Utterly irresponsible

I am about to write this blog with the full knowledge that it could set off a series of conflicts later. I also want to preface what I’m about to say by admitting that I am in no way perfect in regards to safe sex. In fact, I’m not very good at being consistent with practicing it. I know the risks, I know the consequences, but (like a huge number of people) I have not completely embraced 100% safe sex (and I don’t believe other people when they say they have: I’ve hooked up with far too many people who claimed 100% and then fell short with me for me to buy into all their nonsense).

All of this stems from the following: 1) Most of the condoms I’ve tried have either desensitized me or hurt me (however, Pleasure Plus are almost awesome and Lifestyles SKYN are passable), 2) Condoms have been served to me (and the rest of the U.S.A.) with a hefty dose of guilt and fear, instead of eroticism and empathy, and 3) Gay + Artist + Middle Class + America = worthless (if I’m not rich, straight, and corporate then I don’t have any real value in this country anyway, right? Imagine the potential extra layers of burdensome self-loathing for people who are poor and/or non-White).

But I recognize that this is not good! I recognize that this needs an adjustment in behavior on my part. I own that I am making bad choices when I opt for natural, rather than safer, sex. I know I am valuable and deserve better, that I should be respecting my partners. I know this. It is one of the reasons I am so intent on helping with promoting the safer sex strategies Dr. Terry Gerace wants to implement on his website. It’s because I truly want to acclamate to taking better care of myself, my partners, and my community/world. I feel bad that I’m not there yet. But I definitely never advocate barebacking.

So, after acknowledging that I need to practice safe sex with better than 50% regularity, I am going to go out on a limb here and call Mason Wyler out as the single most irresponsible person I can think of in adult entertainment. I saw that he was wanting writers for his site/blog, and I submitted my name before I read his content. All I knew of him was that he is a bottom with a reputation for being a gutter slut. However, I’d not actually read his own words before…

Utterly irresponsible… It is bad enough that gay porn is reinforcing the notion for gay men that bareback sex is “better,” but the outright smut from Mason’s own pen breaks my heart a little for him. In his entry “I want Brock Armstrong” Mason Wyler writes that Armstrong is hot specifically because he does bareback sex videos. He then defends this outrageous statement by saying, “That’s right, I said it!” beaming with pride, as if he has liberated himself and his readers from the cold, dark abyss that is safe sex. BULLSHIT!

I’m sorry, but at what point do we start holding people accountable for the net they cast? Yes, everyone is free to make choices in their lives, but at what point does your personal life start affecting everyone else too? Thomas Jefferson said that one man’s rights end where the next man’s begin… okay… so… The porn industry works with people who, in their personal lives, make the choice to practice bareback sex. Fine. However, once the industry becomes saturated with this imagery/attitude, and once the public begins responding by imitating this behavior more and more (and then STD infections explode again), isn’t the industry responsible on some level? Yes, there is still a freedom of choice innate to the consumer, but underneath it all, wasn’t that free choice heavily weighted towards the self-destructive?

Tobacco companies are being held responsible for addicting people to their product and for the health consequences of the general public. Don’t be surprised when the same becomes true for restaurants that offer fat/salt/sugar-laden food. These foods are addictive. Don’t fool yourself – these chains train their customers to want only bad food, to the exclusion of more healthful options. There’s a push to hold these purveyors of toxic food responsible for the product they make. So then, why not adult entertainment too?

I offer this question for debate: Is a person who takes Mason’s opinion into himself, practices the same behavior as his dysfunctional role model (with Mason’s example specifically in his mind), and is consequently infected with a disease, not in a position to hold (himself and) Mason Wyler responsible?

If we as a culture could be gobsmacked by 0.03 seconds of Janet’s titty (which is so completely ridiculous on so many levels that I’m not even going to entertain addressing them), then why aren’t we outraged by Mason Wyler’s wholly chaotic attitude towards safe sex in the midst of a resurgence of HIV infections? I believe that people imitate what they see, and I don’t think it’s fair that gay men seem to see only bad examples. Where are the portrayals of healthy, compassionate, generous same-sex interactions?

Author: Devon Hunter

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  1. Thanks for taking a stand Devon. We need to love ourselves enough to keep ourselves healthy.

    Oh and here are the results of the 2009 best condoms awards. For those out there who have tried certain brands and not liked them, give some of these top rated ones a try.


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  2. Whenever the debate of “role model” surfaces, I always feel like there will never be a definitive description of who is, who isn’t, and who shouldn’t be one. In alot of ways, I don’t feel it’s fair to hold Mason Wyler, or any other “entertainer” accountable for how their beliefs or feelings on an issue affects society. For the most part, we are ALL privy to doing our research, learning, and understanding the facts around HIV & other STDS. It’s up to the individual to choose whether or not they want to take the risk of practicing unsafe sex. Passing the blame onto others has become too convenient for folks. I respect the fact that you mentioned you don’t always act in the safest ways & simply justified it for reasons that ONLY pertained to YOU. That’s what WE as awhole need to start doing. By suggesting Mason Wyler not be 100% honest about his feelings/thoughts on barebacking,just to portray a positive depiction of gay safe sex; wouldn’t that be: 1> limiting his freedom of sppech & expression 2> force him to not be as truthful on his blog, a platform where he may feel most comfortable being totally honest (just like you wrote about the other day “Am I Always Completely Honest On My Blog”? My point is, we can’t love and appreciate our freedom of speech and expression, but then want to apply filters to it when its convenient or just b/c someone has more exposure to the public. It’s time for educators, parents, and sexually active individuals to teach, get informed, and take responsiblity for their own choices. Great topic

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  3. yes, curt, i completely agree – he SHOULD be honest, and i’m glad he is (if that is truly what he feels, and not just a gimmick to get people onto his site). however, the reason his “honesty” is upsetting is because it betrays a backfire against all the efforts of health professionals. it’s upsetting because there desparately needs to be new strategies in place, so that this opinion won’t be so pervasive. guilt, shame, fear, and cold logic have not accomplished the goal of modifying behavior.

    on the one hand i agree that everyone is repsonsible to himself (as i already said in the entry), but i am still not dissuaded from believing that part of that responsibility includes considering how one’s actions affect others (and yes, mason wyler IS a role model: he is a public figure, and it has been successfully agrued that these people are not afforded the same right to privacy as regular citizens… increased scrutiny is part and parcel with fame).

    is mason free to say what he said? yes. do i defend his right to say it? yes. do i think he should then be held responsible for saying it? yes. do i think he should thus carefully consider what he puts out? yes.

    i’m not saying he should be censored by an exterior power. i’m saying he should be held to a higher level of accountability, because his message reaches a larger number of people. the media is not directly to blame for anything, because people have free choice; however, think about most of the people you know, and then ask yourself whether or not they make their judgements without input from others.

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  4. Devon: I’m sensing contradiction in your reply. It’s impossible to say ‘you defend his right to say it’ but then follow-up by saying he should ‘carefully consider what he puts out’.
    To that point, it goes back to my initial point of we can’t say we’re all for freedom of speech & expression, then when something risque is mentioned, change our tune to being careful with what we say (or filter our words). We are entitled to agree or disagree with a statement or sentiment expressed by someone else (no question). However, we are not entitled to suggest or imply that b/c we disagree with it, that individual should mind their words for the benefit of adults (18+) who are viewing his blog. If you are an adult, you should know how read a book, watch the news, or get informed through proper means on HIV, safe sex, and STDS. This will allow a person to make an informed decision based on the facts; not the preference of someone else. Reading a blog is the hosts personal reflection on topics they’ve chosen to share from their point of view. It’s not meant to be taken and applied to my life, yours, or any other reader. If someone thinks that barebacking is safe and cool, that speaks more about the ignorance of the person; not the individual who has expressed that as being their preference. Having said that, why does he need to be careful with what he puts out there?

    As far as the role model issue; i think that’s a totally seperate topic that we can battle over for days (lol). I don’t necessarily accuse the media for determining who roles are and aren’t. I think they expound upon the notion that b/c we see people on tv, in print, etc they are expected to carry themselves differently than the “common folk”. My thoughts are, people are people..some have a greater deal of exposure based on their profession. whatever happened to parents or professors being role models? Just b/c they may not be public figures, does that rule them out? Take your profession for example. Just b/c you dance for a living, and are tipped and paid to be friendly while working, does that mean when you’re out with friends, you can’t get loose, get drunk, and be an asshole (not saying you are) b/c you’re a “role model” to some aspiring dancer out there (who might wanna emulate who they think you are 24/7)? Public figures are given much more exposure than the average joe, but that shouldn’t force them into being someone’s role model (in my opinion), which consequently would have the “role model” acting or speaking so carefully that it’s not an accurate depiction of who they are or what they believe. Is there really a difference between being too careful with what you say & believe vs compromising what you really mean & feel?

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  5. I wish it were more popular to take the stance against bareback sex. Condoms were accepted so reluctantly into the gay subculture and that seems to have forever tainted our view of them. Wearing a condom should be like putting on your seatbelt. It should be automatic. But, with such an intrigue and glamorization applied to the idea of barebacking as taboo, there are a lot of people checking their common sense at the bedroom door. Condom companies have worked really hard to create a more appealing product. I feel that, though the responsibility belongs to the individual, it is important for the pornography industry to accept it’s share of the blame, suck it up, and advocate safe sex. I can’t imagine that cutting barebacking out of porn would reduce the profitability of the end product.

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  6. Whether we like to admit or not, we are influenced by other’s behaviour, and if the person is in a position of power or is looked upon as admirable, then that person’s opinion counts even more. I personally believe in adults being held accountable, but I am also pragmatic enough to know that we are all influenced to or greater or lesser extent by other people, and society in general (think about the power that President Obama has right now in shaping people’s perceptions and behaviour).

    Anyone who condones bareback sex is being irresponsible and should acknowledge they are being so. Too many people today are finding out the hard way that one act can have permanent consequences. It is one of life’s tough lessons that we all learn.

    I make no apologies for sounding hard-nosed. I have seen and experienced too much unnecessary suffering from HIV to be otherwise.

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  7. I don’t think there’s any contradiction in supporting someone’s right to free speech and at the same time calling them out on it when they say something stupid and irresponsible and also expressing that you wish they wouldn’t “speak” in such a stupid and irresponsible way.

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  8. Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for your frankness.. bareback sex is clearly not safe & is irresponsible (agreed). However condoning it vs admitting it as ones own preference are quite different..wouldn’t you agree? Because I’m at work, I haven’t actually viewed the blog to see first-hand if this gentlemen’s approach was simply an announcement of his personal sexual preference vs a promotion for others to engage in such behavior. Once I get to my home computer, I will check it out to determine his intention. I will say that if he’s promoting bareback sex as something for others to engage in, it’s partially irresponsible (on his part) — however, if people choose to engage in it b/c someone with a blog says so, aren’t they more irresponsible (and foolish)? On the other hand, if he’s saying he likes bareback sex, how does his personal irresponsibility affect the mass of people who read his blog? Public figure or not, he’s not in any position of power to set a standard or dictate the rules of sex. It ultimately comes down to the individual’s knowledge and personal choice at the end of the day, right? Using your example of President Obama, just b/c he’s in a very high position of power doesn’t mean every person will agree or even act in ways that he says we should. This is why I don’t agree that public figures are more responsible for shaping society’s behavior and/or views. We choose what we want to obide by.

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  9. TG: Words like “stupid” are subjective and will vary from person to person. If someone has an opinion or preference that’s different than my own, it doesn’t make it “stupid” (in my opnion). It’s simply something I don’t agree with. I can’t blame that person’s view, just b/c they have a blog that should only be read by adults anyway, on the reason why society as a whole is making poor/irresponsible decisions for themselves. When I choose to engage in unsafe sex, it has nothing to do with something someone else told me or anthing I read. It’s b/c I made the choice for myself to do so; for whatever the reason is. Again, the accountability should be placed on the individual, not a public figure, celebrity, or “role model” .

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  10. Curt,
    Agreed that “stupid” may be a poor adjective to use, but engaging in an activity that could lead to getting a fatal disease, should at least be objectively called “reckless.” (Just like driving 100 miles an hour without a seat belt should be called reckless!)

    I know it sounds paternalistic, but intelligence varies pretty wildly amongst the individual adults of our wacky species; particularly before the age of 25 or so, when the prefrontal cortex is still finishing its development–so I don’t 100% agree that all the accountability should be on individuals who may not have the abilities, education and resources that you and I have to make wise decisions. Not that I don’t believe in personal responsibility and accountability–I do–I just think that many people are easily influenced by the behaviour of role models, celebrities and even porn stars, so those folks ought to bare some responsibility to. We’re in this mess together, after all. 🙂

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  11. TG: I agree that we are all in this together. Therefore everyone plays a certain part in being responsible for their actions & messages they convey. It seemed like the posts earlier, were solely putting the responsibility & accountability on the public figures/role models.

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  12. No, no, no I never meant to imply that the responsibility and accountability rest solely with the public figure/role model – I think I was pretty careful about keeping the viewer squarely in my sites as well. I do, however, think that with freedom of speech comes the expectation of using that freedom to not negatively influence others.

    And we’re also ignoring a simple truth: Regardless of how a website is “regulated” so that only those +18 up see it, you have to admit there is the possibility that minors (as well as neonates of any other age) may gain access to materials that then ifluence them towards destructive behavior. I think it’s a difficult argument to make to say that the media doesn’t have a role in forming behavior (especially given the way MTV and video games shape trends in young people).

    At any rate, Mason Wyler is definitely free to say “barebacking is way hotter than regular sex.” That is his opinion. It is the opinion of many people. I’m not saying Mason Wyler is the first person influence anyone in that direction. What I AM saying is that, like many others who sell this idea, Mason Wyler is irresponsible to talk about “hot” without also talking about “risk.”

    I put him in the upper echelons of irresponsibility, not because he’s particularly important, but because he has a huge audience. The Obama example is a propos: There ARE people who influence the thoughts and behaviors of others (look at how every posture and gesture from Greenspan would cause ripples in the stock market for umpteen years), and I think Mason Wyler is in a position to use his freedom of speech to do something better than revalidate Russian Roulette.

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  13. “Most of the condoms I’ve tried have either desensitized me or hurt me”

    it sounds to me like you’re using the wrong size, man.
    I had the same problem, the condoms always felt too tight.
    Until I realized that I’ve been using regular condoms and I actually need a large one…
    so give larger condoms a try. here are some options:

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