Condoms in the Porn Industry: Gays Do It Better

Peter Berlin, mmm.
Peter Berlin, mmm.

In the mid to late-1980’s, gay porn studios adopted mandatory condom rules. In a time when the HIV/AIDS epidemic was destroying the gay male community as a whole, these regulations were self-imposed to help keep the performers from contracting the disease at work. As we know, porn performers come in contact with many sexual partners in their line of work. One infected performer could spread the virus to his co-workers, then their co-workers, and down the line, until you end up with 16 or more people infected within a month’s time, happening too fast to avoid with standard testing alone, especially with the testing technology & resources available in that time.

This was the 80’s. Most people assumed that HIV was a “gay disease,” only effecting promiscuous gay males. Our president at the time, Ronald Reagan, didn’t even publicly recognize the disease until the closeted Hollywood star Rock Hudson contracted it in 1985.

The gay community was wholey responsible for HIV outreach, awareness, and activism until the early 90’s, when foundations and government-sponsored research finally took off. Part of this responsibility was making sure that condoms were used in porn, and they made that choice on their own.

Fast forward to 2009. The world is well aware that HIV can be contracted no matter what your sexual orientation, race, age, or lifestyle is. Medication for the disease is as well known and as easy to acquire as any other prescription drug. The gay stigma, mostly, has been removed from the virus.

Gay porn is still regulated regarding condoms, and although some “bareback” lines continue to show unprotected sex, they are largely scorned by the major companies in the industry. Scorned!

This is why I get so upset about the refusal of straight porn companies to adopt these laws.

To me, it seems like a homophobic double standard, that straight sex in porn is somehow safer from HIV, that’s it’s above all others somehow. More importantly, it’s astounding to me that they go so far as to give condom-only porn stars less work, forcing many of them to have unprotected sex at work in order to make their rent, pay their bills, make a living. And, having condom-only porn stars protesting doesn’t seem to help at all, because there is always someone else willing to bend their boundaries to get a well-paying or highly-visible scene.

So, in gay porn, bare-backing is scorned. But in straight porn, it’s the other way around, condom-only performers are the ones scorned.

Because the nature of the beast will always find plenty of performers willing to take a risk with an unprotected scene, the straight porn industry will only adopt condom regulations when it’s ordered to. It will never choose to regulate safer sex on it’s own. They don’t have to, they will always be able to find someone who needs the work.

This needs to be done, unfortunately, on a federal political level. We must talk to our senators, congressmen, and sex worker lobbyists, and get them to demand condom regulations in adult film productions.

The heterosexual adult industry needs to adopt the same regulations that the gay male industry has imposed on themselves out of a call for duty, because HIV is no longer a gay disease, it’s a universal epidemic, and it needs to be treated as such.

Condoms in porn are like hardhats in construction – they protect the workers from industry-related injuries and deaths. Not only that, but they encourage everyone, especially 18 year old males, to normalize safer sex and condom use into their own sex lives, and promote healthier boning.

Check out Jiz Lee’s post on condoms in the porn industry, published simultaneously to mine!

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