Friday, 26 October 2007

A Question of Bareback

WARNING: this is a very adult oriented post.

I have developed my own rules about what I'll post about here in the 18 months or so I've been doing this. Two of the more ingrained ones are (1) that I don't post about subjects I don't have personal experience or impact of to 'add value' to the blogosphere and (2) I generally don't choose to dwell on depressing matters as I like to have TWFH be something of a pick-me-up for those who read it (hence no Maddie or Northern Rock commentary). Here though I'm breaking both those rules.

This week a timely conjunction of news stories in the gay porn world has brought the issue of 'bareback' material into question.

This is something I feel strongly about so it warrants my comment. Now I could be described as a one-time cog in the gay porn machine, having had photos and videos I've made published in the 90s, but I'm a jobbing amateur these days and most of my work is non-nude solos so I can't claim inside knowledge. Equally, though I lost my virginity bottoming without a condom in February 1983, this was mere weeks before HIV/AIDS reared it's ugly head in the UK and I didn't enjoy it anyway - hence I've avoided being fucked or even doing the fucking for two good reasons. And I haven't ever went for an HIV or even STD test, on the flimsy basis that I think I'd notice symptoms by now. So I'm not a prude or a perfect role model but a product of my time - an era when people had a literally healthy fear of 'the gay plague' as the tabloids had it at the time. It's just not the case now - AIDS has been 'cured' in public perceptions, and certainly amongst the later generations of gay men who are casually falling back into the habits of the pre-AIDS generations. Trouble is, the genie is out of the bottle and AIDS has not been 'cured'.

Now, the lack of alarming 'iceberg' ads on mainstream TV and national newspapers must be one contributing factor and the red ribbons are no longer the fashionable must-haves at your average celebrity awards ceremony but the most insidious contribution to this attitude has come from within - gay porn. Men of all persuasions have long gleaned their sexual education from porn, so it's not merely an entertainment. And here is where America has, I think, done the right thing while Europe has put the bottom line above ethics and sheer consideration for your fellow man. Whole studios in Europe are devoted to bareback/raw 'brands', usually employing the youngest performers from the AIDS-ignorant generation and often from economically exploitable territories. In fact it's increasingly hard to find non-bareback titles if you browse some catalogues. Bareback is becoming the dangerous default. Peer pressure and the commercialized culture of the gay scene makes it more and more difficult to say no to someone who insists on unprotected sex (BTW I'm sure women have had this problem all the time). And frankly I can't see the attraction to what is marketed as and renumerated at a premium - even if you physically crave anal sex without barriers I can't see how that relates to what you watch detachedly on a screen.

Anyway, I don't think you can defend bareback porn on the basis that it sells or that the performers are consenting adults who are well rewarded. The same defence could be used in the context of prostitution, where a bit more public health concern might be forthcoming. Alas, sex is sex in both cases and both prostitutes and porn stars mix with the rest of us in the real world as well as their punters/co-stars. We're not protected from their risk-taking so they should be protected from being put in that position.

The case of the three young porn stars who were infected following a gay bareback shoot was in the UK.

1 comment:

Colin - Devon said...

A subject that needs to be aired (again and again). I too had a similar "upbringing" to you but about 10 years earlier, and thankfully I did not like anything "anal". It seems that the porn moguls are under that illusion that they need to pander to the thrill seekers. Trouble is HIV and AIDS is certainly no thrill. I am lucky - these days luck does not need to play quite so much a part in our sexual enjoyment.

There was an error in this gadget

Ratings and Recommendations by outbrain

LinkWithin

Blog Widget by LinkWithin