Does anyone else find it somewhat ironic that Erik Rhodes died while being a “safe sex” porn star? I mean some of the companies he worked for refuse to hire guys who do bareback porn, and if they do let their models do bareback, they’re definitely not OK with them having worked for Treasure Island. Why? Because they say bareback porn is dangerous. Yet, when was the last time you heard of a bareback porn star dying in the prime of his life?
[OK, there was Chad Noel, but despite everything that was said about him dying of an AIDS-related illness, others are saying he died of a drug overdose… Which brings me back to Erik Rhodes…]
The rabidly safe sex porn companies promote unrealistic body images that are harmful to their performers and to their customers. Simply put you can’t get a body like Erik’s without injecting anabolic steroids and taking human growth hormone. Those fuck with your body like crazy. All sorts of bad things happen.
Yet you can’t work at many of the rabidly anti-bareback porn companies unless you’re doing steroids and/or HGH – you just won’t be big enough to get on their roster. It’s not that they force you to do steroids, but they won’t hire anyone who isn’t huge and you can’t get huge unless you do steroids. So they’re essentially insisting the guys who work for them do things that are dangerous to their health in order to get hired, and yet they’re anti-bareback because… “it’s dangerous”. I don’t get it.
[Then there’s the issue about how many of the people behind those policies bareback complete strangers in their personal lives. I’ve even heard stories about some of them being gift givers… But this post isn’t about that…]
And their customers, many of whom are reasonably sexy and hot, start to think they’re not hot enough – that no one will will want to have sex with them because they’re not as hot, big or muscular as someone like Erik Rhodes. So they either pine away with unfulfilling sex lives, or they go out and start doing steroids and HGH and fuck up their bodies in the process…
And then there’s the issue of putting needles and syringes in the hands of someone like Erik. His personal blog has gone private, but a few days ago while it was still public I read this blog post from 4 years ago where he talks about all the drugs he did over gay pride weekend. Every day that weekend he got so high he’d forget stuff, or pass out and then throw up over people, etc. He was a total mess. Reading it and realizing it was from 4 years ago I was amazed he made it this long.
I’ll admit that in some ways bareback porn is like pretty muscle boy porn – it promotes something that can be damaging to your health. But there’s a difference. Barebacking is normal and natural – god created us gay and driven to have butt sex – barebacking is just a natural expression of that desire – it the gay version of what has made humans the dominant species on the planet. In contrast chemically induced bodybuilding is completely unnatural. There’s no biological drive to take steroids or HGH – that’s completely driven by a culture that values really big muscle. We can’t change biology, but we can change culture.
I’m sick and tired of producers of pretty boy muscle porn looking down on barebackers – trying to stigmatize us and get people to believe we’re the ones with a problem. Dudes… You’re in a glass house throwing stones. You’re the ones with performers dying in the primes of their lives. Get over yourselves and deal with your problems before trying to fix things you think are problems with us.
That said, people will do steroids and HGH whether we want them to or not. They’ll do hardcore drugs whether we want them to or not. And they’ll bareback whether safe sex porn producers want them to or not. To quote Rodney King – “Can’t we all just get along”? It’s time to end the bans against porn stars who do bareback porn. Just let people be who they are and do what they want (to a point).
At the same I do want to say that drugs can be incredibly destructive. Unless you want to end up like Erik Rhodes, don’t ever let drugs control you – and be careful not to make excuses and pretend they’re not controlling you when they are. If your drug use causes problems at work, then they’re controlling you. If drugs cause problems with your non-druggie friends, then they’re controlling you. If you’re starting to see warning signs, get the help you need… It’s readily available if you look for it…
In the end, let’s be realistic… There are many things which can be dangerous, and while barebacking can be one of them, it’s far from being the biggest problem in our community. Hell, smoking kills far more gay guys than HIV…