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Charlie Harding

In the past couple weeks, the controversy over bareback porn reared its head again.  The announcement by Lucas Entertainment that they were starting a bareback line of films (after many years of intense criticism of performers who bareback and studios who filmed it) seemed to be the spark that reignited that controversial fire.  The announcement that Porn Superstar Trenton Ducati had been signed as their first bareback exclusive star added to the chatter… both positive and negative.

My first point is about bareback versus condom porn in general.  I find it interesting that we only find condom-less porn as being taboo in the gay porn culture.  The majority of straight porn has been bareback for years, and with much less talk and scorn for its stars.  Bareback straight porn is the norm, and no one seems to question that.  In the gay world, after our ranks were decimated by HIV/AIDS in the past decades, we developed an extreme sensitivity to illness exposure and for some reason it was deemed that porn should be forced to carry the burden of being the role model for gay sex.   While I understand that porn has an opportunity to teach a lesson, we need to remember that’s not the main reason it exists.  PORN IS CREATED TO ENTERTAIN AND PROVIDE A FANTASY, not necessarily as a tool for social activism.

The next point on which I pondered after Trenton’s recent move to bareback porn, has to do with public disclosure of a porn star’s HIV status. Trenton talked about making responsible, informed decisions as to who he will or won’t film with, and caught a lot of negative comments with his first bareback flip-flop scene partner choice of Blue Bailey.  As I read through the public comments section of one of the porn blogs that talked about the scene, the commenters spouted mostly gossip, rumor and shock.  Many of the folks were making huge assumptions and leaps calling Trenton HIV positive simply because he shot bareback porn, or because of who he chose to shoot with.  My point?  Unless you are actually having sex with him, his status whether negative or positive, does not directly concern you. Each of us in the industry make informed decisions as to what risks we are willing to take, and act accordingly. A performer’s HIV status is no one’s business except their own and their sex partners both in front of and behind the camera.  Again, PORN IS A FANTASY created to entertain, so as long as you enjoy seeing the activities on-screen, then it is serving its purpose.

My third point is this.  If bareback porn offends you, DON’T WATCH IT.  Here’s another example… While country music isn’t something I enjoy, I don’t rally against it and try to force others not to listen to it.  I just choose to change the station to a different type of music.  As a consumer, that’s what we can do. Watch what you enjoy, and ignore the rest. But it is not your right to force me to only watch what YOU think is appropriate.  I’m not going to limit your choices, so don’t try to limit mine.

photo by Barry Noland
photo by Barry Noland

My final announcement and point is that I am now also filming both condom and bareback porn.  As this article is being published, I am actually on set filming a bareback scene with my special buddy Mike Dozer (@mikedozerxxx).  He and I have an amazing chemistry, enjoy each other immensely on and off the set and wanted to take our connection and put it on film.  Does me shooting bareback mean that my HIV status will be questioned? YES, unfortunately it will.  I can say that I just tested again 7 days ago for a shoot I have in a week with a condom using studio, and I am still HIV negative, not that its anyone’s business but mine and my sex partners.  Am I being irresponsible by choosing to film bareback? No, I am choosing based on my own research and the information I have, to do something that I WANT TO DO with scene partners that I WANT TO DO. I am continuing as I always have to take whatever level of risk (or lack thereof) I am comfortable with, and producing FANTASY material for the public to enjoy.  I am not attempting to convince everyone to have bareback sex, and I am not saying anyone else should stop using condoms. Will I have people angry and upset that I am choosing to film bareback as well as condom porn now?  OF COURSE I WILL. And I tell those folks this: Watch what you want to watch, just like I will film what I want to film.  There’s enough porn out there for everyone!

32 COMMENTS

    • Medical research indicates what you need is daily dose of Truvada as PrEP, not luck. Do learn.

    • toto is correct the meds for HIV+ people are the same ones they give to POZ women who are pregnant to prevent HIV from being passed to unborn baby and this method works and has been proven to work! The same is done with guys who are neg dating poz men put them on protease cocktail drug and if they have a slip up or condom breaks who wont become poz. If you have a one nightstand with a guy and he fucks you then the condom breaks and he tells you he is poz, you go to a local hospital and they put you on truvada pre exposure pill for 6months and you wont become HIV+. This is a fact too and I know many men dont even know this exists or can be done! EDUCATE yourselves men we gays need to know this information!

  1. I think that just 3 or so years ago I saw LOTS of mainstream porn guys turn their nose up at bareback porn stars like they were better than them. I saw it all the time on twitter and little comments they made. Now that things are trending towards more bareback scenes — and those very stars are participating (not calling out Trenton because I love him and he was never one of those people) are now looking like hypocrites. The point is, if the porn companies are trending toward bareback and certain porn stars want to make money (and the big money is in mainstream porn like MEN and Lucas) than they have to go with the trend even though they were so appalled with the idea just a few years ago.
    I think that’s the funniest thing about this bareback thing. Gays are really judgmental and lots of very nasty and mean comments were thrown at bareback performers — but now that the big companies are doing bareback it’s alright!?
    Anyway Charlie. I really dig you!! I think you are an awesome performer (lessons from my stepdad, turn me into a whore and tops only required are some of my favorite scenes because you are such the alpha in them) and seem like a cool guy in general.
    Good luck! =)

  2. Well said – very articulate and as a fan of porn, I agree 100% with what you said. Studios are in the business to make money, they can educate and be responsible behind the scenes and in movies, but if the consumers want bareback and that is where the money is, then that is indeed going to be some focus there. They are a business first and foremost. As long as they are responsible about it and the actors are aware, tested and accept responsibility then I don’t see the issue.

  3. As a young I mean new performer in the industry I can say I find comfort in working in the condom side of the spectrum. I have been approached by bareback studios, talked with directors,and even made it on set with one of them. I can say from this experience and from the perspective of the performer I appreciate the attention to responsibility and professionalism I find with the studios working with condoms. I’m sure there are studios working in bareback dedicated to their models and their welfare and unfortunatly I think ones own social strength has to stick up for itself. For a greenie it has been my experience to be manipulated in to doing things I’m not comfortable with(at a mininum but with both bareback&condom studios). It’s a skin that gets thicker by the day. Studios are different and motivations and audiances are different as well. For the viewer it’s all about what gets them off. There is a divide between the performer and the viewer and for the performer it’s important to be informed and to be comfortable on camera. All in all it’s a silly debate as money fules the studio trends and the audiances is paying the bills. I doubt it’s realy an issue of morals so why get heated in debate. Enjoy what you will and respect the enjoyment of your fellow man.

    Plain and simple just an opinion on the matter

    Mike Tanner

      • Condoms have nothing to do with sales. Piracy and tube sites are killing sales. So you can get off the floor now.

  4. Love this article, and love that you have an upcoming scene with one of the hottest guys to come out in the last year- Mike Dozer. It seems that a very vocal minority of porn-watchers has decreed that bareback sex directly leads to HIV infection. In fact, a comment below alludes to this very misconception. It’s a syllogistic fallacy that ALL people who engage in unprotected sex will eventually become HIV positive, just as it’s erroneous to assume that ALL films produced by ‘condom-only’ companies have the best interests of the performers at heart. I’ve seen plenty of scenes in ‘condom-porn’ that not just skirt the line of safety, but cross it. But this pales in comparison to the argument that bears repeating again and again, as in your article: PORN IS A FANTASY. NOT AN INSTRUCTIONAL MANUAL. I’ve been a big fan of yours for a while, but now I’m even moreso. Thanks!

  5. 100% on spot. Thank you for being brave enough to write this. It’s porn, period. It’s a fantasy, period. If people have a problem with it don’t watch it, period. Thank you for being who you are.

  6. Well stated, you spoke very well and articulate; now lets hope people will use their two ears and listen.

  7. As a former porn actor (never sure of the word STAR) I never used condoms. Granted it was BEFORE AIDS, during the hey day of the porn industry. To be honest, if I was doing it now, I cannot say what I would do, bareback or condom…maybe some of both? The article was VERY well thought out and written. I feel that as an adult you choose what you choose and you’re going to do what you want to do WITH who you want to do it. You cannot judge others by YOUR own standards. Every decision we make comes with consequences and rewards. I support your decision to do what **YOU** CHOOSE to do. I’m MORE than tired and over the moral gay police who preach that one should do this and should do that and then judge if you don’t live up to THEIR standards. Hell if I was 20 years younger I’d do a bareback film with you myself! Be happy and do what you want!

  8. you’d think if he wanted to be bred he’d use his poz boyfriend. i think it’s foolish to think you can go back and forth between both worlds. somewhere there’s some kid dumb enough to try this and say ‘;i saw it in in a movie and he didn’t get aids so it must be ok to bareback’ and its not. really irresponsible and sad.

  9. Yet another dumb gay porn star trying to justify he’s stupid, completely irresponsible and reprehensible actions. Way to go.

  10. This article is right in the point. It is resumed in the sentence Porn is a fantasy. The actor who perform it is conscious about pros and cons. Also don’t forget porn is a business and got to survive pleasing certain markets.

  11. I think its more about health….you can look at some folks in these bareback scenes and tell that their positive….and you have young kiss emulating the act thinking its OK and be coming positive….its up to the individual but wow…isn’t your life more than a raw fuck…..and with a stranger

  12. The thing that still gets me is many of us gay men can be so nasty to POZ guys. Hello…. it can happen to any of us with a slip in judgement or getting lost in the moment. And Hiv meds have gotten hundred times better. I have many friends who are poz and have been for 20yrs! If you are neg and dating a poz guy go on protease inhibitors drugs like poz guys do and your chances of contracting hiv go down immensly. This is the same drugs they give poz women who are pregnant and their babies come out negative!! Educate yourselves fellow gaymen HIV provention and treatment has changed since 1980s. Putting stuff in dating profiles like neg ub2 is very rude and judgemental. its funny to see guys who thought this way become hiv+ and suddenly are on the other side of the fence and experience how negative nasty judgemental and lonely it can be. We are the community that didnt walk away from hiv in the early stages and demanded treatment and drugs, government help we changed history. But I feel we are now treating those who are hiv+ like lepers and very rudely. Imagine yourself poz and how are others gonna treat you? Put yourself in their shoes. I have seen friends loose some weight for themselves to be healthy, and bitchy gays whisper they look like they have HIV. Guys grow up and get educated about the diease prevention and hiv treatment, or how about caring for someone who is poz and needs some help or a person to talk to? We need to act more like Mother Teresa and less like Bitchy fags from queer as folk.

    • Bryan, You make an excellent point about it being the strength and determination from men living with the disease, making the fight to combat its spread and develop a cure. Im a service provider. For me in that industry and as someone who remains negative. I have to be very vigilant about my health if I want to maintain it. I know in the past I have ignored a request because the individual indicated they were positive. Having done that, I felt shameful that I could not provide for this person due to the fears instilled in me from my up bringing. Its a hard issue to deal with and my Ignorance to how to deal with it, left me with no choice but to consider my well being first. My compassion that surprised me, caused me to consider a good Friend of mine. talented beautiful loyal and loving he struggles to this day to meet someone. The type of guy honest and forth coming about is status. He writes for publications, stories and editorials, on the life (his life) of a gay man living with HIV. Im sharing this because I do think there is a need for social awareness about the social hardships of this disease HIV. Professional Porn Stars who stand in the spot light and are postured across the cities and gay media I think have a responsibility to the entire community. That community, viewers or not, are aware of the public figures in the gay culture. A culture unique,with different sets of standards and limitations in comparison to our wider culture in this country. A wider culture that ultimately has influence. I think as that wider culture is more accepting of sex and sexual practice. It makes sense to pressure public figures to support healthy lifestyles and social tolerance and awareness at a level a ethics. I hope the Public Figures out there making controversial moves will consider the public that tolerates them today as well as the public that adorns them their place in the public sphere. What makes a healthy culture and how can we as a gay community protect it so we can continue to better our brothers vs enabling them to make poor choices and denying them a ethical existence.

  13. While I agree that a porn star’s HIV status is his business alone, I disagree with your repeated assertion that porn is “just a fantasy” because it flattens, nay disregards, the cultural and social impacts the genre has on its consumers. Your comparison to (country) music is apt, so I’ll offer another example: if a hip-hop artist says that he’s just making music, does that excuse him from the misogynist and sexist statement he makes in that music? I think not.

    Yes, porn may be mostly about creating a fantasy, and having bareback porn is perfectly fine in essence, but that doesn’t mean porn shouldn’t do its part to warn about unsafe practices (which it does a majority of the time).

    Finally, poor rhetorical move on your part to conclude your article by divulging your own HIV status: if a person’s HIV status is indeed his or her own business, then why publicize it? I get that it’s your decision to broadcast it, but still.

  14. In all other jobs, businesses have a vested interest in safeguarding the health and well-being of their employees. If an employee fails to put on the appropriate safety gear, the employee is rightfully written up or fired. The porn industry — straight and gay — should be exactly the same.
    Yes, there’s indeed enough porn out there for everyone, and as a consumer I will choose to boycott companies and actors whose actions show that safety, health, and setting a good example are not the utmost of their concerns.

  15. I see football players get millions of dollars a game for one, maybe two hours. Is $200-500 a scene worth a fantasy?
    HIV is a reality not a fantasy. While I feel bareback is ok in a committed, monogamous relationship, I feel more education/accountability is needed.
    If you see a 100 ordinary people jump off a cliff, it will build your confidence you can too. It’s about risk, knowledge and luck, with yourself and the other person.
    I hear young people say they wouldn’t care if they got it (HIV) when there older (30). I hear they have meds now and I can live a long life, unfortunately you liver/kidneys give out or there side effects. I hear people say as long as they don’t cum in me I can’t get it, yet when they shoot on your anus that’s the part that get’s torn the most – fingering, cleaning, bleaching, etc.
    The biggest falsehood is, I just got a HIV test and I’m negative. Wrong, they can be positive and just don’t have enough anti-bodies to show it, yet transmit it.
    Talking about safe sex is a necessity for informed choices one makes. When you start having a 20 min scene in each porn about what is safe sex, what precautions were taken in filming, then that’s a good start. I’d have former porn stars that our positive give these talks. So we can see the faces of “fantasy”

  16. There is no scientific nor medical proof that engaging in unprotected sex with another neg status partner will make you positive. HIV, like all viruses, has to come from a source or infected person. If all partners are negative, there is no way HIV will make its way in.

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