The gay blogosphere is in an uproar this week over Baring the Truth, an article in the August Out Magazine (not available online) that is unusual for abandoning the typical HIV sermonette in favor of a frank and sober evaluation of the popular, if controversial -- some would say deadly -- practice of anal fucking without rubbers. (This uproar has even hit our own site. See the angry comments that readers left on our recent Dawson entry.)
Baring the Truth wonders if bareback porn is responsible for a recent upswing in HIV sero-conversions.
According to Out, barebacking accounts for a third of the gay porn industry's output and -- get this -- one half of all rentals from a popular DVD rental site. A poll of Out readers found that while 15% disapproved of such porn, finding it "irresponsible and misguided," an overwhelming 70% either "loved" the raw dicking ("because porn is just a fantasy") or found it "compelling" but disturbing.
Meanwhile, the major players in the industry were divided into warring camps. To one side you had porn producers like Chi Chi LaRue ("People call me a condom Nazi") and Tim Valenti of NakedSword ("I found many [young models] to be extremely naive ... [they] were being pushed into participating in something without having a clear understanding of the ramifications. I didn't want to be part of it"). Above, we see two models from Raging Stallion Studio, which has a strict policy of condom-only fucking.
On the other, Michael Stabile also of NakedSword ("I've talked to some [porn stars], and they say, 'The only time I ever have sex with a condom is on-screen.' So bareback isn't any huge fall from grace for them.") and Paul Morris of Treasure Island Media ("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.")
The most provocative quote, we thought, was this historic overview from the porn star and AIDS activist Will Clark: "The bareback trend reflects our need to be edgy and defiant in a world where being gay used to be edgy and defiant and every day has become more and more commonplace."