For thirteen years Dean Monroe was getting fucked in condom-only gay porn. He said himself, “I’ve always been a strong advocate of safe sex”. Next thing, he’s in a trailer for OVERLOAD from bareback studio Treasure Island Media, bent over and taking a raw cock in his ass. Or was he?
I filmed OVERLOAD myself, and even I can’t answer that. Dean was booked to suck Harley Everett’s cock. When things went further I just kept filming. From my camera angle it wasn’t clear exactly what was going on (or in), but I knew this moment would get a reaction so I stuck it in the trailer and put it online.
The response was instant: Bloggers announced Dean Monroe’s “bareback debut!”; comments poured in from Monroe’s fans, who were “very surprised” and “disappointed” that their idol had “descended to the level of scum”; Dean quickly denied it via Twitter, saying, “no bareback anal sex in this scene” and Harley agreed, tweeting, “it was an oral scene NOT bareback, neither Dean or I do bareback films”.
Not everyone believed them. TheSword.com analysed OVERLOAD’s trailer frame by frame, posting screen-caps as evidence. One reader commented, “It looks like Harley’s knocking at Dean’s back door, but not actually going in”. Another said,
“It definitely went beyond just teasing the hole. Regardless of how much goes in: if it goes in, that’s barebacking.”
Suddenly Monroe’s reputation depended on the precise positioning of an inch or two of cock. To these fans, if Dean DID NOT bareback, that means he’s a “class act” who looks after himself. But if he DID bareback then he’s a “disease ridden” “skanky” “sub-human” “sick fuck”, having “death sex” in “the graveyard of fading porn stars”.
One thing is clear: these guys are terrified of HIV. Despite the progress in HIV treatment, their dread is as virulent as ever. From this view, “barebackers” are unforgiveably dangerous and self-destructive: “I don’t think they had bareback sex, but if they did I’ll go out of my way to wipe the floor with the little fuckers”.
The fear is real, but is it justified? What if Harley’s cock did slip in for a second? At GUM clinics, sexual health advisers informally use the word “dipping” to describe this kind of brief penetration without ejaculation. Sometimes guys who are using condoms can’t resist a quick “dip” before rubbering up for the main event. But what if one guy is HIV positive and the other HIV negative?
Since dipping is brief, there’s less time for fluids to be exchanged. By comparison, a full-on bareback fuck creates more friction and lasts longer, increasing the chance of HIV transmission. If the top cums inside, the chances are greater still. So, comparatively, dipping is safer, whether we call it “bareback” or not.
But there’s another important factor. If the positive guy is not on medication (maybe he doesn’t know he’s positive) then his viral load could be very high. A tiny amount of blood or pre-cum would be enough to transmit HIV. Conversely, a positive guy on medication with an undetectable viral load is much less likely to transmit HIV, even during a long raw fuck. Therefore, whether you’re dipping or deep fucking, it’s the viral load that will likely determine the outcome. Never be afraid to ask.
As valuable as this kind of risk-management may be, HIV should still be seen in its broader context. Barebacking is extremely unlikely to kill you. Even if you contract HIV it probably won’t affect your life-span. By contrast, the largest killer of young men in the UK today is suicide (30-44 year-olds especially at risk) and this self-destructive tendency can certainly be found among men in gay porn. Erik Rhodes (30), Roman Ragazzi (38), Wilfried Knight (38), Arpad Miklos (45), all died in the last 18 months. These are not bareback pornstars perishing of AIDs, they are “safe-sex” pornstars ending their own lives – or in the case of Rhodes, brutalizing his body so much that an early death became inevitable. Unfortunately, their mental health problems were not as easy to treat as HIV is.
So, to anybody who’s pissed off because Dean Monroe might be “dipping” or “barebacking”, I say: check your priorities. Sexual health is not the only frontier. If you’re concerned about your fellow man, look out for his mental health too.