I love topical writing, but it's such a drag, skimming through the rss feeds to find a news item I feel adequately informed on to pontificate. If only there was some sort of contraption available for three easy payments of $29.99 that would let me talk about current events with grace and panache. Until then, I have to pick on issues my own size, or rather, the size of my knowledge (for an extra 5 bucks, get the premium version of this article, with all the inappropriate dick jokes included). The voice in my head that tells me to take a bath with my toaster says I should stay 100 feet away from critiquing the “It Gets Better” project and a recent visit by door to door Mormons who, after learning I was trans, refused to give me a copy of their pamphlet and then came by a few days later to ask me what I thought of said pamphlet has left me with the nagging doubt that perhaps I don't know the enemy well enough to be calling air strikes. Yes, despite my radical politics and polyamorous background, I believe we need to win the fight for marriage equality. Now before we make any rash decisions, keep this in mind: if you remove me from your friends list I'm not going to bring my ice cream cone cupcakes to your vegetarian potluck slash spoken word concert. Think of the children, dammit.

But hold on, what do we have here? “Porn Actor Tests Positive For HIV, Adult Film Companies Halt Production”. Well hello there. What's a gorgeous story about the importance of using protection doing in a low brow feed like this? Finally, a news item in my league. Yes, I'm about to lecture you on why you should always use protection. We're going there. Write your mamas and tell 'em you love 'em, cuz not all of you will be coming back.

When asked what “queer sex” or “feminist sex” is to me, I take a moment to giggle at someone saying“sex” out loud and then I respond with this: the most proud, most feminist, most sex and gender positive thing you can do in the bedroom is to respect both your and your partner's bodies. Loving and taking care of your body in a time of bigotry and prejudice is the hardest you could fuck the heteronormative operating system without needing batteries. I know you know this. We both went to that queer spoken word thing and heard that one girl's poem and gripped each other's hands. Don't tell me you've changed so much already.

Why are we still able to engage in unprotected sexual activity with the AIDS epidemic, television shows about teen pregnancy and that one time our friend showed us their genitals and asked “does this look infected to you” in the back of our minds? Is it abstinence only sex education? The difficulty for the impoverished in affording protection or acquiring at no cost? Media? Christine O'Donnell? Good news, wafflers. The answer is all of the above (and then some). But in the spirit of “picking on targets our own size” I will be focusing on media, namely the adult film industry. You will note that I use the term “media”, as in “means of communication” and not “the media”, a term that is often confused for “the press” which is often used as a strawman by politicians and political figures, giving impressionable viewers the idea that its a sentient being walking around, ordering bagels and shit. I feel with my education and work in media (see also: made a film I let nobody watch, recorded a demo I let nobody hear, and maintain a blog with a readership of about 20) I think I can last long enough in the ring with media to make it look real. Still, don't try this at home. I went to art school.

Before the bell sounds let me go on the record as saying it is not my place to tell the porn industry what it can not and should not do, so I won't. I did not spend a day in the principle's office for putting up fake student government election campaign posters so I could denounce free speech when I ceased to be “threatening”. I'm only connecting the dots. Someone else can color it in.

Also, while I unwaveringly advocate the use of gloves and condoms (the latter of which I've required the two times in my life I've performed fellatio because I don't care for the tate and was only doing it to be generous), I'm not married to the idea of dental dams. I feel it defeats the purpose of oral sex, which is to be wet an warm and kind of messy. Still, I only perform cunnilingus on partners whose medical history is readily known to me. It also helps if I genuinely love them, because then it makes any complication that would arise a little easier to swallow. And I'm getting waaaaay to personal. So let's get back to the porn industry.

The use of barriers is relatively uncommon in porn, when you into account porn aimed at heterosexuals (which includes the long french manicured pseudo lesbian porn that drives much of the industry). The reason for this, those of you keeping score at home, is that condoms impede sales. At least that was the explanation given by the porn industry in 2004 after a brief “okay guys we need to start using condoms for real this time” phase following the last HIV industry scare. Some say it breaks up the scene. To this I shrug indifferently and say “find a way to work the condom into it”. I mean shit, she has no idea where that pizza delivery guy/cable repair man/singing telegram has been. An extra shot of her looking around the room, finding a way to pay for services rendered. She sees the condom on the coffee table. Bam. Done. An extra what, two seconds? And think of the comedic opportunity available here. I think mandatory condom use would be worth it if at least one porn does the aforementioned pizza delivery guy scene but instead of packets of parmesan cheese and red peppers the pizza comes with condoms. I may need to make that porn. Just for that one two-second gag. Operation Make Mom Love Me Less is a go.Others arguments for keeping barriers out include: it makes the sex seem less intimate, latex gloves look weird when it's not a “nurse” scene, and REAL MEN JUST WANNA BUST A NUT IN THEIR WOMAN. I fear I can't take the time to dissect all of these points. I need to keep those ideas a secret in case someone goes and steals my condoms on the pizza idea and I'm suddenly minus a film project.

Instead I will present my two arguments for how the lax attitude on barriers in heterosexual porn can affect the queer community:

1) The foods do touch. Straight actors do gay/bisexual porn and vice versa. This probably does not need to be expanded on.
2) Setting an unrealistic standard for healthy sex practices that could be misread by impressionable youth.

Oh my. It appears I've pokevolved into Tipper Gore. Shoot me.

Oh. You're pro gun control too?

Well then, I'll continue.

Porn will be emulated. I would argue that's the point. You see people being pleasured or acting in a way that stimulates pleasure in the viewer, it makes you want to be pleasured, even if by your own doing. Regardless as to why it will be imitated or if it's supposed to be, it will. The monkey see monkey do ethic of humanity conquers all. 30 seconds of youtube videos of people copying what they see on tv shows like Jackass, Mythbusters, and WWE should confirm my point. And if timed improperly, could cost you your job.

Not all queer youth start out watching queer porn. Straight porn is much more readily available and in many cases more acceptable to be caught looking at. These unfortunate first impressions, when compounded with subpar sex education and a lack of available safe sex materials, suck. I attended high school with the highest teen pregnancy rate in the state. If my straight classmates weren't using condoms, I think it's fair to assume the queer weren't either. We can do the dinosaur and argue whether or not it's okay for teens to be having sex. The fact is they are, and will continue to. The same cannot be said about the dinosaur.

Am I suggesting that the porn industry is responsible for viewers acting out what they see, and they should enforce the use of barriers to slowly train their audiences to emulate that? That's a negatory. I'm not taking sides on the issue. Just calling like I sees it. Or trying to, at least. I have neither the journalistic background or time in the day to edit my language to make it more objective.
Shit, I don't even watch straight porn anymore.

But I do attend leather fairs and Pride events, and it does grate on me when I see a bareback DVD vendor sharing the same space as AIDS outreach or safer sex programs. At Up Your Alley earlier this year, there was a bareback DVD booth right next to the Stop Aids Project. Doesn't the money I donate at the gate go towards affording you an extra pair of eyes to look at that and go “Um, no”? I should be at the very very back of the “queue to tell you your kink is not okay”, but selling depictions of how infections are spread at the same event where non profit organizations are asking for support in fighting the spread of those very same infections is in such bad taste, is so “bad” ironic, that if you focused that energy and shot it out of a laser gun at a random hipster they'd cancel each other out and you'd be left with the guy who plays PC in the “I'm a Mac, I'm a PC” commercials, sipping on a lambic and listening to James Taylor.


I understand that these fairs need to make money by renting out space to vendors, and that some just see community events as a place to peddle their shit. But damn son, there is a plethora of more responsible ways to make money off of queers. Like a zombie themed burlesque show!

A part of me that doesn't get out much fears that in some way, like the butterfly flooding the city with a flap of its wing, the standards of the straight porn industry are leaving indents on the queer community, and that heteronormative attitudes on barriers and safe sex can contribute to irresponsibility on our end. And that this laissez-faire standard of condoms in the straight and gay bareback porn industries will trigger an outbreak, an infestation that sweeps the nation.

We didn't do so well the first time. I'm betting we won't live through the sequel. You think our advanced medicine and technology will save us, but they still haven't perfected the formula for the pill that stops us from turning into damn damn dirty apes, harassing those suspected of infection, publishing lies in the press (in 1988 Cosmopolitan said that heterosexuals were not at risk for HIV because it couldn't be spread in the missionary position), and disowning loved ones infected or at risk of exposure. If half a million people really did attend the Rally to Restore Honor, then we're all about one broken condom away from Quest For Fire.

TLDR; Ooga booga, wear a condom and gloves or everyone you know will die.

So what can you do? Well, you can “write” the straight porn studios and insist they start making condoms mandatory, like most gay porn. If I was programmed to wink when I said “write” to imply “persuade with various mixed media campaigns and old fashioned boycotting”, I would have back there. You can get involved in or donate to various organizations to advocate safer sex and or provide safer sex materials to people. If you're one of those “direct action” types, you can buy a box of condoms and give them to friends or leave them on a bowl in your living room as party favors.

Or don't. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe an outbreak in the straight porn industry doesn't affect the queer community. Maybe nobody gets the wrong idea from seeing a bareback DVD booth at Pride. Having a regular op/ed column on the internets doesn't mean you have any more idea of how the world works than another person. I'm just as surprised as you that I'm doing this. I always thought I'd go into antiques.

If you take nothing else from this article, have this: underneath your fingernails is one of the hardest places on your body to sterilize. Even if you meticulously scrape them clean after putting your hand inside somebody, you can still harbor pathogens. And good luck getting a manicure with an infected finger. Spoiler alert: When I say “good luck” I really mean “don't try”.

Say it with me now.

No glove, no love.

The demise of the patriarchy hangs in the balance.

ETA: Oh, it turns out the actor in question starred in both gay and straight porn.


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