND gays and what that says about our collective erotic imagination, issues around condom negotiation in real life, the risks of HIV, our sense of loss and pleasure, and a host of other topics. I just don't think these kinds of unproven and tenuous arguments, combined with shaming only half of that audience, are the way to go.

I don't encourage silence, but I do believe in questioning shoddy/problematic/unproven hypotheses designed to do little more than give a lot of people more reasons to shame and stigmatise us. The real silence is caused by shaming - surely, we queers should understand that by now. Silencing is not caused by questioning such strategies. Turning this around by making me the problem is ineffective. But, again, I'm glad to see that we can finally agree that the issue of rising HIV rates, a real problem, is a lot more complex and cannot be solved by making tenuous and unproven links.

Let me try to explain it to you this way. Having condoms in porn is like product placement in television. If product placement was not an effective method of behavior modification -- ie Apple products in nearly every television show -- than why would companies invest billions to place their products in every type of media?

As someone who works in marketing and advertising I can claim with some authority that behavior is modified by media (or I would be out of work.) As someone who has produced web content for several years, I also know, for my clients traffic is king. If a certain kind of content drives more traffic those clients are going to favor that kind of content.

So the root of my request in this blog post is to encourage people to vote with their mouse. Tell producers you want safer porn -- that you value the safety of the porn stars -- that you want to send a healthier message to our youth (even if subtle) -- choose porn with condoms.

Some companies have already made the switch. Queerty reported:

Max Lincoln, the CEO of porn studio Eurocreme, runs a company that specialized in exactly what its name suggests. Profit margins are exponentially higher in the bareback world, insists Lincoln, but because there's no scientific way to assure protection for bareback performers (namely, the lead time in HIV test results), he's left behind his bread and butter, telling Pink News:

"There is a window period between an individual becoming infected with the HIV virus, and that individual showing up positive in an HIV test. During the window period, the infected individual can transmit the virus to others during unprotected sexual intercourse.

"For that reason it is not possible for a production company to guarantee the safety of an actor in a bareback film."

"Last year, in order to protect its performers against HIV infection, Eurocreme took the difficult commercial decision to produce only 'condom' films," continued Lincoln, who founded the company in 2002.

"In the absence of any legislation governing porn production in the UK, this moral stance places us at a serious disadvantage in the marketplace."


Read more: http://www.queerty.com/the-bareback-porn-studio-that-chose-fighting-hiv-over-the-bottom-line-20091221/#ixzz0koekZHfW

My hope is that people will make it easier for companies to make this choice by removing the economic disadvantage.

But that's a choice. We all make purchasing decisions that effect the lives others every day. I gave up Exxon and Shell gasoline to reduce my part in their destructive practices. I only buy organic non-gmo food. I don't eat fast food. I gave up meat. I don't eat farmed fish. I drive a fuel efficient car and take public transit when possible. I don't use plastic bags. I avoid sweatshop produced products.

Knowing that bareback porn may play a role in an increase in risky behavior by the general public -- and definitively increases the risk of infection by the stars, is enough for me to vote safer with my mouse.

There is no shame in that. There is pride knowing my behavior is not hurting others.

Again, Joe, you deliberately distort the arguments to make the issue of shaming raised here look like something else altogether. No, Joe, let me repeat - the shaming - not shame - I refer to is the strategy of shaming you picked on early on. *You* are the one invoking a shaming tactic as a safe sex campaign (although I see that you are now, not so adroitly, trying to slide away from your earlier claims and your support of the same). But continue with the shaming strategies and you are guaranteed to drive more people and behaviours underground.

Your equation of condoms in porn with product placement falls apart in the very section you quote about "In the absence of any legislation governing porn production in the UK, this moral stance places us at a serious disadvantage in the marketplace." The porn industry is not here to either take a moral stand or run as a non-profit industry.

And I repeat, for your and the benefit of Claude, continuing to harass the porn industry for not using condoms in bareback porn while ignoring the very great efforts they've also made to halt the transmission of HIV is not a productive strategy. In addition, the shaming strategies suggested above do nothing to address the complexities of condom use and negotiation in the real world.

As I said above, your original post and even your title was inflammmatory and full of still unproven hypotheses. Failing to respond to the critiques therein, you're essentially rewriting your post in the comments. Which would be fine, if you would at least engage more openly with responses. Have a good day.

First off, thank you Joe for taking this on. I really love you for it. It takes guts because you know you are going to be attacked, even by people who you normally agree with. I salute you. I only hope you don't get discouraged and that you don't let this be your only comment on this issue. We need a sustained campaign if we are going to make a dent.

Being a semi-retired activist, I prefer to concentrate on concrete laws, policies, boycotts, etc. that can have a measurable effect. Although I fully support the use of shame, I do not support the use of guilt. There is a difference. I have never given a cent of my money to bareback porn but I have watched it on free sites. First off, If I'm going to take this on as a cause, I need to know what the hell I'm talking about. But yes, sometimes I've gotten off on it. People are entitled to their fantasies. I would never condemn anyone for that. What we are not necessarily entitled to is to have them brought to life with real people if it means that those real people's lives or health are put in jeopardy. There's plenty of pre-AIDS porn or let them spend some money and remove condoms using CGI.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has launched a campaign to get Cal-OSHA to require the use of condoms by performers in porn movies made in California. They succeeded in getting Cal-OSHA to vote to form an advisory committee to consider amending the law. It may take up to 2 years but eventually, thanks to the persistence of the AHF, porn workers in California will be protected. This really should be done nationwide and someone should be taking this to fed OSHA. That is something very concrete that could be done. Will it eliminate bareback porn? No because there will still be amateur porn but it might have saved young Chad Noel's life and the life and health of future porn workers. It is a goal worth perusing at both the state and federal levels.

Barebacking does not have to be like the weather - something everyone talks about but no one does anything about. We can do something about it - and we will. Ignore the naysayers. Thank you Joe for the courage to take this on.

"Although I fully support the use of shame, I do not support the use of guilt."

See above for why shaming is a problematic strategy.

"There is a difference. I have never given a cent of my money to bareback porn but I have watched it on free sites. First off, If I'm going to take this on as a cause, I need to know what the hell I'm talking about. But yes, sometimes I've gotten off on it. People are entitled to their fantasies."

Thank you, Claude, for proving my point. You do realise that a "free site" still makes money off advertising that makes its way back to the producers of said porn, don't you?

The fact that even people who want to punish it cannot resist watching bareback porn says a lot about its allure. Why do we think shaming is a good tactic, again? And why does all this feel similar to the hypocrisy of the Catholic Church?

Get rid of professional bareback porn and you're going to create an even bigger supply of amateur bareback porn - which means creating conditions where people are going to be working/creating porn in much less regulated conditions, which means we're going to allow for a rise in behaviour that encourages the transmission of HIV. And then it will be time to tell individuals what they can and can't do with their video cameras.

Slippery slope, anyone?

So you are arguing for doing nothing. You are sounding like an apologist for the BB porn industry.

There are different issues here. The first is a workers rights issue. Workers should not be exposed to unsafe working conditions. It's not just HIV. Some of the sex workers (from the straight porn industry) who showed up at the Cal-OSHA hearing complained about getting other STDs including Herpes. As an advocate for transgender people, some of whom gravitate to the porn industry because of lack of other options, I would think you would be supporting their right to make a living without being unnecessarily exposed to serious illnesses.

As for amateur porn, pressure can be put on the more responsible free sites to limit that too. Many, like x-tube, already ban certain fetishes like scat.

I reject the idea that because this is a difficult issue and because just about all porn companies and websites have some links, direct or indirect, to BB porn we should just give up and do nothing.

There is a particularly awful barebacking blog called rawtop.com. They have a review of Treasure Island Media's "Built to Fuck" which says it all

This is a scene from “Built To Fuck” where Christian gets fucked really good by Sean Hunter. The best part of the scene is that as Sean’s shooting his load deep into Christian’s gut they angle the camera so you can see Sean’s biohazard tattoo. It’s something they hadn’t shown in the scene until right then. They want you to know that Christian is taking a huge load of toxic poz cum deep in his ass… And then it gets even better and you see Sean’s poz cum literally pouring out of Christian’s well-fucked ass…

There is no working with people who produce this shit. They need to be stopped by any (legal) means necessary.

The writer at RawTop prints a letter from a fan which goes to the issue of the effect of bb porn on the behavior of people who watch it:

Lately, I’ve gotten more and more preoccupied with bb sex (reading about it, thinking about it, beating off to it). I used to think of your blog as a simple “safety valve” for these raw fantasies. But now, more and more, I’m finding myself swayed by your astute and foreceful arguments.

I guess, to get to the point, I’m hoping you’ll give me some guidance in this. I’m 22, just graduated from a really good school (ivy league) and since the job market is so shitty and my degree (liberal arts) is so useless, I’ve been escorting a bit to pay my rent, which has actually been really fun. I’m in a young, uninhibited time, and I’m plagued by hot dreams of going “all the way” as it were, taking raw loads from all cummers.

Of course porn has an effect on gay men's sex lives. That's why AIDS organizations spent so much time and energy (with the help of the responsible gay porn industry) trying to eroticize safe-sex. Then along comes companies like Treasure Island Media in the 90s to actively promote disease and death.

There are times to be non-judgmental and there are times to be very judgmental.

I wrote an email to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence complaining about the fact that one of the sponsors of a fund-raising event they held at a local bar was NakedSword which features material from Treasure Island Media and other BB porn companies. This is the response I got from Sister Titania:

Thanks for your feedback about Naked Sword being a sponsor at The Lookout last Friday, and thanks for attending that event and helping us to give back to the community.

Yes, we realize the type of media produced by Naked Sword. It's not new that barebacking is controversial for some, much like many other sexual fetishes. However, we strongly feel that it's not our place to judge other people's tastes when it comes to sex. We instead tackle these issues through non-judgmental Harm Reduction.

We are constantly looking for a donation stream for our events and welcome a review of any you could supply. If you have a suitable alternate that would be desirable by our community, please let us know.

This is typical of what's wrong in our community. Now no one is a bigger advocate of harm reduction than I am. But even when it comes to drugs, just because you may not condemn all drug use and just because you may not take an abstinence only approach does not mean you would be co-sponsoring an event with a company that actively promoted meth use. This is what is wrong with our community. Sometimes you have to make judgments. Some things are really wrong.

I'm wondering if a group of homophobic straight men with HIV decided to have sex with as many HIV-negative gay men as possible with the intention of infecting them and they filmed their efforts, how would people react to that? The sad part is, they could announce their motives ahead of time and they would still find plenty of willing participants as well as people who would pay them money to watch. It's really sad. This is the effect of internalized homophobia. I am very "judgmental" about that.

Ah, how quickly you sidestep the issue of your own desire to see bareback porn.

But let's look at this:

"The first is a workers rights issue." Take a look at what Victor and others have stated - it *is* a workers rights issue, and the porn industry is probably stricter about it than most people in their sex lives. Why ignore that aspect of it and pretend that we're still in the 1980s?

"Some of the sex workers (from the straight porn industry) who showed up at the Cal-OSHA hearing complained about getting other STDs including Herpes." This statement has to be even more contradictory about your previous one about wanting to ban bareback porn and admitting you get off on it. Let me make something abundantly clear before I make my next points: I'm entirely supportive of sex workers' rights and their need for safety. But...how do you state that they're *sex workers* and not acknowledge that they might well have contracted STDs from their other jobs? If they're sex workers who are juggling porn and other jobs in order to make a living, there's also a likelihood that they may be compelled to engage in unprotected/bareback sex during sex work. Or are we now to pretend that bareback sex leads to HIV/STDs but unprotected sex/sex work with multiple partners (i.e straight sex) does not? I'm shaking my head in disbelief over the lack of logic here.

As for "As for amateur porn, pressure can be put on the more responsible free sites to limit that too. Many, like x-tube, already ban certain fetishes like scat." But then where would *you* go for your free viewing of bareback porn? Exactly. The industry can always find a loophole.

Yes, I advocate for the safety and rights of transgender people and all others to make a living in porn without worries about their health or being forced to engage in unprotected sex against their will. That's why I support supporting the already stringent measures in the legitimate porn industry and why I would rather work with it to eliminate cause for concern.

What I also advocate is for sex work to be safer for everyone who engages in it - for any reason whatsoever - and for the field to be as stringent and concerned about the health of its workers. I fight for the legalisation of sex work and for treating it as an industry whose workers also deserve rights, including free HIV testing and counselling and the right to know the status of their partners - which is the case in the commercial porn industry, sometimes to ridiculous lengths. Do you know how much paperwork has to be filed before you can film some scenes?

What I will not support is statements like: "Some of the sex workers (from the straight porn industry) who showed up at the Cal-OSHA hearing complained about getting other STDs including Herpes." I militate against the shaming and stigmatisation of sex workers, just to be clear, but your statement is just rife with contradictions. No, I'm not for keeping quiet but I'm also not for, and here comes my favourite analogy, shooting pigeons with AK-47s. The sex workers you speak about are, more likely than not, facing far more harm and the possibility of exposure to HIV/STDs in their sex work than in the porn industry. Those are the working conditions we need to think of changing.

Your advocacy of shaming as a safe sex strategy makes it harder for queers/sex workers/gay-straight porn actors/the porn industry to form alliances in the interest of encouraging safe sex practices.

Calling me an apologist for BB porn/advocate for doing nothing is a convenient lie, but my comment above indicates otherwise. It's also not going to change the fundamental points:

a) BB porn is here to stay.

b) People like BB porn, and those people include people who write about wanting to further regulate it/drum it out of existence. For proof, anyone can see Claude's first comment above.

c) Insisting that all sites, including amateur and free porn sites regulate BB porn to the extent that you're asking is going to lead to the creation of an underground market in BB porn made under much more unsafe conditions and lead to the proliferation of HIV infections.

d) This thread is now attempting to distract us from the fact that the original post, and I cannot stress this enough, was full of inflammatory and unfounded statements. Those statements have been roundly repudiated but a couple of you still want to cling to the idea that shaming people is the way to go (and, in the process, apparently, rewrite the OP). Shaming has never worked, and will never work.

e) I'd look a little closer at the safe sex erotica producers and the ideology behind their work, if I were you. They have also been adamant about not using the strategy of shaming, which you so actively support (in your own words above). What's next - a claim that porn that shows multiple partners, even with full condom use, is causing HIV rates to go up? And, I suppose, in the spirit of this post, yet another one titled, "Promiscuous/multi-partner sex is killing our community and you're to blame!"

Is bareback porn an issue? Yes, but I've made it clear that it's a helluva more complex than simply pointing to a scene from a film and then to statistics of HIV, fingers wagging all the time. See above for my comments that you clearly choose to ignore. Shaming and stigma are exactly what we have fought against in our entire history, and I'm not going to let us go back there without a fight.

Btw, I trust you're enjoying your research on bareback porn.

Thanks for getting my, ahem, juices flowing on this one. I think I'll write my own blog post on the subject now, and you've given me plenty of ideas.

Thank fucking god someone is speaking some sense - this whole 'watching bareback porn = killing our youth" argument is some of the most patronizing bullshit I've ever heard. For starters - a lot of the talent in BB porn are already HIV+, there is a practice of serosorting in the industry. So Chad Noel in his career was not a loose gun going off, as the OP seems to be disrespectfully implying, rather someone who was poz having sex with probably other poz people. And for the people he had sex with in porn who were negative, that was a CHOICE that they were making - there are numerous gay porn sites that do porn with condoms - nobody is forced into making bareback porn. And in regards to the AHF lawsuit of LA straight porn companies - they are interfering with an already pretty safe environment for sex workers - in which they do get tested and know their partners status before they shoot. This has been amazingly effective in STI reduction - there have been 22 cases of models testing poz (who didn't necessarily become infected on set) in 6 years, and that is an incredibly low rate.
And in regards to the idea that people through the virtue of watching sex without condoms taking on that practice themselves, that is incredibly reductive. There are so many reasons people chose to use or not use condoms during sex, boiling it down to 'monkey see, monkey do' is ignoring so many cultural factors but it is reinforcing the idea that A. gay men are irresponsible and need to be taken care of because they can't do it for themselves and B. shaming people for their attraction to unprotected sex which makes it more taboo and therefore more exciting - neither of which seem like a great way to 'look out for public health'

People like watching sex. From a getting off perspective, the presence of or lack of a condom isn't all that important. One can adjust one's fantasies. You can imagine the scene without a condom. You can close your eyes and just listen to the sounds and let your imagination do the rest or you can just go with it.

To those who say that the presence of a condom is a buzz-kill, I point to the period of the mid 80s until the beginning of "bareback" porn sometime in the 90s. There were those in the 80s who said that gay men would not watch porn with condoms. But we did. We got used to it and thanks to some creative porn makers even learned to incorporate them into our fantasies. That's why I detest these barebacking companies so much. Just inventing the term "barebacking" immediately fetishized it. They could have just shown people having sex with and without condemns without fetishizing it. And then they went further - fetishizing cum in the ass, "breeding" and "felching". To pretend that hasn't had an effect on people (young and old) getting HIV is ludicrous.

The argument that we can't require condoms because that will just push the industry underground is also ludicrous. Why pass any laws or regulations for workplace safety since unscrupulous employers may ignore them? Laws against child porn have been pretty effective. Has it been eliminated completely? No, but it has been driven way, way, way underground. The average person who isn't specifically looking for it is not likely to see any and if they do they quickly get rid of it for fear of serious consequences. I'm not suggesting the same laws against BB porn but if the industry will not obey any new regulations requiring condom use the solution is to punish them, not give into them.

First, Claude, see Cyd's comment above for more details.

Second, why do you keep ignoring the main issue here: the porn industry is a workplace with more stringent laws around HIV testing than real life or amateur porn. Why deny that regular testing is a workplace concern that's been addressed? Why do you see the use of condoms as the be-all and end-all of safe sex practices (for more on that, see below)?

Third, you can't compare BB porn to child porn (but, oh, I was so right to guess that you would) because we're not talking about the coercion of minors. Child porn *should* be outlawed because children are not consenting adults.

Fourth, thinking of condoms as the ONLY component of safe sex measures runs counter to the principles of every sane safe sex campaign I know of. The logic here is: Use condoms on the set, and that will eliminate HIV among porn actors/sex workers. That allows us to forget that there's a whole world of safe sex negotiation that involves, for one thing, condom negotiation in other arenas (such as "private" sex lives and sex work). There's also the fact that STDS, for instance, might involve practices not commonly understood as sex if we only think of penile penetration. There's the fact that people have unprotected sex outside the sets of porn films. There's the fact that people's sexual safety is not restricted to the moment when someone uses a condom.

I could go on, but I think we've all made the points we need to so far. Also, reading your responses, it's clear that viewers who would ban it outright on such moralistic grounds disguised as concerns for health and with the use of shame have some deep-seated and conflicting issues around the watching of BB porn that they're not willing to acknowledge openly. This is the other problem with enacting laws based on such sweeping generalisations as "watching BB kills people" or "prostitution ruins marriages/society": They often come from a place of deep denial of people's own desires. In the end, laws formulated on moral premises (sometimes disguised as health concerns) end up doing the most damage to the most vulnerable and create more problems.

The testing regime you talk about is not being used by all in the gay male barebacking porn industry. There are indeed now some companies and websites that advertise that their models are tested (something I did not know about before I began my research because I really have avoided all BB porn until very recently) but many use serosorting, as Cyd mentioned, based solely on the word of the models. Treasure Island Media has an online application where they ask the applicant their HIV status and ask whether they are willing to work with others with a different status. That clearly implies that they do not always practice serosorting. Some people leaving messages on blogs claim that they do but I have never seen a definitive statement from someone who actually has worked there, let alone anyone in management.

Of course, condoms alone will not protect you from all STDs. Sometimes they break and even when they don't, some STDs are easier to catch than others. If you are doing sex work, there are going to be SOME risks but that doesn't mean that we should not try to minimize those risks. The only time I have ever used a condom for oral sex has been when I was with a sex worker. I completely understood that people having sex for money don't want to take even the minimal risks that people having sex for passion are often willing to take. I also understand that some people desperate for money are willing to take risks, if only to give them an advantage over their competition who aren't. You could easily find workers who would work in a smoke-filled bar but we as a society finally have gotten to the place where we don't let that happen.

The article on Slate.com about the effort to require condom use in California asked the question, do we think of people who work in the porn industry as human or not. That is the crux of the matter. If we do, than we should want to protect them as much as reasonably possible. Testing is great but if you combined it with condoms, then maybe some of those 23 people might not have to spend the rest of their lives taking expensive drugs with dangerous side effects and risk death if they should ever not have access to them.

People will watch porn with condoms if that's the only (new) thing out there. The gay community proved that in the 80s and early 90s. Now maybe with the contempt that so many straight men have for sex workers and women in general, maybe many of them won't and maybe an underground market will develop that won't be controllable by any government action. I don't discount the possibility. But I think we owe it to the women and men in porn to try.

Ok this:
Treasure Island Media has an online application where they ask the applicant their HIV status and ask whether they are willing to work with others with a different status.
Whether or not they practice sero-sorting 100% of the time or not - and as someone who knows many people who work for treasure island I think they do - indicates that models have made a choice about the risk they want to take having bb sex. And it's known by most porn actors that if you work for treasure island it will create conflicts in working for other companies because there will be an assumption that you are poz. People cannot be victimized by a choice that they make.

And this:
he article on Slate.com about the effort to require condom use in California asked the question, do we think of people who work in the porn industry as human or not.

Do you know what is dehumanizing to sex workers? Not asking them what they want. Nobody in this thread has identified themselves as one but me - and my answer is that NO I don't want the state to mandate condom usage in either gay or straight porn - and I have yet to hear of one porn actor/ess who has been pushing this movement (other than that group of born again jesus loving ex-ho's Pink Cross that AHF has teamed up with). Do you know what sex workers have asked the state to do? Not work AGAINST their ability to have safe sex by using condoms as evidence in prostitution busts. Why aren't people clamoring about that?

Condom-less porn will not be prosecuted like child-porn because A. once again this is not about the health of sex workers it's about eradicating the depiction of a type of sex act in culture. If it were it would sink into the group because the state (and AHF) does not actually care about hooker health and B. as Yasmin said - bb sex is a consensual porn act. PORN ACTORS CHOOSE TO HAVE IT. I worked for kink.com - their actors both get tested and have the choice to use protection in shoots - guess what? A lot of them choose not to. You may not agree with the risks inherent in people having condom-less sex, which is fine - because you don't have to take them. If AHF or whomever wants to promote condoms in porn - they can work with companies to create choices like kink.com does - however targeting one sector of the industry in an already vastly underground industry is going to make it go more underground.

While sex workers should of course be listened to, they are not the only stakeholders. As I said before, you could easily find workers who would be willing to work in smoke-filled bars and restaurants. Society as a whole has an interest in this because when people get HIV, someone has to pay for those expensive medications. The rest of us are paying too, whether through expensive premiums or through our taxes. Recently a committee of the South Carolina legislature voted to end the AIDS Drug Assistance program in that state which helped people without insurance but who did not qualify for Medicaid get the drugs they need. Even Gov. Schwarzenegger in CA attempted to drastically cut funds for a similar program. We defeated him but in the future, who knows what will happen. If the general public were aware of the extent of the barebacking sub-culture they might quickly turn against giving scarce government funds to people who are being willfully negligent.

Then there is the LGBT community, which finds itself in the position of having to win electoral battles for our rights. We have a stake too. Sometimes the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one. And yes, as every good Star Trek fan knows sometimes they don't. In this case, I think they do. Sometimes you have to sacrifice something for the good of others. Until we have a cure or a treatment that can effectively prevent transmission all we are asking is that you put a condom on it. Have all of the sex that you want. And there are exceptions to the condom rule. In real life, as opposed to an employment situation, serosorting may make sense.

Unlike others, I am not coming from a conservative moral place. On the contrary. My last "real-world" activism (as opposed to online) was as a founding member of the Committee to Defend Our Sexual and Civil Liberties, which tried, unsuccessfully, to stop the government in San Francisco from closing the bathhouses. I have fought for sexual freedom all my life. But along with freedom, comes responsibilities. And though I may reject conservative Christian morality, I do believe in ethics when it comes to sex. Neither you nor you sexual partners should be treated like a fuck-hole that can be disposed of after use. We as gay men are better than that, or at least should be. The health and well-being of ourselves, our sexual partners and the wonderful sex workers of all kinds out there who help to make life worth living should be cared for. We are not the mindless sexual animals that our oppressors say we are. Unfortunately some of us have internalized this message and yes, sometimes we do need to be saved from ourselves. I'm sure the family and friends of young Chad Noel wished someone had saved him from himself.

I'm a liberal not a libertarian. I don't believe in social Darwinism where only the strong survive. Sometimes the weak (and that includes all of us at some times in our lives) need protecting.

Thanks for showing your true colors about what you really care about (money) and what you really think about sex workers who opposed condom legislation (we are children who need to be taken care of). However, your argument still has a major hole. It has not been shown that bareback porn is a major site of new HIV transmissions - nobody said that Chad was infected on the job - if the people making porn are positive already, who exactly are you protecting? And 22 people testing positive (who again, only 4 have been proven to have contracted HIV through a shoot) in the approximately 66,000 straight porn shoots that have taken place in LA in the last 6 years is not compelling statistics in terms of protecting your financial interest when the imposition of the government would surely negatively impact the adult industry which brings in millions of dollars in tax revenue to California.

Wait, wait, wait. Who are the other stakeholders that you're talking about? The taxpayers who have to pay for HIV medications? But that is only a concern if folks are actually getting HIV. Condoms, even going by perfect use (we can expect perfect use from professionals, right?), they are only 98% effective. Whereas according to Cyd, the current testing routine, when followed, is 99.93% effective.

Sure doubling up on methods will always reduce it further, but what level of risk is acceptable to you? Would you find it acceptable if people used condoms but didn't test? Because that seems like it might be a higher risk.

To be clear about where I stand:

Do I prefer seeing latex barriers in porn I watch: yes.

Would I prefer it if BB folks did things differently: yes.

Have I always used latex barriers when performing in porn: no.

Surprising? Well it was with a partner with who I'm fluid bonded with and only for oral sex. I wanted our performance to be real and representative of our own sex lives as much as possible, and frankly the current latex barriers aren't designed with trans people in mind. There are some times they don't work out as well. And also factoring into the decision is the fact that unprotected oral sex is actually slightly less risky than protected anal sex.

So I don't like the suggestion that the government should fine or arrest me for having made that choice. Nor do I like the suggestion that that choice is abhorrent. Condoms aren't the only risk reduction strategy, and just because I don't use your risk reduction strategy doesn't mean I'm a horrible person -- especially when statistically my choice (avoiding penal-anal sex but engaging in unprotected oral within a fluid bond) is actually less risky than the proposed alternative (engaging in penal-anal sex and always using a condom), and it would be less risky even outside the context of a fluid bond.

My problem with your post, Joe, is that you assert that young people must be "taught" that condom-less sex is sexy and that bareback porn is somehow the "cause" of people having sex without condoms. Any HIV prevention argument based on such a disingenuous foundation will be met with skepticism by many, including me.

Wanting to have sex without condoms is the default position for most of humanity. Condoms are awkward. They dull the sensations of sex. Putting one on causes an interruption in what could otherwise be a fairly continuous act of intimacy. In a world without disease, it would be a rare gay man who thought "I know, I'll just stop in the middle of sex and put this latex sheath on my penis. That'll make the next part even more awesome!!!"

From the beginning of this epidemic, the struggle has been convincing gay men to use condoms to protect themselves and their partners from HIV transmission. To suggest that it is bareback porn that is responsible for increases in transmission among gay men, and that they'd just all happily jump on board the use-a-condom-every-time train if only it didn't exist, reminds me a little bit of the Democrats who blamed Nader when Gore lost in 2000. Yes, Nader's candidacy contributed to the loss, but there were so many bigger failures in Gore's own campaign (not challenging voter disenfranchisement in Florida, Gore's inability to carry his own state, the decision not to let Clinton campaign, etc.) that to focus on Nader was an easy way for Dems to deflect the blame. Likewise, HIV prevention programs and advocates pointing to bareback porn as if it is the cause of the utter failure of prevention efforts to connect and be relevant in a post-HAART world just seems like an easy way to deflect blame from those who should be taking a closer look at their own efforts and how those efforts can be improved.

In other words, if bareback porn were banned tomorrow and transmission rates still continued to rise (as they would), who would you blame then?

And yes, I just made an analogy between Ralph Nader and bareback porn. I'll bet that's a first. ;-)

In other words, if bareback porn were banned tomorrow and transmission rates still continued to rise (as they would), who would you blame then?

I would blame a homophobic education system that does not teach directly to gay students (as I did in my post.)

I would blame our own community from becoming apathetic (particularly the demographic that did not live through the beginning of HIV/AIDS epidemics.)

I would blame myself for not writing about HIV/AIDs enough.

I would blame our states for not properly funding prevention programs.

I would blame a homophobic culture that teaches our youth not to love themselves, leading them to drug use and homelessness and other self-loathing behavior.

I blame all those factors -- and more right now (with or without bareback porn.)

This post was intended to get your attention about one element of a very complex issue. My point is simple, we need to be promoting condom use in every possible venue all the time. I can't believe that's even an issue for some. That it is, is also part of the problem.

"The glorification of bareback porn is a dangerous development and is killing our youth. They're being taught that bareback is sexy, it is the norm, and it is how to behave. In turn, they are contracting HIV/AIDS at a staggering rate."

So no, you weren't really trying to simply point to "promoting condom use in every possible venue all the time;" you were explicitly making all sorts of connections that were shaky at best and you then proceeded to defend the strategy of shaming people for their sexual behaviour as a legitimate safe sex educational tool.

You are, in effect, writing your post in reverse by ending up in the comments section at a point where you could have begun. That's fine, we all learn as we go along, but let's not pretend you wrote some entirely different post than the one you are defending.

Also, writing that your point was simply "promoting condom use in every possible venue all the time. I can't believe that's even an issue for some." is prevarication bordering on an outright lie, to put it mildly. And having been taught by Jesuits, who are masters of prevarication, I know it when I see it.

Promoting condom use is NOT an issue for any of us who've critiqued your post - we're objecting to the larger apparatus of shame and stigma you bring to that important issue and pointing out how counter-productive it is. And we've also pointed out that, in fact, the porn industry is among the few that actually practices safe sex strategies like regular testing. We have explained in detail how that works. Clearly, we're not against promoting condom use. And repeating the idea that we are will not make it true.

Joe, I so agree with your opinion on this! I think the last post you have on this is the best way to sum it up. Barebacking does contribute to more HIV infections and to promote it in porn movies is just wrong. So to the rest of you argue all you want but the truth is the truth and Joe is trying to help.

Guyseattle | April 17, 2010 3:57 PM

Ban bareback porn because one kid who starred in it dies of aids? Joe that might be ok in China but not in America. This kid also escorted that I know of he has a profile on one of the escort sites so bareback porn cannot be proven to blame. And I
am sorry but porn in a fantasy thing to get people off not an educational how too for teens. Why should those of us who like to watch bareback porn suffer from it's ban because there are those out there in society who do not realize it does not mean go do that now in your own life. Survival of the fittest and sadly some are not fit.

Bel Ami produces bareback. You may want to correct your statement.