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Porn and HIV

Pornography seems to have been around forever, rock art, then paintings, books, and now of course, the net. There is just so much of it available online - and it is easy to find and available to anyone with internet access.

Watching porn can be a lot of fun. It can spice up your sex life, especially if you're alone, but it's also fun to watch with someone else. And today porn is a big business - it's become an industry, with its own stars and award ceremonies. If you have the right looks and the goods, you can make a career out of it. It has a certain appeal, making a career out of fucking, it sounds l ike fun, but it is actually work - that's why some straight guys will do it for the cash - the "gay-for-pay" type.  There are plenty of do-it-yourself sites out there too, like X-Tube or Cam4, where you can watch amateurs or put yourself up for view if you feel like it.
 
But gay porn has another side to it apart from the hot sexy fun. It teaches us how to fuck, in some ways. And that's a problem, because it can often give us totally unrealistic ideas of what we should be doing sexually. Face it - most of us simply aren't going to be as good as porn stars, and when you make a film, you take breaks, you shoot scenes over and over, you edit out the crap and emphasise the good stuff. And all of that is fine, it makes it good to watch, but we have to remember that it's not real - it's acting, but research is showing that more and more kids and teens are discovering sex through porn and think that what is shown in porn is how sex should be. Even though they don't intend to do it, porn-makers are shaping how we look at and think about sex, and that can lead to guys worrying that they're not performing as well as a stud on film - we get unrealistic expectations.
 
The other thing is whether the porn shows condomless sex or not. Given the way porn teaches so many people now, it's got a real role to play in how we shape our ideas about sex.  Once it would have been unthinkable for gay male porn stars to have condomless sex on camera, but it's more and more common. This is also related to the introduction of newer prevention strategies such as PrEP and UVL. As such, condomless sex on the camera is no longer seen as the threat that it used to be. 
 
More and more porn stars are turning out to be HIV+ due to not using any form of protection. Mason Wyler, (NSFW!) a hot and sexy porn star, is just the latest guy to be outted about his HIV status in a long line . Now, he shouldn't have been outted this way - that just seems wrong. But it should also make us stop and think a bit. The porn industry itself needs to do more to look after its workers and help them make the choices that keep them safe. And we as consumers of porn need to think about what we watch and buy.
 
It's easy to say "It's just fantasy for me, I'd never bareback, but I love watching it" and there is some truth to that - we all have fantasies that we'd never actually act out - that's why they're fantasies. But we should also be aware that porn does influence how we fuck to some degree. If you prefer barebacking, you could consider taking PrEP to stay safe. But remember that while PrEP is great at preventing HIV transmission, it won't protect you against other STIs like gonorrhoea, syphilis or chlamydia.

The guys in porn are hot. We want them. But look at how many are getting HIV. Enjoy watching it, get off on the hotness of the men and what they do to each other. But remember how many are becoming HIV+, and draw a line about just what bits of porn you copy and what you don't.

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