What happens when you ask two porn actors and two porn producers about the effect gay porn has on our everyday sex lives? Especially when one actor and one producer specialise in bareback porn... 

Stuart Haggas (@getstuart) speaks to gay porn actor and model Dean Monroe, who’s worked in the industry for thirteen years and is one of Britain’s most prolific porn stars; porn actor and part-time photographer/ videographer Anton Dickson, one of Britain’s highest-profile bareback porn stars; Nick Baker, the founder of British gay porn website EnglishLads.com; and Liam Cole, the British producer for San Francisco-based bareback porn specialists Treasure Island Media.


Fantasy sexland

There’s a general consensus that people in the public eye who are idolised by the rest of us should set a good example, rather than let their behaviour be a bad influence on everyone. Which is why Daily Mail readers complain in droves whenever an actor swears or a pop star gyrates too provocatively on live TV. But what about porn stars? As many gay men idolise them, should porn stars be held to account for the example they’re setting? “Porn stars are like sexual superheroes,” says GMFA’s Matthew Hodson. “They’ve got ridiculously buff bodies, big cocks, and the ability to go on for hours, seemingly without pain, discomfort or making embarrassing squelching noises, unlike us mere mortals.” “A lot of gay men live out their sexual fantasies through porn,” adds porn actor and model Dean Monroe, “so the actors become treated like stars and acquire a sexual power through their movies.” “Porn is about fantasy,” agrees porn actor Anton Dickson. “It's about creating scenarios that stimulate our senses emotionally, but mainly sexually. As with anything trying to push its own boundaries, taste changes over the years – for example bearded men are hot at the moment.”

Who taught you to do that?

It’s said that we all learn by example, and it’s also said that many gay men get their sex education from watching gay porn – can this be true? “I think many people, gay and straight, learn about sex through porn,” explains GMFA’s Matthew Hodson. “But perhaps this is even more true for gay men as they are unlikely to get a gay sex education at school.”

Porn actor Dean Monroe agrees. “Absolutely. And I say this from experience. Porn is sometimes the first taste of sex a young person gets, so naturally what they see on screen they might emulate in life.” “But they also learn from each other,” adds Liam Cole, who makes porn for bareback specialists Treasure Island Media. “And porn learns from them. The origin of particular behaviours is mysterious.”

Anton Dickson has a different perspective. “Do gay men learn about sex via gay porn? Did you get your car driving skills from watching films? The answer to both I believe is no. However as with both cars and sex, although we all know that fast driving and bareback sex are risky, some of us still do it. It's a thrill and it's part of being human I think. Doing the forbidden, the naughty...”

Pornography vs reality?

Today’s porn stars come in a variety of ages, shapes, sizes and ethnicities, but gay porn remains dominated by incredibly hot guys having incredibly hot sex. So what kind of a lesson are we really getting from watching gay porn?

“One of the main reasons people like watching porn is because it’s an escape and allows them their own fantasy about having sex with their favourite porn star or just seeing a hot guy with a hot body,” says Nick Baker, founder of the gay porn website English Lads. “At the end of the day it’s only a film and our job as film producers is to make fantasies people like to watch.”

“It depends on what you’ve seen,” Treasure Island Media’s Liam Cole adds. “If you’ve grown up on stagy mechanical porn then real sex might come as a pleasant surprise: immersive, tactile, spontaneous, emotional.”

“A lot of the questions that we get at GMFA are directly related to unrealistic expectations that men have about sex, as a result of watching porn,” says Matthew Hodson. “People worry unduly about their cock size, or the amount they ejaculate, or the fact that it hurts when it’s just shoved in. Most worryingly, some porn perpetuates the fantasy that you can have sex with lots of men, without using condoms, without there being any health impact. In the real world, if you have lots of sexual partners, and if you don’t use condoms, the chances are you’ll pick up an STI sooner rather than later.”

Don’t do this at home

Watching porn may broaden our experience, and show us new tricks and techniques that we might like to try in real life, but does that mean gay porn has a good influence – or should it come labelled with a Government Health Warning? For example, the media regularly reports on how violence in film and videogames encourage violence in real life, and how super-slim fashion models encourages anorexia – claims that are agreed with and disputed in equal measure. So does it make a difference to you and your sex life whether or not a porn star uses a condom?

“Bareback porn may well have influence over some men in their condom wearing habits,” says English Lads’ Nick Baker. “Which is one of the reasons we only shoot with condoms.” “I believe bareback porn sends a message to a young viewer that it’s ok not to use protection with a sexual partner, and that is very wrong,” adds porn actor Dean Monroe. “Especially now when HIV prevention and awareness in the press has taken a back seat.”

“Several large gay porn producers have recently started producing unprotected sex scenes,” continues Nick. “Is this because of the changes in testing for HIV, or just simply a reaction to what they believe the market demands? I’m not sure I know the answer to that, but we won’t be following on this one and will continue making porn with condoms.” “Nowadays I only shoot bareback scenes,” explains porn actor Anton Dickson. “And yes, unprotected sex in gay porn has recently been on the increase. In straight porn it's been steadily the same, with the majority of the sex being unprotected. Does this mean that every straight man expects to fuck women without condoms? No, unless he is happy with the possible consequences: pregnancy or STIs, that might follow. Why are gay men different? I don't think they are. Gay men who engage in unprotected sex know the risk and find it acceptable for the feeling it gives them. Is it right or is it wrong? I can't tell you, everyone will have to make up their own mind on this subject I think.”

“I totally get that porn is fantasy, and I’m not going to argue that bareback porn is solely responsible for men having unprotected sex,” says GMFA’s Matthew Hodson. “But I think that by setting that up as a ‘fantasy’ it’s natural that some viewers are going to aspire to the same in their own sex lives. And if you’re trying to ‘live the dream’, it’s probably easier to have sex without a condom than it is to have sex with someone with a 12” cock.” “My porn is not fantasy,” insists Liam. “It’s a record of how some men fuck. Bareback sex doesn’t require much encouragement”.


Take responsibility 

Regardless of whether or not watching bareback porn has an influence on its audience, don’t forget that the porn actors are putting themselves at risk with every scene they shoot. Do companies that specialise in making bareback porn take responsibility for the sexual health and wellbeing of their performers?

“I like and respect the men I make videos with,” says Liam. “We figure it out like adults.” “As a performer for Treasure Island Media I know that they match HIV-negative guys with other negatives, and HIV-positive with other positive lads,” Anton Dickson adds. “Everyone is aware of the risks of other things they can catch of course.”

“I believe that some companies do try to be responsible towards their performers, but it isn’t possible to guarentee safety,” GMFA’s Matthew Hodson explains. “Porn performers are usually going to have some sort of sex life outside the porn industry, whether that’s in their personal life or through escort work. So even if performers were tested on the day of the shoot, there’s no guarantee that they won’t be in the window period before HIV test results come back positive. And if someone has been infected and is in the window period, they will be particularly infectious to their sexual partners. I don’t like to think that someone is risking their health for my viewing enjoyment. That seems brutal to me. But I fear that as long as there is a demand for bareback porn, there will be people who will supply it.”


Starring: The condom


A huge number of props and paraphernalia appear in modern porn, whether it be a couple of chavs shagging in a council flat while wearing baseball caps and Reeboks, a team of sporty studs stripping off their jocks and soccer kit in a lockeroom, or beefy muscle bears in taut leather chaps and harnesses in a dingy basement. Dildos, poppers, and restraints all have their place in porn – so what’s so bad about condoms? “If you can find true pleasure in condoms themselves, and record that honestly, the viewer will recognise that authenticity,” says Liam Cole. “But an artificial ‘sexing up’ is only going to fool the most gullible people.”

“I don’t believe they need to be ‘sexed up’,” adds English Lads’ Nick Baker. “We just make them part of the scene from putting them on to removing them.” “Every scene should show the model putting the condom on, even if it’s brief,” agrees porn actor Dean Monroe. “It should be part of the sex and story, not hidden. Condom use is a state of mind that you just get used to, and it becomes a normal part of the act of sex.”

Do it yourself

Another trend in porn is the increasing popularity of amateur and homemade scenes. Thanks to sites like XTube anyone can post their private sexual escapades for the whole world to see, and therefore become a porn star! But these DIY epics can be raw in every sense of the word. “Homemade porn is a style of shooting that has gained popularity online, but shouldn’t be an excuse to publish whatever we want,” says porn actor Dean Monroe. “Those who uploaded it need to be responsible and aware of what messages they are sending out.” “Porn producers should be inspired when they see wonderful homemade porn,” thinks Treasure Island Media’s Liam Cole. “It can be very powerful, when it records genuinely exciting sexual moments, regardless of whether it involves bareback sex or not. Bareback sex in itself does not guarantee popularity.”


FS PORN SURVEY. 

Everyone loves a bit of porn, right? Most gay men would freely admit to watching it, some admit to performing in it. Like it, love it or loathe it, porn is something that all gay men seem to have an opinion about. Recently we asked our followers online to fill in a fun, fast and completely anonymous survey about their porn habits. Over 1,000 people filled it in with some very interesting results. We promised we’d share them in this issue, so here we go...

Do you watch porn?

Yes               97.9%
No                  2.1%

How often do you watch porn?

  • Every day                            23.9%
  • A few times a week           52.9%
  • Once a week                        10.8%
  • Once a fortnight                   5.2%
  • Once a month                      4.4%
  • Other:                                 2.8%

FS says:

87% of gay men watch porn at least once a week, and almost one in four gay men watch porn every day. Are you surprised at that result?

What type of porn do you watch? (Multi choice)

  • Gay                                       98.7%
  • Straight                                 16.9%
  • Bi-sexual                               16.5
  • Transgender                          1.7%
  • Other                                    1.1%

FS says:

Almost 99% of gay men watch gay porn, but we’re not adverse to a bit of girl / boy action, with 17% also watching straight porn.

How do you view Porn? (Multi choice)  

  • Online via computer          92.1%
  • DVD                                    30.1%
  • Magazines                           8.8%
  • Mobile phone                       25.8%
  • Smart Tablet                       12.3%
  • Pubs/clubs/saunas               8.8%
  • Sex Cinema                         2.2%
  • Other (please specify)          1.2%

What type of men do you watch? (Multi choice)

  • Men of a different ethnicity to my own             50.6%
  • Men of the same ethnicity as myself           79.3%
  • Interracial men                                              43.6%
  • Daddies                                                         34.6%
  • Bi-sexual                                                       24.4%
  • 'She-males'                                                     1.8%
  • Twinks                                                           49.8%
  • Bears/cubs                                                     42.8%
  • Muscle guys                                                   65.8%
  • Other (please specify)                                     3.4%

Other popular responses included:

  • Scally/chavs
  • Ginger men
  • Straight
  • British men
  • Skinheads


FS says:
 

Is anyone surprised that ‘Muscle guys’ was the top spot as a stand out result? Is this why so many gay men go to the gym or feel they should look this way? Porn tends to focus on certain body types to appease their audience, yet many people give out about magazine/ advertisers using certain ‘looks’ all the time. We at FS get people saying “Why don’t you use ‘normal’ looking guys”. These results show you that the majority of you want to see mucsles/twinks and bear/cubs, whether that’s in porn or in a magazine.

What type of sex do you like to watch? (Multi choice) 

  • Anal                                                                 91.1%
  • Oral                                                                81.1%
  • Vanilla                                                            40.9%
  • Safe only (condoms only)                                 45.3%
  • Bareback (no condoms)                                    69.2%
  • Fisting                                                             19.4%
  • Watersports (piss)                                            32.5%
  • Bondage                                                          26.6%
  • SM / CP                                                           17.2%
  • Role playing (police officer/prisoner etc.)            46.2%
  • Uniforms                                                          45.3%
  • Rubber/ Leather                                                21.5%
  • Men and women                                                15.9%
  • Amateur                                                           57.6%
  • Voyeur                                                             29.4%
  • Solo                                                                 32.6%
  • Group/Orgy                                                       71.7%
  • Gang bang                                                        56.9%

Other popular responses included:

  • Rimming
  • Homemade
  • Cum shots
  • Scat
  • Foot fetish


FS says:

Is anyone surprised that ‘anal’ topped the results with 91%? Probably not. What’s clear is the popularity of ‘Bareback’ porn. Considerably more people like to watch ‘Bareback’ than ‘Safe only’. Read on in the survey for more questions in relation to this subject.

Do you watch porn… (Multi choice)

  • Alone                                                                    96.7%
  • With friends                                                          12.2%
  • With partner                                                         20.6%

Why do you watch porn?

  • I'm horny                                                               89.0%
  • I'm bored                                                               47.5%
  • I'm tense or frustrated                                             24.9%
  • Out of habit                                                            30.8%
  • Other                                                                      5.1%

Other popular responses included:

  • Loneliness
  • So I can sleep better
  • For tips
  • Addiction

FS says:

While lots of you watch porn to get your rocks off, many of you like to watch it if you’re bored or just out of habit. From the ‘other’ responses it is clear that some gay men feel that their porn watching is out of control, to the level of it becoming an addiction.

Do you feel guilty watching porn?

  • Yes                               6.3%
  • No                                75.6%
  • Sometimes                    18.1%

Of those who said yes or sometimes, here are some responses:

“Sometimes feel disloyal to my partner”

“I feel guilty when I think about the people actually in the movie because I know it's probably a horrible job and they probably hate it. There is something slightly dark about it, and something slightly wrong about it. But it's still addictive.”

“Watching porn means I'm wanking, and this can take up to 3 hours, so I feel like I'm wasting my life.”

“It sometimes looks abusive or dangerous for the actors.”

“It feels like an addiction!" 

“Christian upbringing.”

“Because I feel it's a distraction from getting into a gay relationship, and worry about who is profiting from my watching porn.”

“Because I'm partnered and feel I should probably be having all sexual experiences with my partner.”

FS says:

Three out of four gay men don’t feel guilty while watching porn but of those who said they do or sometimes do this is mainly because they have a partner or they worry about the actors in the film. People’s religious beliefs or upbringing also contributed to them feeling guilty.


The bareback question

Do you or have you ever watched bareback porn?

  • Yes                95.8%
  • No                  4.2%

If no - please tell us why

“I actually find it a turn-off”

“I think it gives an unrealistic view of normal sexual activities and sets a bad example for those who are young looking for information for the first time”

“Would not like it - a step in exploitation too far. Plus condoms don't turn me off in porn.”

“I don't like watching people being irresponsible and I feel bad watching such careless and reckless acts. I cannot enjoy it”

“Shameful that porn companies have increased the use of bareback in videos.”

“I think it exploits the actors by asking them to do something that is potentially lethal and it encourages those who watch it to think that it's "sexy", "fun" or OK.”

FS says:

We don’t think anyone is shocked that 95.8% of the people who responded have watched bareback porn. Or are you? What stood out from the ‘No’ responses was that they felt uncomfortable with the idea of young people copying what they see.


Roughly how much of the porn you watch features bareback porn?

  • I never watch bareback porn                               0.1%
  • I rarely watch it                                                 17.4%
  • Around a quarter of it                                      29.2%
  • Around a half of it                                              26.2%
  • Around three quarters of it                                 10.7%
  • Nearly all of it                                                    14.1%                  
  • I only ever watch bareback porn                          2.4% 

FS says:

Although almost everyone had watched bareback porn, and 70% of you said that it was one of the kinds of porn you liked to watch, most of you watched a mixture of bareback and non-bareback porn.

Do you think watching bareback porn has led to you personally having unprotected sex? 

  • Yes                                                                        6.9%
  • No                                                                          88.2%
  • I don't know                                                           4.9%

If yes, did you stop watching bareback porn?

  • Yes                                                                         3.2%
  • No                                                                           96.8% 

Do you think watching bareback porn can lead others to having unprotected sex?

  • Yes                                                                         53.6%
  • No                                                                         19.0%
  • I don't know                                                           27.4% 

FS says:

Even though 7% of people who took this survey said bareback sex has led them to have unprotected sex, - a huge 53.6% believe that it can affect others. What this shows us is that the majority of people firmly believe that watching bareback sex does not lead them to having unprotected sex but they believe that it does for others. Read some of the responses as to why they think this below:

What do you think this?

“Only if they're idiots who can't separate fantasy from reality”

 “Maybe I would think if the person was not too bright maybe”

“Some people do things that are disapproved by society because they have a deep underlying urges to join the ghetto, which is how they feel deep inside because of feeling alienated. It is psychological why people choose to start having bareback sex.

“The "glamorisation" of unprotected sex can potentially influence others into doing it.”

“It sets an example and normalises this type of behaviour. Porn actors should be the ones leading with their example. If they start using condoms then their viewers may consider doing so too.”

“People generally of all ages are rather lax when it comes to unsafe sex so bareback sex creates the illusion that it's ok. People are like cattle and really need to be led by the nose I'm sorry to admit.”

“Because believe it or not some people are stupid enough to try." 

“I can't imagine it does but some guys are stupid”

“Because young gays are stupid and risky”

“Monkey see, monkey do”

“Because they may think if its ok for the porn stars its ok for them”

“Some people are weak some are selfish and wanton" 

“Some people (young, less intelligent) as impressionable and easily influenced.”

“Some people are idiots.”

“They do not know any better.”

FS says: 

Quite a lot of the people who responded think that younger or less intelligent people are likely to copy what they see in porn films. Is this true? What we know is it’s not really down to age or intelligence, but the amount of sexual partners you have. Data consistently shows us that the more people you have sex with the likely it is that you will have unprotected sex.

Should the making of bareback porn in the UK be illegal?

  • Yes                             14.6%
  • No                              68.9%
  • I don't know               16.5%

FS says:

Nearly 15% of gay men think the making bareback porn should be illegal. When we break down the results:

  • Of the14.6% of people who said ‘yes’ to making bareback porn illegal in the UK, 35% (about 5% of those) actually like to watch bareback porn but did tick the ‘rarely watch it’ box.    

Should websites that show bareback sex be banned?

  • Yes                        8.9%
  • No                         79.9%
  • I don't know          11.1%

Why you think this?

Unsure about this one. I could see arguments both for and against banning them. I think porn sites need to be full of messages that remind users that sex needs to be practiced responsibly, and that this often means using a condom.”

“If someone wants to find it; they will. Plus variation helps educate gay men who don't receive substantial sex education at school.”


Wanna be a porn star?

Have you ever done porn? 

  • Yes                      11.1%
  • No                        88.9%

If yes - why did you make porn?

  • I needed the money                      18.3%
  • I always wanted to do it                37.6%
  • It was homemade porn              60.6%
  • Other (please specify)                   16.5%

To make guys on the scene notice me and approach me”

“Totally by accident”

“I thought it was funny. Bit part, no kit off, played a dad and prison governor.”

“Me and then bf just playing around”

FS says:

Seems like quite a few of you like to make your own porn. You saucy buggers!

If no - would you consider making porn in the future? 

  • Yes                                  26.7%
  • No                                   58.3%
  • I don't know                    15.0%

Please tell us why

Would ruin my career opportunities in other sectors”

“Because I've worked on my self-esteem so don't need that type of validation. I'm very muscled, ripped and hung but I have other talents.”

Have you ever recorded yourself performing a sex act?

  • Yes                                  55.1%
  • No                                    44.9%

If Yes - Who did you record yourself with? 

  • My current partner                 28.9%
  • An ex-partner                        35.4%
  • A random stranger(s)             18.6%
  • Friend(s)                                13.4%
  • Sex Buddy                              32.4%
  • Solo                                      49.2%
  • Other (please specify)              1.8%

Have you (or has anyone else) ever uploaded a video of you having sex to the internet?

Yes                23.6%
No                 76.4%

If Yes - why did you upload it to the internet?

  • I was curious                                                         38.0%
  • I did it for money                                                   4.7%
  • Someone uploaded it without my consent                 9.3%
  • To connect with like-minded people                   43.4%
  • I wanted positive feedback                                     34.9%
  • I was bored                                                           16.3%
  • Other (please specify)                                            23.3%

“So others could watch.... Like voyeurism”

“To make my profile a bit more interesting”
“I wanted to see what people thought of my performance and who I was with.”

“I was kept unaware of the live filming... at the time.”

FS says:

9.3% says someone uploaded it without their consent. There is no harm in recording yourself having some fun but just be careful with the footage afterwards, especially if you don’t want the whole world to see.


Porn stars

Who is your favourite porn star? 

We got too many responses to publish all the names but Brent Corrigan was the winner by a mile. Here are some of the people who featured most:

  • Cody Cummings
  • Matthew Rush
  • Damien Cross
  • Erik Rhodes
  • Francois Sagat
  • Matt Hughes
  • Logan McCree
  • Jeff Stryker

Does it matter to you what the HIV status of gay porn stars is?

  • Yes                       13.4%
  • No                        69.6%
  • I don't know         17.0%

Please tell us why:

“As a positive man myself I am indifferent to their status”

“It doesn't matter to me personally, as in I won’t be affected by it”

“The thought's never really occurred to me, really. Although now it has, I don't see why it should enter the equation.”

“I would be uncomfortable with HIV-positive barebacking.”

“I've never thought about it.”

Do you think porn is a good career?

  • Yes                          23.8%
  • No                           42.0%
  • I don't know            34.3%

Why do you think this?

“I’ve never really thought of it as a career. To some it is, but to others it’s being paid to have fun that tops up the bills or buys a holiday, which is no different really to doing overtime at work, it’s just more enjoyable.”

“It seems like they make a lot of money but on the other hand, your face will be online FOREVER so I'm not sure if it is worth it.”

“I wouldn't call it a career. I say it’s a last resort.”

“It's a business like any other. Whether the morals of that business play well with the morals of a consensus are another matter, however, most people endorse banking even though the morals for that, especially in the current climate, aren't particularly high. So, to deny porn on a moral ground is silly, and so, it's like any other business.” 

Would you have sex with a porn star?

  • Yes                          66.1%
  • No                            18.1%
  • I don't know             15.8%

Tell us why

“Why not? It would be safe sex though cos they have probably been around a bit eh?”

“Because it'd be freakin’ hot, however the reminder they have had sex with a lot of other people put me off slightly.”

“Because I’m not sure if they have HIV or not”

“No coz I know they will never be satisfied with just one person”

Would you date a porn star?

  • Yes                           43.0%
  • No                             37.5%
  • I don't know              19.4%

Tell us why

“I have a preconceived idea that porn stars are unavailable, might not measure and think well their risks, and are self-absorbed. I want someone with a brain but hey that might end up to be a porn start but my mind is inclined to say it's unlikely." 

“Risk of having multiple partners, makes the risk of getting an STI bigger, even with anal intercourse with condom.”

“I wouldn't be conformable knowing he has sex with other guys!”

If someone you were dating told you he did porn in the past, would that matter?

  • Yes                               9.8%
  • No                                77.2%
  • I don't know                 13.1%

Why do you think this?

“I'd question why they did it. But it would really depend on where in life they are. If it's a mistake done out of whatever and they've moved on and made something much more out of themselves then it'd be ok. Other than that I doubt I'd want to be with them.”

“Our past experiences make us who we are. I'd be interested in being their future, not listening to their past sex history.”

“I've had sex with probably over 1000 men. Everyone has, and is entitled to a past. I do not have or expect to have any 'control' over another person’s sexual activity.” 

If your friend told you he did/does porn, would that matter?

  • Yes                                  5.2%
  • No                                   90.8%
  • I don't know                    4.0%

Why do you think this?

“They are my friend so I should support them.”

If you found out your friend did porn, would you watch it?

  • Yes                                   65.0%
  • No                                     14.4%
  • I don't know                      20.5%

Why do you think this?

“Curiosity, for the laugh”

“Boundaries. My friends are friends; I'm not sexually attracted to them. The only way I ever would is if they asked and it would depend on the reason.”

FS says:

A potential 85.5% of you would watch your mate in a porn film!  That’s enough for us, off to the pub (and then search for our mates on xTube!)

That’s it. Did you enjoy those results? We did. What did we learn?

  • You lot are a horny bunch.
  • You LOVE watching anal and oral sex.
  • Muscle guys turn you on the most.
  • A good chunk of you like to watch bareback porn but do not think it affects your sex decisions.
  • But you think younger guys and people with less intelligence copy what they see in porn.
  • 7% of you say watching bareback porn has led you to taking risks.
  • Some of you like to put yourself in front of the camera.
  • And some of you have put this stuff on the internet (links please?).
  • But 9% of you have had videos uploaded to the internet without your concent.
  • You like lots of different porn stars but a lot of you wouldn’t date one.
  • You wouldn’t care if someone you were dating did porn in the past.
  • You don’t care if a mate has done porn - and the majority of you would be happy to watch them.

 

This article is taken from FS magazine issue 131, which was published in August 2012. To read the issue in full, click here.