Bareback Porn

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Gay couple sleeping. Image Source/Getty Images

What Is Bareback Porn?

Bareback porn is a style of adult film in which actors do not use condoms. Although "bareback" is most often used as a description of gay pornography, it can also be used for heterosexual pornography where safe sex isn't practiced.

Why Is it Called Bareback Porn?

Bareback sex, or barebacking, is a term most often used to describe unprotected anal sex between men who have sex with men.

Although unprotected anal sex is not the exclusive domain of gay men, it is among these men that it is most highly stigmatized. (And gay men who have unprotected anal sex have a particularly high risk of HIV for reasons that may or may not be intuitively obvious to many people.)

The Risks of Bareback Porn: For Viewers

One of the biggest concerns about bareback porn, from a public health perspective, is that it may encourage viewers to both eroticize and practice unprotected sex. There is some data that this may be the case, which could increase individual's risk of HIV infection. On the other hand, there is a growing menu of options, including treatment as prevention and pre-exposure prophylaxis,  that allow men to reduce their HIV risk during unprotected anal intercourse, even if they remain at risk for other STD infections.

The Risks of Bareback Porn: For Performers

Although many commercial pornography producers require their actors to be regularly tested for HIV and other STDs, a negative test is not a fool-proof guarantee that sex won't put a partner at risk.

It can take time for a person to test positive after infection, and people who are newly infected with HIV may pose a particularly high danger for their sex partners.

The frequency of testing that most porn actors undergo is much higher than that of the general population. On the other hand, they have a lot more sex.

Still, at least in recent years there have been relatively few HIV transmissions conclusively linked to pornography production, despite several well publicized outbreaks.

Sources:

Brooks JT, Robbins KE, Youngpairoj AS, Rotblatt H, Kerndt PR, Taylor MM, Daar ES, Kalish ML. Molecular analysis of HIV strains from a cluster of worker infections in the adult film industry, Los Angeles 2004. AIDS. 2006 Apr 4;20(6):923-8.

Gabrielsen L, Barton SE. HIV negative certification and sexual health issues facing performers in the adult entertainment industry in the UK. Sex Transm Infect. 2002 Aug;78(4):311.

Grudzen CR, Meeker D, Torres J, Du Q, Andersen RM, Gelberg L. HIV and STI risk behaviors, knowledge, and testing among female adult film performers as compared to other California women. AIDS Behav. 2013 Feb;17(2):517-22. doi: 10.1007/s10461-011-0090-0.

Jonas KJ, Hawk ST, Vastenburg D, de Groot P. "Bareback" pornography consumption and safe-sex intentions of men having sex with men. Arch Sex Behav. 2014 May;43(4):745-53. doi: 10.1007/s10508-014-0294-2.

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