Sex Work

Bareback Porn

In light of the County of Los Angeles passing an ordinance attempting to mandate safe sex in the porn industry (and also a California measure to try and do so that failed), a lot of fans have asked my thoughts on bareback sex (sex without a condom) in porn, particularly whether I have any health concerns and how bareback porn might influence viewers. Personally, I’m no more concerned about bareback porn than I am, say, sex and violence on television, radio, video games and the internet. I believe the appropriate solution to address health concerns about sex is to provide the necessary education and adequate resources in our local communities.

Porn is entertainment. Porn is fantasy. While it may potentially impact the sexual practices of our private lives, I argue that most, if not all, of the responsibility rests with consumers and not producers. Those arguing to hold producers responsible, either legally or ethically, are concerned the porn industry will have a dangerous impact on what people do in their private lives. My instinctive reaction is “So, what?” If this is considered reason enough to scrutinize and further regulate pornography, then it stands to reason that any unsafe or morally questionable act on television, radio, video games and the internet should also be regulated to a similarly absurd degree. The damage this would cause to entertainment, art and freedom of expression outweighs this trivial concern for public safety vis-à-vis the use of condoms in porn.

Let’s look at the ESPN X Games for example. It televises competitive sporting events in motocross, skateboarding, snowboarding, skiing, surfing and all kinds of other dangerous things. I don’t think there’s anything about the network that isn’t incredibly high-risk. In fact, danger seems to be the appeal. Given the popularity of these spectacles and the fact there’s not a stigma attached to them like there is to sex and pornography, ESPN fans are probably just as likely to be influenced by risky behavior. And it’s not just sports – television shows like “Jackass”, “Spartacus”, “Game of Thrones”, “House of Cards”, “Orange is the New Black” — pretty much everything in entertainment and media — contains risky or violent behavior that might impress upon viewers.

Furthermore, safe sex is not just a matter of using condoms. All sexual acts possess varying degrees of risk. My question to proponents of condoms in porn is this: just exactly how much risk is acceptable? Abstinence is the only thing that’s 100% safe. There’s no precise way to gauge the risk of each genre of porn. Consider group sex, BDSM, fisting, watersports, rape scenarios, scenarios in which strangers meet for anonymous sex…the list goes on. It’s willfully ignorant to focus exclusively on condom use while giving everything else that happens in porn a free pass. Are the people in favor of a condom mandate in porn also prepared to comb through the entire industry and quantify risks to enforce censorship? If not, they’re petty hypocrites; if so, then they have their work cut out for them.

Other proponents of mandatory condom use in porn phrase the argument as a matter of employee rights. They are, allegedly, concerned about model safety and exploitation. As more and more studios make the switch to produce only bareback porn, I can see how this is a concern. The fear is that actors will be pressured to perform sex without a condom, or essentially be forced out of the industry.

Producers, though, are only following suit with consumer demand. Companies refusing to go bareback are losing revenue. The industry is already on life support because of piracy and free amateur porn. Frankly, newer generations don’t see the need to spend money just to have an orgasm. A lot of producers that go bareback don’t have a choice if they wish to stay in business, so trying to enforce condom laws does nothing but further kill the industry. Neither producers nor performers are helped.

And it’s not as if producers are out to get us. The majority of them care for our health, happiness and safety. Of course, there are exceptions. Performers are usually well-informed of the risks of doing porn, and in virtually all cases models are made to sign a liability waver and some sort of contract. Whether condoms are used in porn should be left entirely up to producers and performers. Personally, I’ve yet to perform in a film in which condoms weren’t used, but I’m on the fence as to whether that will always be the case, and I’d be lying if I said I used condoms 100% of the time during casual sex. Ultimately, though, as a porn performer I believe that choice should be mine to make and not the government.

7 comments

  1. I understand your aversion to government regulation in an area that is inherently intimate, however, pornography is a commercial enterprise and therefore subject to congressional authority. Additionally, because of the moral issues attendant to the production and distribution of pornography, Congress’ police powers shore up their commerce clause powers such that pornography will always be a regulated industry.

    I do believe that performers should have the right to determine what is best for their health, safety, and welfare, and in their private lives they do enjoy such a liberty, however, the fact that the set of a porn shoot is frankly no different then a coal mine in Kentucky, a Johnson and Johnson lab in New Jersey, or any other office space for the purposes of the law, we are forced to ask the question of whether the porn industry should be treated as sui generis enterprise subject to exception because of the nature of the product it produces – commercial sex. Is a condom on the set of a production any different than a miner’s hardhat, a lab tech’s goggles, or the safety on an officer’s gun? If the condom is worn to insure the safety of the performer despite the low risk of HIV transmissions, then can the coal miner forgo the use of his hardhat considering that the incidences of mine collapse today are relatively rare? These regulatory measures do not presume that the acts are imminent occurrences, but that their is a likelihood that they could occur and more importantly, their occurrence can be devastating.

    The state can be more than a bit intrusive in the way in which they police workplace behavior, in fact, our history is replete with examples of the government using regulation in order to essentially prohibit behavior it believes to be morally obscene. The distinction that we must make here is whether the governments proposed intrusiveness is industry agnostic and therefore no more than a law of general applicability, or a concerted effort to regulate pornography out of existence. While I am inclined to believe that the latter would be a welcomed consequence by some feminist and social conservatives alike, I cannot find any argument against its enforcement save the idea that consenting adults should be able to direct the course of their business dealings without the unnecessary interference by the government. Unfortunately, that argument, conceded and applied in the aggregate, could be rife with negative consequences for the lot of workers in this country.

  2. People should be educated about sex. I don’t see any reason as to why bareback is a problem . Its not the responsibility of the porn industry to educate masses. It’s an industry for making money just like any other entertainment industry . Personally I love bareback films , but that’s a fantasy that gives me satisfaction when watching porn . At the same time am well aware of the repacations of unsafe sex.

  3. So refreshing to read such intelligent writing from a porn star. Quite simply, you are one of the hottest gay porn stars working today. I have to admit I would love to see you film some bareback scenes as they would be extremely hot.

  4. Great thoughts, as always – everyone, including porn stars, should seize all rights pertaining to their agency, their own decisions, and while lawmakers in the past have indeed infringed on those rights with their activities, they should knock it off.

    People can tell the election has you down, a tad bit, so … Sean/Josiah, I recommend PACIFIC HEAT on Netflix, which is the Australian ARCHER. You will laugh great belly laughs, and that’s the best medicine, I’m told, even for thoughts about psychopaths who won the Electoral College.

  5. Sean, congrats on the Paper article. I’ve been reading your blog and you have a book in you. I’m a literary agent if ever you want to discuss. Be well!

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